? about waybills

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Nomad, Jan 7, 2007.

  1. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member


    I am starting to set up my waybill system also, even though the layout is just track pinned to foam at the moment. I've been doing tons of reading and research and think I have a good system for my point-to-point industrial layout. My system will use one-sided waybills for loads coming onto the layout, and two-sided waybills for loads going off the layout.

    What kind of layout do you have? I may be able to make some suggestions.

    Another thing, I am enjoying making the waybills and car cards using Microsoft Word. I'm using a railroad map of the US from the 70s, and finding names of industries in different states using some data from the NMRA, plus making some up.
  2. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Now my thoughts and preference is to have 10 waybills for each industry.You see most industries rely on 3 or 4 suppliers for their production needs..Now.In my case the C&HV and HR has more inbound loads then outbound loads due to our customer base.
    Let's look at our C&HV Jackson,Ohio customers:
    1.Pillisbury.IN:Sugar,flour,corn starch,corn sweetener OUT: Empties.

    2.Valley Produce.IN: Produce OUT: Empties

    3.Midland Foods Dist.IN: Food stuffs,paper products/plastic ware. OUT: Empties.

    4.Carters Lumber Co.IN: Lumber,roofing,Paneling,insulation.OUT: Empties.

    5.Alloy Steel Blades Corp.IN Coil steel. OUT: Empties.

    6.Roberts Distribution. IN:Beer,wine whiskey Tobacco products. OUT Empties.

    7.Country Boy Co-op. IN Empties/John Deere Implements OUT Grain/Empties..

    8.Riverside Feeds.IN: Feed OUT Empties.

    9.Standard American Knitting Corp.IN Cloth,Dyes,tread. Out Military uniforms/Empties.

    10.Honey Creek Meats Processors IN: Meats OUT: Empties.

    CDBI/C&HV Distribution Center.
    1.Creeger Implement Co.IN: Case Farm implements. Out Empties.

    2.The Yuleman Corp.IN: Steel Beams OUT Empties.

    3.Southern Ohio Rural Electric. Electric poles,wire and transformers.OUT:Empties.

    4.Cottons Lumber Co. IN: Lumber,Roofing Insulation Paint.OUT: Empties.

    5.J.D.Gilbert Corp.IN: Rolled Paper OUT: Paper products/Empties.
    As you can see most of our customers in Jackson is a supplier or a distributor.Pillsbury receives bulk shipments of flour, sugar,corn sweetener,corn starch..However they ship their cake and cookie mix as well as the icing by truck since these loads will be going to stores or a local warehouse.
    The few shippers ship only their long haul freight by rail.
    So in that light I have more inbound waybills then outbound load waybills.
    To simplify the waybills all of my car cards have "when empty return to yard."Then these empties are switched into JLT(Jackson-Logan Transfer) for forwarding back to their home rails via Logan to Columbus or Parkersburg (W.Va).
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you don't have a local yard, but maybe have a one or two track interchange, you could add to the list:

    Interchange: IN - any of the things listed under "OUT", above (this would then go off to staging if you had it)
    OUT - any of the things listed under "IN" above. (This would come in from staging)

    Does that make sense?

  4. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    60103, I had decided I would start with one card per industry and let it grow from there to meet the demand. That's all I could think of.

    Gary, you're system sounds interesting. If you take a look at track planning for the future, the Nomad Valley and Skookum Creek R. R.(sorry, I can't get a link to work), that's my railroad. It's basically a folded dogbone, but I plan on operating it point to point. The side tracks on each wing are staging. I would bring cars in from staging, make a train in the yard, run a north bound local, break it up in the yard, make a new train, and then send out a south bound local, bring it back to the yard, and then staging. I plan to rotate the staging trains, hopefully to not use the same cars all the time. (sorry this is getting longwinded.) It sounds like your using carcards to bring cars out of staging, is that right? Thats one of the things I have been trying to figure out. Any ideas would be great.

    Brakie, your'e list explains a lot to me. I thought there should be more industry to industry switching, trying to figure that out was getting frustrating. Thanks for the info.

    Mason Jar, I do have a small yard, but I was thinking of operating that as a interchange along with the staging tracks you suggested. How do you think that would work? Or would that be overdoing it?

    I am getting a lot of information here:D , thank you all.

  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    It will definitely add some challenge, but there should be no reason that the cars cannot be routed from industry to industry without returning to the yard. I have operated layouts where a "turn" (a train that goes out and back in one day or shift) sets out to do all the little jobs along the line, including delivering and collecting cars form the interchange or yard, as well as shifting cars between industries along the branch.

    There are several computer programs available to help you with generating reasonable waybills or switch lists based on your industries. I have not tried any of them, but you might want to google a bit... here's one to start you off: http://www.mcswiz.com/MCSMRCDS/MainPage.asp

  6. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Andrew, I have looked at that program before, but did not see the demo at that time. I will give it a try.

    Thanks, Loren
  7. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member


    Here is a description of how my system will operate: Hopefully there will be some info you can use. Also, if anyone else reads this, perhaps any flaws will be found so I can fix them. (Disclaimer: This system is not up and running, so there may be some problems I have not foreseen. Also, I am assuming that the reader has a basic knowledge of car cards and waybills. I think I am creating a somewhat prototypical flow of cars, while at the same time leaving plenty of room for fun operation. Also, I am sort of laughing at myself about this long-winded post when I am nothing more than a noob when it comes to model railroading!)

    My layout is a point-to-point with an interchange at each end. My industries, of course, are between the two interchanges. I will not have any loads shipped between industries on my layout. Loads generated by my industries will be shipped to the interchanges. Loads coming to my industries will come from the interchanges. Now, it is possible when a loaded car is unloaded at one of my industries and becomes an empty, that empty could be used at another industry to ship a load back to the interchange that the car came from.

    My system will be pseudo-random so that each operating session is different. I think it also offers a lot of versatility in that if you only feel like running and switching a small train, you can, or if you want to have an operating session with several trains, you can do that too.

    To describe the system, let’s say the Santa Fe (ATSF) interchange is to the left, all the industries are in the middle, and the Southern Pacific (SP) interchange is on the right. I will have around 16 industrial sidings, but for this explanation, I won’t refer to any of them specifically. We’ll pretty much refer to them as generic industries.

    To give an overall feel for the system, this is how it will work: I will have a box of pre-made waybills at the ATSF interchange and a box of pre-made waybills at the SP interchange. These boxes will be “seeded” with appropriate waybills, meaning that loads which would be coming from or traveling to cities served by the ATSF would be in the ATSF interchange, and ditto for the SP waybill box. There will be some forethought as to the number of waybills for each industry and the order they are placed in the box. (I am thinking I will have about 150 waybills in each interchange box. I’ll discuss how I am determining the number of waybills in each interchange box and the specifics for each waybill later.)

    Each industry spur will have 3 boxes, one each for “Set-out” “Hold” and “Pick-up”.

    Also, I will be storing my rolling stock in boxes on shelving under each interchange. This storage will basically take the place of “staging/fiddle” yards. I will keep cars that would be likely to come from the ATSF interchange at the ATSF interchange, and ditto with the SP. For example, in my location, the SP interchange would be bringing in cars from southeastern railroads, while the ATSF would be coming from the northeast, Midwest and mountain state railroads. Rolling stock from the Pacific coast could come via either SP or ATSF.

    Waybills for loads coming into the industries are one-sided, showing the car type, destination industry, and load. Waybills for loads coming from my industries are 2-sided. Side one is used to indicate that an Empty car is needed at the industry. Side two is used to show where the load is going once the car is loaded at my industry, typically it would be going back to the interchange it came from. The reason that incoming loads only need a one-sided waybill is that after the waybill/load is removed from the car card, the car card will have instructions on where to return the empty.

    Just to get us started, let’s assume we already have some cars sitting in my industry spurs. Some of them are recently loaded by my industries, and need to go to the interchange. Some of the cars are empty, having been unloaded at my industries. These empties also need to be sent back to the interchange so they can be returned to their home road.

    Say we feel like switching a 7 car train from the ATSF interchange to our industries. We have to stage the operating session first: We would draw the first seven cards out of the ATSF waybill box. Some of these will be loads coming in, some of these will be requests for empties to be spotted at my industry so they can be loaded. For the loads coming into the layout, I would pick an appropriate car type out of the storage box, put the waybill in the car card, and then put the car on the ATSF interchange track. For waybills that indicate an empty is needed at my industry for loading, we must find an appropriate empty car first. These cars could come from the storage box, indicating that our railroad’s agent requested an empty to be shipped to us via the interchange, or we could scan the layout and see if there are any cars sitting on our layout from a previous session that are now empty after having been unloaded. These empty cars need to go back to an interchange anyway, so if the empty is going the same way the load is, we could put the waybill for an “empty request” in that car card.

    Our locomotive would get the cars from the interchange and then switch them to the appropriate industries on the waybills, and the car cards would be placed in the “Set-out” box at that spur. We would pick up any cars in the “Pick-up” box at the spurs. These could be one of three items. They could be loaded cars needing to return to the interchange. They could be empty cars needing to return to interchange. Or they could be empty cars going to other industries needing empties as shown on the waybills. These cars we would pick up and set out at the new industry. Then we would come back to the interchange and drop off cars and we would be done. After the operating session, we would move the “set-out” car cards to the “hold” box, the “hold” car cards would move to the “pick-up” box and at the same time we would remove waybills for cars that had been unloaded, and we would turn the waybills for empties that had been loaded.

    We would also remove the cars from the interchange and place them in the storage box, mimicking the cars traveling off the layout to other parts of the world. The waybills from those car cards would be placed in the back of the waybill box at the interchange so they could cycle through again at a later operating session.

    The next time you wanted to run trains, just repeat the scenario above. An alternative would be to pick, say, 7 cards from the ATSF interchange and, say, 9 from the SP interchange. We would put out the new cars in the interchanges as per the waybills, then we could start from, say, the ATSF interchange and head out with our train. On the way, we would drop off the cars to the industries, but only pick up cars headed to the SP interchange. We would traverse the entire layout ending up at the SP interchange. There, we would drop off the cars we picked up, and get the cars we previously placed in the SP interchange. We would then make our way back to the ATSF interchange, switching the cars to the industries, at the same time picking up the cars headed back to the ATSF interchange. After completing the days work, we would end up back at the ATSF interchange, having dropped the interchange cars there.

    Then, when the session is complete, we would remove the cars from the interchanges to our storage boxes, we would place those waybills in the back of the interchange waybill boxes, we would cycle the car cards/waybills at the industries, and be ready to start again.

    I think once you ran through the system a few times, the system could be optimized for number of cars on the layout and such. If there wasn’t enough traffic, just pick more waybills next time. If too much traffic and everything is jammed up, pick less cards next time. The system also rotates the rolling stock so you don’t have the same cars being switched around all the time. It also gives a reason to buy more cars. You’re not just limited to what your staging tracks will hold.

    The system could also accommodate two trains, one coming from each interchange necessitating a pass along the way, not to mention we could have through-traffic from one interchange to the other also.

    I’ll get into how many waybills to make sometime later along with some photos of waybills and car cards.

    Golly:wave: , I seem to be quite the expert at this stuff! :rolleyes:
  8. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Now about creating the waybills:

    Keep in mind this is for a one or two person layout. (Also take it with a grain of salt! This thing could be a total failure.:curse: )

    After reading Brakie’s posts concerning shortlines, I decided that my railroad would work a 5 day per week schedule. I drew a table with each industry spur listed down the first column, which is 16 industry spurs, and put 6 more columns, 1 for the total number of cars to/from that spur in an average week, and then I put the days of the week at the top of the other columns. This gave me a 16 x 7 table.

    I gave some thought to the average number of cars my railroad would handle in a week, and I figured maybe 60-70 cars, so for an average day, that would be 12-14 cars. These things will depend on the size of your layout, number of industries, max length of train, etc.

    Looking at each industry, I decided how much traffic each spur should have. For instance, a spur with a little dinky industry may only get one car a week, while some huge industry might get 10 or 12 cars or more a week. I didn’t just do this by industry – I have several industries that have more than one spur. I broke it down by spur, for instance - my furniture factory has a spur for lumber coming in, and another spur for furniture going out.

    Using the furniture factory as an example, I decided that a typical week would see 2 carloads of lumber on Monday, and 2 carloads of lumber on Thursday. I put those numbers in the appropriate boxes in the table. As for loads going out, I decided that the furniture shipping spur would need an empty boxcar for loading on Tuesday, and two empties on Friday. If you have a spur that gets loaded cars in, but also sends loads out from the same spur, then in the day column, you can write “2 in” or “out” to keep track of ins and outs. I continued this for the rest of the industries, making adjustments for each day, trying to keep the daily totals to around 12-14 per day. The furniture factory has a weekly total of 4 loads in and 3 loads out.

    Really what we are doing here is developing a “relative percentage of cars to a particular industry” for the layout. We’re not necessarily confining certain traffic to certain days, although you could. Once we decide how many cars per week go to each industry, then we will multiply that number by 4 which will give us enough waybills for an entire month. For the furniture factory, this is 16 waybills for loads in and 12 waybills for loads out. Most of the lumber loads-in waybills to the furniture factory may be from the same supplier, but a few of them could be for special wood from somewhere else. The furniture-out waybills could go to all manner of different places, or perhaps almost all could go to the same place like a warehouse or furniture supplier. Do this for each industry.

    This “month worth of waybills” will be placed in the interchange waybill box located at each end of the layout. I will seed the interchange boxes roughly in weekly order, mon, tu, wed, thurs, fri on and on for each week. This will keep a semblance of order so that each industry sees roughly the proper number of cars each week, while at the same time allowing some randomness in. We could do it with just one week of waybills, but I think things would become too predictable. By doing a month’s worth, you can include an occasional special car coming in, like a flatcar with a new machine to be installed in the furniture factory, or you could include a “slow” week for a particular factory by leaving out some cards for that week, or you could add extras for a “heavy” week.

    When it is time for an operating session, just pull out the first however many cards you want to switch. Most likely it would be one day’s worth of cards, maybe 12. Understand that I am not just pulling cards at random from the box, I am pulling them from the front in the order I put them into the box. By pulling different numbers of cards at each session, this will mix things up a bit but not too much. You still want things to run sort of by the weekdays.

    Between operating sessions, there are a few things to do. The car cards/waybills have to be cycled through the setout-hold-pickup boxes. Cars that got unloaded will have their waybills removed from the car card and placed at the back of the interchange waybill box. Loaded cars arriving in the interchange will have their waybills placed in the interchange box. The cars in the interchange will be removed and placed in the storage boxes. A new group of waybills will be picked from the front of the interchange waybill box and new cars will be pulled from the storage boxes and placed at the interchanges. Empty cars will be found for the industries needing empties. Again, these can come form the storage boxes at the interchange or they can be acquired from empties on the layout.

    As I mentioned, once the system is set up, I am not aiming to run strictly by the day of the week. If you had another person and you wanted to run two trains, then just pull extra cards for two trains. Maybe each operating session always has three trains. Maybe you experiment with four trains.

    Okay. Critique please? What am I leaving out or missing? Will this system work?
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Gary, I can not comment since you have obviosly done more research than I have. Thanks for posting, Your explanations answers questions I hadn't even thought of yet.

  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Gary,That sounds like a very workable system..:thumb:
    Also IF you wish you could have a "slow" day where the crew runs light and picks up 2 or 3 cars from the industries and returns to the yard after dropping the cars off at the interchange...Flexability does play a important part in day to day short line operations and I see you have added that flexibility in your "daily" work plan.:thumb: ..
  11. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Here is a photo of some car cards and waybills I made.

    Attached Files:

  12. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I was also thinking about shipments between industries. This would be easy and could be done with a two-sided waybill. Let's say Industry A ships to Industry B. Industry A needs an empty to load, so the first side of the waybill will call for an empty from the interchange to Industry A. Once loaded, the waybill is turned to side two. Side two has the info for the shipment to go to Industry B. Once the car is unloaded at B, the waybill is removed and the info for where the empty needs to go is on the car card.

    For the original question about icehouse/slaughterhouse, looks like we would need a three-sided waybill. Side one is for the empty reefer to icehouse for icing. Side two is for iced reefer to slaughterhouse for loading. Side three is for shipping the load to wherever it is going.
  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    The majority of the ice houses was owned by the railroad so,no way bill would be needed since that is a normal switch move.You see after the reefer was cleaned and service it was place in storage till needed.When a empty reefer order was received from the customer the reefer(s) would be spotted at the ice platform for icing before being taken by the local to the shipper this was called "chilling the car " as the car would be re-iced before being switched into a train or placed on a interchange...A empty waybill would be needed from the ice house to the shipper.Special handling instructions on the waybill would return the car to the icing platform.
    Again I would like to caution against industry to industry shipping over short distances because trucks could do it faster and better as a shuttle service..You see trucks killed this type of movement years ago because NO shipper wants to wait till the next day for the railroad to move that car.Why 24 hours? Once a industry is switch by the local it will be the next day before the local returns even on a short line..Now IF the industry is big enough then they can have a 24/hr switch crew at their beck and call for a fee.This is called "Plant Switching Services" and these crews can run shuttle trains between plants and in todays world from a automobile maker to their storage lot in another nearby town..
  14. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    This would be especially relevant to my layout, as it is representing an industrial park with all the industries in close proximity. I won't have any industry to industry shipping, I was just throwing it out there that my system could possibly be used for those shipments if desired.

    Brakie, I always read your posts with interest, so any and all input you give is appreciated!:)
  15. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Brakie: trucks can't do it faster than my railroad because there aren't any roads. When you're the only robber baron in town, you get to write the rules.
  16. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Gary, it sounds like you have switching all figured out. You have really got a good system there!:D I am definately going to use some of your ideas. Hope you don't mind.

    Brakie, you say no waybill for reefers are needed until after the car is "chilled". So, if I pull a waybill sending a stock car to the pens, should I then spot a reefer to be chilled, or what do you think would be the best way to mimic a prototype railroad.? Maybe I am looking in the wrong places, but I am having trouble finding how to switch a slaughter house, ice house.

  17. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    Loren, I sure hope my system will work, I think it will do well, probably be a few bugs but it will get worked out.

    I did a lot of reading: Track Planning For Realistic Operation and Realistic Model Railroad Operation, both by Kalmbach. I also did research on the web and found alot of good stuff. Just google on keywords like model railroad operation, car cards, whatever variations you can think of. Then I thought and thought some more about how to put that info to use in my operating system.

    Plus, just hanging around The Gauge provides a tremendous amount of knowledge.
  18. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Loren,As a rule a large slaughter house would need several reefers for shipping the meat to meat processors and may need to be switched several times during a 24 hour time frame so,it would be a on going process..As for a smaller slaughter house operation then 2-3 reefers may be needed on a daily bases and therefore the reefers would be "chilled" before being switched into the daily local.So,a load of cattle and empty reefers would arrive at the slaughter house every day.Remember empty stock cars and the loaded reefers would also need to be picked up daily as well..This may be a 7 day operation as well because of the live stock and the slaughter house's customer meat demand..
  19. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Brakie, thanks a lot for explaining that. Now I know what direction I want to go with this.

    Gary, your are right about this forum. I was a model railroader for about ten years, armchaired for twenty-five years, and have been activly modeling for a year. The point is, I have learned more from the people here in the last year, then I have in the last thirty-five years. The amount of knowledge here is amazing.

  20. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Loren: what I might do is set up a card rack for the ice platform. Refers for the meat plant would be understood to go to the ice platform for one turn. (In the rulebook, rule 167g(3))
    If the meat plant is busy enough, you could just keep a stock of reefers at the ice rack and always have a pre-iced set available.
    Now all you need is to model the perpetual brine dibble from the drains.

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