Car card/waybill something missing?

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by abutt, Jan 13, 2006.

  1. abutt

    abutt Member

    I run a waybill operating railroad based on Allen McClelland's V&O where each town/industry has a set of boxes labeled "Set Out", "Hold" and "Pick Up". Once cars are at the various industries with their respective waybill "advanced", everything runs smoothly. It's the beginning of a train run that I'm having trouble with. I run point-to-point. I'll start with a west-bound engine and just pick up west-bound waybills, match them to cars and away we go. Problem here is that there doesn't seem to be any reason for the start up orders. I am considering make up a bunch of Train Order cards that would represent requests from industries for various needs...i.e., empty required, pick up empty, pick up load, request load (like they're waiting on an order) etc.
    Does anybody out there operate like this? Or just how do you waybill operators run? And, if anybody out there doesn't operate, follow this thread and I think you'll learn something[​IMG] .
  2. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    There's a better chance that you can get more exposure and replies to this thread if it were posted in the Operations Forum. If you like, any one of us mods can move it for you. Just ask.:D
  3. abutt

    abutt Member

    Don...Wasn't aware of the Operations Forum. Would appreciate you moving it if you would. I'm still learning.
    Allan (abutt)
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    At the modular club ( we operate with car cards in this fashion. The layout is first populated more or less at random (with allowances for proper rolling stock of course). All switching is then done from a central yard - that is, you go out, switch the proper cars one for one, and return to the yard. We have some "specials" like The Oil Can that serves only the refineries and fuel depots, and several "turns" that run up dead-end branch lines.

    We have not yet graduated to switching between industries (i.e. one industry sends a car directly to another industry), but that may be coming.

  5. abutt

    abutt Member

    Andrew...About 50% of my operations is made up of industry to industry operations. John Allen worked this in his operations with a low-class peddler freight -- and only the most experienced of his operators were allowed to run this kind of freight, having to make way for almost everything else operating during a particular session. (one had to be really familiar with his railroad to do this). Not a problem for me on my railroad since I'm the only operator!:)
  6. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I like your Train Order cards idea as a way of generating traffic. When I operate I don't use waybills but do have cards that I deal out to let chance create industry requests. This keeps it fresh and varied. I assemble a train based on those requests and then fill out a switch list as an operations guide. Keep us up to date on how your train order cards work in getting things started.
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Oh boy where to start?
    Well let's start with a basic question...Is the local made up in town AND INDUSTRY order? If not you have what we old railroaders would call a unworkable train.
    As far as customers request a local crew would not be concerned with that problem as its not their job but,the job of the local freight agent..Of course from time to time things can and will change after you reach the customer..Remember that empty/load you are suppose to pick up? Sorry,the car isn't ready as planned.Leave the inbound car above the dock.See how it goes?
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    We are starting to include these types of things into our switching routines. The first is a "bad order" card. If you end up with an car that has actual problems with couplers, trucks, etc, you are to set it out at the nearest appropriate siding for the maintenance crew (a huge airborne 0-5-0 switcher).

    The other "CHANCE" item we have is a module with a hot box detector. There are cards in there that you must take whenever you run through. About 1 in 20 specify a hotbox on some axel or other, and again that car must be set out. In this case though, it is the next train that must retrieve this car as it is assumed "fixed" by then.

    We also have a MOW train, and track inspection cars that get run around just to add to the mix.


  9. abutt

    abutt Member

    Hi Larry, My orders come from industires alone. The town is just to help locate. The 3-step V&O system requires the car to stay at the industry for three passes by a train...Set Out, Hold, and finally Pick Up. If you arrive at an industry and there's a car card in the set out slot, you move it to Hold. Next train moves it to Pick Up. The next train has to pick it up and move it according to the Waybill instructions. The Waybill is moved ahead at the original set out. (I use four position Waybills).

    I might avoid having to have a "Train Order" by just putting "Return to Yard" in the 2nd or 3rd Waybill position, then having another move order at the fourth. But then I would be repeating the Waybill all the time. That's why, the way I have it now, all cars returning to the east or west yards are assumed empty (if returning to the yard full, it's assumed that it's been passed on to another line and emptied).

    Who said operation is simple.

    And Andrew, I did use bad orders, but I operate alone and really didn't need them. I'm my own Jolly Green Giant!
  10. kutler

    kutler Member

    How about Power distribution?

    Does someone go down the track and count the cars to pick up in advance or does the train go out with excess power or insufficient power?

    I find it fun to operate on layouts that are always "power short" It sets up quite a dynamic session when you've got to move power to the other end of the layout when there is an imbalance in traffic flow. If caught in time a train may go out power heavy. If not caught cab hops are an embarrasing expense. It's usually cheaper to Deadhead a crew than run light power with a working crew.
  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    At we can almost always avoid this, as our switching is one-for-one most of the time. So the train length you set out with is the train length you return with (more or less). Sometimes there's an extra car (see "Hot Box" above). Other "through" trains that do no switching are limited to 10 feet or so - based on track configuration, not available power.

    It's an interesting thought though. Maybe one we'll have to consider adding to our operating scheme.

  12. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Does someone go down the track and count the cars to pick up in advance or does the train go out with excess power or insufficient power?
    No..That is done by train orders and switch lists based on information gathered through train consist forms and yard switch lists.

    Horse power is based on the tonnage of the train and any en route pickups and set outs plus the ruling grade.Remember a ruling grade could be .05% grade on a curve or could be a 2% grade on a hill.

    If caught in time a train may go out power heavy. If not caught cab hops are an embarrasing expense. It's usually cheaper to Deadhead a crew than run light power with a working crew.

    First there is NO such animal as a "cab hop" on the prototype.The term is "light" movement.Cab hop like "lashup" is model railroading term.

    Locomotives can be dead headed by DIT-dead in tow..That saves fuel.
    As far as light movements most railroad would keep the "away" crew at a RR YMCA or Hotel.Why? NO railroad wants to be face without "rested" crews.If not a company van or taxi could return the crew to their home terminal.
    Also..A train can go out with(say) 54 cars and arrive at the away terminal as a light movement.Also a train can leave the home terminal as a light movement and pick up cars en route and arrive at the away terminal with X number of cars.
    You see nothing is cut and dry in every day railroading.
  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Andrew,While many modelers adopts that "standard" its not true prototypical operation by a long shot.
    You see some days a local may be "heavy" while on other days it could be "light"..Also a local could leave the yard as a light movement and return with outbound cars or it could set out more cars then it will pickup or visa versa..
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I am aware that this "perfectly balanced" switching is of course not prototypical ;).

    I think for us (HOTrak) it is going to be another paradigm entirely. Currently all trains with switching to do originate and end in the main yard. Through freights and passenger trains usually originate in "fiddle" yards, although we do have a Union Station that sometimes is available.

    I guess (please correct me if I am wrong - it's been known to happen ;) hamr) that the "next level" for us would be to:

    - try "not" 1:1 switching
    - allow for industry to industry moves that are not via the yard (Does this happen in real life? My guess is yes - e.g. icing reefers before loading with meat products when the icing platform is on a siding next to the meat packer's).
    - restricting train length based on available power (as per the post above). I think this one would be the hardest to do, as I believe that most models are underpowered compared to their prototype.
    - adding engine servicing


  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Actually the icing platforms was located near the yard so any outbound empties for loading could be "chilled" before loading.

    Why not have your "local" crew to "outlaw" and have 'em to leave their train on the longest industrial track lead or house track at the next town station? Better is to tie down on a passing siding until the "relief" crew can take over..We do that at the club from time to time and it makes some interesting dispatching..:twisted:

    Ineed most train are over powered..
    Heres the club's standard.
    35-50 cars 3 six axle units or 5 four axle units.
    20-34 2 six axle units or 3 four axle units.
    10-19 one six axle unit or 2 four axle units.
    As far as steam locomotives we use 2-8-2s to 4-8-8-4s..The bigger steamers being reserved for long 35 plus cars trains or in some cases we double head 2 Mikes.Either 4-6-2s,4-6-4s or 4-8-4s handle the passenger and express trains.
    All inbound trains are switched out by making 2 or 3 cuts depending on the number of cars the inbound train has.This is done by the yardmaster using a yard engine after the inbound power has been removed by the engine service area operator(hostler).
  16. kutler

    kutler Member

    Cab Hops, running Light and local vernacular

    Cab Hops and Running light are both prototypical railroad terms.

    An example specifying the difference as follows:

    On some railways a speed restriction is placed on a single unit running light because they fail to shunt a track circuit going through control points (CtC) in excess of 30mph. A cab hop that is a unit travelling with a caboose otherwise light would not be subject to the same restriction.

    Another example of a cab hop is a transfer run which has delivered to a foreign railroad and is prohibited from returning with interchange traffic because featherbedding rules provide that the foreign railroad crews must deliver thier own traffic.

    Another term on my railroad and not necessarily on yours is a Pick-UP.
    Interestingly the pick-up I'm familliar with never picked up, it was really a drop off. It left the originating terminal with cars setting off enroute almost always arriving as a Cab hop......

    When is a Cab hop not a Cab hop?

    We used to have an intermodal train which lifted 98% of it's traffic at a Pig yard enroute to it's final destination. Although it had a couple of boxcars of "pool cars" freight forwarder or LCL shipments and a caboose, it was referred to as a cab hop as it took less time getting to the pig yard. This brings up another point. From the perspective of a dispatcher diffentiating cab hops and trains was paramount to keeping the railroad fluid.

    Anyway these are ways we applied these terms on my local railway.
  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Kutler the 9 1/2 years I was a brakeman the term" cab hop" was never applied to a light movement.It was a light movement or train number/symbol such as a local,mine run or transfer run...Even today its a light movement or a light engine movement..Of course that light engine could carry its train number or symbol as well.L39 comes to mind on the NS since it has return to Marion as a light movement.
    Again cab hop is a model railroad term like "lashup".

    The term "cab hop" could mean a taxi cab ride to your train tho'.:rolleyes:
  18. kutler

    kutler Member

    You say Tomatoe I say Tomato

    Well Brakie

    I've been a Train dispatcher for 18 years.

    There is a world beyond Cleveland.

    I think we should agree to disagree on this subject, you're the moderator , if you say so, I guess it

    As an aside while researching this subject I came across a google book search copy of Realistic Model Railroad Operation by Tony Koester. It available for partial viewing at Realistic Model Railroad Operation ... - Google Book Search

    Search for Caboose Hop, it's in there......

    There is another term for Caboose Hop, it's "light with a van"
  19. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Actually during these discussions I remove my moderator hat..

    I already know about Tony's book and for the record I do not always agree with his views...However,in these discussions I share my railroad experiences..After all first hand experience is still a better reply then quoting a passage from a book IMHO..

    You and I are two different types of railroaders..I started in 1966 on the PRR out of Columbus,Ohio and was laid off in early '69..My next job was on the C&O under the Chessie banner in 1978..Fred stole my job in 85 under the CSX banner.

    BTW..I live 2 hours Southwest of Cleveland.:mrgreen:
  20. kutler

    kutler Member


    I've got a friend interested in learning about Manual Block under PRR, do you have any insight?

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