Prototype railyard nomenclature

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by Santa Fe Jack, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    All -

    Do real railyards have a standard way of naming tracks in the yards? If so, I'd like to emulate it.

    What I mean is, say you have a ladder yard, with several tracks in a row. Do they call them track 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.? What if one of those branches? Is it 4a, or 4-1, or something like that? This could get very complicated, with the occasional runaround or crossing track, etc.

    I have the main yard lead (up the ladder) as Y0. Ladder tracks off this are Y0-J, Y0-K, Y0-L, etc. A second tier jumper track off Y0-J becomes Y0-JJ.

    Then there is the identification of turnouts. In the yard, which all leads off of turnout #1, they are hierarchical, so I have


    Is there anything similar in the real world?

    What about at the turntable? I was just going to have T01, T02, ..., T11.

    Does every yard have their own system, or is there some standardization to the naming of tracks?
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    Jack, here is a post that Brakie did that will help. The rest I have no idea.

  3. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    Did you mean to post a link?
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

  5. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    That's all very interesting, but does not answer my question about the existence of a standard way to name tracks in a yard. I wonder if brakie might have anything to say about that.
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    So do..Speaking as a former brakeman the only tracks that has names is:
    The rip track
    inbound shop track
    outbound shop track
    inbound engine lead
    outbound ready track
    engine house lead.
    In the yard the name tracks would be limited to
    inbound-followed by a number such as Inbound 4.
    Outbound track followed by a number such as outbound 4.Yes both inbound and outbound tracks can have the same number.

    The rest of the yard tracks would have numbers.Now IF there is a Eastbound yard and West bound yard then the tracks would have a letter in front of the track number such as E12,E12a or W12 or W12a.
    Note there would be 2 or more switch crews for the East Yard and West Yard ..However,a caboose switch crew could work either yard.Of course if there is a East Hump and a West hump then there will be a puller crew for EACH hump.The bowl tracks would have numbers.
  7. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    Usually, tracks are numbered starting at the main line. At least that's how I'm used to it out West here.
  8. kutler

    kutler Member

    Well in a way everybody is right.

    My experience is tracks are usually numbered from the main track.
    For example North 1, North 2, North 3, etc would be immediately adjacent to the main track on a east/west railroad. South 1, etc would start on the south side.

    Currently most yards have letter codes unique to thier location. For example all the yard tracks in the town of Ignace On. are prefaced with the code BJCS, so BJCSN1, BJCSN2, etc are modern day refinements of the above example.

    More complex yards contain sub-yards. For example in a major terminal A Yard might be the receiveing yard, B yard the Departure yard and C yard the Classification yard. Each would have a ladder of tracks numbered A1, A2, etc in the same example as the first paragraph.

    In large cities satellite yards are further lettered as are switching districts. S yard might be a 3 mile long spur track off the main track which services 10 industries.

    T yard might be a six track industrial yard where transfer movements might bring cuts of cars from the main yard for local switchers to sort out.

    Dave Barrow's Cat Mtn rebuild several years ago was a good example of a city layout with satellite yards and switching districts.

    So in short you can designate the tracks any way you like, there's likely a prototype for it!
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    In the Palmerston, ON yard in the 1950s (and before) they had a track that was sort of a "house" track that was called The Dog Leg simply because that's what it looked like from the pedestrian bridge that crossed over the yard.

    I would think that each railroad would have a more or less standard way of naming/numbering their tracks, but that one road's method would not necessarily resemble another's.

  10. Santa Fe Jack

    Santa Fe Jack Member

    It seems that the answer to my question is that there is no standardization. Each yard seems to have developed its own naming scheme. Fair enough -- that leaves me free to do whatever I please without looking foolish. No one would say "Why didn't you follow the standard yard track naming convention?" :)
  11. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    At the steel plant where I worked, every track had a number, but many also had common names, such as "the 516 runaround", "the scale track", or "the canyon lead". "One West" was the first siding west of #2 Stripper, but its actual number was something like 317. I think that there were 5 or 6 different Yardmasters within the plant, and each area had their own set of nicknames for the tracks within that district, but the tracks were numbered on a plant-wide basis, with the numbers growing chronologically as the plant grew. So track 350, added fairly recently, could end up right next to track 7, which had been built 50 years earlier. Sometimes, such a track might instead be called 7A, too. Generally, tracks grouped together in a small yard were referred to by their number, unless each was used for one specific purpose, in which case they were known as, for instance, coal track, coke track, ore track, coal empties, and so-on. Likewise for individual tracks within different mills - they were usually referred to by their common names.

  12. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    On the PRR in Columbus we had a "Fisher" track.That was for the Fisher Auto Body Plant.
    You are correct there is no standardization of yard numbers or names.Some names may be use that no longer serves the industry it was so named..Slaughter House track comes to mind on the old PRR..Some tracks was called the B&O track,the C&O track,the NYC track or the N&W track rather then their number yet we knew where each track was located.

    The reason they was called the B&O track,the C&O track,the NYC track or the N&W track is those cars was transfer cars to the above roads.In other words all C&O bound cars was put on the C&O track for transfer to the C&O.When these cars was release a transfer crew would pick these cars up and take them to the C&O.This crew was kept busy making transfer runs to the above roads.About one run to each road in a 8 hour shift..Of course this could end up being a 12 hour day just as easy if the main line traffic was heavy or they had to wait before entering the transfer yard.
  13. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Larry: I bet they were still called the B&O track, the C&O track and the NYC track for decades after those roads ceased to exist.
    (My sister claims that she has to tell people, "I've only lived here for 16 years; I don't know where the roller rink used to be.")

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