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Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by abutt, Jan 13, 2006.
The signals or rules or both?
After all manual blocks was operated by a tower operator.
PRR Manual Block
Well I'll tell you what we thought about it and you can feel free to set me straight.(on this issue):twisted:
First of all his interest is in the Sodus Point line in Pa and NY.
He showed me a signal chart. It looked like the block stations used standard PRR position lights. In addition there appeared to be one or two signals in advance of what we thought was the Block signal.
I didn't assume, I surmised that the block station signal was controlled by the block operator. I didn't think about it at the time, but now I suppose he could have set the signal for a clear indication, restricting indication, or stop indication. Of course these signals would be set based on information received from the next block signal down the line.
It's my understanding that a passenger train must be in an absolute block, that is no trains ahead or to follow until the block is clear. In most cases freights could follow given a certain time interval similar to conventional train order spacing rules and the status of the block would be noted on the clearance card.
What was puzzling was how were the approach signals controlled. ABS, APB, or manually set?
Did the approach signals convey only one indication as often interlocking appraoch signals are fixed at yellow(approach); or could they display a clear indication?
You realized that was 40 years ago since I worked on the PRR??? sign1
The best way I can help you is through this link and not my spotty PRR rule memory..
PRR Book of Rules 1956/64
Give this rule book time to load.
That should answer your questions.
More about PRR
Thanks for the link but, sometimes the way the rules were written and the railroad operated were perceptively different.
A few years back GW Lund wrote a little on the subject:
My vote would go to the PRR as the precursor to DTC, their use
of "block limit stations"(AKA wooden indians) which were
signs indicating the limits of a certain block, would seem to me
to be the closest thing to DTC. PRR used this system since I think
about 1959. Clearance past a block limit was thru a "K card"
clearance form from an operator,with additional k cards
for more clearances issued via phone or later, radios as needed.
I think this system was used mainly on light density secondary
tracks,with Train orders being used on heavier travelled mainline
tracks. Penn Central expanded on it's use even more, and with the advent
of radio repeater systems had operators controlling many miles of
trackage thru this system( Beech Block station in Clearfield,Pa.
the WBV Secondary,Low grade Secondary and Cherry Tree Secondary
approx 100 miles of RR using this system/and the improved system CR
uses now) Will have to seach the archives for the PC Book of rules
and the PRR Book of rules.
Interestingly NYC chose to use remote Block Stations in some locations
which were somewhat like remote CP's but they(the OP's controlled
what the signals displayed i.e. red-stop, yellow- permissive block(look
out for a train ahead), green- clear block(unoccupied)) An example of
might have been on the Montreal Br where the Massey Operator controlled
remote block stations at North and South Phil (Philadelphia NY).
Massey located in Watertown,NY.
all for now........
Interesting , but only a piece of the puzzle.
I do recall being issue Form 19s but,I don't recollect if we use any "K card" or not but,know there was signal indications that would permit you to enter a occupied block with a permissive signal at restricted slow speed.
We use the car cards and waybills system at my club, and it works really well. It's a very flexible system, and very realistic when you use it right.
We use standard 4-cycle waybills. (Move 1: A to B. Move 2: B to C Move 3 etc.) One thing to keep in mind is you don't have to use all 4 "sides". Just use as many as you need to represent the shipment. For example, move 1 might be empty to Industry A. Move 2 might be load from industry A to industry B. Move 3 might be empty from Industry B to a storage yard or to staging. (or maybe B reloaded the car and sent it to industry C). You can represent pretty much any pattern or combination of patterns with waybills.
It's more flexible than a computer system too, as at a yard the yardmaster makes up the lists with what he has and forwards cars on other trains. (someone, I think brakie, brought up blocking. That's a good point, and if the yardmaster knows what he's doing he can have the switch crews block cars properly in the yard.)
Hold times can be built in too; we add a little "Hold x days" notation to some waybills. At some locations, we'll have card boxes for "Hold Day 1", "Hold Day 2" etc., or there's the tried and true "paperclip technique." For each day that a car has been held, you add a paperclip to the card. If the waybill says "Hold 3 days", when the car card has three paperclips attached to it, you take them off and turn the waybill to the next move.
Between operating sessions, we stage the layout. This involves:
1) turning waybills on all cars parked at industry spurs. Move them to "Pick up" boxes if necessary.
2) turn all the waybills on cars in trains. Some will be on their last move. Remove those waybills.
3) New car orders. We have a spreadsheet that simulates customer car orders. The spreadsheet generates a number of cars for each industry or traffic pool that we have. Basically, the spreadsheet has three things for each traffic item: a percent probability of occuring, a minimum and a maximum. For example, there might be:
Flatcars for Industry A 25 1 3
Which might say, there's a 25% chance of ordering cars for Industry A, if there's an order for A, it will be anywhere from 1 to 3 cars. This works extremely well in terms of providing a realistic appearing mix of traffic that varies slightly from session to session.
So let's say that the spreadsheet comes back and says to order two cars for A this session. I'll go and grab 2 waybills from my big stack of waybills for Industry A. (keep a large collection of waybills for each industry, more than you'll ever use at one time. These waybills can have different destinations too, to keep traffic varied.) So, with my 2 waybills I grabbed off the top of the Industry A stack, I'll match them to 2 appropriate cars in staging that don't have waybills. Once they're loaded at A, the next session (if they actually made it as far as A this session) they might go to destinations in opossite directions, or to the same destination depending on which waybills were pulled. This offers a good simulation of industries shipping to multiple customers.
4) once all the waybills are prepared, put the trains together (remember blocking!!!)
And you're pretty much set up for your session.
Returning to the orginal question I guess I don't understand what happens in the yards.
1. When a car is pulled from an industry, where does the waybill send it, to a location on the layout, to a location off the layout, to the yard to hold?
2. If the car is going to a location off the layout does it go to a staging yard or to an active switching yard to have the waybill turned?
3. Why does the engine leave the yard with no cars, why wouldn't it take spot cars with it?
Would it be splitting hairs to differentiate between "operations" and "prototypical operations"? (This "prototypical thing" is one of my rant topics, and my therapist is trying to get me stay away from that.:mrgreen What I mean is if the way you "operate", e.g., car cards, waybills, switch lists, colored sticky dots on your freight cars, or whatever, works for you, then who has the right to criticize you if it's not the way real railroads do it? On the other hand, if what juices your train hobby is building and running your layout as close to exactly the way real railroads do it, that's cool, too. I've tried all kinds of operating options and I have my druthers based on what's fun for me. That's why it's called a hobby. :thumb:
That's a pretty good distinction I think, riverotter. Its often said, "It's your railroad, do what you want", and that fits for most of us. If, however, as a modeler one claims they are following prototypic practices and procedures then I think they should be prepared for the opinions and observations of railroaders who know how things are really done.
I have a similar attitude about modeling itself. One can paint a locomotive any scheme they wish for their own enjoyment but if you are purporting to accurately model a certain line or are entering a contest I believe you then put yourself up against a more rigid standard.
Not having to do real railroad paper work for a job I sometimes enjoy making switch lists (but just for the cars I'm actually going to pick up or set out) but I can sure understand why you'd prefer to leave the paper behind Charlie.
Tab on Car
They are playing with switch lists at my local club, and I can't stand it. On My RR, and Dr Tom's former RR (both logging outfits) we have been doing similar tab on car operations for years.
We have used little pieces of plastic I beams, which ride well on cars. On my tabs the color designates the destination's town, and a number designates the siding location. I like it a lot, because if cars are moved between sessions randomly, the system will correct itself: cars can be added or removed from a system with no hassles other than finding a appropriate tab ( I despise having to try to look for car numbers; I should only need my reding glasses when I'm re railing a car. I love being able to glance at a train, and instantly see which car is going where, so I can easily keep my train blocked for more efficient switching down the line.
Tiny coloured dots availiable at stationary stores.
I agree switchlists are a pain. They are seldom modelled correctly
and don't work well with fast time.
Have they considered the tiny coloured dots that librarys use to identify books with?
They are about 1/4" yet large enough to scribe industry #'s on.
beter than dots!
What i like about the little I beam sections is they are two sided. The most common tabs on my rr would be green on one side , with a yellow SR on it. when that side was up the car would be delivered to the Southern railway interchange @ Harlow Tn. on the second level of my railroad. The Southern interchange locomotive would come and get it and any others with that tab and take it down to the Southern Staging yard, down on the first level. Once it was down there, the tab would be flipped over, and the other side would yellow, indicating that it would go to the Mill town, Crooked Creek, Up on the third level. on the yellow side of the tab there is a number indicating delivery locations. the most common are 1 , 2, & 3; all of which are lumber loading docks.
with this system then each tab has a cycle of two moves. Tabs have a reference mark on the side, indicating what type of car it is appropriate for, so the tank car goes to the oil distributor, and the cattle car goes to the cattle pen, and not visa versa.
If you get tired of the same car going to the same place, you just swap the tab for another that is marked appropriately for the car. On a big RR it can take a lot of thought to figure out how many of what kind of tabs you need, but once they are done and in place, you are ready to operate at any time. Should you feel like randomly running trains, you can do that. the next time you operate, the tabs will deliver the cars back into the operational rythm.
A disclaimer here! A couple years ago I rebuilt my saw mill loadind dock area, expanding it from a maximum of about ten cars, up to a maximum of twenty eight cars. Once I did that my Southern staging wasn't near big enough, and I made big changes there; that inspired me to make some big changes in Harlow Tn. Meanwhile up on top of Iron Mountain I rebuilt Terrapin, which was just a passing siding that was way too small. The improvements there lengthened the passing siding, and added a log camp. I made some other changes too. I'm still working at getting my tab system right. I have done ok with the valley division tabs (Crooked Creek- Harlow- Southern Railway), but need more for variety : I have a lot of work to do on the Mountain Division (Crooked Creek- Dead Grass- Terrapin- Perry's Gizzard-Ridgemont- Stateline- Georgia Staging. Recently I have been doing a lot of work on the narrow gauge that goes from the fourth level to the fifth. I swear someday I'll run out of stuff to change on my RR and can get my tabs fixed to represent the railroad as it is and not as it was.
Here is a photo of delivery location #18 ( the coal dealer) in Crooked Creek (color of tab yellow) The car has been delivered to this location, and is now empty, and ready to be picked up to be returned to the Southern Interchange . The delivery location markers are painted penny s, which can be removed when one want's to make a photograph, but clearly show where a car with a corresponding color and needs to be delivered. also on the centralized block control board, the blocks are painted in in the color of their delivery tabs , so a novice operator, or one with many years experience, but a bad memory, has another reference available to help them figure out what goes where.