Saturday, December 8, 2018

Card System - Operating Session Setup - Part 2

After the car cards and shipment cards needed for the card system are prepared you can begin to use them for car movements on the railroad.   We will first look at the preparation work needed to makeup trains on the Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company.  I use an Operating Session Setup check list to keep track of the steps needed and completed.

Simple check list to help  prepare an operating session.
(Click or tap on any image to enlarge)

The setup checklist shows what has to be done prior to making up waybills.  The second item on the list is Train packs that contained waybills and train orders that moved trains in both directions between Minneapolis (east end of railroad) to McGregor (west end of the railroad) from the last session have to be moved back to their starting locations.

Train packs in bottom row have been moved from Minneapolis back to McGregor.

Waybills in town pockets have to be advanced to the next pocket due to time in the system.  Therefore, in each town, a waybill put in a 2 days pocket will advance to the 1 day pockets and a waybill in 1 day pocket will advance to the pickup pocket.  When a waybill is moved to the pickup pocket the shipment card is removed, turned over to side two, and reinserted in the plastic sleeve (cards are never turned by operators during a operating session).  The waybill now has new information for the car destination after it is picked up.

Interchange tracks, GN in Minneapolis, CNW in Little Chicago, and MILW in Eureka Center, have to have cars spotted on them in the last session removed, boxed, and moved to the interchange cabinet in which all interchange cars off the railroad are stored.  Waybills for the boxed cars are removed from the Interchange pocket and shipment cards are removed and filed in day of origin.  The car card now without shipment card in filed in the car card file.

Shipment card file on left and car cards file on right.

You are now the yard clerk getting car movements, new day waybills ready for the next operating session (system day) on the railroad.  You open your shipment card file and pull out the shipment cars for an operating day.  The shipment cards are the calls from the industries served by your railroad (blue cards) and the industries served by connecting railroads via interchanges which each have their own color: orange MILW, yellow CNW, and white GN.  So you are yard clerk for your railroad and for the connecting railroads.

Several shipment cards pulled from shipment card file.

Let us take several of the calls for system day two and fill them by matching them with cars to create the operating day waybills.  I want to begin with a home road shipment card first.

Upon reviewing the home road shipment card, a Request  For Empty, you find that Lester Feed Mill located in Tunnel City, Minn. with a blocking number of 21 has requested and empty box car to be delivered to door 2 to be unloaded and picked up in two days.   An empty box car can be found in Minneapolis or McGregor yard.  Home road cars are stored in the yards and their car cards are in car card pockets with one labeled for each track.  I will look at the box cars available in the McGregor yard on the various tracks and choose a car to fill the order.  Which box car do I choose?  A good yard clerk knows his customers and their car preferences such as should it be a wood or steel car, single or double door, etc.  After selecting a box car I find the car card for it in the card box for the track it is located on and I slide the shipment card into the car card car sleeve to create the waybill needed to move the car.

McGregor yard pockets for yard tracks and for Train packs.

Now l want to look at the CNW shipment card, a Freight Waybill, pulled for day 2.  Upon reviewing the shipment card I can see I need a flat car that has a pipe load that will be placed on the CNW interchange track that I know is located in Little Chicago where it will be picked up by the Minneapolis & Northland, and moved to the M&N Team Track with a blocking number of 29 located in Sussex, Minnesota.  The shipment card for day 2 is and older car card in the system which used letters  to represent days, "B" was 2 days, rather than on newer shipment cards which now have 2 days for the Setout ( see newer card above).  

Older cards used a letter to represent days.  Here setout "B" equals 2 days.

I go to the car card file and choose a flat car and slide the shipment card into the sleeve to create a waybill.  

A waybill is created when shipment card in combined with car card.

Interchange cars are not stored on the railroad; they are stored in boxes stored in a cabinet on a shelf that contains the CNW cars.  In the same cabinet are shelves with the cars for the MILW and GN (on other railroads these cars could be located on staging tracks).  I now go the cabinet and find the flat car in the box on the CNW shelf.  I take the car out of the box and place the box in the storage box location for cars moved to interchanges.  The CNW flat car is now placed on the CNW interchange track in Little Chicago and the car card is place in the CNW interchange box.

Car card placed in CNW Interchange pickup pocket.

I am not done yet as the car empty flat car needs a pipe load.   So off to the drawer holding car loads and choose a pipe load for the flat car and take it to Little Chicago and place it on the CNW flat on the CNW interchange track.

An old Varnery plastic flat car still in service waiting pickup on CNW Interchange.

After creating the two waybills above I continue to complete creating the waybills for the remaining shipment cards.   If you go back to my "Card System - paperwork"  blog  post that contained the “Number of Cards in System Day” report you will find in addition to the two waybills created above there are eighteen (18) more to prepare for system day two.  Once all waybills are created and in their appropriate train pockets and cars are located on interchanges on the railroad you as the yard clerk are ready to create the train consist lists used by yardmasters to makeup trains for moving the cars to their location.

The new waybills for the day that you put in card pockets in a yard, an interchange pocket or in a pickup pocket are now listed on a consist list for a train.  You the clerk have to decide from experience working the railroad as to which trains, an extra or scheduled freight, to assign a waybill to enable a car to get to the customer in the most efficient way.

Train Consist  Form used by yardmasters to build trains.

Your work as a yard clerk is now done.   It is now time to call for an operating crew to move trains.

Yardmasters use the consist list to makeup a train and call the dispatcher for a crew.  Upon reporting the crew receives a train pack consisting of the waybills, clearance form, train orders, and instructions as to what their train will do while moving on the railroad such as consulting the timetable if a scheduled train.

Train pack contents: instructions, clearance form, train orders, and waybills.

I have covered only the basic waybill car movements of the industry based system.   Various other movements can and are made on my railroad.  One example, when filling a home road call for a “Request for Empty” the empty car rather than come from a yard could be filled with an empty home road car being returned to the railroad from a foreign road via an interchange (home road cars that leave via an interchange are returned after 3 days/operating sessions).  Therefore, an empty car being returned by the GN that was set out on the interchange track in Minneapolis, normally returned to a M&N yard, could be used to fill a call (shipment card).  In this case, an empty home road car is directly moved to an industry rather than a M&N yard prior to being used to fill an industry call (shipment card for a Request for Empty).  Another example, an empty car at an industry rather than being moved back to a yard is used to fill a call at another industry.

The industry card system I have described, in my opinion, provides visiting train crews to my Minneapolis & Northland Railroad Company with an experience of moving cars in a prototype manner.   The system does take time to install if you should choose to use it and continues to take time to setup each operating session.  On my railroad it takes about four hours plus to setup an operating session using the system.   Only you can decide if you want to use this industry based card system to have fun running trains.

Thank You for taking time to read my blog.  You can share a comment in the section below if you choose to do so.  Please share the blog link with other model railroaders.

Lester Breuer

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