More Questions About the Prototype

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PMW

Well-Known Member
As I slowly progress with my layout I'm messing with operations more. I want to keep it pretty realistic but I'm a beginner modeler with no experience with the real railroad so I have lots of questions. Here's a couple on my mind recently:

A long train has to clear a switch (controlled by dispatch) then reverse when switch is thrown. Does the dispatcher know when the end of the train has cleared the switch or does the engine have to stop at the switch to let the conductor out and then pull the train forward and the conductor tells engineer when it's clear? Or something else?

How are local trains named? ex. "Springfield Local"; Is Springfield the town it departs from, arrives at or a town it works? Something else?

Thanks, all!
Paul
 

J.Albert

Member
In signaled territory, where a move like this is made at an interlocking, the train dispatcher will see on his board (or screen) when the rear end clears.

Of course, these days there's supposed to be someone on the rear end for the reverse movement (except in yards). This is the conductor's (or brakeman's) job, to relay the signal displayed for the reverse movement to the engineer. And then ride the cars back, to the hitch (or whatever).

I can't say how rigidly the rules are adhered to today, but back in my time things were a bit looser. Going north up the Hudson line with OPSE (Conrail's "Oak Point to Selkirk") freight, we'd make a pickup at Beacon at CP 61 (cars dropped off by a turn from Danbury CT).

The conductor was on the rear end of the train in the caboose. The brakeman (usually riding with me on the engine) would cut the engines from the train on the SOUTH side of the interlocking, then ride up to the north side with me. Then we'd back down and couple onto the pickup which was left on the controlled siding between CP 58 and CP 61.

Once I got some air into them, the dispatcher would display the signal from the controlled siding to pull north. But the brakeman would stay behind, at the north end of the cut-off cars to make the hitch.

So I'd pull 20, 30, 40 or more cars north, and the dispatcher would come on the radio with "OPSE, that's far enough". I'd stop and wait.

The dispatcher then lined line up the switche back to the train, but couldn't display a signal (because the train was already "back there", occupying the circuit.

So he'd say on the radio, "OPSE, permission by the stop signal at CP61 from track 1 to track 1, in a south direction, back to your train".

Then I'd come back nice and easy past the stop signal, until the brakeman caught sight of the tail end (this was always around 2-3am in the morning). Then we made the hitch.

There was no one on the rear end.
We just made the move that way.

Back in the early 1980's, this is how "things got done" in some places.
I doubt there's many locations where they do it that way today...
 

dave1905

Well-Known Member
A long train has to clear a switch (controlled by dispatch) then reverse when switch is thrown. Does the dispatcher know when the end of the train has cleared the switch or does the engine have to stop at the switch to let the conductor out and then pull the train forward and the conductor tells engineer when it's clear? Or something else?
If its a remotely controlled switch, which would be a system called "CTC" or an "interlocking", the dispatcher would have a display board that would have a light for each of the routes into the switch and the switch itself. When a train was standing on any of the track segments, the lights or those segments would be on. As the train moves across the switch, the dispatcher can see the track segments occupy and then unoccupy.
However the train will have somebody drop off to tell the engineer when to stop. Also, when a train shoves back, generally there has to be someone on the leading end of the cut so somebody with have to "protect" the shove, by riding the rear car as the train shoves back
How are local trains named? ex. "Springfield Local"; Is Springfield the town it departs from, arrives at or a town it works? Something else?
In most case the official name of the train is a called a train symbol. It is either a number or an alphanumeric code for the train. For example on the old MP, the local trains between Houston and Galveston were No. 329 and No. 330. If its an alpha numeric code, it typically has a code for the train type (local), then something that indicates where the train operates and a number to identify it, like L329 or L330, LHG29 or LHG30.

Those are the official names that are used on consists and those type documents. The dispatcher will call the train by its schedule number, "No. 329" (if its a timetable schedule local) or by its engine number if its running as an extra, "Extra 2142 South". Generically locals will also be called by the town or route they serve, or where they are based out of. The L329 was also call the "Galveston Local", because it went to Galveston and back. In addition a local might have a nickname, such as the L329 which was called "Salty".

On the MP at Houston, the local to Galveston could have been called, No 329, L329, "the Galveston Local" or Salty, any of those names and the railroaders would know which train your were talking about, all the paperwork for train would have listed it as L329, and the dispatcher and all the train orders, etc. would have called it Extra 2142 South.

For your purposes a train can have an "official" name (No 329) and a nickname (Salty). The official name is on all the paperwork and the nickname is what the crews call it.
 

cv_acr

Well-Known Member
Yeah, like Dave says above "Springfield local" isn't necessarily a formal name, it's just descriptive of "the local train that works Springfield".

Operationally, the train's number/symbol will be used.
 

cv_acr

Well-Known Member
A long train has to clear a switch (controlled by dispatch) then reverse when switch is thrown. Does the dispatcher know when the end of the train has cleared the switch or does the engine have to stop at the switch to let the conductor out and then pull the train forward and the conductor tells engineer when it's clear? Or something else?
If it's (remotely) controlled by the dispatcher, and not manual/local, then yes, the dispatcher's machine will show him that the block in the controlled location is still occupied or not. Then the dispatcher will line the switch and give the train a signal back.

If it's not remotely controlled and purely a manual switch, the conductor/trainman will throw the switch manually when the movement is clear, and give the engineer the go-ahead to back up again.
 

PMW

Well-Known Member
Thanks! That's some great info and will also help me with my JMRI Operations paperwork.
 




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