Card Order Operations
What is a card order? It is the organized movement of railroad cars between industries following prototypical railroad operations through the use of waybills which act as a train order.
During the railroad's construction, the operation of the railroad rather than just riding around on it was a major goal, especially for those doing the construction work. As construction progressed, sidings were planned and added that were helpful to set out work cars during the construction process and later as industrial sidings. There are even railroad industrial parks designed like the Allen time saver switching problem to service multiple industries.
With a railroad spread out over 35 acres with several branches, up to six local freight trains can operate at the same time without interfering with each other during switching and often are not even within sight of each other.
As of 2009, there are over 60 different locations to spot cars at over 50 different industries. Several industries have multiple locations to spot a variety of cars.
Positions and Duties
The card order functions are dependent on the number of participants and may be modified as the day progresses.
Trainmaster A trainmaster oversees the entire operation, assigns new waybills as necessary, settles any questions that may arise, approves position requests and insures adequate manning of key positions.
Dispatcher (optional) A dispatcher handles train movements via radio on the mainline during high volume sessions, operates on channel 5 out of the Saddleback Pavilion to be able to monitor entire railroad and should have additional radios to contact yards without changing channels.
Yardmaster(s) The yardmaster oversees all movements within yard, sorts incoming cars according to the next waybill assignment, has trains assembled by yard crew for local and through freight runs and keeps track of dispatched trains by locomotive road number, local destination assigned and time departed.
Yard Engineer A yard engineer sorts cars in the yard area according to the yardmaster's directions, assists in making up outgoing trains and switches the local industries adjacent to the yard area.
Yard Crew The yard crew oversees all of the movements within the yard, sorts cars and assembles trains for local and through freight runs and sorts incoming cars according to the next waybill assignment.
Passenger Train(s) The passenger train crews are an engineer and a conductor. They follow the timetable schedule around a assigned route. May not depart or pass any station early. If they are running over 10 minutes behind schedule, that train looses priority and continues on as a non-scheduled extra.
Through Freight The through freight crew consists of an engineer and a conductor. They move cars between Eagle Point yard and Cumberland yard and may be required to assist the yard crews with switching at either yard. They keep track of the passenger train schedule and do not occupy a block that will delay the passenger train's movement.
Local Freights The local freight crew consists of an engineer and a conductor. They move cars according to waybill orders to industries with the assigned local run. They picks up and return to the originating yard with the same number of cars as they were dispatched with. The return cars are picked up from industries within their assigned local area. The local freight train keeps track of the passenger train schedule and does not occupy a block that will delay any the passenger train movement. They may not roam the railroad freely.
Local Freight Conductor The local freight conductor controls all of their train's movements. They manage the car waybills and follow the instructions on the waybills while insuring that the car is spotted at the proper location at the industry. Several industries do have multiple positions to spot cars. The conductor picks up the returning cars from within their assigned local division. They keep the train clear for scheduled trains moving through their working area.
Local Freight Engineer The local freight engineer follows directions of the conductor for all train movements. They make all switching movements at slow speed making sure all people are aware of pending movements. They do not move the train if instructions are not clearly understood.
Local Freight Train Crew The local freight train crew follow directions of the conductor. The brakeman/switchman handles couplings and chains when switching cars. They may need to flag per the conductor's instruction.
Extra Help During sessions when extra people are available along with high traffic volume, extra available people may be assigned as assistants to almost any position except the position of engineer.
Unassigned Extras Please remain out of the yard areas, including the EP crossing, so the crews can see and work unobstructed.
Session Basics
Some positions are more desirable than others and requests for certain positions may be submitted to Trainmaster. Some key position must be filled in order for a session to work. If a key position becomes shorthanded, the Trainmaster may temporarily reassign people as necessary to keep operations going.
The card order operations run through lunch with no set lunch break. The crews take a break between runs at their leisure.
Basically, there is a waybill for each car in a short train. In most cases, there are only four cars. The local freight's job is to deliver the correct car to the correct spot at the industry listed on the waybill and pick up cars in their assigned local area to return to the yard.
Car card In the above images, the image on the left is a card with a pocket that lists the details of each railroad car used. It includes the type of car, the reporting marks and car number. The card pocket holds the waybill with movement orders and only the current movement order is visible when in the pocket.
Waybill In the above images, the middle image is an example of a waybill. These are the orders that instruct you where to take the car; location and industry. One note is that some of the large industries have multiple tracks or positions to spot cars. The cards have up to four sets of instructions, so the car may be moved up to four times to different industries. After the forth move it can go back to position #1 or receive a new waybill. The train crews only follow the waybill shown. The yardmaster is reponsible for turning the waybill when the car is returned to the yard.
Industry Map The industry strip map indicates the location of all industries on the railroad and the orientation of the siding for each. It also shows the division or local run area for each local run as all industries included may not be grouped within sight of each other.
Local Freight This is a train that switches the cars between the yards and industries. A local run is assigned to work one area of the railroad. A local has a crew of two to four people; a locomotive car, a engineer's car, a crew car(s) and a caboose. They are normally sent out with four freight cars for delivery to one local area.
Through Freight When the second yard at Cumberland is in use, this is a freight train that runs between yards with an engineer and conductor. It could haul 4 to 10 or more cars at a time. It may also run on a regular schedule during busy sessions.
Passenger Train This train departs Eagle Point every hour and has specific route with scheduled stops over most of the railroad. Local and through freights must keep track clear to allow passenger train to pass without any delay.
Radio Usage All operations are on Family Service Radio (FSR) systems. The main operating frequency for the railroad is 5.0 or channel five, eliminator code zero.
Train Master 5.0
Dispatcher 5.0
EP Yard Crew 4.0
Cumberland Yard 3.0
Passenger Train 5.0
Through Freight 5.0
Local Freights any available other than 3, 4, & 5
If locals trains use radios to help in switching while out on runs, they need to advise the dispatcher (or yardmaster if no dispatcher) of the channel they will be using. Only one local freight per channel (not channels 3, 4 or 5).
Eagle Point and Cumberland Yard Operations
If yard radios are used, the Eagle Point yard works on channel 4.0 and the Cumberland yard works on 3.0. Both yards should monitor 5.0
Eagle Point Yard Operations
The Eagle Point (EP) yard at the west end of the railroad is the main yard and is laid out to function as a single yard or primary yard during card order. When the Cumberland yard at the east end of the railroad is operational, the EP yard is the primary yard and will usually dispatch all local freights working between Eagle Point and Saddleback, including the Tracy City branch. The Cumberland yard will usually manage local freights to Allen, Leathergap-Cumberland and Sequatchie. Crews working locals will rotate working assingments out of both yards.
The eight track EP yard is a small yard with high capacity. Operating at full crew capacity, it can handle eight, four-car local freight set ups, two outbound local freights preparing for departure and a freight inbound into the yard simultaneously.
Outbound train crews wanting to enter the yard to obtain a train assingment need to hold on the south leg of the EP wye until cleared by the yard crew to enter. They go to the end of track #7 or 8 as directed, where their cabooses and rear crew car will be picked up by yard crew.
Inbound trains returning from an assingment must contact the yardmaster before entering the shop loop block. Do not proceed around the loop just because the block is green.
Yard Crew Information
The Eagle Point yard is essentially divided into two sections; the top three tracks #6-8 are for arrival and departure, make up and break down. The bottom five tracks are for sorting cars. At no time are any yard tracks available for parking trains other than assigned yard locomotives.
An arriving train drops their caboose on the arrival/departure track, backs the cars into track #3, retrieves their caboose and exits the east end of the yard, goes left on the Eagle Point wye and then backs down to the south yard to wait for another assignment. The yard switcher is not necessary for dropping inbound cars.
Departing or outbound trains are made up on tracks #1 and #2. When called for by the yardmaster, the locomotive and caboose pulls into the assigned track, all the way to the end. The yard switcher picks up the caboose and rear crew-car, if any, and proceeds to pick up the assigned car set ready on tracks #1 thorough #5. The switcher moves the cars back to the makeup track and then goes on to the next task. The outbound train crew checks the car-cards, waybills, safety chains and goes over train assignment. They are out of the way and may take as much time as necessary to get everything ready like getting drinks, radios, cameras, batteries, BEFORE departing. Once they are ready, they inform yardmaster and once cleared, back up until they are clear the departure track turnout and then exit the yard without delay.
When the yard crew is not moving cars from sorting to departure to make up outgoing trains, they are sorting cars for future outgoing locals. Track #6 (inbound track) should be cleared as soon as possible to keep it open for arriving trains. The cars should be sorted into local freights as indicated on the waybill after Yardmaster has turned or replaced the waybill; or when 2nd yard is in use, set on #5 for Through-Freight to Cumberland if waybill indicates next stop is dispatched from Cumberland.
Humping is allowed on tracks #1 thorough #5 if there is enough yard crew on hand and they are in contact visually and by voice or radio and understand each move. Do not hump if people are standing around blocking crews view. Only yard crew should be in yard area when humping. Yardmaster calls out the track a car goes on and once the turnout is set and there is a person to catch the car, it may be released. Multiple cars can be humped together to the same track. Multiple cars can be released to different tracks if there is someone to catch each car and the turnouts are aligned after the first car passes. Do not stop to hook up couplers or chains until all cars are humped and have stopped rolling.
Should the yard become overfilled on the sorting or holding tracks, up to 90' of cars may be moved to the spare passenger station track.
The yard crew may also responsible for switching the industries adjacent to the arrival departure track.
Cumberland Yard Operation
The yard has arrival and departure tracks that parallel along the outside of the Cumberland loop. It also has four sorting tracks, a turntable and multiple motive power hold tracks off the turntable. It also has a full time yard switcher.
Arriving trains will have their cars picked up by the yard switcher while the motive power, crew cars and caboose are turned on the turntable. Train crews may be held while cars are sorted for the next local or through freight.
Locals sent out should return to the yard they were sent from unless otherwise directed.