Thursday, May 16, 2019

Operations: Station (Freight) Agent

On Thursday, May 30 I'm hosting a couple of operating sessions on the evening before the New England Prototype Meet. So if you're coming to the meet and you'd like to come, let me know via email.

Since the layout is entirely within yard limits and has switching crews assigned to do all of the work, I have a Station (Freight) Agent / Yardmaster / Stanley Works foreman operating position. The goal is to use all of the relevant prototypical paperwork, including full-sized waybills, etc., since the agent has a desk and won't need to carry around a stack of paperwork while trying to run a train.

Inbound trains, of course, will have a stack of waybills, but since all they have to do is come into town, drop or pick-up a cut of cars, and deliver the paperwork to the agent, it shouldn't be too unwieldy. In addition, I have a desk/workspace for each switching crew, and also for the Stanley and through train crews.

Their primary job is to provide switch lists for the working crews. This is done using the waybills, home route cards, and a report that is produced at the end of the prior day. They also need to identify the outbound blocking and follow the car routing rules as best they can.

The job has evolved as we've developed the operating scheme and learned more about how the railroad actually works. Chris really enjoyed the job because when you're sitting at the desk, working with the actual paperwork, you can't really tell you're operating a model railroad. You're just doing the job.

In addition to research on the New Haven, two of my railroad buddies, Dale and Joseph, have also provided a lot of input as to how they do their job as freight conductors at the CNZR and Pioneer Valley Railroads, and it's pretty clear that other than technology (such as receiving switchlists via email), the process is much the same today.

Instructions for Station Agent / Yardmaster / Stanley Works Foreman

  The Agent handles all waybills and paperwork, and compiles switch lists for the crews.

1.          Create a switch list for each cut of inbound cars, starting with the west end of the cut of cars.
2.          Create a switch list for known work from the Report of Cars on Hans, Empty Car Waybills, and loaded waybills provided by the industries.
3.          Create additional switch lists as additional work comes in through the session.
4.          When writing switch lists for outbound trains, note both the outbound train and blocks required. Also note the car routing rules for direct connection railroad ownership (Rule 2) cars.

Empty Requests
  Empty requests should be filled using the car routing rules as much as practicable.
  Cars must be properly cleaned before being provided as an empty to another industry. In general, empty cars pulled from industries must be forwarded offline as there are no cleaning facilities or cleaning crew in New Britain. Requests for empty cars must be made to Hartford by 5.00 pm for delivery overnight.
  Stanley Works empties can be filled using cars they empty if they follow the car routing rules. They will clean the cars.
  Empty cars requested the prior day will have inbound cars left by the overnight freights.

  Loaded cars and loaded or empty tank cars must have a Waybill to their final destination. As a practicality, the waybills are already prepared. Those from trains delivered overnight are in the bill box. The conductor of a freight dropping cars during the session will have additional waybills. On the desk will be waybills for industries that have already requested a pickup, and additional waybills will be delivered by the clerk or the industry (Stanley Works) during the session.

Form 456 – Report of Cars on Hand
  Form 456 lists all cars spotted at industries and in the yard in town, except cars delivered overnight.
  Cars listed as empty or loaded can be pulled at any time.
Industries will call with additional loads or empties ready to pull throughout the day.

Form 1464 – Empty Car Waybill and Home Route Card
  Each car from a road that does not have a direct connection to the New Haven will have a form 1464 attached to the waybill.
·        Separate the Form 1464 from the waybill and file by road and number.
·        When cars are emptied, they return to their interchange point with form 1464.
·        If the car is reloaded, a new waybill is created and the form 1464 is discarded.

  Direct connection railroad ownership (Rule 2) empty cars should be returned to the nearest connection point with that railroad and do not have a form 1464. Direct connection ownership cars are:

Via Cedar Hill
B&A (Springfield)
B&M (Springfield)
CNJ/CRP (Oak Point)
CV (New London)
LI (Fresh Pond)
LV (Oak Point)
PRR (Bay Ridge)

Via Maybrook
LNE (Campbell Hall)
NYC except PLE and PMcK&Y (Campbell Hall)
O&W (Campbell Hall)

  Exception. “Rule 2” empty cars should be returned to road from which received under the following conditions: PRR, LV, CNJ-CRP when received via L&H, Erie, or L&NE at Maybrook; CNJ-CRP, LV when received via O&W at Maybrook.

  Direct connection railroad ownership (Rule 2) empty cars that are to be used for reloading will have a Form 1464 to indicate their use for reloading.

  Indirect connection railroad ownership (Rule 3) empty cars should be returned to the connecting road in home route as shown on The Home Route Card which was attached to the waybill covering the loaded movement of the car.


  1. Randy, this is great stuff! As you may (or may not) know, I model the LV terminal side of the NH connection at Jersey City, and it's full of industrial switching. Most cars received via Oak Point (and elsewhere in the NY Terminal are) go directly west - local in bounds are mostly eastbound cars. I'm close to dialing in on an ops scheme (I LOVE paperwork and agents roles), so this is timely. I don't know if I'll be able to make it up there in time for your session next week, but I do look forward to talking to you about this over the weekend! Thanks!

  2. Sounds great, Ralph. I look forward to learning more from what you've dug up. I'll be open on Sunday from 10-4 on the layout tour as well, so if you can't make Thursday hopefully you can come by then. I can always bring some paperwork to the meet, but you're welcome to dig through everything I have here if you can stop by.

    Yep, you're on my blog roll here on the site, and I love it. Your modeling and blogging process looks a lot like mine. I've made particular note of your weathering, because that's something I'm just getting started doing myself.