Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Operations - Conductor's Car Reports

Despite the great amount of information in the articles and information on the IBM-Teletype system, I still have significant holes in the paperwork actually used by conductors on the road.

Conductors Car Reports

This is the title page from Form T-488, and while it was issued August 1, 1927. There are a couple of pages of instructions, and the rest of the book consists of Station Numbers, mileage, etc. 

I have two other books that mention Conductor's Passenger Train and Freight Train Reports:

Form SCS-1 Station Numbers
SCS-2 Uniform Alphabetical Reporting Car Reporting Marks
which must be used in making out Operating Department Forms

The SCS-1 book is effective October 15, 1944, and supersedes T-488 as of that date. The SCS-2 book is dated December 1, 1956. They provide the station numbers and car reporting marks to be used in Passenger and Conductor Train Reports. SCS-2 provides a larger list of forms that they apply to, and the form numbers:

  • 546    Daily Yard Check
  • 1278    Report of Cars Released Subject to Car Demurrage
  • 1289, 1290    Station Car Demurrage Record
  • 1404    Agent's Reclaim under Per Diem Rule 15
  • 1418    Report of Cars Subject to Car Demurrage Average Agreement
  • 1454    Agent's Reclaim under Per Diem Rule 14
  • 1464    Home Route Card
  • 1483, 1487, 2022    Daily Interchange Report of Cars
  • 1480    Report of Cars on Hand
  • 1581-1582    Conductors' Freight Train Report (listed as 1582-1585 in SCS-1)
  • 1591-1595    Conductors' Passenger Train Report
  • 1855    Freight Waybill
  • Teletype Outbound and Inbound Freight Consists
I have examples of several of the above forms (1464 Home Route Card, 1480 Report of Cars on Hand, 456 Daily Yard Check), but I don't have 1581/2 Conductor's Freight Train Report.

Since SCS-2 is from 1956, it's clear that the Conductor's Freight Train Report was still in use in the era of the IBM-Teletype system. I believe this is the report that the Conductor would complete and send to the Car Service Department and records all of the car movements (drops and picks) made during the run and is the same thing/evolution of the Conductor's Car Report (particularly since SCS-1 superseded T-488). 

Although I don't have further information on the Conductors' Freight Train Report, I do have information on the Passenger version from the General Manual of Instructions for Conductors and Ticket Collectors from 1960. This has the instructions for completing the reports themselves, and, perhaps more helpfully, identifies the difference between them. It appears that the forms themselves are identical, but have a different number of copies.
  • 1595-1 (5 parts) is for Boston-New York trains.
  • 1594 (4 parts) is for all local trains in and out of New York that do not run through New Haven.
  • 1593 (3 parts) is for all local trains in and out of Boston and all local trains in and out of New Haven that don't run through to New York or Boston.
  • 1592 (1 part) is for all other local trains.
Each part is on a different color paper, and is sent to a different office. I've made educated guesses as to which forms have which colors.
  • White - Auditor of Car Service Accounts (all)
  • Blue - Superintendent of Passenger Transportation (1593, 1594, 1595-1)
  • Yellow - Ass't Superintendent, Grand Central Terminal (1594, 1595-1)
  • Goldenrod - Ass't Superintendent, Boston Division (1593, 1595-1)
  • Light Green - Auditor of Passenger Receipts (1594, 1595-1)

The Passenger Train Reports are for recording the number of passengers at origination, termination, and certain key terminals. These are recorded per car, and also indicate the type of car. While interesting, probably not something that would be implements on a model railroad. Having said that, we did try something similar at RPI where there were cars (similar to waybills) indicating the amount of passengers and baggage picked up at each station to add something more to the process than just stopping at the station. Not necessary in my one town layout, but something to consider.  


T-488 has extensive instructions regarding the completion of these forms. The later booklets don't have detailed instructions, they may be printed on the reverse of the form itself, or in another booklet that I haven't found yet.

The forms include the date/time the train leaves and arrives, each engine including points to/from by engine if different than the entire run, all of the cars in the train as they stand, the points to/from for each car, caboose number in the space provided, numbers of stations and sidings as noted in the book (superseded by SCS-1), mileage for each car, type of car (it doesn't use AAR types such as XM, a box car is to be listed as 'B'), weight of each car, plus some special instructions.

This report is forwarded to the Superintendent of Car Service upon completion of the trip, and the Conductor must keep a copy in their train book. While it sounds like a lot of information, and a lot of handwritten work (it is), remember that the Conductor had plenty of time to complete the paperwork at the desk in the caboose while running.

Even if later versions of the form had fewer columns, the most important columns and process remains - the movement of every car must be recorded. Cars picked up were added to the list on the way, and the final destination of a car spotted at an industry was also recorded. 

The train would be recorded on the form with destinations, then any known pickups below. Train Orders could be used to provide instructions for any new pickups along the way, and the Conductor can add those to the form as well.

I don't have a New Haven Conductor's Train Book either, as referenced in the rules above, but I do have is a Reading version from 1929. The book has the full instructions on the first couple of pages. My copy is very fragile, and the cover and instructions are so worn that I can't scan them. But here's a picture of one of the pages:

I also have a booklet of Instructions Governing the Preparation of Freight Train Conductors' Wheel Reports for Pere Marquette issued September 1st, 1929. Although this specifies Wheel Reports, it is clear that the basic process for the PM, Reading and NH were very similar.


As a side note - when Chris and I were discussing paperwork, and he mentioned that somebody had pointed out that the NYS&W listed their cars on paperwork like Conductor's Reports from the caboose to the engine. The evidence presented appears to be that the first line of the form has a preprinted line for the caboose, as it is on the above report.

However, I have always "known" that the Conductor's report listed the cars starting from the engine. I can't say where I learned this, but I still felt that it was incorrect. I'm a skeptic of "known" things without supporting evidence. So what evidence is there?

Here's what it says in T-488:

The Reading book I mentioned before states this:

3. Insert carbon paper between the wide and the narrow section of your report, and after the initial and the number of the caboose, which must be inserted on the first line commence at the engine and take the initials, number, and kind of each car as it stands in the train.

If you look at the pages of the Reading book I posted above, you'll see that Line 1 is labeled Caboose (there's also a place for the caboose in the header).

My buddy Ralph just sent me a copy of a Lehigh Valley List of Station & Siding Symbols and Home Route Numbers from May 1, 1946. In the instructions it states:

9. Caboose number, or number of car used as caboose, must constitute the first car number entry, followed by other cars in the order of their appearance behind the locomotive.

In the Let's Operate a Railroad book, published in 1957, there are several comments about this and related processes. For example, a yard clerk will complete a similar report regarding what cars on are a given track, including road, number, loaded or empty, type of car, door seal numbers, etc. It notes the clerk can start at either end, and notes which end was their starting point. But it goes on to say, "When a road conductor runs over the road he keeps his stack of waybills in the exact order of the cars in the train - lined up from engine backward."

So it's interesting that the two are differentiated. Later, in a section about Home Routes, it mentions a, "line-up form," that is sent to the dispatchers office which, "...will show...a detailed breakdown of the standing of the train by groups reading from engine to caboose..."

I have seen a blank O&W form that also has caboose preprinted for Line 1, just like the NH Form 1426-1 and the NYS&W form. This doesn't surprise me, since I've seen a lot of forms that are very similar, if not identical, from other roads in the era.

I don't have documentation for NYS&W or most other roads, so a given road might have used a different process. But I think that is also unlikely.

While the rules weren't standardized in this era, they did base their rules on the rules published by the AAR, and they were very similar from road to road with some exceptions.

There were also undoubtedly companies that specialized in printing forms for the railroads, and many of those forms were somewhat "standardized" simply because it made printing them easier and cheaper. Something the railroads always appreciated. In other words, the forms were the similar or the same because the general processes were.

I'm comfortable in saying that the NH recorded the train from the engine back, along with the Reading and LV,  and that seems to have been the general standard as reported in the book Let's Operate a Railraod which was also published during the era in question. I believe the process would be the same for any road unless there are instructions/rules that state otherwise.

As always, YMMV.

Monday, April 19, 2021

New Britain Passenger Trains - Heavyweights

For 1950 and later, I knew what I'd need for cars, even if it's not simple to model them yet. But in the many Cochrane photos in the 1948 and earlier periods, it was clear that the commuter trains were primarily composed of heavyweight cars. The question is, what cars would I need?

Deciphering the Heavyweight Cars

Trying to determine which heavyweight cars I would need was a challenge. As I noted, I have a number of consist books, but they don't list the commuter trains. I was also thrown off by what seemed to be a discrepancy between the photos and the documentation I had.

Looking at photos, it was clear that the windows on many of the cars were taller than what is on the Atlas (ex-Branchline) model. In the 30's the New Haven rebuilt much of their heavyweight fleet and in that process installed a taller nameboard, making the windows shorter and more square.

In addition, none of the photos are clear enough to have road numbers visible and worse, they are typically extreme 3/4 views so identification of the cars is even harder.

Consist Books

This seemed like the best place to start, at least to glean as much information as I could. The April 1950 and later ones were helpful in that they not only list (almost) all of the passenger equipment at the start, but it also notes the trains the equipment is assigned. So it's not the full consist information, but I can at least identify the types of cars that make up the consist.

Unfortunately, by that date, the Highland Line trains were only assigned Pullman-Bradley lightweights, with the exception of 600-series coaches being assigned in the September 1951 book. They are still assigned in the 1952 book, but with a notation that they will be replaced with RDCs when received. More on the 600-series cars in a moment.

Disposition Lists

I also have other resources like Summaries of Equipment, ORPE (the passenger equivalent of the ORER), and disposition lists that record cars that have been converted, condemned, destroyed, purchased or sold. So I could compile a spreadsheet to help determine what cars were still in service at the time.

But without specific documentation on the trains, I was stuck. So maybe I could start with the cars I could easily model.


So the next place I looked were equipment diagrams. Heavyweight cars with the taller windows (not rebuilt) were some cars in the 6700-6725 series of smokers, some coaches in the 7800-7950 series that weren't rebuilt, plus 7951-7976 series, the 7984-8014, 8016-8079, and 8081-8085 series, along with 8015, and 8086-8095 series.

Back to the Photos

Clearly some of the taller window cars were on these trains, so I had to determine a way to identify which classes. The answer is to look for additional features that are visible in most of the photos: The window spacing for the far left and far right windows, clerestory vents, whether they rode on 4- or 6-wheel trucks.


  • 7 Ward Vents
  • Wide spaced window at 'A' end only (both sides)
  • 6-wheel trucks

7800-7950 Not Rebuilt

  • 7 Ward Vents
  • Wide spaced window at both ends
  • 6-wheel trucks (with some exceptions)


  • 7 Ward vents
  • Wide spaced window at left end (both sides)
  • 4-wheel trucks

7984-8014, 8015, 8016-8079, 8081-8085, 8086-8095

  • 10 Ward vents (with some exceptions)
  • Wide spaced window at left end (both sides)
  • 4-wheel trucks

Here are some examples, crops from some Kent Cochrane photos:

May 24, 1947 at New Britain Station

This one is nice because you can clearly see the rivet patterns on the car, with a splice plate (two rows of rivets), then a single row before another splice place. So the windows are in groups of two between the splice plates.

Both cars have 7 Ward vents. The first car has 6-wheel trucks, the rear 4-wheel trucks. The first car has wide-spaced windows at both ends of the sides, but the second car only at the left end.

So the first car is from the 7800-7950 series, not rebuilt (since these both have the tall windows). The second car is from the 7951-7976 series.

East of Elm St, New Britain, date unknown (c1946-7)

This one is a little tougher. It's 7 Ward vents and 6-wheel trucks. What's hard to tell is whether the end window on the right side is wider spaced. If yes (and I think it is) then it's a 7800-7950-series, not rebuilt. If not, then it's one of the 6700-series Standard Smokers. I've been having difficulty identifying thus train, The car just to the left of it is the ex-Besler coach. Behind the coaches are two baggage cars. If it is 136, then it should have an RPO, in which case this is probably a smoker. Otherwise I think this is a coach. Initially I thought it might be Train No. 472, which picks up the baggage car of storage mail bound for Hartford at New Britain station each day, but that's scheduled at 8.33 PM or 9.24 pm depending on the year/time of year.  

For modeling purposes, even if this is Train 136 and that's a 6700-series Smoker, the consist books always list a Deluxe Smoker and this would be unusual. So I'm going to assume this is a 7800-7950-series rebuilt coach.

Waterbury, June 1947

This could be a Naugatuck line train, but it looks appropriate for the Highland. We can't see the trucks, but you can clearly see the difference between the shorter windows of a rebuilt car and the taller windows on the second car. I'll address the first car when I cover the shorter window cars, but the second one is relatively easy to pick out because it has 10 Ward vents. So it's from the 7984-series and the many smaller groups of cars that look identical.

To the best of my knowledge, the only train on the Highland with a heavyweight Smoker is 131/136. So I think that I can skip the 6700-series Standard Smoker. Otherwise it appears that I could reasonably expect to use some of the other three classes of cars that have taller windows. 

Fortunately, modeling them isn't impossible. Nickel Plate Products imported brass heavyweights identified as O&W coaches (also available paired with a combine). These are a close match to the 7951- and 7984-series cars. They don't have any clerestory vents installed at all, which is great since I won't have to remove any. I'm hoping to build at least three cars within these series.

Being brass models, they are very basic shells. There's very little underbody detail, no interior, no window glazing, etc. So I'm hoping that I can modify the car sides to move the far right window further to the right to cover the not-rebuilt 7800-7950 series cars. Two or more of them would be great, but I'd settle for one. 

An alternative would be to create new sides for the Atlas/ex-Branchline cars. These would be much better detailed (and I will see if I can fit the underframe into the brass model). I have a plan to try that as well, which involves a lot of pieces of styrene and many Archer rivets, or convincing a modeling buddy to 3D print them. But for now I think the brass ones are the quickest option.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Modifying the Tichy Flat Car Part V

I figured I would probably build an MoW flat car at some point, but it wasn't a high priority. But when I learned that the CT Trolley Museum had one of the cars, I decided I really wanted to model it.

Underframe for the NH Car

I went up a couple of times to take some detail photos and measurements and one of the first things I noticed that was quite different from the Tichy model was the underframe so I'll go over how I modeled that in this post.

Unlike the Tichy model, the crossbearers go through the center sill, instead of reaching all the way to the bottom of it. It's also not nearly as deep a fishbelly as the kit. I wasn't surprised to see that it still had KC brakes, simply because they were all retired from revenue service prior to K-brakes being outlawed in 1953.

I started looking at options and found that the underframe for the then-new Accurail 36' Double-Sheathed box car was a very good match for this one.

This is what it will look like assembled. This is being test fit on one of the lengthened cars (note the white styrene spacers), because I wanted to assemble it prior to cutting it shorter to fit the NH car.

This photo is a view of the Tichy underframe as designed to compare with its deeper center sill and more substantial crossbearers.

While the Accurail center sill and crossbearers looked good, I felt the crossties weren't. They were all tapered instead of straight across, and were very narrow where they met the side sill. So I modified some of the Tichy ones to fit instead. These set the two sills wider apart, so I had to file the slot for the crossbearers to be a little wider as well.

Because the underframe fits on the stringers differently, I had to file the slots in the Accurail crossbearers deeper so everything would fit properly.

This shows the modifications I made to the Tichy crossties. The one on the left is unmodified. I first cut off the top flange, and then filed it down until it fit properly without showing below the side sills.

The center sill is too long, so I made sure I cut off equal amounts from each end. I chose to use the Accurail brake system since it looks nice, and the levers and rods are a single piece that's easy to work with. This does mean, however, that the brake cylinder/reservoir sits too close to the B-end of the car. On the NH car this is centered. Moving it would have required cutting a new slot and moving the lever and I didn't think it was worth the effort for this project. Likewise, it wouldn't be that difficult to scratchbuild the underframe entirely to the proper dimensions. I also didn't add a train line.

Getting ahead of myself, but part of the design of the Tichy underframe is there is a weight that fits between the center sills with notches in appropriate places to fit around the other parts. Obviously that wouldn't work here. Instead, this is the first model that I decided to try Liquid Gravity. I believe this product is basically tungsten shot, or something very similar.

I flooded it with CA and it seems to be holding well. I considered gluing strip styrene as a 'cover' to hold the shot in, but for now it seems fine without it. It weighs 3/4 oz with trucks, wheelsets, and couplers, which is about 1/8 oz more than the kit as designed. Obviously it's very light, but I haven't had any issues running empty Kadee hoppers so we'll see how it does.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

New Haven Yard Operations IV

On October 21, 1948 the New Haven Railroad published a booklet entitled New Mechanized Train Consist and Car Record System in which it states: 

"...developed by New Haven officers in cooperation with engineers of the International Business Machines Corporation. Studies first projected in 1940 by the New Haven's transportation and communications departments culminated in a definite plan in 1942, but, because of war-time priorities, equipment was not received until the latter half of 1945 when operation was commenced between Maybrook, Cedar Hill, and the car service office at New Haven."

This booklet tells the story in great detail of the old and new Yard Operations processes and paperwork. In my quest to better understand the the inner workings of  New Haven Railroad, this was the single most informative document I found regarding the paperwork and processes used in yard operations. 

I've already told that story.

But there is more to the story of researching New Haven Yard Operations and the IBM-Teletype system. Such as, when was it placed into service?

Such records are probably long gone, so it's probably more a question of trying to narrow down the window of time. What clues did I have?

Narrowing the Window

The Along the Line article from February, 1946 says that it is "already installed between Maybrook, Cedar Hill and the Car Service Office, the new procedures will be extended to Bay Ridge, Oak Point, Hartford, Springfield, Worcester, Northup Avenue, Framingham and Boston."

The February 23, 1946 issue of Railway Age has an article regarding the system, again only referencing Maybrook and Cedar Hill as being online.

The system is also mentioned in another Along the Line article, from November, 1947. This also mentions the installation is only complete at Maybrook and Cedar Hill, and, "...we have been authorized to complete the installation between our other gateways and our important yards all over the system."

The IBM-Teletype booklet doesn't have a date printed on it. The text is a blend of the first Along the Line article and the Railway Age article, plus new text, but still only references Maybrook and Cedar Hill as being online. The exhibits have reproductions of actual railroad paperwork so we may be able to determine an approximate date from those. It has examples from 1942, '45, '46, '47, and the latest from January 30, 1948. With publishing lead times, perhaps mid-'48?

I also have the Standard Operating Procedure from the Car Service Department, from June 28, 1957. Although it doesn't specifically state it, it seems clear that the system is fully implemented by this time. 

So that's a window from mid-'48 to mid-'57. The second Along the Line article also states, "...we started in January 1944...After much delay caused primarily by the shortage of critical materials we now have the system in operation between Maybrook, N.Y., and our largest classification yard, Cedar Hill at New Haven..." So it took about a year-and-a-half to get the initial installation completed.

So from a model standpoint, why does this matter? 

In my case, I have trains originating at Maybrook, Cedar Hill, and Hartford. Chris has trains originating at Cedar Hill and Hartford. We know that by late '45 Maybrook and Cedar Hill were using the Teletype printed paperwork, so Wheel Reports (Outbound Consist Lists) for trains originating there will be in that format. But are trains from Hartford still using handwritten paperwork?

At this point I could reasonably guess that through at least mid-1948 Hartford was still using the old system and then pick a year to switch from handwritten to Teletype paperwork from that yard.

The Internet to the Rescue

And then, in my quest in the farthest reaches of the internet, I actually found an answer. In The National Railroad Adjustment Board Awards 5601 to 5700 Third Division. Huh?

This is a book of railroad labor disputes and their settlements. And Docket No. TE-5487, settled with Award 5627 on January 23, 1952 lists the dates when the yards were actively using the new system.

The dispute was filed by The Order of Railroad Telegraphers against the New Haven Railroad claiming that since the new system used Telegraph Printers (Teletype machines), the terms of their collective bargaining agreement required that the machines be operated by Telegraphers and not clerks.

It states:
Prior to July 1945 all communication service of record...was transmitted and/or received by employes under the Telegraphers' Agreement. The approximate time that printing telegraph machines, with the auxiliary card-controlled tape punch or tape-controlled card punch machines, began operations and such operations assigned to persons not under the Telegraphers' Agreement are:
Maybrook    July, 1945
Cedar Hill    June, 1947
Hartford    December, 1947
Springfield    December, 1947
Worcester    January, 1949
Framingham    December, 1948
Boston    October, 1949
Providence    June, 1949
Oak Point    March, 1949

There are two interesting things in this list.

First, Bay Ridge and Northup Avenue aren't on it, even though they were to receive the system. Was it not implemented yet? Did they decide not to install it at all? Or was it simply missing from the list. Note that they also do not list the Car Service Office, which may or may not have had Telegraphers performing any of the work prior to this system. My assumption is that it had been installed, and they were just not listed as part of the complaint for some reason.

Second is the date listed for Cedar Hill. We know it was in operation by the end of 1945. So it appears that either the date is wrong, or that until June, 1947 Telegraphers were operating the machines at Cedar Hill.

It also provides a date for the IBM-Teletype booklet - October 21, 1947. But we know that it had examples of paperwork from January 30, 1948, so this obviously isn't quite correct. Perhaps it should have been listed as 1948?

So this would have been interesting enough, as is the case (spoiler alert - the Telegraphers lost). But no, it's better. Because it includes a full description of the process, again similar in content but different enough to answer a few questions. For example, concise descriptions of the different reports and their uses. Listed under the Carrier's Statement of Facts:

The dispute arise from the installation on Carrier's lines of a new technique for the preparation, use and handling of the following:
Interchange report.
Switch lists.
Wheel reports.
Train consists.
Passing reports.
Car movement information.
Car record books.

These reports are defined as follows:
(a) An interchange report is a list of cars received by a railroad from another connecting carrier at a junction point. It contains, among other things, the number and initial, contents, origin and destination of each car and serves as a record of the delivery and receipt of the car by the respective railroads.

(b) A switch list is prepared at a yard where trains are broken up and cars switched to classification or other tracks for assembly in different order into outgoing trains. It gives the information necessary to place each car in the train being broken up on the proper track in the yard.

(c) A wheel report is a list and description of the cars in train order given to the conductor of an outgoing train to enable proper handling of the cars enroute and to serve as a report of the work done by the train at the conclusion of the run.

(d) A train consist is a list and description of the cars in a train in the order in which they stand in the train. It is used by the yards at which it originates, through which it passes enroute, and at which it terminates, in handling the cars, in the preparation of the other documents listed above, and for other like purposes.

(e) A passing report is a list and description of the cars passing through a particular yard or junction point. It is used by traffic and other railroad offices in tracing shipments and advising consignor and consignee of the location and progress of their freight.
(f) Car movement information refers to a number of lists of selected cars and associated data prepared at different locations to meet special needs.

(g) A car record book is a list of all cars passing through a particular yard during a given period arranged as nearly as possible in car number order. It is used for information purposes at the yard in tracing the handling of particular cars through the yard and for locating underlying records evidencing such handling, such as the interchange, train consist, wheel report, and other documents.

The essential data with respect to the movement of loaded freight cars - the car initial and number, contents, type of car, weight, route, origin, shipper, consignee, destination and other clerical detail - is contained in the waybill prepared at the station where the movement originates. This document accompanies the car from origin to destination, in the possession of the freight train conductor enroute and of the yard forces at yards where trains are broken up and re-assembled. Without this document the car may not be moved. Because the waybill accompanies the car it is necessary that each office at terminals through which it moves abstract and transcribe from the waybill the data necessary for proper handling and for making proper reports. This work has always been done by yard employes represented by the Clerks' Brotherhood.

I haven't seen the various reports so clearly defined. Although terminology and actual processes will vary from road to road, this has clarified several things:

1. The Wheel Report (Outbound Consist List) is the working report of the conductor on the New Haven. It provides the information needed for working the train on the way. Because of other resources, we know the conductor can be given additional work along the way by Train Orders, and they will document those car movements on this report as well. While this isn't clearly evident in the couple of examples I have, it points me in the right direction.

2. Switch lists on the New Haven refer to documents provided to the yard switching crews. 

3. Although I have seen them listed, I didn't know what a Passing Report was, or what it would be used for.

4. The Outbound Consist report replaces the Wheel Report that is provided to the conductor. Although the conductor still has to provide a record of work done during the run. Exactly what paperwork was used for this purpose remains a bit of a mystery, although I suspect it was still the old paperwork completely by hand by the conductor.

However, with the Teletype printed consist, did they only record additional movements by hand, or did they still transcribe the information from the Outbound Consist to their own Wheel Report? I suspect that this is the case, at least for local freights.

Still more to find, but at least I now know for ops sessions in 1946 and '47 that trains from Hartford will still have handwritten Wheel Reports, but Maybrook and Cedar Hill will have teletype Outbound Consist Reports. By 1948 all trains will be using teletype reports since Hartford was online by then.

Monday, April 12, 2021

New Britain Passenger Trains - post-1950

As I noted, the consist books only provide a complete consist for Train No 131/136. They also provide a consist for 128/129 when that train switched from the Comet to a regular locomotive-hauled train.

Starting in the 1950 book, though, it does have a list at the beginning of all of the equipment and the trains assigned. These aren't full consists, but at least I can tell which equipment was used to build the consists (and compare that with photos). The consist books also list which trains are assigned space for storage mail, and based on photos I know that every train had a baggage car. By 1953 all were replaced by RDCs

Train 131 at Stanley Works. Tom McNamara slide c1953.

The Trains

Not all trains run every year.


    • 1950 - Comet
    • 1951 - (2) 8500-
    • 1953 - RDC-1


    • 1952 - Express, 8270-
    • 1953 - RDC-2, RDC-3


    • 1950 - Storage, 8270-
    • 1951 - Storage, 8270-
    • 1952 - Express, 8270-
    • 1953 - RDC-2, RDC-3


    • 1950 - Storage, 600-620
    • 1951 - Storage 600-620, 8270- 


    • 1952 - RDC-2


    • 1950 - Storage, 600-620
    • 1952 - 8270-series
    • 1953 - (1-2) RDC-1


    • 1950 - Storage, 8270-
    • 1951 - Storage 600-620, 8270- 
    • 1952 - RDC-2
    • 1953 - RDC-1


    • 1950 - Storage, 8270-
    • 1951 - Storage, 600-620, 8270-
    • 1952 - RDC-2
    • 1953 - RDC-1


The RDCs are simple, I have the Rapido ones.

The two 8500-series cars for 128/129 in 1951 are the Pullman-Bradley lightweight Smokers, also produced by Rapido. I have them in both Hunter Green and Pullman Green, either of which will be appropriate for this train.

The Comet is relatively simple with the Con-Cor one, although I am working on repainting it in the later scheme. Custom Brass also imported one, including the later scheme, but I like the Con-Cor one better, it's much cheaper, and I think the blue used on the brass model is too light anyway.

The 8270-series are the Pullman-Bradley 11-window lightweights I mentioned in the post on 131/136. I'm largely waiting for Rapido to release these (hint, hint).

I also covered the storage/express cars before. Either the Bethlehem Car Works wood baggage cars, or the old NHRHTA/F&C resin kits for the clerestory and turtle roof versions of the steel cars. The wood cars are the standard ones for these trains.

The 600-series cars, however, are a different story. These are heavyweight cars that were rebuilt from parlor cars. The Walthers 28-1 parlor car is a good starting point. You have to reverse both the roof and the floor, remove the interior, and then make a new side. One of the sides is correct for most of the cars, but the other side is not. In addition, there are at least 5 different versions of the second side. I'm still working on how I will approach these cars, although I have a few ideas. I'll need at least two of them, preferably four.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Modifying the Tichy Flat Car Part IV

In the first post I showed how I modified the deck and assembled the basic kit.
The second post covered scratchbuilding side sills and measuring and installing stake pockets. The third post covered how I was handling the rivets with an addendum from my buddy Bill Gill here.
The impetus for this particular project was a photo of a T&P flat car which also includes prototype information for that and similar cars.

What else can we do with the Tichy kit?

I forgot to mention an important version of the kit in my earlier posts. The Central of Georgia Railway Historical Society has offered the Tichy kit for several years with custom decals to raise funds to restore a CG flat car built in 1925. As of this writing there are only 9 kits left, but they have decals available too (in several scales). Again, only 5 of the HO ones today. I don't know if they will be getting more of the decals.

While I don't have a diagram, it's a nominal 40' flat car with straight side sills and 12 stake pockets. The end sills are different, so I think I'll scratchbuild those.

But I originally started experimenting with these kits because I wanted to model at least one of the New Haven's 36-foot flat cars.

NH F-232 at New London, September 24, 1951, photographer unknown.

While I have quite a bit of data on the disposition and life of these cars, I only have limited info on this particular one. I know it was renumbered sometime in x-15-1949, but not the original road number or month. Presumably this renumbering was when it was removed from interchange service and reassigned to work service. It was rebuilt (see below) at Readville on 8-2-1938, and was presumably built 1906.

In the March 1951, and February 1953 books it was assigned to a Providence Work Train. It was condemned/sold 4-24-1956.

41000-42149, 42175-42188

These were 36' flat cars built by Standard Steel Car Co from 1906 to 1908, and rode on 40-ton archbar trucks until c1938.

It was the largest (and by the depression, only) class of NH flat cars through the era, with 1116 of a little more than 1200 cars in August 1925. There was a slow decline over the next 10 years, with 1,000 remaining in 1935. From there it accelerated, with 738 in 1936, and only 40 left by the end of 1937.

In 1938, they were split into two groups, 42150-42173 received 40-ton cast sideframe trucks, and 42174-42188 received 30-ton trucks. However, starting in the September 1943 Summary of Equipment, it is more specific, with 13 of them still 30-ton cars with archbar trucks, 2 with 30-ton cast sideframe trucks, and 24 4-ton cars. Over the next two years the cars with archbar trucks would receive new trucks, and in September of 1945 there were 12 30-ton cars, and 24 40-ton. Many, but not necessarily all, received AB Brakes.

Interestingly, the 40-ton cars would be retired faster, with several apparently receiving 30-ton trucks again, as by December 1947 there were 15 40-ton cars, and 19 30-ton. By the end of 1948 it was 13 and 17 respectively, 8 of each in December '49, and only 4 of the 40-ton and 5 of the 30-ton in December, 1950. 

In November 1951 through at least March of '52 only two remained, 42157 (30-ton) and 42168 (40-ton). Both were gone by December. However, in NH documentation is the following note dated 12-31-1952:

These two flat cars have not been located for quite some time and it is presumed they were destroyed.

Many of the cars had been converted to work service through the late '40s. Records are incomplete, but it appears that none of them lasted in work service past 1960, with most being condemned and/or sold from 1955 to 1958.

Modeling the NH Car

The Tichy model seemed the obvious choice to start, and even better there is still a prototype in existence, at the Connecticut Trolley Museum. They have ex-NH 414944. This car still has it's original KC brake system.

The easy approach is to shorten the car in the middle (instead of lengthening it like the others), then modify the side sills to fit the shorter frame. I started one version with this approach. Since it's so easy to make the side sills and the end sills are different from the model, I opted to do a more substantial kitbash. In addition, I used an underframe from an Accurail 36' double-sheathed box car since it's a better match for the NH car.

This shows the shortened Tichy version on top, with the more extensive kitbash on the bottom.

One thing I found interesting is that I had shortened the side sill by cutting just past the second stake pocket from each end, and then shortening the middle section to remove one stake pocket (the NH car has 11 instead of 12). When I measured out and applied the stake pockets for the other car, I was surprised to see that they line up almost identically. The rivets aren't necessarily correct, but this is a quicker option.

You can see that difference between the Tichy (left) and Accurail (uhh...right) underframe is quite noticeable, even from the side when the car is on the track.

The largest differences were in the end sill. The poling pockets themselves are from Cal Scale, but I built up the casting around them from styrene, along with the buffer. 

Because this car is at the end of its life, I decided it would be fun to attempt a severely distressed deck. 

This will be one of the 40-ton cars, and based on the records I have it will be 42153 (condemned 6-14-1951). To my knowledge, this car was the last of this class in revenue service.

I'll cover the specific modifications in more detail in the next post.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

New Haven Yard Operations III

On October 21, 1948 the New Haven Railroad published a booklet entitled New Mechanized Train Consist and Car Record System in which it states: 

"...developed by New Haven officers in cooperation with engineers of the International Business Machines Corporation. Studies first projected in 1940 by the New Haven's transportation and communications departments culminated in a definite plan in 1942, but, because of war-time priorities, equipment was not received until the latter half of 1945 when operation was commenced between Maybrook, Cedar Hill, and the car service office at New Haven."

This booklet tells the story in great detail of the old and new Yard Operations processes and paperwork. In my quest to better understand the the inner workings of  New Haven Railroad, this was the single most informative document I found regarding the paperwork and processes used in yard operations. 

This is that story.

I first learned of the booklet in a post on the NHRHTA Forum that led to a post on The Arts Mechanical where John C. Carlton shared the entire book.

I later hunted down my own copy of the booklet, and I should have pulled it out when I started posting on Yard Operations again. It's not uncommon for me to take a quick look through a document like this when I first get it, only to set it aside until I get back to that subject.

The first section of the booklet contains an explanation that is similar, but not exactly the same, as the Along the Line article of the system and the processes. So I won't repeat that here. Instead, what I found most useful are the exhibits.

The New Process

One notable difference between this process and the one used for tank cars earlier is that the punch cards also have the information printed at the top of the card, so they can be read by people. They also aren't codes like what was used on the tank cars, but the actual data (which then shows up on many reports). I covered the basic process in this post.

Exhibit 1 is an overview of the new process compared with the old process and is a nice overview of how the yard operates. Exhibits 2-4 are flow charts that are directly related to this summary.

This is quite informative, and covers the process well, but the focus is understandably on the paper processing process, not necessarily what happens on the ground. What I found more informative are Exhibits 5-12, which provide examples of the old paperwork, and the new paperwork that replaces it.

Switch Lists

These are old and new switch lists, in this case for Maybrook Yard. Of note is that the handwritten one doesn't follow the form, instead they simply divided it into two large columns to fit all of the cut on one form. The information as used is Car Initial and No, Station from, gross tons, and Track No. However, there are several cars that don't indicate either, so I'm not sure what to make of those.

The teletype one appears to have the same information. I don't know what the 1, 7 and 7 between the Station From and gross tons for three cars means, nor the QU 17 for RDG 2271 means.

Also of note is that the switch list is specifically for use in yards. On the handwritten form, you'll note a column (not used) that says 'Rider.' This is referring to the brakeman that rode the car down the hump, if one did. Although the form does have a Station To and Consignee field, so it could be used for the road if those fields were completed.

The teletype replacement, however, makes it clear that it is only useful in the yard, since all of that information is not on the report.

This is the form (whichever version is appropriate for a given layout) that can be used when modeling Yard Operations for an arriving train. If it's the handwritten version, the Yardmaster will prepare the form for the switching crews to break down the train.

Interchange Report

The page showing the old forms show three different ones. The first is an Inbound Train Arrival Sheet. This form was completed by yard clerks to record the consist of the inbound train. This was provided to the Yardmaster so they could create the Switch Lists.

The information was also used to type up the other two reports, the Broad Sheet and Interchange Report Cut-Up Slip were typed simultaneously, the Cut-Up Sheet being a carbon copy. These two were replaced by the new Interchange Report.

A process change eliminated the Train Arrival Sheet, and they started to work directly from the waybills instead of a clerk handwriting this report. This is easy to replicate on the model - the inbound conductor gives the Yardmaster their waybills, and the Yardmaster can use those to write out the Switch List.

Yard Car Record

These were accounting forms, recording the movement of every car through the yard. While interesting (and a gold mine if you can find historical ones), they serve little purpose for modeling.

Inbound Train Consist

The Inbound Train Consist was transcribed from the waybills, and only used in the yard. It's not clear what the difference between this and the Train Arrival Sheet is.

But the biggest change, aside from the report being printed by teletype, is that the new report was received as the train leaves the prior yard. So it would be prototypical to have Inbound Train Consist reports for each inbound train, which would be compared to the waybills to account for any cars dropped or picked on the way. This is a major change in the way the railroad operated because the Yardmaster would know ahead of time what cars are inbound and prepare for their arrival, instead of having to wait until the train arrived and the handwritten report was completed.

Passing Report

Cut-up slip reports (like the Interchange one above) were literally designed to be cut into individual strips by car, so they could be organized by Initial and Number when compiling other reports, such as this Passing Report. With the new punch cards, a sorting machine could be used to resort them prior to running through another machine to generate the teletype tape needed to print the reports locally or the Car Service Department. It looks like it was for accounting purposes (per diem, etc.) and won't be needed on a model railroad. But you can see how much more efficient the punch cards made the process.

Junction Reports

As you can see, the old Junction Report were cut up slips that were gathered by road and mailed to car owners. The replacement is an actual report generated from the punch cards. A much more elegant solution. Again, not something needed for a model railroad.

Outbound Train Consist

Along with the Switch List, this is the most important report for modeling in my opinion. It states:

This report is a copy of the hand written wheel report, the original of which was given to the conductor with the bills...the train could not depart until this report was made out.

No copies of this report were given to the "next" yard, but the conductor's copy of the wheel report was mailed to the Superintendent of Car Service after the train reached its destination.

The handwritten one happens to be for OA-4 (Maybrook to Hartford) on May 6, 1942. There are cars bound for Terryville, Plainville, Westfield, Holyoke, Florence, Collinsville, and North Hampton that would go via the Highland Line. Cars for Terryville, Torrington and Winsted will be dropped at Waterbury on the way to Hartford. In 1941 it looks like OA-4 may have stopped in Plainville too. In which case all of the remaining cars would have been dropped there.

The loads are interesting too, one box car (NYC?) of evaporated milk for Terryville, a GATX tank car with kerosene for Torrington, a MILW box car of doors for Winsted, a PRR gon of pig iron for Plainville, and the remainder of the train is for anthracite (5 cars) and bituminous (16 cars) coal. Hoppers were from PRR (9 cars), WM (5 cars), RDG (1 cars), and one each from D&H, NH, B&O, and CRR, and PMcK&Y. One of the Reading cars and the Pennsy car of pig iron are drop end gondolas ("DE"). The total consist is a box car, tank car, box car, gondola, 10 hoppers, another gondola, and 10 more hoppers. This highlights how much coal came via Maybrook.

On the right hand side there's a notation A&P Tea with what might be a long list of car numbers. But one sequence (732152, 732152, 732251, 732152, 732152) seems to preclude that. I'm not sure what to make of it. Initially I thought they were seal numbers, but the bulk of the train is hoppers and there are too many of them.

The teletype version lists consignees, but the handwritten one does not. Furthermore, the example for OA-4 doesn't have any indication that the cars for Winsted or Torrington would need to be dropped at Waterbury, where it has a scheduled stop, and in that year it may have been scheduled to drop the rest at Plainville. In other words, they seem to be missing the operational part of the run, which is required for reporting to the Superintendent of Car Service.

So I'm not clear what report (if any) would be used by the conductor for manage the work on the way. In my opinion, there must have been some sort of document that provided instructions on which cars to pick up or drop (similar to the Switch List), if for no other reason that the railroad operated by written orders. They didn't leave things to chance or interpretation, everything was documented, even if it was a form that wouldn't be filed for later reference.

So there are still some mysteries to solve, but I think this gives us a much clearer look at the yard operations on the New Haven in this era.

Monday, April 5, 2021

New Britain Passenger Trains 131 and 136

One of my ongoing projects to get the layout ready for operations is to gather the necessary information and supplies to build the passenger trains. It's easy to identify which direction the train is running, since they didn't turn the entire train at Waterbury, only the locomotives. So eastbound trains have the baggage car (and RPO where used) on the end of the train instead of behind the locomotive.

Train 131/136 was frequently photographed in my era, probably because it's the only daytime passenger train (12.30 pm and 5.40 pm). This is the only train with consistent consist information, as all of the other Highland Line trains are commuter trains and are not listed in the consist books.

Train 131/136
1 Express
1 Apartment
1 Coach (M) SL
1 Smoker (M) De Luxe (yes, that's how it's spelled...)
1 Coach (M) SL (Fri & Sat, sometimes only Friday)

What exactly does this mean? I'll start with a picture:
One of my favorite Kent Cochrane photos from March, 1947 of an I-2 with Train 131

In addition to the Russell & Erwin stacks and the 44-tonner shoving a hopper of coal up to the coal trestle, this is a fantastic side view of the entire train. It looks like a Friday train, due to the fifth car, but an extra car would also be added as needed on any day.

The first car is the Express car, that is, a baggage car carrying storage express mail. There's a compartment set aside for mail, 9 ft. from Boston to Waterbury, plus an additional 6 ft from Hartford to Waterbury. In most of the photos this is a wood baggage car, available as a kit from Bethlehem Car Works. It's Sparrows Point kit SP-61. I don't see it listed on the site right now, so you'll need to contact John to see if it's available.

Note that the New Haven clearance diagram has the doors located in the wrong incorrectly (which resulted in the first run of the model also having them in the wrong place - John fixed the issue for the later runs). I purchased cars as soon as they were released, so I'll just be modifying mine.

The second car is an RPO, or a 15' Apartment Car. This means that it has a 15 ft RPO section, and the rest of the car is a baggage car. 

It's easy to spot 131/136 from this era because of the RPO as it's the only train on the Highland assigned one. This is also available from Bethlehem Car Works, kit #263 and it looks excellent. I'll be finishing mine soon.

The third car is the Smoker, even though the consist lists a coach next. This is a heavyweight De Luxe (DL) car with mechanical (M) air conditioning. The De Luxe (also noted as Deluxe, or DeLuxe in NH documents) Smokers are numbered 6800-6823, 6824-6827, and 6829-6843. This car will be a challenge to model. I'll most likely start with a Branchline (now Atlas) single window heavyweight coach. I have a decent idea of how I'll approach it, though, I'll get to that process in a later post when I get around to building one.

Note the 8 exhaust type ventilators, plus the round vent at the end for the saloon. On the Smokers, there is only a mens' saloon at one end of the car. The car is oriented in the photo with the saloon to the right, instead of to the left as in the diagram.

The final two cars are Pullman-Bradley lightweight coaches. They were built with mechanical (M) air conditioning, and are designated as streamlined (SL). The first one is from the 8270-8369 series of cars. These are known as 11-window cars and were built for commuter service with walk-over bench seating for 92 people. The second car, however, is a 10-window coach (8200-8269 series), with twin rotating chairs on each side of the aisle, and seating for 84 people.

There were 10-window Pullman-Bradley Smokers as well. However, there were only four of them (8500-8503) until more were converted in October, 1949, and they were assigned to specific trains.  Once more were converted one was assigned to this train to replace the 6800-series heavyweight.

Note that both of these still have full skirts. The skirting was removed from in front of the trucks starting c1949. 

The 10-window coaches and smokers were both produced by Rapido in the past and can be found on eBay and at shows. In addition, to those cars, the 11-window coaches were produced by E&B Valley and brass from Custom Brass. Neither are up to the standards of the Rapido cars, which is why I have started experimenting with using the brass sides on the Rapido car. My buddy Bill reminded me that I'll also have to alter all of the rivet lines on the roof if I go this route. I've reminded him that Rapido still needs to do the 11-window coaches...

So it's the heavyweight smoker and the 11-window coaches that will be the most challenging aspects of this train, but I'm hoping Rapido will at least get around to the coaches soon.

This was the last train to run with steam on the Highland, until November/December 1948, since it received power at Boston. It was usually hauled by an I-2, but I have photos of this train behind an I-1, I-4 and DER-1 (DL-109) in this era. After the steam was pulled, it was usually assigned a DER-1 (DL-109), but was also run with a DERS-2b (RS-2) or DERS-2c (RS-3), before locomotive-hauled trains were replaced altogether with an RDC-1 and RDC-3 for this run in 1953.