Friday, January 29, 2021

Understanding the 1% Waybill Analyses

 I've been working through compiling more data from the 1% Waybill Analyses from my era. I find this sort of thing quite interesting. I've posted links in the right column for several of them hosted at Hathitrust. If you are using the mobile version of the site, click 'view web version' at the bottom of the page to see that column.

I think it's important to understand what this data is, and what it isn't.

First off, there are a lot of books/documents that were generated from this data. The links I provided include the state to state traffic of carloads for each commodity class. These are the classes from the AAR Freight Commodity Classification book I mentioned in a prior post.

There are territorial studies along with others, but my interest is in the origin of traffic to CT, and the destination of traffic from CT.

  • The data is for carload traffic only. It doesn't include L.C.L traffic. I do not know if this also excludes cars loaded for multiple destinations, but I suspect it does (I'll get to that in a moment).
  • It's 1% of the waybills for a given period. Class I railroads provided data for any waybill numbered "1" or ending in "01" starting in late 1946. They also weighted the numbers to account for differences in waybill practices among roads. So the data has been massaged.
  • It also indicates that they did not report data from states where there are 3 or fewer industries shipping a given commodity. These carloads are included in the totals for the major categories. I have noticed these discrepancies when comparing the totals, and have opted to ignore these extra carloads because I don't have any way of knowing in which subcategory they belong.
  • They state the margin of error varies depending on the number of loads. For example, if there are 100 carloads reported, there's an expectation of about 10% deviation, but with 400 loads the data is more accurate, with an expected deviation of 5%. 

To put it a different way, the fewer loads of a commodity, the less accurate the data is. The number of carloads reported in the CT data is frequently less than 5. Since this is 1%, it represents less than 500 carloads. However, it's quite possible that an unusual shipment was made, and that happened to be the one waybill recorded. That one load would now be considered 100 loads.

Less frequent loads may have been missed entirely as well. Despite these potential issues, the data itself is quite useful. 

To give you an idea of the sort of thing that I think you can derive from the data, here's an interesting example.

This is the entire list of car movements for 739 Luggage and handbags, NOS (not otherwise specified)

Roughly 100 carloads a year are shipped from CT to GA, NY, TN, TX, and VA, and also from VA to CA, NY, TN, and VA.

How can we make sense of this?
I checked the Industrial Directory of CT, 1947, and I didn't find any luggage manufacturers. But I did find that there is a large number of handbag manufacturers in the S. Norwalk, Norwalk, and Stamford region. There are 18 companies with 1-50 employees and 5 with 51-200 employees manufacturing handbags. I had no idea.

What about Virginia, then? Here's an interesting blurb about the Virginia Trunk & Bag Co. Apparently Petersburg, VA was a center for manufacture of trunks and valises(?). According to it's a small traveling bag or suitcase. Here's info on the Seward Trunk & Bag Co. So that confirms that VA was a source for luggage of various types.

But that still only accounts for about 400 carloads in 1949, to only four states. Looking from a different perspective, where were major luggage manufacturers? Samsonite was based in Denver, and had a plant in PA. Shouldn't they be represented too?

Hmm, let's look for other clues. Looking at another commodity, 200 Hardware NOS, I thought the number of carloads (700) and number of destinations from CT, just five states (AZ, CA, IL, NY, and OH) unexpected, considering that New Britain produces as much as 20%+ of the world's hardware in this era. Shouldn't there be more cars, or at least more destinations? Not all of the hardware would ship from New Britain, of course, but that's only around 2 cars/daily and I suspect Stanley Works alone was much higher than that.

What have we learned?
  1. Samsonite, a major manufacturer of luggage, doesn't seem to originate any rail traffic from Denver or PA.
  2. For the luggage/handbag commodity it appears CT and VA dominate the market. But all I can find are a couple of dozen small handbag companies in CT, and in both cases they are averaging around 2 cars/week for the entire group of commodities, not just a single company.
  3. Hardware shipments from CT are lower than expected, and to fewer destinations than expected.
What could explain this? Is the 1% waybill analysis wrong? No, I don't think it is. Here's what I think we're seeing:
  • These commodities ship in less-than-carload more than I expected.
  • The carload shipments are going to distribution centers or major wholesalers, who then ship primarily in less-than-carload lots.
Can we confirm this suspicion?

In the Along the Line article about Landers, Frary & Clark, they highlight their postwar line of washing machines and ranges. Like hardware, the 711 Stoves and Ranges category shows relatively few shipments/destinations from CT to GA (200), IL (100), and TN (100). (Washing machines are part of a very large category). The article also mentions that they have 8 distribution centers around the country. I haven't been able to identify where those were, but based on the waybill data I'm guessing three are in GA, IL, and TN. 

A major clue comes from another source. Some time ago I acquired a book of shipping orders from Norwich, NY on the O&W. This is all of the traffic handled by the freight agent in July, 1952. This book is string-bound, with paper glued over the binding so I can't remove the pages from the book. At least I haven't yet.

Of particular interest are the orders for several companies, who ship nearly daily. For example, the Norwich Pharmacal Co. On a given day, there is a stack of shipping orders to multiple destinations. For example, the NPCo shipments for July 1 were 43 pages. But these are small shipments, several boxes of drugs for each. Clearly this isn't 43 carloads.

The orders for Craine, Inc., for hardware, however provided clarity. Because these shipping orders include the car number.

Looking at July 10, there's a complete picture of how the railroad handles shipments from an industry like Craine, Inc. 

This is an empty car request form. I have not located one for the New Haven yet. There are several in this book. We can see that two cars were ordered by Craine, Inc by phone on 7/10/52 at 9:30 A.M. and two cars, ERIE 76199 and SOU 26266, were furnished at 1:00 P.M.

Since they ordered empties, I believe they had their own industry track. Bordens also had empty car orders. 

Note what it says in the Destination field - var - as in "various." Each of these cars has 8 orders (and would have matching waybills), because each had 7-8 destinations. Even better, it shows the route:

ERIE 76199
  • Warsaw, NY (via O&W  NYC Can LV)
  • Charlton Depot, MA (NYC (B))
  • Batavia, NY (NYC)
  • Churchville, NY (NYC)
  • Gasport, NY (NYC)
  • Gasport again
  • Medina, NY (NYC)
  • Huntington, NY (LI)

I find all of these in the Official List of Prepay and Open Stations except Warsaw, which is listed on the B&O and ERIE, not LV. I'm sure all of these are freight house stops, especially Gasport since there are two different people listed in the Notify field.

Here's a map. Of course, it's following roads instead of the railroad, but it gives you an idea of how widely this car traveled.

SOU 26266
  • Waterville, ME (Sid D&H Mcv B&M Portland MEC)
  • Dover, NH (Sid D&H Mcv B&M)
  • Barre, VT (Sid D&H RPT CVT)
  • St Albans, VT (Sid D&H RPT CVT)
  • Bellows Falls, VT (Sid D&H Mcv B&M)
  • South Vernon, MA (Sid D&H Mcv B&M)
  • Owego, NY (Sid D&H Bing ERIE)
  • Lebanon, NH (Sid D&H Mcv B&M)
The full routing is noted, including junctions:
Sid = Sidney, NY
Mcv = Mechanicsville, NY
RPT = Rouses Point, NY
Bing = Binghamton, NY

This car traveled over an even wider area:

Also note that the Agent did not follow the car loading rules when furnishing the Southern car to be routed to the northeast. I also find it interesting that there isn't a linear route among these locations.

Since the 1% Waybill Analyses only cover carloads, these sort of shipments are excluded. It's very useful in identifying the movement of commodities, but it's only part of the picture. I think it's safe to say that Stanley and/or American Hardware Corp (Russwin, Corbin Screw) had distribution centers in AZ, CA, IL, NY, and OH. But I also suspect that a large number of the cars were for multiple destinations just like what we see with Craine, Norwich Pharmacal, and several smaller shippers in the O&W book.

We have to remember that these studies were published for the government, railroads, and companies who had many other resources on hand, and were also actively involved in their industry. Each would have been utilizing the data for their own business purposes, rather than trying to backwards engineer the movement of freight by rail like we are, some 70 years after the fact. So it takes a little detective work and guesses.

But the goal isn't necessarily a full understanding of these movements either. As I've noted before, most of this information is relevant for use on model waybills, and the primary purpose of those is as "scenery" to enhance the immersion in the operating experience. All of the data I've been working through, commodity information, routing guides, etc., will help build trains that look different depending on the interchange of their origin, allows the agent/conductors to know which train is appropriate for an outbound car, and enhance the illusion that we are operating a real railroad. 

Here are the shipping orders for the two cars above in the order they appear in the book. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Along the Line - July-August 1948

More from Along the Line. I intended to cover several issues, but the July-August 1948 issue has a lot of articles that I find interesting and have tidbits of information that could be useful for modelers. Whenever possible, I look for primary sources published in the era like this. It's still listed as monthly, but we're in a period where that regularity is in flux again...

So what's in this issue?

It starts with a letter from Howard S Palmer announcing his retirement on August 12 as the President of the New Haven Railroad.

The New Haven Story - Survival by Adaptation

A long and interesting article about how the NH operates and lots of statistics such as the average number of cars per freight train: Class I roads - 53; NH - 54. Or that LCL on the NH accounts for 20% of freight revenue, compared with a 9% average for all Class I roads. They also cite a 2:1 ratio for loads in vs. out. 

It's a Circus!

Twin-unit Diesels hauling the first section of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus from Harlem River to the Boston Garden. This photo was taken in Woonsocket by a staff photographer of the Woonsocket Call.

A report on the circus trains that have traversed the New Haven during 1948.

Note that circuses were usually one-day events, occasionally two. They could pack up after a show, travel by train overnight, and be ready for an afternoon show the next day.

Carnivals typically ran for a week, with Sunday as a travel/setup day, but some were shorter.
  • Ringling Bros, Barnum & Bailey at Boston Garden via Harlem River and the Providence and Worcester branch to Boston (May 11-16). Two 50 car sections. All via car floats. Then returned to Washington over the same route.
  • Ringling Bros returns, with four sections of 90 double-length cars, in Poughkeepsie (June 14), Bridgeport (15-16), Waterbury (17), New Britain (see notes below), Plainville (18), New London (19), Providence (21-22), Fall River (23), New Bedford (24), Lowell (25), Fitchburg (26), Worcester (July 1), and Springfield (2-3).
  • James E. Strates Shows, Maybrook to Norwich (May 10-15), New London (17-22), Pawtucket (24-29), New Bedford (31-June 5), Fall River (June 7-12). The train was 40 cars; 9 sleepers and 31 flats.
  • Endy Bros carnival in June over the Norwich branch to Boston (week ending June 19), Chicopee (w/e 26), Fitchburg (w/e July 10). A 35 car show with 8 sleepers and 27 flats.
  • The World of Mirth, to Pittsfield (the route shows Poughkeepsie week ending June 26) and North Adams (week ending July 4th). It returns for the Brockton Fair (September 13-18) before heading down the Shoreline to points south.
In addition, I know that Coleman Brothers was in New Britain May 3-8, the Hunt Brothers Circus on June 11, 1948, John H Marks Shows June 14-19. They all had other shows in NH territory that season, although they may not have traveled by rail.

Apparently Hunt Brothers didn't have a great show in New Britain or Bristol. From The Billboard 6/26/48:

Weather, Opposition Hurt Hunt Bros.' Org in Conn. NEW BRITAIN, Conn., June 19.- Too much opposition, in the form of threatening weather and the prox- imity of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, hurt biz for the Hunt Bros.' org here and in Bristol. Hunt played to half houses at both performances here Friday (11), large- ly, it is believed, because the Big One was due to show in nearby Plainville one week later. Rains for several days before org appeared in Bristol (10) cut attendance at the matinee, but a strong house was on hand for the evening show. 

James E Strates Shows was in New Britain in 1949 (June 6-11), along with Ross Manning Shows (July 11-16), and Coleman Brothers (July 17-23).

The Ringling Bros dates are taken from the Circus History site.

You'll note that Ringling Bros, B&B is not playing in Hartford. After the 1944 fire, they didn't return to Hartford until long after the New Haven days, and 1948 was the first year they booked any shows in CT.

The New Britain stand for Ringling Brothers is listed in the article, but isn't on the Ringling Brothers route. I found this in the 5/22/48 issue of The Billboard Magazine:

R -B New Britain Lot Nixed NEW BRITAIN, Conn., May 15.- There is a possibility that the Ring - ling- Barnum circus may have to cancel its scheduled June 17 appearance here. Frank A. Starkel, State police fire marshal, has declared the lot on South Main Street selected by the circus "unsuitable and rejected."

It appears it was moved to Waterbury instead for the 1948 season, as that's what's listed in their route.  

The Plainville 1948 show was a success. From the 7/3/48 issue of The Billboard:

Prime Territory The route the Big Show is now making is the same fought for annually by every big rail org in the country in the heyday of the circus with the best biz naturally going to the first in. Friday (18) at Plainville, Conn., a town of 10,000 several miles distant from New Britain and Hartford, the circus played to two turn away crowds. Indications were that it would easily have been worth a two day stand. The entire community was disrupted, but not unhappily so, by the influx of sightseers, necessitating an all-night tour of the regular police force plus many special officers. The show set up on a near-perfect grounds, Tinty's Flying Ranch. The shortage of working help continues acute. The circus management reportedly is offering extra help $3 to $4, three meals, and free tickets to both the big top and the Side Show in return for helping to get it up and down.  

The dates for Endy Bros, Strates, and World of Mirth shows are taken from The Billboard Magazine  5/15/485/22/485/29/48. 6/5/48,  6/12/486/19/486/26/487/3/487/10/48, and 9/11/48.

Second section of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus moving over the Providence-Worcester branch. This section contains the many circus "props" and 14 sleeping cars. The circus train is en route to Worcester

Circus Trains seem to have lost favor in the modeling community as gimmicky. But the reality is, there were a lot of circus/carnival trains in this era, and even more pre-Depression if you're modeling that early. Although from a scenic standpoint my layout will be the first Monday in November, I may eventually build a circus or carnival train (or two) for the occasional summer session. They also make beautiful shelf displays when not running on the layout. 

Man > Power > Motive (July-Aug)

The Engine Dispatcher makes sure they are on hand to operate our trains...

An interesting article about a job I hadn't really considered existing. They call the engineers, firemen and hostlers, including from the spare board if needed. They also assign the motive power.

The May-June issue had an article on the Crew Dispatcher, although I wouldn't have gathered that they are responsible for all of the train crews except engineers, firemen or hostlers. Otherwise the article primarily covers the complexity of managing a huge pool of employees, and the process of calling them to duty.

At Boston, Providence, Cedar Hill, Harlem River, Grand Central, Maybrook, Danbury, Waterbury, Hartford and New London, where locomotives return to the enginehouse for inspection and maintenance, the Enginehouse Foreman keeps the Engine Dispatcher informed as to when each locomotive is ready for the next run. They also have to ensure enough units are assigned for the load. 

Crews on the spare board are first in, first out, but the Engine Dispatcher must know who is qualified for specific type of locomotive and the line. In addition, there are three levels of qualification for engineers and two for firemen. Freight and yard, local passenger (after 1 year), then all type of trains for an engineer (after 18-24 months). Firemen receive their First Class certificate after 15 years of experience.

It would be rare for a layout to require somebody to handle just this job (and probably a bit boring too), but it could be something that a Dispatcher/Agent could handle. I like this idea better than the Yardmaster assigning or choosing locomotives because it feels more prototypical. We obviously need to combine jobs on the model, but I think some combinations are better than others.

But I'm more interested in the information about different levels of qualification, and am considering some sort of system on my layout. It won't be as rigid as the prototype, obviously, and will also depend on who is there. But by having fully qualified conductors on a given job, I know that they'll be able to help the less experienced crew assigned as engineers. 

But consider a different scenario. Chris, Dale and I like to have the momentum very high on our locomotives. But not all operators are familiar with that approach, and some just don't like it. The Dispatcher could have a notation of these preferences (qualifications) and when it's time to assign power to a train, they can take this preference into account.

This could be much like the prototype in the transition era, too. Not everybody was qualified on steam, and that may be the case on your layout as well.

There are other aspects that you could incorporate as well. To start with, it's not uncommon for trains to run late on a model railroad. Inspections and maintenance take time, and you could take that into account when assigning locomotives. On the NH, most trains have assigned locomotives, and the inspection/maintenance is factored into those assignments. But trains running late, or mechanical problems, affect that. There are a number of ways that could be simulated on your layout without greatly complicating things.

Beautiful New Parlor Cars...TOPS in Passenger Comfort

An article detailing the new stainless steel parlor cars, the first delivered on June 4, and the rest by the end of August.

The Stanley Idea!

An article on Stanley Home Products. No, not Stanley Works in New Britain, but a company in Easthampton, MA. A company that sells via home parties, they provide entertainment (a magic show, singing, a bit of vaudeville, etc.) and the host sells the products. Headquartered in Westfield, but their plant is in Easthampton.
  • They receive a monthly average of 4,244,879 pounds of handles, bottles, cans, chemicals (some by tank car), bristles, Carnauba wax, and wire.
  • They ship a monthly average of 3,372,680 lbs of finished products, brushes, mops, waxes, polishes, and other household brushes and chemicals, to nine distribution centers: Atlanta, Trenton, Zanesville, Dubuque, Kalamazoo, Tulsa, Seattle, and Oakland.
This is great information for me when setting up waybills for the NY/YN freights. I just wish they had published a lot more of these types of articles. Some of these would probably route B&A at Westfield, or B&M at Northampton. But cars would route over the New Haven and through New Britain.

Traffic Highlights

  • Received the last of 103 new coaches on May 4, 1948 and in operation on most Shoreline trains, some Springfield trains, plus the Naugatuck and Cape Cod operations.
  • Delivery of 50 parlor cars started in June, and should be completed by end of August. Ten diners, fifteen grill cars, and two observation-lounge cars by end of year, and twenty-seven sleeping cars in early 1949. (I didn't check to see if this delivery schedule was kept).
  • Berkshire passenger trains north of Danbury and the Naugatuck line are all dieselized with DERS-2b locomotives, and passenger service on the Highland line between Boston and Hartford-Waterbury will be dieselized in the near future.
  • Summer seasonal trains include the East Wind, Down Easter, Bar Harbor Express, Valley Express, North Wind, White Mountains Express, the Day Cape Codder, the Neptune, the Night Cape Codder, and the Housatonic Express.
  • Operating revenues for May are up by 9% year over year, with passenger revenues down by 3% and freight up by 17%. and the figures are expected to be the same for July.

Train Travel Made Easy

An article about marketing passenger service. There is also a list of all of the trains that are assigned the 8600-series stainless steel coaches at that time.

And that's it for this issue.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Designing Operations for Paul's Layout Part IV - The Movement of Cars and Paperwork

Here's Part I, Part II, and Part III.

A lot of people like to start at this point (or at least think they are starting here). But I think that by starting where we did, the movement of the cars themselves is largely self-evident.

  • Cars come onto the New Haven via Interchange Tracks.
  • They are classified based on their destinations into trains.
  • The trains move the cars to their destinations.
  • The cars eventually get moved to an Interchange Track to leave the New Haven.

This is basically what we are attempting to design, but much of it has already been addressed:

  • Cars will enter the layout via Track No. 5.
  • Eastbound cars are bound for destinations in/beyond Boston.
  • Westbound cars are bound for destinations in/beyond New Haven.
  • Any car at an industry is bound for destinations beyond Boston/New Haven.

Movement of Trains Continued...

To start, cars move on trains (duh), so we have to define the trains. Lucky for me, Paul is modeling the New Haven, so I don't have to define anything.

From the October 28, 1962 Arranged Freight Service Symbol Book No. 14:

Boston to Cedar Hill (and points beyond)

Times are departure and arrival times for Boston/Cedar Hill

  • BG-1 (Boston to Bay Ridge) - 11.15 PM/5.05 AM
  • BH-5 (Boston to Harlem River) - 8.15 PM/12.25 AM - Trailers
  • BH-7 (Boston to Harlem River) - 10.15 PM/2.00 AM - Trailers
  • BN-1 (Boston to Cedar Hill) - 3.00 AM/11.40 AM
  • A/BO-1 (Boston to Maybrook) - 5.30 PM/8.35 PM
  • BO-1 (Boston to Maybrook) - 7.00 PM/11.40 PM

Cedar Hill (and points west) to Boston

    Times are departure and arrival times for Cedar Hill/Boston

    • FGB-2 (Bay Ridge to Boston) - 3.05 PM/9.35 PM
    • GB-8 (Bay Ridge to Boston) - 8.55 PM/2.00 AM
    • HB-6 (Harlem River to Boston) - 11.09 PM/3.05 AM - Trailers
    • HB-8 (Harlem River to Boston) - 1.50 AM/5.46 AM - Trailers
    • OB-2 (Maybrook to Boston) - 7.40 PM/12.40 AM
    • OB-4 (Maybrook to Boston) - 1.00 AM/7.05 AM
    • OB-8 (Maybrook to Boston) - .10 AM/8.45 AM

    So we can name a given inbound/outbound train and schedule them sequentially for now, and can work to adhere to the schedule in the future. This will make it easier to define what we're talking about. For this session starting in Boston, I'll say it's 2:00 AM and GB-8 has just arrived on schedule, and we are building BN-1.

    You'll note that the BH/HB trains are noted as trailer trains. That would be easy enough to add by using the Interchange Track as a fiddle yard and adding/removing the trailer cars at the appropriate time in a session. Many of the trains have specific consists, for example FGB-2 is the Florida-Greenville-Boston job and typically had a lot of FGEX produce reefers. Once again, even though the scenery is the same, we'll see different consists and start to recognize the action that's taking place.


    Let's look at the two industries. There are a few ways we can handle them.

    Option 1: Each industry is worked by a train that can switch it (i.e. is a trailing point move).

    Option 2: As option one, but westbound trains can take the reversing loop and service both industries on their run.

    Option 3: Neither train services the industries, and they are in yard limits, and served by the switching crew in the yard. They could service one or both industries during each yard scene.

    I prefer option 3, simply because through freights didn't service industries. I would also spot the cars on Track No. 2 first, then switch jobs (and even locomotive) from the yard crew classifying cars to a switching crew servicing the local industries.


    Any waybill system will work. Full size waybills to the 4-part car card/waybill approach. Since that's what Paul is planning on using, that's what we'll go with.

    Because this is a one-operator layout and the yard is serving double duty, we will see some of the same cars move multiple times. We can set rules for the sequence of cars to minimize that if it is something that bothers you.

    For example:

    The Interchange Track will be a fiddle yard. A car coming onto Track No. 5 must traverse the layout before being delivered to an industry, or going back to Track No. 5 to be removed from the layout.

    The session starts at Boston. NYC 12345 is on Track No. 5 and is eastbound to a destination in Maine. That will be moved to Track No. 4 (eastbound cars), but we're building a westbound train (since we're in Boston). So that will stay on Track No. 4.

    After building BN-1, it will run the layout until it arrives at Cedar Hill. After the yard is worked, FGB-2 will be heading out from Cedar Hill, and will include NYC 12345. Once FGB-2 arrives at Boston Yard, it will be switched off the train to Track No. 5, and off the layout (and the New Haven).

    An example using a 4 part waybill:

    1. Industry eastbound
    2. Interchange westbound
    3. Off-layout industry westbound
    4. Interchange eastbound

    In this example, we won't fiddle cars on/off the layout. The Waybill is flipped to the next destination when it reaches its current destination.

    The car is on Track No. 5 and we are in Boston. When pulled the waybill indicates it needs to go to Boston Siding eastbound. So it is placed on Track No. 4. A train will run, and once we are switching Cedar Hill it will be placed on an eastbound freight.

    It will arrive in Boston, and be pulled for a switching crew to deliver to the Industry. Now that it has reached its destination, the card will be flipped. The next time the industry is switched, we will see that it is going to an interchange on a westbound train.

    Once it takes a westbound train, it will be switched out to Track No. 5. That's its destination, so the card will be flipped to 3, which indicates an off-layout industry westbound. Once again a train will run the layout before Track No. 5 is pulled again, and the car is placed on the westbound track. After it returns to the yard, it will go back to Track No. 5, since that's the Interchange Track covering any location not on the layout.

    Each waybill for this layout needs a destination and a direction. Since there are only two industries, most of the cars will be destined for someplace off layout. You can enhance this with more specific destinations, such as specific industries in and around Boston, or even an industry in another town that would be serviced by a local freight originating in that yard.

    As time goes on, the more layers of prototypical information and action that you add, the more prototypical the layout will feel.

    Operational Considerations

    There will be a lot of car movements, and most of the work is classifying the inbound freights. To do this, the first step is going to be to pull Track No. 5, and classify those cars. This will empty the track, so the cars coming off of the inbound train and being spotted on Track No. 5 will not be reclassified until a train has run the entire layout again.

    I would switch out the industries after classifying the cars on Track No. 5 and the inbound train, because some of the cars from the industries could be destined for the next outbound train.

    After all of the cars, including ones pulled from industries, are classified, then the outbound train will be moved to the departure track, a caboose added to the correct end, and the road power will come from the engine house for the next run.


    The fourth aspect to operations for me is paperwork. In this case, there is little I can think of in this regard that will enhance things. A time table and a more prototypical looking waybill will help immerse you in the operation of the railroad.

    Operations Make the Layout

    As should be clear, I really enjoy digging into the operations of the railroad as much as I like building and detailing a model. It's all part of the model to me. But far more modelers are still building 4' x 8' layouts and then want to add operations later on. While I think you can design a layout better suited to operations, and particularly for ops sessions, the reality is that a lot of us will remain lone wolves hiding in our basements and running our trains.

    But I also think that an operating layout is also more likely to be a long-lived layout. Or at least a life-long hobbyist. There are a lot of aspect of the hobby that can keep you busy for decades. If you like building/weathering freight cars you'll never run out of things to do. But model railroading is different than just model building in that we can run the models we build, and we can run them with a purpose. This seemingly simple layout will take an hour or longer to run a full cycle of breaking down, classifying, and building a train to run to the next terminal yard. Especially if you consider all of the aspects of actually working a railroad. Your ground crew throwing the iron, and hooking up the air, and testing the brakes, or running the locomotive at appropriate speeds and accounting for momentum, etc. DC, DCC, it doesn't matter.

    I think that's even more true for a "simple" layout like a 4' x 8' that's a loop with a yard and/or a few industries to switch. There's a lot more to a little layout like this when you consider how to operate it prototypically.

    Saturday, January 23, 2021

    Layout Construction: Bulk Tracks bridge

     Dick came by to help design and build a bridge for the bulk tracks behind the freight house.

    Here's a map to explain the layout of tracks:

    The large oval highlights the two bulk (team) tracks, along with a track to Stanley Rule and Level that crosses Whiting St. Also note the crane.

    The two smaller ovals are two unloading platforms. Since I can't model all of these tracks, I'll probably add one to this section.

    You can see how the bulk tracks are behind the freight house, with a parking lot between them. On the layout, the freight house will be along the edge of Whiting St. Yard, and (most of) the parking will be in the aisle. The bulk tracks are on a small shelf built into the wall. To get there, I need a bridge.

    Here's a shot with the Whiting St Yard benchwork to the left, and the bulk track shelf on the right. 

    My initial thought was to build a swing bridge that would hinge out from the wall. The problem is that it needs to be longer than the length of that wall, by about 4-6 inches. That's OK, because I would like to extend the layout about another 4-6" to provide a little of the parking, and maybe have some trucks at the freight house, which parallels the edge of the benchwork.

    However, Dick's initial thought was to attach it to the front of the benchwork. This sounded like a good idea, since it would be as long as needed, but I wanted to do it in a way that it is hidden when not in use, rather than the track being alongside the freight house. To do this, it would need to go down a slight grade to ensure that the top of the bridge was low enough that I can build out a small section of benchwork to cover it when stored. This amounts to about 1/2", and conveniently, that track is just long enough that it's a 2% grade to get to that point.

    Although not prototypical, the property wasn't entirely flat either, rising to the right of this track anyway. When scenicked I think it will look good.

    The bridge is a simple T-Beam. Dick routed out a slot for the vertical member, and we used a door hinge to attach it to the layout. I cut out the foam where the bulk track is, and used Woodland Scenics 2% grade (on top of a W-S 1/2" spacer). I also cut out the foam from the front house track to the edge of the benchwork so I can attach the extension that will hide the track securely to the existing benchwork. It will be a piece of OSB that simply extends out about 5" to cover the bridge when stowed.

    Here's the bridge extended:

    Very simple once we determined the angles. We started by cutting the vertical member to length and attaching that to the benchwork. Then we laid the other board across the top and marked the angles to be cut. It took us longer to work out specific details than it did to actually build it. 

    Because we couldn't open it a full 90-degrees, we drilled holes in the fascia first, then used machine screws and nuts to attach it. We had to attach a block to the side of the vertical member so the hinge would be along the side, permitting it to hinge flush against the benchwork. I will probably devise a closing mechanism with magnets to hold it in place when in use. The electrical bus will be attached on the hinge side with feeders to the track, and I already have a bus to the shelf.

    As it turns out, cork, plus a layer of the craft foam to be added later, is the perfect match to the end of the bridge. I needed some weights for while the glue dried...

    The track to Stanley Rule and Level will run against the front of this shelf, and end at the edge. There will be a track over at Stanley for scenic purposes, since I can't actually connect the two.

    While I could have just used the track that ended at the front of the layout for the same purpose, I think having a couple of the bulk tracks themselves will be a nice addition. The bridge will most likely be extended once or twice a session, just long enough to service the tracks, so it doesn't need to be more complicated than this. The extension to the benchwork will also help protect the freight house. While it does extend the reach, the majority (if not all) of the access that will be needed is at either end of the yard, not in the middle here. The Landers, Frary and Clark track may be a challenge, though. I guess that's consistent, though, since the Landers track at New Britain Yard is too.

    Friday, January 22, 2021

    Commodities - Products of Agriculture and Animals

     There are a lot of smaller commodities, along with specialized commodities that won't come to New Britain. Livestock is one I covered earlier. Let's see if there's anything left worth looking at by category:

    900 Products of Agriculture

    • 001 Wheat - 133 (NY 50, PA 50, Canada 33)
    • 003 Corn - 983 (IL 275, IN 50, IA 25, KY 25, MI 25, MN 25, NY 75, OH 425, PA 25, Canada 33)
    • 007 Oats - 708 (ME 25, NY, 50Canada 633)
    • 009 Barley and Rye - 75 (MN 25, NY 25, OH 25)
    • 015 Flour, Wheat - 3,150 (IN 50, IA 150, KS, 275, MI 25, MN 625, MO 450, NE 100, NY 1350, WI 25)
    • 017 Meal, Corn - 25 (NY)
    • 019 Flour, Edible, NOS - 275 (IL 25, IN 25, MN 25, NY 150, TN 25, WI 25)
    • 021 Cereal, Food Prep - 383 (MA 100, MI 50, NY 25, OH 25, PA 25, Canada 33)
    • 023 Mill Products, NOS - 708 (IL 75, IA 50, LA 25, MA 100, MI 50, NY 25, OH 25, PA 25, Canada 333)
    • 025 Hay - 483 (MI 100, NY 250, Canada 133)
    • 027 Straw - 50 (NY)
    • 031 Tobacco Waste - 75 (PA)
    • 033 Cotton in Bales - 450 (AZ 25, AK 100, CA 25, GA 50, LA 50, MS 75, SC 25, TX 100)
    • 035 Cotton Linters - 275 (MA 50, NJ 50, NY 25, NC 100SC 25, VA 25)
    • 039 Cottonseed Cake Meal - 350 (AK 25, GA 50, IL 125, MS 25, SC 50, TN 75)
    • 045 Soybean Oil Cake - 250 (IL 75, IN 75, OH 75, PA 25)
    • 047 Vegetable Oil Cake - 100 (GA 25, IL 25, NJ 50)
    • 199 Products of Agriculture NOS - 900 (CA 25, FL 125, IL 75, IN 50, LA 400, MA 25, NY 125, OR 25, VT 50)

    There are feed dealers in New Britain. C.W. Lines on Chestnut St. Here are two views. It's on the right in the first picture, this side of the railroad tracks, and on the left in the second, on the opposite side.

    This also gives us a nice view of both sides of the crossing shanty here. Unfortunately, Chestnut St didn't make the layout, the Berlin Line crosses through the helix at this point.

    Reynolds Hugh Grain and Feed Co is on Commercial St, right next to New Britain Yard.

    They may have received bulk grain and feed, or in bags. There's a loading door facing the tracks.

    Miner, Reed and Tullock is listed as a wholesale flour dealer/broker. The building still stands, and I'm in the process of determining whether I'll build it to scale, or compress it.

    There have clearly been additions, but the bulk of the building is the original one. Because these products are produced by so many producers, I'll just need to find some in each region for waybills. I probably won't need to research the remaining products of Agriculture for my layout.

    910 Animals and Products of Animals

    • 215 Meats, Fresh NOS - 7,392
    • 219 Packinghouse Products, Edible - 200
    • 221 Margarine, NOS - 50
    • 225 Poultry, Dressed - 75
    • 235 Wool in Grease - 325
    • 239 Hides, Skins, Pelts - 75
    • 241 Leather, NOS - 25
    • 299 Animals and Products, NOS - 125

    Of course, the most common shipments here are from the meatpacking plants. In New Britain there's the Armour and Swift plants. Of course, others may be seen too, such as this Morrell reefer:

    For through freights, there are Armour, Cudahy, and Swift distribution plants in Hartford. Armour, Cudahy, and Swift are also in Holyoke. I know Wilson was in New Haven and New London, possibly others. Hormel, Rath, and Tobin all had a presence in CT, although I haven't identified towns. But they might be seen on the Maybrook freights to Hartford.

    Of course, as the picture above shows, other brands may be seen regardless of whether a distribution center is present. 'Generic' meat reefers, such as Mather,  or NX, would also be appropriate.

    For example, in New Britain there is also AYO Packing Co, M Krawczyk and Sons, Martin Rosol's, and Vitamin Sausage Products, all companies that make sausages and other processed meats, and would likely receive them via rail. In Hartford is Grote & Weigel, Kaufman Bros, Morris Packing, Mucke, Rex Provision, Sparvery Bros, and Stanley Provision. These would also receive reefers, even if it's at a bulk track.

    The other products of animals are in such small annual quantities that I won't need to concern myself with them. For example, the 25 annual carloads of leather may be to a single industry somewhere in CT.


    Combined with what I've covered in prior posts, those are all of the commodities for those categories that show up in the 1% waybill study.

    Wednesday, January 20, 2021

    Research - The State of the Railroad

    Poking around through more copies of Along the Line, and I came across this article from August, 1949. Like so many "known" facts, I find that with a little research that things aren't quite what has been passed along through the years. This is the second "relaunch" of the magazine, this time in a smaller format, after missing five months.

    Five Thousand New Jobs

    More than five thousand new jobs were created during the years 1947 and 1948 through the location of new industries along the line of The New Haven Railroad, it was revealed recently by figures compiled by our Industrial Development Department.

    During those two years twenty-nine new industries came into our territory from previous locations elsewhere, and a total of 134 new industries started in business here, including new branches of existing industries. Only eight industries moved to other locations during the same period, and only fourteen went out of business.

    The consequent benefits to the railroad and the communities were manifold. For our part, we had a net gain in freight tonnage from these industries of 251,220 tons annually. The communities had a net gain of 141 industries, employing 5,045 persons.

    Translating this added number of employees into terms of purchasing power, it is readily seen how great were the benefits to the communities. Figuring a conservative average of $40. a week earnings for these new employees, this meant a total additional payroll of $10,493,600 annually. It meant more trade for the butcher, the grocer, the clothier, the electric light and gas companies, the telephone company, and everybody else in business in the territory. It meant more tax collections for the support of government.

    Their food bill alone would be over $3,000,000. Housing and fuel expenditures would be more than a million and a half dollars. They would spend well over a million dollars for clothing, better than $600,000 for household furnishings, and another $400,000 for household operations. Automobiles, entertainment, medical care and other items would run over two millions.

    Interesting, too, is the diversity of products turned out by these new industries. The greater the diversity of manufacture in a given territory, the less is the likelihood of disastrous results from untoward conditions affecting a particular type of industry. Diversity is good "insurance."

    Here are some of the products represented by the new industries: advertising displays, furniture, groceries, air filters, plastic wire connectors, electrical appliances, printed forms, lithography, Fritos, rulers, toiletries, phonograph record blanks, wallboard, steel products, flooring, paper cartons, lumber, paper, trailer frames, yarn, cranberry sauce, castings, cotton yarn, glassware, construction equipment, plywood boat forms, plastic products, phonograph cabinets, pallets, builders' supplies, concrete blocks, paint brushes, photo equipment, metal tube and hose, dog food, aluminum foil, wire cord, rubber gloves, textiles, jams and jellies, clothes cabinets, wrenches, plasticized fabrics, synthetic felt, paper tubes, Propane gas, bananas, brass and aluminum castings, beverages, cinder blocks, frozen foods, aluminum door frames, steel chain, facial tissue, aluminum skis, woolen yarn, rayon fabrics, nails, fencing, beer, castings and shoes.

    Industrial development work began on the New Haven away back in 1911, when, in cooperation with the Boston & Maine, the first railroad industrial development activities were organized. This pioneering produced such excellent results that soon power companies followed the railroads' example, and this was fallowed in turn by greater activity by local chambers of commerce and similar organizations.


    This is also the issue announcing the launch of the Cranberry, plus faster service for a lot of trains, many from 5-10 minutes, but the Colonial's running time has been shaved by 45 minutes. The Merchants also gains coaches during the summer months for the first time.

    It seems that things aren't quite in the decline that most attribute to the post-war era. To be sure, we do see a decline in the next few years, with a brief boost from the Korean war, but in this period where the railroad has just come out of bankruptcy looks like things are going well. 


    Lastly, there's a letter from News Syndicate, Inc. referring to damage to newsprint paper rolls, and the reminder that there is a growing option of having the newsprint shipped via water routes. The author says he was a railroad man who worked the spare board for a decade and would like to see the business stay with the railroad.

    As interesting as the letter is, it's the statistics that he quotes that interests me: they receive 600 carloads/month of newsprint.

    This is New York City, so they may receive it from several railroads. I don't have the 1% waybill statistics for New York (much less the city), but that's 7,200 carloads a year, and more than double the average delivered to CT 1950-1954.

    Monday, January 18, 2021

    Designing Operations for Paul's Layout Part III - The Movement of Trains and Staging

    Here's Part I and Part II.

    What do Railroads do?

    Railroads are a shipping company. They move commodities from one place to another. 

    Well, duh, right?

    The Movement of Trains
    In my view of operations, there are four major components: The Jobs Performed by the Railroad, the Movement of Trains, the Movement of Cars, and Paperwork. As you may have guessed, a lot of folks like to start with the Movement of Cars (car cards/waybills) when designing for operations, but for me that's still to come.

    First we need to figure out how trains will be moving around the layout. To do that we need to know where we are, and what Point A and B are, and if there are any intermediate stops as well. Oh yes, and the layout is a loop.

    A digression - for decades we've seen layout plans talk about point-to-point layouts, as if they are inherently different from a layout designed as a loop. But the real point (ahem) is that a real railroad travels and moves goods and/or people between two or more points. So that means you have to design a layout with a start and and end, right? 

    But it probably didn't take long for people to realize that even in the smallest scales, we can't build the entire rail system in our basement (or laundry closet), so we'll need to find a way to include the parts we don't build. Thus the concept of staging.

    It's pretty simple - you have a layout designed with two ends, and staging at either end to represent everything else. And obviously this has absolutely nothing to do with the layouts we built as uneducated kids on a 4' x 8' loop.

    Except that my layout has a helix at either end, that goes down to the lower level where the staging is, and it also forms a complete loop. So I guess it can be a loop, but part of the loop is hidden, right?

    Why don't I just get to my point, which is:
    Point-to-point is a method of operation, and not necessarily a physical design.

    Back to my layout to clarify. If I have an open house, I can just put a train on the mainline, and let it loop through the layout for as long as I let it run. It's a loop. But when operating the layout, we consider that the right helix is heading toward Hartford, and the left is going to Plainville, and no train going down one side would ever come back up the other one.

    Yes, it's certainly possible (and often preferable) to design a physical point-to-point layout. But just because a layout is a loop doesn't mean we have to operate it that way.

    OK, back to where we were: Where are we?

    Paul labeled the left loop as New Haven and the right as Boston. I suggested an alternative. The layout is New Haven and Boston, depending on which end of the run we find your train.

    That is Point A and Point B are defined by operation, not by the physical layout. 

    You start the Session in Boston Yards, and in incoming train has arrived from New Haven, from the left loop (west). You break down the train, build a new one, and head west to New Haven.

    If you enjoy watching trains run around a loop, then you can do so for as long as you'd like. Otherwise it can be just one. In which case you have arrived at Cedar Hill, and the layout is now in New Haven.

    Some people won't like this approach, I get it. But then I'd suggest you try it. Because my modeling buddies and I have commented many times that the details don't matter when operating, because you're focused on the operations. Both Chris and I have had many ops sessions on our plywood (OSB) central layouts, and nobody has complained that the ops session was a failure because everything was the same shade of plywood (well, except Essex through East Haddam on Chris' since that's built on pink foam).

    To me, Movement of Trains also addresses things like signaling, Time Table & Train Order, etc. But those are potential layers to consider in the future. We need to get this operating for Paul first, get a handle on the basics of operating the layout before we add those layers.

    But that still doesn't address the issue of (lack of) staging or, to put it another way, the lack of connection to the outside world.

    So let's look at staging.

    I think it's one of the most important aspects of layout design. And to design proper staging, I think you need to have a general idea of what you'll be running on the layout in terms of trains. Because you must have a staging track for each train, right?

    The answer, of course, is yes. And ideally that will be off-stage. But in a small space it may not be possible for you to have off-stage staging.

    There are three basic types of staging: hidden, visible, and fiddle.

    Hidden staging is the traditional staging, separate from the main layout, where trains await their next run. It can be a siding on the back of a loop and hidden from view. It can be in a second room, or a second level with a helix. Anyplace you can put a hidden track where a train will start or end its run is what most people think about when discussing staging.

    Visible staging is also fairly popular. A yard at one end of the layout often serves as a visible staging yard. Trains are built and broken down at the yard, which runs to the other end of the layout, sometimes another yard, or a loop that returns to the same yard. A hidden staging track or two might exist for interchange to another road, or a dummy track serves the same purpose. Another type of visible staging is an interchange track.

    Fiddle staging is a point, sometimes hidden, where trains are built and broken down. It's a real space saver, but requires you to actively swap out the cars. A carfloat operation is one possibility. You can even have multiple floats, pre-loaded, and you swap out the float itself. This can be combined with other types of staging as well. 

    An example I've provided fairly frequently when people online ask about small layout design and how much staging is needed is the CNZR. You can look at my earlier post for details on the operation, but the basic schematic is this:

    It's a small branch line that has their engine servicing at the end of their line. On the CNZR it's literally the end of the track, with a couple of sheds, and the locomotives sitting in the open. A runaround is across a street. The other end of the line consists of a runaround, and a junction with another railroad's mainline, and a couple of interchange tracks.

    If we look at it from the perspective of the crew, then they pull cars and drop them on one of the interchange tracks, and pull inbound cars from another interchange track. That, on the prototype, is visible staging. If this is wrapped around the walls of a room, you can easily add a hidden track to create a full loop for continuous running when you want it. They only have a single customer, but there's no reason why you can't add more.

    For this layout, it's all visible staging. The passenger train never leaves the layout. Freight cars can stay on the layout, or you can fiddle some of them on/off, either during or between sessions. Locomotives are on trains or being serviced, and never leave the layout. But we can still have a connection to the outside world.

    Track No. 5 is now designated as an Interchange Track.

    We've already declared Track No. 3 as westbound, and Track No. 4 as eastbound. Since we're only running one freight at a time, this helps prep everything for the next train. Which means next time we can talk about the Movement of Cars.

    Movement of Trains - Passenger Service
    We can extend the "road scene" by switching between the freight and passenger trains. Since Track No. 2 is an independent block, the passenger train can be at the station while the freight pulls into the siding. Then the passenger will proceed to the passenger station on the Coast Main Line, stop, and then proceed back to the other side. If desired, it could be stopped in the New Haven block, while the freight continues around the Boston loop, and so on.

    I would also use the reversing loop to allow the passenger train to go out, then back to meet the freight in different directions. Again, the freight can be parked temporarily in a block so the passenger crew can "turn" the train by running around their consist using Track No. 2, and being ready for another out-and-back.

    Admittedly, this is not an ideal layout for long runs, but you can have a meet or two, and some people just enjoy watching the trains run. That's possible here, but for me the bulk of the operations would be in the yard. 

    Back to the Movement of Trains
    As for how trains are moved across the road, which is what I usually focus on? There isn't really any need to worry about TT&TO, or even operational paperwork here. Signaling could be added to indicate when one of the blocks is occupied. But as a single-operator layout with a single-track mainline in DC, there's not going to be any need for anything other than, "the train I'm running has the main." 

    Having said that, we can design a schedule and we'll look at that next week.

    Saturday, January 16, 2021

    Layout Construction: Spray Booth is Installed (again)

     I moved the spray booth back to where I originally planned, under the west end of the layout:

    I had moved it to where Whiting Street is, and vented it through the old dryer vent. But since I built the backdrop only 2" off of the concrete wall, it's not thick enough to accommodate the flexible vent anymore. Here I have it running up through the wall and out the window:

    As you can see, the booth has two fans, and two vents. Fortunately, I hadn't bothered taking this down when I moved the booth. One of the reasons I moved it was to provide desk space for the crews here. But they can use the booth for their paperwork just as easily, along with the other half of the agent's desk next to it. The bad patch job used to be behind the backdrop, so I'll have to finish that repair.

    The refreshments (and bar) move to under Whiting St.

    The compressor was a Christmas present, and is the same one Bill S. recently got and recommended. This all fits quite well, and accessing the two turnouts behind it isn't that difficult either. Lighting, of course, is great, and I think I may add a second one further back because the booth has a clear plexiglass top to allow a light to be used inside the booth too.

    The booth itself was made by Artograph, and I did a lot of research before I purchased it years ago.  It has only seen a little use, but I'm sure that will change. Micro-Mark sold their own brand of the same one, but I paid a whole lot less than they want for it. I'm pretty sure it's out of production altogether, though, and now I'm having trouble finding the filters. It uses three, a think pre-filter which you used to be able to buy as a roll and would come through a slot in the back, plus a regular filter that other booths use, and a third layer that also looks like a pretty common material, even if I'll have to cut my own. There was a 20" wide version, but this is the 30" because I figured I might be doing buildings and other larger items at some point.

    Next to it is a Flambeau tackle box from Walmart, that I purchased when I was building Harvey's layout. It has 5 multicompartment storage boxes which I have organized for various small parts, plus a good size open compartment for tools.

    The storage drawers are just a basic plastic mobile storage unit, purchased from Wal Mart probably 20 years ago, but there are always similar ones available. These right half of the agent's desk is where I do my modeling now, so this unit and ready access to the spray booth will work well going forward I think.

    The shelving, of course, is (at least 3 generations of) Ikea Ivar shelving that I've been using for years.

    This is all part of finding a home for everything that doesn't currently have one, which is critical when living in a small house.