Tricky Train Orders
February 19, 2004
We have discussed the operation and how stokers, water pumps, etc. operate and this covers another part of railroading. The following orders are proper orders but show how a word or two can change the meaning.
There was a siding at Marion, IN called Kent. The south end was a hand throw switch and the north end was within the intelocking at Kent Tower. The siding held about 55 cars and made a good meet for locals and through freights. The south switch was around a curve and out of sight of the operator at Kent tower. A train order tells you what you can do and how far you can go. Without going into anymore detail these two things mentioned above will cover these two orders.
Order #1: This order was addressed to a northbound train.
Engine 5965 run extra Dow to Kent.
Order #2: Same train different day.
Engine 5965 run extra Dow to Kent interlocking.
This siding was in yard limits and I will make a point later.
In Order #1 we would pull down to the south end switch stop and call the Kent tower operator before heading in. If the operator wanted us to head in the siding he said so, if we could come down the main he would tell us. To explain this, here is what is taking place. Although we are in yard limits the order runs out at the south switch at Kent. This order is a straight running order meaning that there was not a meet combined with it. The reason for this is when the order was put out the dispatcher did not know how far we would get before the southbound came into the picture but should get to Marion. If the southbound was late, he would move us farther. Because we were in yard limits if we were going to go down the main after stopping all he had to do was give us permission without an order.
Order #2: With this order you would go down the main to Kent tower because that is what the order said to do. With this order the dispatcher knew we would meet the train some where farther north. At Warsaw, IN the siding was called Grandy. The dispatcher would put out an order to protect himself but still leave himself room to change orders.
If I were on a southbound freight I would have an order like this.
Engine 5965 run extra Yost to Grandy
The northbound local would have an order like this.
Engine 6014 run extra Wabash to Grandy.
The rules say you cannot go by the first switch at a siding when your authority runs out at that siding. The dispatcher had protected the trains and himself by 34 cars the length of the siding. This also was in yard limits so both trains had to have permission to move pass the switch. Also he may have moved the southbound farther south and could do this an not violate a rule.
On the NYC you had to have permission to move in yard limits under manual block rules or non block, (timetable and train order). This is something else you had to know.
February 20, 2004
As good as the order was at Warsaw in keeping the two trains apart, here is what they did and destroyed it all.
We had been operating timetable, train order from about 1961 and the radio was coming into use making this train order work very well. First Warsaw tower was about 3/4 mile south of the siding at Grandy. The southbound upon arrival at the north switch or before would contact the operator at Warsaw tower and find out what was to take place.
As a rule they would tell the southbound to come on down and pick up orders. This move was ok because we were in yard limits and an extra and with permission could operate in yard limits without train orders. Warsaw told us the local was in the clear on the track behind the tower. This was all right except on paper we did not know the local was on the railroad. The rules say an order must be fulfilled superseded or annulled. Passing the tower we picked up our running order to run from Warsaw to Marion. There was not any mention of meeting the extra north. On paper we did not need this because of the original order.
I checked this out with the operators at Warsaw and the dispatcher did not annul the extra north's running orders which took him to the south switch at Grandy. Just because we are in yard limits does not mean the order was fulfilled when the extra north cleared up behind the tower. So two trains were operating on the same piece of track without a meet order. This is called a lap order (two running orders lapping each other without a meet). This happened about 2 or 3 times a week, a headon on paper, for many years.
Maurice worked the Michigan Division from 1947-1981. He then worked on the Bee Line from 1981-1992. From 1947 until august 1950, he worked on the section at Shirley and Markleville. In 1950 he started firing on steam and then on through the diesels. Maurice said, "I had the pleasure of working with C. C. Staley and Ron Buser many times."