Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Train Movements

Greetings All,

Recently published blog entries by myself, Ralph V (PC Ralph) and John B show some of the modeling aspects each of us use in our model train movements. For myself and Ralph we are using a Penn Central Car Card printed on card stock. Mine came courtesy of Ralph. John B is using JMRI which has some very nice features. Another friend and modeler, Neal M, who is an avid operator eschews all types of paperwork and lists for his operating sessions which can include up to 6 operators. My buddy Engineer Ed is currently making plans to alter his layout to accommodate some additional rail operations. By all accounts each modeler mentioned here is enjoying the movement of trains on their respective layouts in their own way.

Ralph V's Blog: http://kingsportdivision.blogspot.com/
John B's Blog: http://modelrrmisc.blogspot.com/
Neal's Train Layout: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCu57Zbc9ljhVSnay2gBovkA
Engineer Ed's Blog: http://hoschtonrr.blogspot.com/ 

Below are some of the examples of how I am running operations on the New York Central Train Layout.

Two PC Car Movement Cards. As noted PC 77047 and BAR 5226 are heading off layout to Williams Yard on the Kings Port Division. The Kings Port Division is PC Ralph's home layout and about 1,000 miles from the N.Y.C.T.L. More on that in future posts.

A simple index card with train information written in. Gives me a lot of info at a glance.

A train card with car movement cards tucked into a simple pocket made from a folded over index card and some scotch tape. 

Index card with HOLD in the box. Car cards behind the HOLD are staying in place and will need to be re spotted if moved during a pick up or set out. 

Train cards and car cards in a simple wooden box from Hobby Lobby. Clipboard for switch list.

The Kings Port Division in my basement. This box holds the cars forwarded to the Kings Port Division via our virtual operations. Car cards and train cards are readily available so I know what went where. Note the PC and BAR boxcars from the car cards in photo #1.

The legendary Engineer Ed working Terminal Yard checks off his last move on his switch list. E.E. is building an outbound train according to the blocking instructions on the switch list.

Train cards, Car cards, switch list being used by Engineer Ed

Fast forward about one week and a Kings Port to Empire City train is heading to Terminal Yard. 

From the left Block 1 shows the five cars that were sent to the Kings Port Division returning to the N.Y.C.T.L.. Car 6 (PC 229036) and car 7 (NYC 892021) have been added into the operations and are loaded for industries in Empire City.

The above pictured cars will arrive in Terminal Yard and be handled according to the car movement cards prepared by the Williams Yard Yard Master as evidenced below.

 NYC 892021 is spotted at Wonder / Hostess with a load of flour 

PC 229036 is spotted at Drywell Inks with a load of steel drums.

 Right now I really enjoy using the car cards sent to me by Ralph V. As things move forward I may try the JMRI method which looks very interesting. Am I doing it right? Am I doing it wrong? Does it really matter? To me if you're having fun then it's the right way.


  1. I had an interesting chat with an NS engineer (ex CR/PC). I asked him who decided if a freight went over the Conemaugh low-grade line or the main between Johnstown and Pittsburgh -- doesn't seem like there's a general rule. I thought it might be the dispatcher. He said it was something called the "movement office" in Philadelphia, which seems to have the first say over whether a train runs at all or what exact route it takes. So there's a lot that goes into the mix. If you operate solo, of course, this is mostly theoretical, but it's interesting.

  2. Hi John. Sounds like a very interesting conversation. In the book PC Bi-Annual by Robert H. Reid there is a chapter for traffic movement. He describes The "System Movement Bureau" located on the 17th floor of PC HQ Six Penn Plaza Philadelphia PA AKA the "Blue Room" due to the color of the walls as controlling the trains movements on the 19,000 mile system.Using a custom drawn map on a board nearly 100 feet long 15 employees move about 300 or pieces that represent symbol trains on the line. The "Blue Room" monitored all engines in Power Pool A service. Power Pool B (mineral service) and Power C (locals and lesser trains were not under direct Movement Bureau control.