Santa Fe Industrial Railroad


Operations are based on the following traffic flow:

No CTC, ATS, TT & TO schemes here! All trains are run as extras depending on traffic and number of operators. Simple.

I like this traffic pattern. It is very similar to what Chuck Hitchcock is doing with his new Santa Fe Industrial District albeit his is on a larger scale and much closer to the prototype than mine.

The staging tracks are representative of a few of the tracks at the Argentine yard. Here cars are humped for the industrial branch without blocking. A transfer run takes the cars to the classification yard a kin to the Santa Fe 5th Street yard in Kansas City.  At this yard, cars are classified for each of the two industrial parks (Armstrong Street and Ellison Avenue) and for industries adjacent to the yard.

Trains (all extras) from the classification yard go to:

Six local turns of 10 cars average plus another 10 for the spots off the yard gives 70 cars needed to fed the layout. Staging holds 82 so we have enough staging but only for one session. Add seven transfer runs and we have a potential to run 14 trains and about 140 cars per session. Sounds like a lot to me for a layout this size.

Movement of freight cars is governed by the four cycle Car Card + Waybills (CC+W) McFall system.

This consists of two parts:

  1. Car Card ... for car information and a pocket for the waybill and the

  2. Waybill    ... shows the routing of the car to the destination industry.

Car Cards and Waybills are ideal for this kind of railroad. No computer is involved (other than creating them) so there are no computer records that have to be in sync with the layout. Errors are self correcting. Most computer software for car movements are orientated for scheduled trains and there are no schedules here. It is an easy system to setup and operate. Besides, computers were not used by prototypes to track cars in 1967.

The car cards and waybills are produced from Shenandoah Software's MiTrains Inventory program and the Waybills created with their Waybills program.

In the sample car card, a picture of the car (optional feature) in shown to help operators identify the car. LO is the AAR car code for covered hoppers.

For the Waybills, each switching location or destination is given a different color. The program automatically fills in this color in the title bar. Green, in this case, is the color for Industrial Area A. This helps classifying the cars in the yard and way freight  switching. 

Sample Car Card

Sample Waybill

Both Together

The Waybills are printed on blank perforated business cards forms (the Waybills program can print other sizes). Cycle 2 is printed upside down on the face. Cycles 3 and 4 are printed on the back. When the Waybill is inserted in the Car Card pocket, the Empty Car instructions are hidden and only the cycle for the next move shows.

Operators do not change the Waybills for the next cycle. This is done in between operating sessions.

There are pockets on the fascia of the layout to hold the cards for: (1)  Spotted (cars placed at their correct location for loading or unloading); (2) Off Spot (cars that could not be spotted because there is no room at the industry); (3) Pulls (cars that can be moved); and (4) Unloading.  Many prototype industries are given one day to load a car and two days to unload before per diem rates take effect. In between sessions, all car cards in the Unloading box and empty cars now loaded in the Spotted box are put in the Pull box so they will be moved next session. The remainder of the cards in the Spotted box, i.e. delivered loads, are put in the Unloading box. The latter delays movement of these cars for one session. Operators do not touch the cards in the Unloading box during a session.

One complaint of using CC+W, is that every fifth session is the same as the first, etc. (unless the waybills are changed, which I do not do). By using the one day to load and two days to unload, the cars are mixed up and each operating session is different from any other.  Note that there is no correlation between the cycle number on the waybill to a particular operating session.

Naturally, it is unrealistic, in most cases,  to have the same car follow the same routing repeatedly. Since I am modeled the Santa Fe, most cars are lettered for that road. Many will differ only by the car number. This is perfectly prototypical. It is the foreign road cars, especially those with a uniquely visible appearance, that might be noticeable in repeating their routings. Once these types arrive in staging, they can be taken off the layout for several sessions and others substituted.  This is the limit of my setting up for an operation session. 

Last updated:  09/11/2004