Image above captured on the upper deck of the layout where scenery has progressed to some extent...
Shot with Olympus C-750

Welcome to the SP Oregon Division!

An N Scale RR depicting the good old days along "The Friendly".

Insight on Operations

Espee Oregon Division- Operations

Latest revisions (>): 4 / 16 / 2016

Since modeling the Southern Pacific from the late 70's era, we have tried to research how they did operations and what the related forms appeared like.  With some modeler's license, we have made an attempt to recreate the basic operations including the paperwork, train make up, signaling specifics, procedures, use of rules, and other necessary items, in an effort to give the feel of how things were on the Cascade Sub at that time.
Operations on the Espee Oregon Division begin with the crew calls going out over conventional e-mail a few weeks in advance.  I have been unable to schedule a regular date for operations due to the dynamics of family life.  Crews are provided with a copy of the General Rules in advance so they can review some of the particulars before operating day. 

We start a session with a small pre-ops meeting, bringing operators up to speed on any recent changes or emphasis needed on protocol, and orientate new operators on the main essentials of the layout.  Job / Crew call preferences are determined by a drawing.

Division Job Assignments:

The Hill Dispatcher-
Typically the layout is dispatched by our Chief Dispatcher remotely in Iowa from over 1500 miles away, but have also used other Dispatchers ranging from Portland OR to Fullerton CA, as well as locally here on premises. 

The railroad is Centralized Traffic Control (CTC) with mainline turnouts lined by the dispatcher, and the signaling system is dependent on inputs from turnout position as well as train occupancies. 

OS Turnouts are protected by switchlocks on the fascias similar to prototype dual controlled turnouts and require no crew interaction.  Local turnouts connecting to CTC are also switchlock protected, similar to that of timelocks, with Helper and Switch Crews typically being the only crews that need to interact with switchlocks.

Responsibilities and Procedures for the Hill Dispatcher:

Eugene Yard Master-
This position handles traffic in and out of Eugene Yard, coordinates with the Dispatcher (DS) as well as the Eugene Switch Jobs.  This job also coordinates set-outs / pick-ups, originating and terminating trains, as well as planning for helper entrainment when needed.  Currently working on more modifications in an attempt to cover some of SP's TOPS (total operations process system) including their use of TAGS (terminal assignment grouping system), just to taint it with a bit more SP flavor.  Currently this job is combined with the East Switcher job, but the growing workload may dictate further changes.  

Responsibilities and Procedures for the Eugene Yard Master:

A Line-up sheet is provided to help coordinate trains arriving and departing Eugene Yd with some basic instructions included: 

East Eugene Switcher-
This job breaks down incoming trains and builds trains for departure as per the stack of switchlists.  Also handles some of the hostler duties.  Currently combined with the YM position, but still have to monitor workload since all of the recent changes.  Below is a copy of one of the latest Yard Switch Lists.

The Train Crews:

Procedures are listed on this sheet for Train Crews:

The Call Board:
Crews check back at the call board for upcoming job assignments.  Conductor position is typically used for switch jobs and new crew members :

Road Job-
Operators are given a Clearance Card with Engine # that gives their clearance over specified trackage.  Here is what the CC look like:

Stapled to the CC is also a "Flimsie" that is a set of Train Orders with any specific work or special instructions needed for each train's crew.  This is generic pic of what the crew receives:

The TO includes information on whether train will need helpers over Cascade Summit, or if there are any set-outs or other work that needs to be performed.  Here is a TO from a train that needs helpers:

New operators are typically given a basic road job position for their first call, so they can get familiar with the railroad enough to move on to Switch Crew and Helper job calls.  The preference is not to have the additional details in each TO, but is valuable for new operators.

Operators receive orders that determine if work is only assisting trains from Oakridge Yard and over Cascade Summit, or if they need to return as light power to Eugene Yard for servicing and / or assisting trains out of Eugene.  Crew interaction is a kick with this job, as communication between head-end and helper crews is needed when entraining mid-train helpers, train movements regarding the relaying of throttle positions and signal indications over the road, as well as cutting out the helpers at Summit.  Train handling is not too critical with the use of body mount couplers, so this job is not too stressful but does require a certain degree of attention.  Procedures include Helper crews calling the DS and requesting movement of turnouts with switchlocks as well as obtaining authority to enter track sections. 
Head-end crews also have a few duties regarding helper operations.  They must notify the DS upon departure of the yard that they will need assistance over the grade as per their Train Orders.  They must also get authority from the DS to pass red signals when putting trains together that cross OS sections. 

Local Switch Crew-
Like with the Road Jobs, operators are given a Clearance Card and Train Orders.  For switch jobs the TO mostly gives an overview of the work to be performed, and is a reference to go along with the switch list that is provided for each switch job.  Again emphasis on procedures that need to be followed so that unseasoned operators can find their way.  Here is the TO from the Oakridge Turn:

In addition, each local job receives a SPINS (Southern Pacific Industrial Numbering System) map to help perform industrial switching chores.
Here is how one map appears:

These crews need to be acquainted with the use of Switchlocks and Track Authority for fluid operations.  These jobs require some forethought as to where the crew will be working in relation to CTC territory so that Work & Time can be coordinated with the DS as needed.  Here is what the current Switch List Format looks like (will revise with correct form soon, ie. Conductors Work Report):

The Timetable contains a number of rules and instructions that are a layer past first time operators (we'll get you up to speed), but multiple copies can be found around the layout during operations.  The cover is a scan from the original SP TT, but some of the names have been changed to implicate fellow operators.
Here is an overview of my TT, over an original 35 year old sister artifact:

Inside the pages follow similar configuration to the original format, but have been changed to coincide with the layout:

 Here is an example of the Signal Chart showing the different signal aspects one can expect to see on the railroad during an operating session.

Here is the Track Chart showing the track alignment of the layout configured as a single line diagram:

 The back is also printed on colored cardstock, and has the division map on its inside, with revised oral authorization verbiage on the outside:

Additional Forms and Lists Currently in Use:

List of Train Symbol Configuration-
Since this section is such a dynamic part of the layout, things get updated often in an effort to improve operations.  Check for latest revisions designated by red arrows, with date found at top of this page.