Re: Car Movement Forms/Documents

Tony Thompson

Jim Betz wrote:


Hi Tony and all,
  I've addressed this to Tony because I -know- he knows the answers - but any one can answer ...
  I have/understand that the following movements were done:

  1) Movements of cars in a yard.
  2) Movements of cars from/to a yard - and - to/from a 'local' industry.
  3) Movements of loads and empties from one yard/location to another.
  4) Movements of cars from one RR to another (or receiving from).
  5) Movements of cars being "returned to sender" ... such as cars
       that were in captive service and were labeled "When empty
       return to ____".
  6) Empties being moved for redistribution purposes such as moving
       a beet gondola to be stored somewhere until it was needed again
       or moving some type of car from a yard that had extras to a yard
       that needed that car type.  A simple to understand/see example
       of this is the movement of empty auto racks up and down the
       West Coast.

         Your answers are pretty good, Jim. All loads moving had waybills, though as you say, within a yard those bills were in the yard office and switch crews worked from switchlists made up by the yard office clerks.
          Empties are a little more complicated. A separate Empty Car Bill was commonly used. Empty privately owned tank cars did move on regular waybills (of course shown as empty). Other privately owned or assigned-service empty cars might move on regular waybills, though some railroads used Empty Car Bills for such movements. And there seem to have been a few roads that did not use Empty Car Bills, but just used regular waybills for all empties.
          The issue of route cards is more complex, because every railroad had its own system, and in some cases different divisions of the same railroad had different systems. As you say, these were entirely for the convenience of switch or local crews and thus were organized and used locally.
           Employees have told me that car-side legends such as "Return to . . ." were ignored if they differed from what was on the paperwork. As one said, "it was above our pay grade to contradict the paperwork."
           How one chooses to implement these prototype practices in the model world is a complex and (to some) fascinating question.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history

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