Re: The Dispatcher Knows (was: SP Freight Train Numbers . . . )

Andy Sperandeo <asperandeo@...>

I don't know how UP or SP dispatchers did it, but Santa Fe dispatchers' train sheets from the 1940s have a row across the top for train symbols. So while a freight train might be departing San Bernardino as the Extra 145 East, the dispatcher can look at the top of the column to see that it's actually the 14-GFX-C or whatever (14-GFX-C = second Green Fruit Express to originate at San Bernardino on the third of the month, as GFX sections 1 through 12 originated at Bakersfield). Interestingly, they also used the symbol line for passenger trains, writing in the letter code to indicate the day of the month the train originated, and if running in sections they used "CC" to denote coaches and "SS" to indicate sleepers - the doubled letters wouldn't be misunderstood as date symbols. As a rule, unfortunately, they didn't use the symbol line for UP trains operating over Cajon Pass on trackage rights.

Speaking of freight train schedules, like many other roads the Santa Fe included freight schedules in employee timetables (at least for all divisions east of Albuquerque), but on a separate page from the actual district (subdivision) schedules, and with the statement that they were for information only to show that they did not confer any timetable authority. Freight schedules were also included in system circulars on freight-train blocking and consolidation (equivalent to what are known on other roads as freight-train procedure books). So while all freights ran as extras, there were scheduled freight services that dispatchers and yardmasters were expected to carry out.

When crews were called they were told the schedule number or symbol of the train they would be running, and those were also displayed on roundhouse call boards. For operational purposes, however, every freight was an extra identified by its engine number and direction.

Oh, what did those UP engines operating over Cajon Pass have in their indicators? Just their engine numbers, to conform to Santa Fe rules. So I can just decal the engine numbers into the indicators and forget about having to change them - it's good to model the Santa Fe.

so long,


Andy Sperandeo
Executive Editor
Model Railroader magazine
Phone: 262-796-8776, ex. 461
Fax: 262-796-1142

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