Are conductor's lists of interest?


A&Y Dave in MD
 

I have a cache of conductor train books from the Southern Railway Winston Salem Division spanning 1923-1934.  I have waffled between scanning and translating the contents into Excel spreadsheets. One reason I joined this list is to learn more about cars of this era in order to model one of these trains. These lists cover specific crew, locomotive, cars by road, cargo (type, tons, and destination city), cab, and travel time.

I just wonder how common such info is among historians, and is the info worth the effort to convert to an electronic format? If so, which is more useful?

At some point, I'll donate to the proper archive. For now, they are just fun to peruse and inspire my modeling. Would anyone here care for this info?

Dave

Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone


Richard Townsend
 

I would say they are of extremely high interest.  Speaking for myself, I just wish there was a "Colorado &" in front of the "Southern." 
 
Richard Townsend
Lincoln City, Oregon


Tony Thompson
 

David Bott  wrote:

 
I have a cache of conductor train books from the Southern Railway Winston Salem Division spanning 1923-1934.  I have waffled between scanning and translating the contents into Excel spreadsheets. One reason I joined this list is to learn more about cars of this era in order to model one of these trains. These lists cover specific crew, locomotive, cars by road, cargo (type, tons, and destination city), cab, and travel time.

I just wonder how common such info is among historians, and is the info worth the effort to convert to an electronic format? If so, which is more useful?

At some point, I'll donate to the proper archive. For now, they are just fun to peruse and inspire my modeling. Would anyone here care for this info?

     For anyone trying to understand patterns of freight car movement, these books are priceless. Please do transcribe them if you can find the time and energy. There are a number of people deeply interested. 

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





Eric Neubauer <eaneubauer@...>
 

I would disagree with Tony on only one point. Rather than transcribing them, I would first make a digital copy for the following reasons:
 
1. Transcription is time consuming and tedious.
2. It is subject to transcription errors.
3. It is subject to interpretation errors especially when handwritten.
 
There are many times that I have had to refer back to original documents because I suspected either of the last two had happened. If you don't have the documents on hand, it can be a real hassle.
 
The advantage of transcription is that it can provide a more legible, concise, and manipulable form, but in my opinion it is not as good as a copy of the original. Having both is ideal.
 
Copies of the original can be done by scanning or photographing. The latter can even be done with a hand held digital camera though the results are not always great. Usually you need good light to reduce the aperture and increase the depth of field. Exposure times may need to be 1/25th of a second which requires a steady hand. At least on my camera an ISO greater than 400 is not advisable. Photography is much easier on the original and quicker than scanning. Scanning produces better images than photography. A color image is best even if the original is black and white, and high quality JPEG is a good choice for file type. TIFFs are better in quality, but the difference is usually not worth the cost of handling the much larger files.
 
Eric N.
 
 

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 12:55 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Are conductor's lists of interest?

 

David Bott  wrote:

 
I have a cache of conductor train books from the Southern Railway Winston Salem Division spanning 1923-1934.  I have waffled between scanning and translating the contents into Excel spreadsheets. One reason I joined this list is to learn more about cars of this era in order to model one of these trains. These lists cover specific crew, locomotive, cars by road, cargo (type, tons, and destination city), cab, and travel time.

I just wonder how common such info is among historians, and is the info worth the effort to convert to an electronic format? If so, which is more useful?

At some point, I'll donate to the proper archive. For now, they are just fun to peruse and inspire my modeling. Would anyone here care for this info?

     For anyone trying to understand patterns of freight car movement, these books are priceless. Please do transcribe them if you can find the time and energy. There are a number of people deeply interested. 

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





Douglas Harding
 

By all means, share. Extremely valuable and rare information. Having created spreadsheets of such handwritten records I agree that Eric has some good points. If possible scan the original. Photography works, especially if you use a tripod and remote release, to remove possibly camera shake and get consistent focus. Use clips to hold pages flat.

Doug Harding from my phone


From: 'Eric Neubauer' eaneubauer@... [STMFC]
Sent: ‎5/‎23/‎2014 6:15 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Are conductor's lists of interest?

 

I would disagree with Tony on only one point. Rather than transcribing them, I would first make a digital copy for the following reasons:
 
1. Transcription is time consuming and tedious.
2. It is subject to transcription errors.
3. It is subject to interpretation errors especially when handwritten.
 
There are many times that I have had to refer back to original documents because I suspected either of the last two had happened. If you don't have the documents on hand, it can be a real hassle.
 
The advantage of transcription is that it can provide a more legible, concise, and manipulable form, but in my opinion it is not as good as a copy of the original. Having both is ideal.
 
Copies of the original can be done by scanning or photographing. The latter can even be done with a hand held digital camera though the results are not always great. Usually you need good light to reduce the aperture and increase the depth of field. Exposure times may need to be 1/25th of a second which requires a steady hand. At least on my camera an ISO greater than 400 is not advisable. Photography is much easier on the original and quicker than scanning. Scanning produces better images than photography. A color image is best even if the original is black and white, and high quality JPEG is a good choice for file type. TIFFs are better in quality, but the difference is usually not worth the cost of handling the much larger files.
 
Eric N.
 
 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 12:55 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Are conductor's lists of interest?

 

David Bott  wrote:

 
I have a cache of conductor train books from the Southern Railway Winston Salem Division spanning 1923-1934.  I have waffled between scanning and translating the contents into Excel spreadsheets. One reason I joined this list is to learn more about cars of this era in order to model one of these trains. These lists cover specific crew, locomotive, cars by road, cargo (type, tons, and destination city), cab, and travel time.

I just wonder how common such info is among historians, and is the info worth the effort to convert to an electronic format? If so, which is more useful?

At some point, I'll donate to the proper archive. For now, they are just fun to peruse and inspire my modeling. Would anyone here care for this info?

     For anyone trying to understand patterns of freight car movement, these books are priceless. Please do transcribe them if you can find the time and energy. There are a number of people deeply interested. 

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





Posted by: "Eric Neubauer"
Reply via web post Reply to sender Reply to group Start a New Topic Messages in this topic (5)

[The entire original message is not included.]


O Fenton Wells
 

David, I think they are important and I believe the Southern Railway Historical Assoc would think so as well.  Please consider the SRHA when you get ready to donate.


On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 9:28 PM, David Bott dbott@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:
 

I have a cache of conductor train books from the Southern Railway Winston Salem Division spanning 1923-1934.  I have waffled between scanning and translating the contents into Excel spreadsheets. One reason I joined this list is to learn more about cars of this era in order to model one of these trains. These lists cover specific crew, locomotive, cars by road, cargo (type, tons, and destination city), cab, and travel time.

I just wonder how common such info is among historians, and is the info worth the effort to convert to an electronic format? If so, which is more useful?

At some point, I'll donate to the proper archive. For now, they are just fun to peruse and inspire my modeling. Would anyone here care for this info?

Dave

Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone




--
Fenton Wells
5 Newberry Lane
Pinehurst NC 28374
910-420-1144
srrfan1401@...


Charles Etheredge
 

David,  Tony is correct.   I have asked a lot of folks and searched around for several years without success for conductor's books for TNO (SP in Texas) conductors' books.  I model the late forties era and a book or two would certainly fill a great void.

 

Charles Etheredge

Austin, Texas


A&Y Dave in MD
 

Good to hear the value is not just in my eyes. I have a monopod and 35mm dSLR with remote trigger for my next visit to the national archive ICC valuation stacks. I imaged nearly all the Atlantic & Yadkin annual reports back in 2000 with a Coolpix 950 handheld and quality/lighting created problems then. I don't have server space for large, archival images, so I thought transcription would make the info more accessible. I appreciate transcription error; the handwritten pencil is not always easy to decipher! It's always a trade off, sigh.

Thanks for feedback. I'll let you all know when I have something to share.

An example of what I found: average carloads were lower than I realized: 7-15 tons. A regular meat reefer was interchanged between Southern and A&Y and it was always Kingan. I got happy seeing recent Kingan reefer four-pack , only to realize they were postwar paint scheme and most built in late 30's early 40's--too new.

Dave


asychis@...
 

David,
 
In my opinion conductor lists are the crown jewels of prototypical operations and source of historic information.  Knowing what cars were where, regardless of the railroad or line, is of great value.  I just wish your holdings were form the MoPac in Southern Illinois in the 1950s!  :^) 
 
Jerry Michels


Douglas Harding
 

Ah David now you are understanding the frustration that sometimes comes with prototype modeling. The models available do not match the chosen era.

Doug Harding from my phone


From: David Bott dbott@... [STMFC]
Sent: ‎5/‎23/‎2014 9:18 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Are conductor's lists of interest?

 

Good to hear the value is not just in my eyes. I have a monopod and 35mm dSLR with remote trigger for my next visit to the national archive ICC valuation stacks. I imaged nearly all the Atlantic & Yadkin annual reports back in 2000 with a Coolpix 950 handheld and quality/lighting created problems then. I don't have server space for large, archival images, so I thought transcription would make the info more accessible. I appreciate transcription error; the handwritten pencil is not always easy to decipher! It's always a trade off, sigh.

Thanks for feedback. I'll let you all know when I have something to share.

An example of what I found: average carloads were lower than I realized: 7-15 tons. A regular meat reefer was interchanged between Southern and A&Y and it was always Kingan. I got happy seeing recent Kingan reefer four-pack , only to realize they were postwar paint scheme and most built in late 30's early 40's--too new.

Dave


[The entire original message is not included.]


Aley, Jeff A
 

A comment on photographing documents.  I have been extremely surprised at the quality of images I can get from an iPhone.  I presume other brands of cell phones can give similar results.  The images are high resolution, and using the phone hand-held (no tripod) in bright room lighting (no copy stand) has given remarkable results.  I was able to very quickly copy a large number of 8x10 glossy photos in this manner at the Kansas State Historical Society (with permission).

 

I suggest you try it on some random documents at home to see if you agree. 

 

Regards,

 

-Jeff

 

 

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 4:16 AM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Are conductor's lists of interest?

 

 

I would disagree with Tony on only one point. Rather than transcribing them, I would first make a digital copy for the following reasons:

 

1. Transcription is time consuming and tedious.

2. It is subject to transcription errors.

3. It is subject to interpretation errors especially when handwritten.

 

There are many times that I have had to refer back to original documents because I suspected either of the last two had happened. If you don't have the documents on hand, it can be a real hassle.

 

The advantage of transcription is that it can provide a more legible, concise, and manipulable form, but in my opinion it is not as good as a copy of the original. Having both is ideal.

 

Copies of the original can be done by scanning or photographing. The latter can even be done with a hand held digital camera though the results are not always great. Usually you need good light to reduce the aperture and increase the depth of field. Exposure times may need to be 1/25th of a second which requires a steady hand. At least on my camera an ISO greater than 400 is not advisable. Photography is much easier on the original and quicker than scanning. Scanning produces better images than photography. A color image is best even if the original is black and white, and high quality JPEG is a good choice for file type. TIFFs are better in quality, but the difference is usually not worth the cost of handling the much larger files.

 

Eric N.

 

 

----- Original Message -----

To: STMFC@...

Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 12:55 AM

Subject: Re: [STMFC] Are conductor's lists of interest?

 

 

David Bott  wrote:



 

I have a cache of conductor train books from the Southern Railway Winston Salem Division spanning 1923-1934.  I have waffled between scanning and translating the contents into Excel spreadsheets. One reason I joined this list is to learn more about cars of this era in order to model one of these trains. These lists cover specific crew, locomotive, cars by road, cargo (type, tons, and destination city), cab, and travel time.

 

I just wonder how common such info is among historians, and is the info worth the effort to convert to an electronic format? If so, which is more useful?

 

At some point, I'll donate to the proper archive. For now, they are just fun to peruse and inspire my modeling. Would anyone here care for this info?

 

     For anyone trying to understand patterns of freight car movement, these books are priceless. Please do transcribe them if you can find the time and energy. There are a number of people deeply interested. 

 

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA

2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com

(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...

Publishers of books on railroad history

 

 

 


Tony Thompson
 

Eric Neubauer wrote:

 
I would disagree with Tony on only one point. Rather than transcribing them, I would first make a digital copy for the following reasons:
1. Transcription is time consuming and tedious.
2. It is subject to transcription errors.
3. It is subject to interpretation errors especially when handwritten.
 
There are many times that I have had to refer back to original documents because I suspected either of the last two had happened. If you don't have the documents on hand, it can be a real hassle.
The advantage of transcription is that it can provide a more legible, concise, and manipulable form, but in my opinion it is not as good as a copy of the original. Having both is ideal.
 
Copies of the original can be done by scanning or photographing. The latter can even be done with a hand held digital camera though the results are not always great. Usually you need good light to reduce the aperture and increase the depth of field. Exposure times may need to be 1/25th of a second which requires a steady hand. At least on my camera an ISO greater than 400 is not advisable. Photography is much easier on the original and quicker than scanning. Scanning produces better images than photography. A color image is best even if the original is black and white, and high quality JPEG is a good choice for file type. TIFFs are better in quality, but the difference is usually not worth the cost of handling the much larger files.

      All good points, Eric, and I agree. I should have been more clear, because I myself, in working with SP Coast Divi;sion time books, first scanned all pages, then went through them afterward to collect data. I guess I just meant "eventually transcribe" the information.
      David, you will notice there is good agreement among several of us, that this information is the gold standard.

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





Steve SANDIFER
 

I don't have many, but here is my try from ATSF, 1930, in Kansas.
http://www.atsfrr.net/resources/Sandifer/Frt/index.htm

I have also transcribed some ATSF passenger train conductors records also on
the Santa Fe site.

________________________________________________________________
Steve Sandifer
12027 Mulholland Drive, Meadows Place, TX 77477
713-376-0684
www.ssandifer.com

From: STMFC@... [mailto:STMFC@...]
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2014 12:01 PM
To: STMFC@...
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Are conductor's lists of interest?


Eric Neubauer wrote:


I would disagree with Tony on only one point. Rather than transcribing them,
I would first make a digital copy for the following reasons:
1. Transcription is time consuming and tedious.
2. It is subject to transcription errors.
3. It is subject to interpretation errors especially when handwritten.

There are many times that I have had to refer back to original documents
because I suspected either of the last two had happened. If you don't have
the documents on hand, it can be a real hassle.
The advantage of transcription is that it can provide a more legible,
concise, and manipulable form, but in my opinion it is not as good as a copy
of the original. Having both is ideal.

Copies of the original can be done by scanning or photographing. The latter
can even be done with a hand held digital camera though the results are not
always great. Usually you need good light to reduce the aperture and
increase the depth of field. Exposure times may need to be 1/25th of a
second which requires a steady hand. At least on my camera an ISO greater
than 400 is not advisable. Photography is much easier on the original and
quicker than scanning. Scanning produces better images than photography. A
color image is best even if the original is black and white, and high
quality JPEG is a good choice for file type. TIFFs are better in quality,
but the difference is usually not worth the cost of handling the much larger
files.

All good points, Eric, and I agree. I should have been more clear,
because I myself, in working with SP Coast Divi;sion time books, first
scanned all pages, then went through them afterward to collect data. I guess
I just meant "eventually transcribe" the information.
David, you will notice there is good agreement among several of us,
that this information is the gold standard.

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


asychis@...
 

depending on who did the writing, these lists (and timebooks as well) can be difficult to transcribe.  My only conductor's list, from the MP Warsaw Branch in the 1940s was horrible to transcribe.  It took me weeks to decipher the conductor's handwriting! A few entries were just impossible.
 
Jerry Michels.


Cyril Durrenberger
 

Dave,

That will be very valuable information in a time period when not much of this data has been available in the past, or at least is not available to most of us.

If you do not have time to process all of these, please consider doing some representative years, such as 1923, 1928 and 1934.

I agree with the past comments on the format of presenting the data, so I will not discuss that.

Remember that many of the road names or reporting marks may not be familiar to people who have not done research during these earlier years, but many of us will be happy to assist in determining the railroads that are listed. Many times they used a shortened version to write down the reporting marks, and this was often their own version or one that was common on that railroad and therefore not standardized.

Cyril Durrenberger
--------------------------------------------

On Thu, 5/22/14, David Bott dbott@... [STMFC] <STMFC@...> wrote:

Subject: [STMFC] Are conductor's lists of interest?
To: "STMFC@..." <STMFC@...>
Date: Thursday, May 22, 2014, 6:28 PM
















 









I have a cache of conductor train books from
the Southern Railway Winston Salem Division spanning
1923-1934.  I have waffled between scanning and
translating the contents into Excel spreadsheets. One reason
I joined this list is to learn more about cars of this era
in order to model one of these trains. These lists cover
specific crew, locomotive, cars by road, cargo (type, tons,
and destination city), cab, and travel time.
I just wonder how common such info is among
historians, and is the info worth the effort to convert to
an electronic format? If so, which is more
useful?
At some point, I'll donate to the proper
archive. For now, they are just fun to peruse and inspire my
modeling. Would anyone here care for this info?
Dave

Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone


Tom Vanwormer
 

Jerry,
Lists in pencil and poor handwriting makes the historical research effort a real exercise in cryptology seem simple.
Tom VanWormer
Working Colorado Midland Ledger Books from the 1890s.

asychis@... [STMFC] wrote:

 

depending on who did the writing, these lists (and timebooks as well) can be difficult to transcribe.  My only conductor's list, from the MP Warsaw Branch in the 1940s was horrible to transcribe.  It took me weeks to decipher the conductor's handwriting! A few entries were just impossible.
 
Jerry Michels.



Dave Nelson
 

WRT transcription:  in my own experience of transcribing train reports I have used Excel… rows for each entry, columns for the different data.  I have found it is very important to first transcribe what is written on the page and only afterwards to add additional columns to add my own interpretation of what was meant.  So if the conductor wrote UTL I have a column for his car initials and it it is UTL.  Next to it will be my own column of UTLX.  Same for lading and any reference to pickup or destination city.

 

The reason for doing that is there is always written data that is hard to make out... it’s easy to guess wrong so don’t rush it.  Recording it AS IS lets you skip the hard part of figuring it out until such time you’ve seen a whole lot of his hand writing.  Perhaps his capital Q looks like a 2 – that was proper cursive back in the day – or perhaps he always uses shorthand for one road that you don’t initially recognize… or the most common: Some obscure private road initials that are not in your ORER but are darn similar to ones that are. Let it all wait until the nasty part of transcription is over and you can look at the larger set of data in the spreadsheet.

 

Letting it all wait for later gives you the opportunity to ask around… to compare various letters on several pages, etc. etc.  When you are sure what he meant then it all goes down in the column NEXT to the original transcriptions.  If you sort the rows you can fill those columns with ease.  This also lets you find and change stuff later on it if becomes clear you goofed.  And when you share your work it’s easy for others to see your interpretation of what you saw on the page.

 

IOW, think like an archeologist: First collect.  When that is done, then carefully study and draw your conclusions.

 

Also… don’t concatenate stuff and use individual columns for different data.  Car initials and car numbers are two different things each belonging it its own column. Corporate name is different data from car initial (e.g., Union Pacific and the car initials OSL are two different pieces of information).  Keeping things in their own columns makes it easy it both easy to sort and for others to make their own choices of what to keep.

 

Dave Nelson

 

 


asychis@...
 

Jerry,
Lists in pencil and poor handwriting makes the historical research
effort a real exercise in cryptology seem simple.
Tom VanWormer
Working Colorado Midland Ledger Books from the 1890s
 
Agreed Tom.   I have transcribed a lot of timebooks, and it can be a chore, but here is also some pride taken when you finally "get it" and begin to figure out the person's handwriting quirks.  Timebooks are sort of easy in that a lot of entries are duplicates, so you get to see a lot of examples of, say, how the person made their "5s."
 
Jerry


asychis@...
 

Agreed David.  Railroad archeology is a a real challenge at times. I do a similar thing, creating as many Excel columns as necessary to hold all the data that it is possible to glean from a document, and enter copious notes.
 
Jerry Michels  


Allen Rueter
 

Dave,
    It would be very interesting. If you want some help transcribing , I'm sure numerous people would volunteer, including
my self . Many hands will make quick work.  Scan a few pages (1934) and send them my way.

As other have mentioned, you will find short hand, here are some I found in Richard Hendrickson's Yard Book.
ATSF AT A
CBQ Q
 PRR PA
DRGW RG
SFRD RD
Alton C&A CA
and dropping the trailing X
and blank for initials, then car number will be Southern in your case

--
Allen Rueter
StLouis MO


From: "David Bott dbott@... [STMFC]"
To: "STMFC@..."
Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2014 8:28 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Are conductor's lists of interest?

 
I have a cache of conductor train books from the Southern Railway Winston Salem Division spanning 1923-1934.  I have waffled between scanning and translating the contents into Excel spreadsheets. One reason I joined this list is to learn more about cars of this era in order to model one of these trains. These lists cover specific crew, locomotive, cars by road, cargo (type, tons, and destination city), cab, and travel time.

I just wonder how common such info is among historians, and is the info worth the effort to convert to an electronic format? If so, which is more useful?

At some point, I'll donate to the proper archive. For now, they are just fun to peruse and inspire my modeling. Would anyone here care for this info?

Dave

Sent from Dave Bott' iPhone