I was not able to attend the August 2017 ops session, but I began hearing about it first thing the next morning. Emails were flying.
Keith sent the clarifying email:
- Andre was running 98-1 but one of the Geeps “sucked a valve”, so the Super instructed him to set off half a dozen cars at Midland City to reduce the load.
- I was running 98-2. The yard got the drag 98 out first ahead of the express 98 (Reefer Madness), so the following train was feeling the pinch of melting ice. Which I realize doesn’t matter to TT&TO, buuut – there was a lot of enjoyable discussion around 98-2 potentially passing 98-1 due to the mechanical trouble.
- I did sign the register in Loveland, and the register said 98-1 was still well ahead of me (>10 mins) so at that moment it was proper to continue on, after I waited for the National to pass westbound, because it was due.
- So I did, and in the absence of signals, ran up on 98-1 at Midland City.
- Dispatcher and operator issued new orders for 98-2 to run ahead of 98-1.
- So we backed 98-1 down the double track once he was back together, and pulled him in behind 98-2 on the eastbound main. Both of us then had to wait for the Diplomat, because by that time he was due before we could get to the next siding.
- One of us could have made Leesburg before the Diplomat was due, however Jim had the Midland Turn in the hole there waiting for all the trains in the world run. Not sure how 98-2 would have known that Leesburg siding was occupied?
- The Diplomat left, and then time ran out, so everything is parked as described.
For those not familiar with the B&O, No 98 is a eastbound second class hot shot freight train. Mostly perishables and key customer shipments. The National Limited is a westbound first class passenger train. The Diplomat is a westbound first class passenger train, that runs about 2 hours after the National Limited. The Midland Turn is an extra that serves the local industries on the between Chillicothe and Midland City.
I’m not going to address how First or Second 98 would know about the extra in Leesburg, other than to say that it’s up to the Dispatcher to help the local be safe. The focus of this post is to address: “Can a section pass another section”?
The answer is “Yes”. Peter Josserand on page 47 of RIGHT OF TRAINS he captured the following order: Engs 99 and 25 reverse positions and Second and Third 1 H to Z.
So the proper order for this situation would be: Engs 6607 and 9162 reverse positions and First and Second 98 Midland City to Chillicothe
Josserand goes on to write that conductors and enginemen of the trains addressed will exchange orders and signals. Following sections, if any need not be addressed. It turns out that there was a Third 98 following, so the First and Second 98 were both displaying the same signals (green flags), so no signals had to be replaced.
I’m not sure how to properly handle multi-unit lash ups. Do all engines in a consist need to be included in the order. For our model railroads addressing the lead units is probably sufficient, but it would be interesting to know. If any readers of the blog know, please post a comment.
The dispatcher during the session wrote a run ahead order. I doubt that is acceptable, as it results in ambiguity as to what train is First or Second section. Does the crew of the first section going down the track consider it’s train to be First 98 or Second 98? An operator down the line at Leesburg or Greenfield might would figure the first train seen is First 98, not Second 98 running ahead of First 98. This could lead to confusion, if a meet order were addressed to Second 98. The reverse positions order removes all ambiguity.
The passing of sections is simple for the dispatcher. The reverse positions order is delivered to those two trains only. No other trains are effected. I could see where railroads may have planned for sections to pass. A section with work on the division would depart first, to be passed by a faster section. This could be helpful as the “whole train” would pass through the railroad in less time.
On pages 46 and 47 Josserand details Form F and various situations with sections, including Withdrawing a section.
The Reverse positions order is documented in the Condensed Code of Operating Rules too (page 49 documentation about Form F). The smaller book is targeted to the model railroader and provided at our dispatchers desk.