Cincinnati Mill Creek Yard Switcher

The Cincinnati Mill Creek Yard Switcher works under the direction of the Cincinnati Yard Master to do the following:

  1. Handle westbound cabooses
  2. Breakdown and classify incoming westbound trains
  3. Build westbound trains headed to St. Louis and Louisville
  4. In times of need or stress, may run a transfer to Brighton or switch east end of Brighton.  Both at discretion of YM.

Know your Role

You’re a union job. You work for the Cincinnati yard master and with the Brighton Yard Switcher and Hostler. Know your responsibilities and theirs.

  • Cincinnati Yard Master – Manages east and westbound yards to ensure in and out bound traffic moves efficiently and coordinates hostler activities.
  • Brighton Switcher – switches trains from St. Louis and Louisville. Builds eastbound trains for Baltimore, Chillicothe, and eastbound locals.
  • Hostler – Services and Assigns locomotives for all trains, moves trains to/from St. Louis and Louisville, and runs transfers of cars between Mill Creek and Brighton Yards.

Know your Domain

  • There are 8 yard tracks in Mill Creek Yard
  • Tracks 1 & 2 are the Arrival and Departure (A/D) tracks.
  • Tracks 3-5 are for general sorting
    • There are more trains than tracks.  Tracks will have to be doubled up.
    • Trains originating from Mill Creek Yard often depart from these tracks.
  • Track 6 is dedicated to Brighton Transfers
  • Track 7 is dedicated to C1 cars (Single Blue Dot)
  • Track 8 is the by-pass track, must remain open at all times, for Hostler to move cabooses.
  • Caboose track – You are responsible for pulling cabooses and assigning them to trains.
    • Green Dot cabooses get assigned to St. Louis Division Trains (To St Louis and Louisville)
    • Red and Yellow Dot cabooses are transferred by Hostler to Brighton Yard.
  • Drill track is for your use.

The Work


The Mill Creek Yard train table is taped to the 2nd deck fascia. This copy is for reference and might not be up to date

The train tables describe the work to be accomplished by the Hostler and the Yard Switchers. Only a few row apply to any one trick.  The following columns are important to the Mill Creek Switcher

  • Train/Section – The train requiring the switcher’s action
  • Work – The type train movement through the yard
    • through – Stops but continues on as same train, so through cars must remain in train.
    • originate – Train created in yard
    • by-pass – Does not stop, but has to come into the yard
  • Arrive – Expected arrival time at the yard
  • Loco Service – An X indicates the train requires hostler loco servicing
  • Work Rear – Pull cars from trains that do not continue and leave cars that do continue
    • For Mill Creek, only waybill with green dots continue
  • Classify Whole Train – Train terminates, so classify whole thing.  Many of locals terminate and are not listed as they are extras.
  • Change Caboose – Swap the caboose for a green dot St. Louis division caboose.
  • Depart – The planned departure time from Mill Creek
  • Max Cars – The maximum number of cars allowed in this train.
  • Freight Type – The type of service.  Waybill must have a highlight that matches the highlight in the table to be included in the train.
  • Freight Routings – The waybill colored dots allowed on the train, in the order that they should be blocked.
  • Caboose Color – The color of the dot on the caboose to be added to the train.

The train tables represent the planned daily work and the scheduled trains have times. Additional extra’s may be called and required power handling and/or moves to/from staging.  Extra trains are not listed, but will arrive and may need to be sent out.

Car-Card Boxes

  • There is a box for each track
  • The car-cards and waybills (CC&WB) for each car on the track go into the box.
  • “Makeup Cards” are provided to help in assigning tracks.  They can go into the boxes as dividers

Makeup Cards

  • Used to establish the car sorting on the classification tracks (3-7)
  • The highlights and colored dots must match between makeup card and waybill.
  • The cards contain information pertinent to making trains or blocks of cars for trains.
  • Colored Dot destinations
  • Highlight for service
  • Departure times
  • Max number of cars in trains (Useful for trains not in the train table)
  • All car-sorting can be done by following the makeup cards.
  • Work with Yard Master to assign cards to the boxes/tracks
  • Yard Master makes final decision on when to run trains and when to make sections or extras.


  • 99% of your time is on the drill track and yard tracks.  Unless YM decides extreme measures are required.  YM needs to know that for you to work elsewhere, is extra pay.
  • All incoming trains stop at BR Tower.
  • The YM routes train into the yard from BR tower.
  • The Welston Coal train must go through the yard to go to Louisville
  • Paper and pencil are available to add additional notes in the car-card boxes.  Notes such as classify, ready, etc…
  • Double check car-cards and waybills against cars
  • Keep car-cards in same order as cars on the track.
  • Work ahead, help the next crews
  • If you think you have nothing to do, block the transfers to Brighton yard.  If you still think you have nothing to do, block the C1’s