How to Prepare a Clearance

Every train must have a clearance form to go past a Red order board (Cincinnati switch jobs C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 and Berry Yard jobs can get verbal clearance from the Loveland operator).

The clearance is prepared by the station operator and approved by the dispatcher.

Train is at initial point of departure

Before a train departs, collect the following information and provide to the Dispatcher.  Try to do this 1-2 hours before expected departure.  From Brighton Yard, get info from Yard Master.  From Baltimore, St. Louis Midland City or Wellston walk to the train and obtain directly.

  • Train Number
  • Engines (first to last)
  • Conductor
  • Time on duty
  • Number of Cars

Operator: Record this information on the OS sheet

Operator: Connect with dispatcher and inform him when you have all of the information.  “Chillicothe has train information for No 1”  If the train is an extra use the train’s nick name such as “Chillicothe has train information for CMCT, the Chillicothe to Midland City Turn”

Dispatcher: Record information into Dispatcher Sheet for tracking OS’s

Example of getting a clearance prepared/created


  • Record the information on the clearance form
  • Wait for the communication line to dispatcher to be open.
  • Contact Dispatcher, and announce actual location of train and purpose of communication.
  • “Chillicothe has one train to clear up”


  • When ready
  • Use stamp and make make impression into the train order book
  • Respond: “Go ahead Chillicothe”


  • “To C&E EXTRA 4614 West at CHILLICOTHE…I have 2 orders for your train Order NO 3 and NO 6…and 0 messages…OPERATOR DCK”
  • The operator dictates his initials at the end.  Messages do not get repeated.  Although the dispatcher may ask what they are.  Messages are not numbered and could come from Dispatcher, Operator, Yard Master or Superintendent.


  • Dispatcher records and confirms the clearance.  Here is how it might look:
      I HAVE  2  ORDERS  3, 6
      AND  0  MESSAGES
      OPER  DCK
  • Dispatcher must review and ensure the number of order and the order numbers are correct.
  • If not correct, than the correction must be made and the clearance repeated again.
  • If clearance is correct the dispatcher OK’s the clearance and dictates the OK back to the operator while entering it into the order book.  The “M” in PM or AM is provided in the stamp, so the current time must add the P or the A.  The date is always January and the year is always 1958.  But the day can change.  The Dispatcher includes his initials, in this case TRP (for Tom P).
  • “OK AT [current time]M  JAN 7 1958 DISPATCHER TRP”


  • While dispatcher is dictating the OK, the operator writes the time and date into the top of the Clearance form.
  • Then operator responds.
  • “Train EXTRA 4614 Clear at [time and date from dispatcher]”
  • Now that clearance is approved
  • Staple the listed orders and messages to the back of the clearance form
  • Deliver the Clearance and orders to the crew.  There are boxes near the order boards.


  • Dispatcher can delay the approval of the clearance.  Possibly it’s better or more important to clear another train first.
  • Dispatcher may have additional orders to add.
  • A train can only be given one clearance at a location.  Once given it’s not possible to stop a train, as the train has approval to go past the order board.
  • Once a crew sees a red board, the train must get a clearance even if the board is cleared while the crew sits there.