NEB&W Operating Session - Current Operating Session Information

From NEB&W Railroad Heritage Website
Jump to: navigation, search
Operations Table of Contents

General Information

This is information on operations as they are run in 2012. There is older information on how we used to operate elsewhere on the web site. The older information is still valuable because the latest operating sessions are simply refined versions of the earlier sessions. Because the Operating Sessions are constantly changing we won't post the actual train sheets (the detailed instructions on each specific train run during a session) on this page, some of that information would be out of date by the next operating session.



Operating Sessions on the NEB&W are held twice a year, usually one session in November and one session in April. There are two different sessions that we alternate running, a Day Session and a 24-hour Session. Both sessions are constantly being modified and, hopefully, improved so that no two sessions are exactly alike. We run both sessions on a 4:1 fast clock, one hour in real time represents four hours on the railroad. We hold operating sessions on Saturdays. The Day Session starts at noon and runs until 4 pm. The 24-hour Session also starts at Noon and runs until 4 pm, we take a one hour break for dinner, then resume at 5 pm and run until approximately 7 pm.

Fall, 2015 Note:

For some time now we've only run the 24-hour Session. We haven't given up on the Day Session, but people seem to want to run the longer 24-hour Session, so we'll continue with it until members want a change.

Setting Up the 24-Hour Operating Session

To see the steps I take to set up a standard operating session go to this page.

Operators

The only people allowed to participate in an operating session are members of the club and their guests. Over the last few years we've been very fortunate in having several club members bring very experienced operators as their guests and this has improved the sessions tremendously and made them very enjoyable.

How a Session Runs

Members and guests should arrive before the session starts at noon. When they arrive they will sign in and get a name tag. They will be informed of any last minute changes to the session either by written session notes or usually by a short meeting before we begin the session. At the end of the meeting people will sign up for the various crew positions (see below). Once the positions of Dispatcher, the three Yardmasters and their Hostlers are filled the remaining operators can sign up for the various trains on the Crew Call Sheet. If we have new operators we will assign an experienced engineer to work with them. If we have a very large number of operators they can double up and run trains with a two man crew, this really helps with the Way Freights and some of the passenger trains.
Once the first few trains of the session are assigned the engineers will be given a throttle and cable, a clipboard with the correct train sheet for their train and if they are running a passenger train they will also be given a timetable and a conductor's sheet. The Dispatcher, Yardmasters and Hostlers will be given throttles and cables and go to their positions. Paperwork for the Dispatcher and Yardmasters will be at their positions. Engineers for the first few trains go to their starting positions, find the waybills for their train and make sure that the locomotive(s) for their train are operating.
When everyone is ready the fast clock is started and communications between the engineers and the Dispatcher begin via telephone. The first train leaves at 4:40 AM and as the time approaches the engineer will call the Dispatcher for permission to take the main line. During their run the engineers will continue to communicate with the Dispatcher. Freight train engineers will report (OS) their positions as they leave stations and, if necessary, will request permission to work on the main line for switching tasks. Passenger train engineers will report their location to the Dispatcher as they leave certain stations to help him keep track of their progress. Trains wanting to enter yards must ask permission of the yardmaster, they are under the control of the yardmaster while they are within yard limits.
At the end of their run engineers will inform the Dispatcher that they've completed their run. They can then return to the Crew Call Sheet and sign up for another train.

Crew Positions

  • NEB&W Dispatcher
  • Crew Caller/Assistant Dispatcher
  • Troy Union Operator
  • Yardmasters
  • Engineers
  • Hostlers
  • Conductors


NEB&W Dispatcher

The NEB&W Dispatcher is responsible for all operations on NEB&W track. If the Troy Union Operator is not present (see below) the NEB&W Dispatcher controls all operations on the layout. This position is usually taken by one of the most experienced members, someone who knows the layout extremely well and has an idea of the operations of all the yards and all the trains. Having said that we've also had several members and guests who may not have had that extreme level of knowledge about the layout but they had a good understanding of a dispatcher's duties and they did the job very well.

Crew Caller/Assistant Dispatcher

The position of Crew Caller/Assistant Dispatcher was added in the Fall of 2015 to take some of the load off the Dispatcher and to smooth out the signing up of engineers for trains. The crew caller/assistant dispatcher makes sure that engineers only sign up for one train at a time and that all trains have crews. The crew caller is responsible for handing out the paperwork needed by the train crews and makes sure that the train crews are ready to start their trains on time. The crew caller also helps the dispatcher with problems on the railroad and fills in for the dispatcher if they want a break.

Troy Union Operator

The NEB&W layout has the track of several other railroads on it including:

  • The O&LR in Chateaugay, NY.
  • The L&RM in Port Henry, NY.
  • The C&P in Proctor, VT.
  • The D&H in Green Island, NY.
  • The NYC in South Troy, NY.
  • The Troy Union in Troy, NY.

The busiest section of non-NEB&W track is the area of Troy, NY. that is controlled by the Troy Union Railroad. In 1950 Troy Station had trains from the NYC, B&M, D&H and Rutland arriving continuously and part of the area we model was Troy Union rail. Until recently we haven't run this as a separate railroad, but we're trying to add a Troy Union Operator who will act as Dispatcher, Tower Operator and Hostler for the track around Troy Station. Once we install the correct semaphore signals on the Troy Union track the Troy Union Operator will be responsible for train movements on the main line in and out of Troy. The Troy Union operator will be connected by phone to the NEB&W Dispatcher to coordinate train movements and he will be responsible for exchanging New York Central and NEB&W locomotives on some passenger trains at Troy Station. The Troy Union Operator position is an optional crew position and if there aren't enough operators available at a session the position doesn't need to be filled.

Yardmasters

There are three yards on the NEB&W and each yard needs a Yardmaster. The Yardmaster is responsible for all operations in his yard. This includes building and breaking apart trains, coordinating operations with the Dispatcher, controlling trains entering and leaving his yard, correctly handling all paperwork associated with the trains and directing his yard hostler if there is one present.

Engineers

Engineers are responsible for the safe and correct operation of the trains on the NEB&W. They answer directly to the Dispatcher and when they are within Yard Limits they are controlled by the Yardmaster.

Hostlers

There are Hostler positions in all three yards to assist the Yardmasters. We try to have two people operating at each yard to keep everything moving smoothly but it's possible to run the yards without a hostler if there aren't enough operators at a session.

Conductors

If there are enough operators we will add Conductors to some passenger and freight trains. This is another position that is not essential and can be left unfilled if there are not enough operators but it can often be a big help to a way freight engineer or a local passenger train engineer to have a Conductor work with him.

Paperwork

This is a list of the paperwork necessary to run an operating session on the NEB&W.

  • Crew Call Sheet (a jpeg of the sheet will be added)
  • Freight Car Waybills
Waybill.
  • Passenger Car Assignment Cards
Passenger car assignment cards.
  • Caboose Assignment Cards
Caboose assignment paperwork.
  • Freight Train Sheets
  • Passenger Train Sheets
  • Milk Train Sheets
  • Dispatcher's Train Sheet
  • Troy Union Operations
  • Dispatcher Operations
  • Yardmaster Operations
  • TIBS Code List (link to jpegs of the TIBS Code List)
  • Town Setup Sheets
  • LCL Freight Waybills (a jpeg of the waybill will be added)
  • Passenger Train Timetable
  • Conductor's Sheets



  • Town Station Agent Way Freight Cards



  • Town Passenger and Freight Cards
  • Public Timetable c. 1950, courtesy Tom Amrine. (Not the latest version of the Timetable. These two sheets are designed to be printed front and back and folded into thirds.)




Superiority of Trains

The NEB&W is following the standard rules for train superiority as described in the D&H and Rutland rulebooks:

  • "A train is superior to another train by right, class or direction."
  • "Right is conferred by train order; class and direction by time-table. Right is superior to class or direction."
  • "Direction is superior as between trains of the same class."
  • "Extra trains are inferior to regular trains."

Both the D&H and the Rutland designate all their passenger trains as First Class Trains and both railroads designate southbound trains as superior to northbound trains of the same class. The NEB&W is following these standards. A dispatcher can use train orders to modify or overrule these standards.
The designation of freight trains on the NEB&W is still undecided, in 1950 the D&H didn't list any of their freight trains in their employees timetable, this may be because of the D&H use of CTC. The Rutland designated several of their freight trains as 2nd class trains but also seems to have considered some of their freight trains as extras. Until we clarify D&H practice on their freight trains in 1950 we will classify all NEB&W freight trains as 2nd class trains.
Note: since this was written we've changed all the NEB&W freight trains to "extra" trains.

Deciphering Train Numbers

NEB&W freight trains use an alphanumeric designation, passenger trains use only numbers. The freight train numbers contain information on the train. For example:
Freight Train AB-2, the Alburgh - North Bennington Way Freight; The "A" in AB-2 indicates it's starting point, in this case Alburgh. The "B" in AB-2 indicates it's destination, North Bennington. The "2" in AB-2 is an even number, indicating that the train is a southbound train.
On Passenger Trains the number also indicates direction; even numbered trains are southbound, odd numbered trains are northbound.

DCC System

The NEB&W uses an NCE DCC System. The railroad is divided into three power districts, each district with it's own power supply and five-amp booster. The system is controlled by a CS02 command station. We use mostly ProCab throttles but we also have Cab06p and Cab04 throttles available. For more information please see the DCC section elsewhere on the website or visit the NCE website.

Telephone System

The NEB&W layout had a telephone system early in it's existence but this was taken out. Radios were used occasionally during sessions but this wasn't done consistently. Finally we re-installed a simple telephone system to connect the Dispatcher with the rest of the layout. Without direct feedback the Dispatcher was completely in the dark about what was happening on the railroad. Train engineers are expected to use the telephone system to OS their trains to the Dispatcher and receive instructions from the Dispatcher as they make their runs. The Dispatcher and the Yardmasters are also connected by the telephone system.

CTC & Signal Systems

The NEB&W was designed to have signals and a CTC panel. The CTC panel was built but the signals were never installed, so the CTC panel was removed. We still have it in storage. So we've been operating the NEB&W as a "Dark" railroad. Recently we've been adding detection on the layout and feeding that information back to a computer running JMRI software. This computer CTC panel is only partially operational at the moment, the entire north end of the layout still needs detection installed to complete it. The signals we're trying to duplicate follow the D&H standard and not all of these are commercially available. We hope to get the railroad signalled so that the dispatcher will be able to run using the computer CTC software, but at this point there is no firm date on when that will happen.
UPDATE: as of the Fall of 2015 the entire layout has it's detection system working and connected to JMRI software. Detection is provided by PSX circuit breakers that are connected to NCE Auxiliary Input Unit (AIU) boards which feed information through the cab bus wiring to the NCE command station. The NCE command station sends the detection information to a computer next to the dispatcher's desk running JMRI software. The JMRI program produces a schematic of the layout that is displayed on a 49" flat screen TV mounted on the wall directly in front of the dispatcher. The dispatcher can track the location of trains by watching the schematic, which continuously updates which blocks on the railroad are currently occupied.
The first step in adding signals to the layout will be installing signal repeaters along the fascia using fiber-optic technology. Matthew Germanowski is currently working on the necessary software and hardware to make the signal system work.

Coal, Water, Diesel Fuel & Sand

The NEB&W in 1950 is still in transition with steam locomotives running next to new diesel switchers. Coal, water and sand are still needed for the steam locomotives and diesel fuel facilities have to be available for the new Alco locomotives. In terms of operations we do not do a lot with these aspects. The locomotives are serviced before they start their work at any of the five yards on the layout:

  • Alburgh
  • North Creek
  • Chateaugay
  • North Bennington
  • Rutland Yard

Through freight trains and passenger trains are serviced again in North Bennington. The entire length of the NEB&W from Troy, N.Y. to Alburgh, N.Y. is only 183 miles with North Bennington at the 74 mile marker. This means that the diesel locomotives have plenty of fuel and water to run the entire layout without refueling and might only need sand because of the grade to Summit. The steam locomotives we use have tenders with large enough capacity to run between yards without needing coal, but they would need water. This is especially true if steam locomotives are used on Way Freights where they may be out working for several hours.
We are trying to find the best way to model the need for water and make sure that engineers pay attention to it and stop for water while running steam locomotives. Ideally tracking water use should involve time, speed, strain (tonnage, grade) and possibly distance but without this being built in to the locomotive's DCC decoder we may have to settle for only time and/or distance to determine water stops.


Freight Operations

TIBS Codes

The Train and Industry Blocking System, or TIBS, is a system that was originally designed for the Midwest Railroad Modelers' layout in Batavia, Illinois. An article in the July, 1987 issue of Model Railroader magazine describes how the system works. We use part of the TIBS system but do not follow it completely. There is an unique alpha-numerical designation for every single spot on the layout were a car can be set out or picked up. The waybills include the TIBS code in addition to the name of the industry although a large industry can have several codes assigned to it if there are multiple spots to set out cars. This is an easier method to learn and use than most railroads use, where every track and siding is named and locations at industries or sidings are often numbered. An engineer on the NEB&W does not need to know every industry or the name of every track and siding to operate, they just need to follow the TIBS Code.

Waybills

The NEB&W was originally operated using the well known car card and waybill method; a car card with a pocket is used to hold a four-cycle waybill that would be rotated until you eventually returned the car to where it started. With such a long time between operating sessions we found that it was almost impossible to leave freight cars at their last location with their car cards and not have the card moved (or lost) or the car itself moved. With approximately 800 pieces of rolling stock it was a major undertaking to match cars with their correct car card. While using the car card system it could take up to a week to set up an operating session. Also, since our operating sessions always start from the beginning and don't pick up where the last session left off there is no point in using the car card system. So for the past few years we've been using a new waybill that has the majority of the information pre-printed on it with only the road name, car number and AAR code missing. This means that if we need a box car we can use any one available that fits the requirements and simply add the road name and number to the card. We also have a section on the waybills that helps us set up the layout, it tells where the car should start (which town or yard), what train it's in, what industry or track it's on and sometimes where in the train the car goes. Two added bonuses with this system are that the cars get mixed up at every session so you don't see the same car going around the layout or in the same train every session, and because the new waybills are in a database and easily printed for a specific operating session they are thrown out after every session, eliminating the need to collect, sort and verify the cards and attaching them to the correct car again. We use Avery #5392 3" x 4" name badge inserts for the waybills. Throwing the waybills away after every session may seem wasteful, but every session involves well over 400 pieces of rolling stock and the time saved by printing new waybills more than makes up for the cost. Setup that once took a week can now be done by one person in 24 hours or less.

Waybill.





Station Agent Boxes

Station Agent Boxes are simple one-slot boxes that are similar to our waybill boxes, only they're slightly larger to accommodate bigger 3-inch x 5-inch cards. Station Agent Boxes are mounted at every station and at both fiddle yards on the layout and were initially meant to expand way freight operations (see "Way Freights" below). The boxes have worked out well and their use has been expanded to include passenger operations.

LCL Operations

We're just beginning to add LCL (Less-than-Carload-Lot) operations to the operating sessions. At this point we're running LCL box cars (way cars) in all the Way Freights and they stop at all the stations on their route to drop off and pick up LCL freight. This fall we expect to have LCL freight waybills that the engineers will drop off and pick up at their station stops.
(A jpeg of our LCL waybill will be added.)

Way Freights

In a standard 24-hour session there are 7 Way Freights:

  • AB-2, The southbound Alburgh - North Bennington Way Freight leaves Alburgh at 9:52 AM.
  • BA-1, The northbound North Bennington - Alburgh Way Freight leaves North Bennington at 9:00 AM.
  • BT-2, the southbound North Bennington - Troy Way Freight leaves North Bennington at 8:40 AM.
  • TB-1, The northbound Troy - North Bennington Way Freight leaves Rutland Yard at 11:12 AM.
  • BE-1, The Troy - Cohoes Local leaves Rutland Yard and services Green Island and Cohoes, then returns to Rutland Yard.
  • BE-2, The Troy Local leaves Rutland Yard and services Troy and South Troy, then returns to Rutland Yard.
  • CN-14, The North Creek Branch Way Freight leaves Chateaugay and services Tahawus and North Creek, then returns to Chateaugay.


Over the last few years we've been working to improve the way freights on the NEB&W (see "Station Agent Boxes", "LCL Operations"). Until recently way freights were run like we run any other freight train, after they signed up for a train, the engineers would be given a train sheet that would tell them everything they needed to know to run their train, including:

  • what to do in every town.
  • which towns to stop in and which towns had no work for them.
  • which cars they would drop and which cars they would pick up along his way.

Since this is not very prototypical, we wanted to have the way freight engineers stop at every station on their way and check with the Station Agent and receive the Agent's instructions. Since we can't man all the stations on the layout with Station Agents we began by hanging notes on the fascia at each station that had additional work for the way freights. This seemed to work so the idea was expanded by removing all the information in the way freight train sheets concerning the cars to be picked up or work to be done at the towns. We also mounted Station Agent Boxes to the fascia at every station and each fiddle on the layout. Special cards were created for each way freight at each town. The cards contain the orders from the local station agent. A card may say that there is no work for that particular way freight, or it may give instructions to pick up or move specific cars at an industry. When a way freight engineer arrives in town they will already know what cars they have to drop in that town and where to drop them, but they must check with the station agent to see if they need to perform any other duties in town before they leave. This seems to work well so we want to add LCL operations as the next step to improve the way freights. At the moment we've added LCL box cars to all the way freights and have them stop at the stations to handle LCL shipments. The next step is to add the LCL waybill paperwork to the engineer's duties. LCL waybills will be added to the station agent boxes and the initial train sheet paperwork. To simulate dropping off and picking up LCL shipments the way freight engineer will leave paperwork at the correct stations and pick up any waybills meant for his train that he finds in the station agent's box. The way freight will continue to it's final destination and drop the LCL box car and its LCL waybills at the freight house.

Through Freight Trains

  • Paper Trains

There are four paper trains:
AT-2, southbound. Leaves Alburgh, NY.
AT-4, southbound. Leaves Alburgh, NY.
TA-1, northbound. Leaves Rutland Yard, Troy, NY.
TA-3, northbound. Leaves Rutland Yard, Troy, NY.

  • Ore Trains

There are 6 ore trains:
AT-6, southbound. Leaves Alburgh, NY.
AT-8, southbound. Leaves Alburgh, NY.
TA-5, northbound. Leaves Rutland Yard, Troy, NY.
TA-7, northbound. Leaves Rutland Yard, Troy, NY.
NC-18/CT-16, southbound. Leaves North Creek, NY.
TC-15/CN-17, northbound. Leaves Rutland Yard, Troy, NY.

Extra Freight Trains

Extra Trains aren't used very often on the NEB&W, but they are sometimes necessary to ease congestion in a yard that has too many empties that need to be returned to their home road. A Yardmaster may call for an Extra to move the empties and ease the congestion.

Interchange Trains

There are several interchange trains during the Day Session and even more during the 24-Hour Session.
During the day two trains bring interchange traffic from connecting railroads to Rutland Yard:

  • New York Central Interchange
  • Delaware & Hudson Interchange

A third freight train brings interchange traffic into Chateaugay at the north end:

  • O&LR RC-2 Local Freight

At night there are two scheduled trains that move freight cars in and out of Rutland Yard to avoid per diem charges for the railroads:

  • New York Central Night Interchange
  • Delaware & Hudson Night Interchange

Extra Trains can be requested by the Rutland Yardmaster at any time of the day to move cars out of his yard.

Returning Freight Cars

Unless needed, empty freight cars are returned to their home road. Standard practice is for the empty car to return via the route it used to get to the NEB&W. The NEB&W is a North-South railroad, most of the freight cars would be returned through the south end of the railroad in Troy. Cars destined for the Canadian railroads and some of the New England railroads would be returned through connections at the north end at Alburgh. There is another connection at North Bennington that could be used to interchange freight cars with railroads east of the NEB&W.

Caboose Operations

The NEB&W is divided into two subdivisions; the northern subdivision on the layout is called the Richelieu Subdivision, the southern subdivision on the layout is called the Berkshire Subdivision. Cabooses, called Vans on the NEB&W, are restricted to their own subdivisions. North Bennington is the division point on the layout and Vans on through freights are exchanged there. Vans have Caboose Assignment Cards that are similar to freight car waybills, the cards have the train information and the sub-division that the van is assigned to. The caboose card is the same 3 inch by 4 inch size as the standard freight car waybill and is printed from a caboose card database. The Caboose Assignment Card is added to the freight waybills for the van's assigned train.

Caboose assignment paperwork.



Passenger Operations

Express Passenger Trains


Local Passenger Trains


Milk Trains

On the NEB&W milk trains are considered local passenger trains.
There are three milk trains:

  • No. 83, the northbound milk train, picks up empty milk cars from New York City at Chatham, NY and brings them to North Bennington for milk train No. 87.


  • No. 87, continues moving the empty milk cars from No. 83 northbound in a mixed train heading to Alburgh, NY. It drops empty milk cars at creameries along the line and handles passengers at stations from North Bennington to Alburgh.


  • No. 88, the southbound milk train picks up and carries milk to New York City and Boston and passengers from Alburgh to North Bennington. All Boston-bound milk is dropped at North Bennington to be moved over the NEB&W Ticonderoga Branch for connections to Boston via the Rutland Railroad and the Boston & Maine Railroad. New York bound milk continues south on No. 88 and connects to the New York Central at Chatham, NY which is off the layout.

Station Agent Boxes

Station Agent Boxes were originally added to the layout for use by the way freights (see "Station Agent Boxes" and "Way Freights" under "Freight Operations" above), but when they worked so well we decided to use them as part of our first attempt at improving passenger, baggage and express operations. That first attempt proved to be more demanding and less enjoyable than we'd hoped and we've stopped using it, but the Station Agent Boxes are still being used in our second, less ambitious, attempt at improving passenger service.

Passenger, Baggage & Express Operations

Over the last few years as freight operations evolved on the NEB&W it became apparent that passenger operations were lagging far behind. Passenger trains had become the training ground for new operators to learn the layout. Passenger operations seemed to be nothing more than; run - stop at the station - go...and try to stay on schedule. Passenger Trains were boring and had been overshadowed by freight operations to the point that even the highest priority trains on the NEB&W, the express name trains and No.88, the milk train to New York City, were sometimes made to wait for low priority local freight trains and usually ran hours late. It was necessary to find a way to improve passenger operations and give the engineers a feeling of actually moving passengers, baggage and express from one town to another. The problem is that you can't emulate the freight car model and drop and pick up passenger cars at each town. And it's difficult to miniaturize the passengers and baggage that would get on and off at each station, using little figures and boxes that had to be picked up and dropped off at each station seemed too toy like.

After some thought we decided to try using tickets, baggage and REA express tags to represent the passengers, baggage and express. This seemed realistic and gave the passenger train crews work to do. Because of the increased workload it was necessary to run each passenger train with a two man crew, an engineer to run the train and a conductor to handle the paperwork. After a lot of work we gave it a try. There are a lot of stations on the NEB&W and a lot of passenger trains and each needs a full complement of tickets, baggage and REA express tags, plus devices to store, sort and carry all the tickets and tags.

Rather than handle large numbers of tickets or tags at each station we decided that a single ticket from, say, Troy, N.Y to Saratoga, N.Y. could represent anywhere from one to hundreds of passengers making that trip. Same with the baggage and REA tags. Even with this savings I believe the count for all the tickets, ONLY the tickets, from every station to every other possible station for every train came to over 900 different tickets.

The idea was that a train would start with a sorted collection of tickets and tags for it's load of passengers and as it went from station to station it would drop off the passengers and baggage (represented by the tickets and tags) and pick up the passengers and baggage for their train at that station. The tickets and tags that were picked up had to be sorted immediately in preparation for use at the stations further along the line. By now you can see the problem, there was a lot of paper to deal with and the distance between stations was too short to deal with it, making things slow and chaotic. We've only tried this method once and it's wasn't a TOTAL failure, some people found it interesting, but on the NEB&W it's unfit for the Local Passenger Trains that may make as many as 19 or 20 station stops. We might try it again on Express Passenger Trains that only make a few stops, which would cut down the work load considerably. Since this massive effort turned out to be less than a success we're trying a much simpler system that isn't as realistic but seems to be an improvement and can be handled by either a one man or a two man crew.

Our second attempt at improving passenger operations is much simpler than the ticket and tag method. It involves the train engineer also doing the work of a conductor and keeping track of the passengers and baggage getting on and off his train at every station stop. When the Engineer is given his train sheet and timetable he's also given a conductor's sheet with all the station stops for his train listed on it and a place to record the passenger and freight activity at each station. In the Station Agent's Box at each Station there's a card with the number of passengers getting on and off the various trains stopping at that station and the baggage and express dropped off and picked up by the trains. This is not as demanding as the tickets and tags, it involves finding the "passengers on and off" and the "baggage-express on and off" data for your train that's listed on the card and copying it to your conductor's sheet. It should take less time than your normal station stop and is a reminder that you are moving passengers. We're using this now and it works but we're still searching for a better method to improve passenger train operations.

Spring, 2016

The return of tickets and the retirement of the conductor's sheet. We're going to try a simple ticket system again to see if it'll work. At the same time we'll stop using the conductor's sheets. This should help in several ways and should still give us a good feeling of moving passengers. Baggage tags and REA tickets haven't been re-introduced yet and won't be until we see how the tickets go again. The simplified ticket system will involve the engineer getting a pack of ticket for stations along his line, a single ticket for each station. He will drop off the tickets at their correct station and pick up a ticket from each station for the trains final station stop. This will cut out the need to sort tickets and will decrease the total number of tickets to one ticket to every station and one ticket from every station.

Passenger Car Assignment Cards

With freight cars we use waybills to control their movement. With cabooses (vans) we use a caboose assignment card. With passenger cars we use a Passenger Car Assignment Card. The passenger car assignment card is like the waybill and caboose card, only it has information for all the movements of the specific passenger car or head end equipment on it. Some passenger train equipment may make only one movement during the day, say from New York City to Montreal on a single train, but some cars may make several moves on different passenger trains during the day, transferring from one train to another heading in one direction or being dropped at a station from a northbound train and picked up later in the day by a southbound train. Some of our RPOs go north and south continuously over the same track. Some of our Pullmans get set out overnight to be picked up on another train the next day. So it's important to have the movement information on a card with the car. These cards are 3 ins. x 4 ins., the same size as our waybills and caboose cards, and are printed from a separate passenger car card database.

Day Session

The current Day Session has been used in one form or another for quite a few years. The latest version is a slightly modified version of the work that Corey Lynch did when he was a student and he re-worked the entire operating session (around 1999-2000?). We've played with a few things to make some trains easier to run, we've started one or two trains earlier and we've added a few new features, but most of the session is as he left it. We've run it many times and it's been refined to the point that it works well.
The Day Session starts when freight train TA-5 leaves at 4:40 AM (railroad fast clock time) and the last train of the session begins at 4:40 PM. When all trains have completed their runs the session is over.

There are 29 trains in the Day Session (listed below in the order that they run).

16 Freight Trains

  • TA-5, northbound ore train
  • AT-2, southbound paper train
  • NC-18/CT-16, southbound ore train
  • O&LR RC-2, O&LR Railroad freight train
  • TB-1, northbound Troy-N. Bennington way freight
  • BA-1, northbound N. Bennington-Alburgh way freight
  • AB-2, southbound Alburgh-N. Bennington way freight
  • NYC Interchange train
  • D&H Interchange train
  • TA-1, northbound paper train
  • BE-1, Troy-Cohoes Local
  • BE-2, Troy Local
  • BT-2, southbound N. Bennington-Troy way freight
  • TC-15/CN-17, northbound ore train
  • AT-6, southbound ore train
  • AT-4, southbound paper train

10 Passenger Trains

  • No. 40, The Saratoga Commuter, southbound
  • No. 1, The Morning Mail, northbound
  • No. 2, The Flyer, southbound
  • No. 182, The North Creek Local, southbound
  • No. 3, The North Bennington Local, northbound
  • No. 34, The Richelieu Shore Express, southbound
  • No. 5, The Flyer, northbound
  • No. 181, The North Creek Local, northbound
  • No. 35, The Richelieu Shore Express, northbound
  • No. 4, The North Bennington Local, southbound

3 Milk Trains

  • No. 83, northbound
  • No. 87, northbound
  • No. 88, southbound


24-Hour Session

The 24-hour Session is only a few years old. Originally there was going to be a smaller, shorter Night Session that would be quicker and easier to set up and require less people to run. We could use it for open houses, special events and as a change of pace from the standard Day Session that we were always using. While working on the Night Session we decided to add it to the Day Session to see if we could make a full 24-hour session that would work and that people would be interested in operating. We've run the 24-hour Session several times now and we're still working out all the kinks, but it seems to work well and people seem to enjoy it.
The Session is basically a slightly modified version of the standard Day Session with all the night activity added. During the day the NEB&W has a lot of everything, freight trains of all types, commuter passenger trains, milk trains, high speed express passenger service, but at night the railroad becomes mostly a passenger railroad. There are a few freight trains, and several yard-to-yard turns to move cars and avoid per diem charges, but many of the night trains are passenger trains loaded with Pullman sleepers moving across the NEB&W to and from Montreal, New York City and Boston.
NOTE: As of Fall, 2015 we have stopped using the Day Session and are only running the 24-hour Session. Below is a complete list of the trains that run during a 24-hour Session.

Train List For The Current 24-Hour Session

  • Freight Train TA-5
  • NYC Interchange Train
  • Freight Train AT-2
  • Passenger Train No. 40
  • Freight Train NC-18/CT-16
  • Passenger Train No. 1
  • Milk Train No. 83
  • D&H Interchange Train
  • O&LR Train RC-2
  • Passenger Train No. 182
  • Mixed Passenger Train Nos. 457/458
  • Passenger Train No. 2
  • Way Freight CN-14
  • Passenger Train No. 3
  • Way Freight BT-2
  • Way Freight BA-1
  • Way Freight AB-2
  • Freight Train TA-1
  • Way Freight BE-1
  • Milk Train No. 88
  • Way Freight TB-1
  • Way Freight BE-2
  • Passenger Train No. 34
  • Freight Train TC-15/CN-17
  • Milk Train No. 87
  • Freight Train AT-6
  • Passenger Train No. 5
  • Passenger Train No. 35
  • Passenger Train No. 4
  • Freight Train AT-4
  • Passenger Train No. 181
  • Freight Train TA-7
  • Passenger Train No. 41
  • Passenger Train No. 51
  • NYC Night Interchange
  • Freight Train TA-3
  • D&H Night Interchange
  • Passenger Train No. 52
  • Passenger Train No. 10
  • Passenger Train No. 46
  • Freight Train AT-8
  • Passenger Train No. 43
  • Passenger Train No. 9


Additional Trains in the 24-hour session

Note: This is an old listing of the trains that were originally added to the Day Session to make up the 24-hour session. The list above is the latest list of the trains actually running in the current 24-hour session.