up button   Bear Creek and South Jackson Operations - TT&TO
bcsj logo time table train order bcsj logo

panel operations

Bear Creek Operations
Time Table and Train Order Operation

Table of Contents

Classes of trains
BC&SJ Form 19
BC&SJ Form 31
BC&SJ Generic Train Order Form
BC&SJ Clearance Card
Rule Book
Train Line Up
Track Schematic and Towns
Employee Timetable
String Diagram
Train Registers
Train Register Stations
Station Operator Duties
Dispatcher Duties
Let's run a train
  Clearance and orders
  Train card
  Car cards
  Inspecting our train
  Can we leave now?
  Leaving Deschutes Jct.
  Work in South Jackson
  Which track in Mill Bend?
  Leaving Mill Bend for Oakhill
  Siding or Main in Oakhill
  Can we leave Oakhill for Salem?
  Tied down in Salem, we're done!
  TT&TO Terms and Definitions

Opeating by Time Table and Train Orders

Time table and train order operation was developed long ago in the days when reliable communications between a dispatcher and trains were not possible.

Through the use of a time table (schedule) and train orders, issued by a dispatcher, to modify the schedule when required train crews would be able to determine when they were authorized to be on specific pieces of track.

The key to this process is knowing exactly what the time is. If train A knows that train B is not allowed to leave station ABC until 11:05 am and train A knows they can get to ABC from their current location by 11:00 (five minutes before train B can leave) then trains A's crew can head out on the main moving toward ABC secure in the knowledge that train B can't be heading towards them until 11:05. Assuming both trains have accurate knowledge of the time.

Classes of Trains

Scheduled trains have classes which indicate priority. 1st class has the highest priority.

Unscheduled trains (that do not appear in the
timetable), called Extra trains, may also be present. All trains with a class are superior to extra trains (unless the dispatcher issues a train order stating otherwise).

  • 1st Class - important passenger or freight trains that must not be delayed such as named passenger trains, reefer express trains or hotshot freights.
  • 2nd Class - regular trains, passenger or freight, of medium priority such as local passenger trains or feight haulers
  • 3rd Class - regular trains, freight, of low priority such as drags or scheduled freight locals.
  • Extras - these trains have no schedule given in the time table. Instead they are created when the dispatcher issues a train order such as "Eng SP 5317 at Pocatello, run extra to Salem". Turns or other local freights are often run as extras although any train could, in theory be an extra (if it does not exist in the timetable).

Goto top
BC&SJ Simplified TT&TO Rulebook

Prototype railroad's rule books for TT&TO are big and complicated. They have to be to cover every possible circumstance over all permutations of signaled and dark, single and multiple tracks, etc.

To expedite the learning process the BC&SJ used a simplified rulebook based on the 1952 Southern Pacific rulebook. From time to time as the crews become more familiar with the rules new rules and order types may be added.

And if someone goofs and blows the rules no one is likely to get killed (depending on how much rolling stock bounces off the floor).

Rule S-71.
A train is superior to another train by right, class, or direction.
Right is conferred by train order, class and direction by timetable.
Right is superior to class or direction.
Direction is superior as between trains of the same class.

Rule 72.
Trains of the first class are superior to those of the second, trains of the second class are superior to those of the third; and so on.

Rule S-72.
Trains in the direction specified by the timetable are superior to trains of the same class in the opposite directions.

Rule 73.
Extra trains are inferior to regular trains.

Rule 81.
A main track must not be occupied without authority and it must no be fouled until, by observation or protection by flagmen, the engineer or the conduction as the case may be is assured it is safe to do so.

Rule 82.
Timetable schedules, unless fulfilled, are in effect for twelve hours after their time at each station. Regular trains more than twelve hours late on either their schedule arriving or leaving time at any station lose both right and schedule, and can thereafter proceed only as authorized by train order.

Rule 82A.
Regular trains, unless otherwise provided, will be authorized at their initial stations by clearance.

Rule 83.
A train must not leave its initial station, or a junction, or an intermediate station where schedules originate or terminate, until it has been ascertained whether all superior trains due have arrived or left, or that it has authority to proceed.

Rule 83-A.
The information called for by a train register must be inscribed therein and the register checked by the conductor, or by the engineer if there is no conductor, except as hereinafter provided. An extra train will register only at a register station where it originates or terminates, unless otherwise directed.

Rule 85.
Trains of one schedule may pass trains of another schedule of the same class. Second and inferior class and extra trains may pass and run ahead of second and inferior class and extra trains. A section may not pass and run ahead of another section of the same schedule.

Rule 87 (outside of block system limits).

a) A regular train must be clear of main track before the leaving time of an opposing train of superior direction (SP 1952)

b) A train must be clear of main track no less than five minutes before the leaving time of an opposing train of superior right or class (SP 1952).

c) A train must be clear of main track before a superior first-class train or a train of superior right in the same direction is due to leave the next station in the rear where time is shown, but not less than ten minutes if schedule provides less than ten minutes time between the two stations. (SP 1952)

Rule S88.

Extra trains will be governed by train orders with respect to opposing extra trains. At a meeting point between extras or between work extras, the train in the inferior timetable direction must take the siding, unless other provided.

Rule 89.

When an inferior train fails to clear a superior train by the time required by rule, it must be protected at that time as prescribed by rule 99.

Rule 89A.

An inferior train must be in the clear with turnouts lined behind it no later than 5 minutes prior to the scheduled departure time of a superior opposing train.

Rule 93.

Within yard limits engines may use main track without train-order authority, clearing or protecting against first-class trains and without flag protection against second and inferior class trains, extra trains and engines.

Rule 95.
Two or more sections may be run on the same schedule. Each section has equal timetable authority.

Rule 99
A train occupying the main line without authority must send out flag men in both directions to protect against overtaking and opposing trains.

Rule 220.
Train orders once in effect continue so until fulfilled, superseded, or annulled.

Other rules

Rule A.
Train crews shall have a current copy of the Employee Timetable in their possesion at all times. Crews shall read and understand any special instructions in the timetable before hitting the main line.

Rule B.
No train may leave its originating station without the conductor holding a valid clearance listing all applicable train orders AND all train orders listed by the clearance.

Rule C.
Don't forget to sign the registers at Salem, Deschutes Jct., South Jackson and Pocatello when arriving, departing or passing through these locations.

Rule D.
Haz-mat cars should be not closer than the sixth car from occupied engines or caboose train length permitting. This rule does not apply to yard switchers or local switching moves.

Rule E.
Trains shall be operated in a reasonable manner at all times. Anyone found emulating Gomez Adams will be summarily executed and their operating priviledges revoked.

Rule F.
No food or drink is allowed on the layout.

Rule G.
If possible have fun. But not too much fun.

Goto top

BC&SJ Schematic and Town Names

SA - Salem - west end staging SJ - South Jackson - yard.
OH - Oak Hill - the summit, wye for turning helpers. PO - Pocatello - east end staging
DJ - Deschutes Jct. - where the branch leaves the mainline. RD - Redland - the main town on the branch line
MB - Mill Bend - lumber town DE - Deschutes - north staging.
BCSJ Track Plan
Goto top
BC&SJ Timetable
timetable cover

Each crew member is expected to have an Employee Timetable in their possesion at all times while on duty.

The timetable lists all regular trains, their classes and scheduled departure (or arrival) times. It also lists all stations in sequence on the mainline and Deschutes Branch showing the facilites present at each station, the mile post at which they are located, and their distance from Pocatello.

Finally the timetable contain special instructions that augment the rule book.

Click here for .pdf formatted copy of the BC&SJ Employee Time Table suitable for printing.

Click it for a full resolution timetable or click here to see a .pdf version of Timetable No. 1.
Goto BCSJ Track Plan
Goto top
Train Registers
trainregistercover trainregister

Train registers are placed at locations where a train can enter or leave the main (such as at a branchline junction) or where trains can originate or terminate.

Each regular (appearing in the timetable)train must stop at register stations and the conductor signs the train register identifying his train and whether displaying (green) signals for a following section, or entering"No signals" in such case. Extras display white lights
(not "signals"), but conductor will enter "white," in filling this column.

Although extra trains normally aren't entered into train registers the Time Table or dispatcher may require exceptions to this. When an extra's conductor signs the register they must include the train order giving them authority as well as the train identifier(such as X5334).


BC&SJ Train Register Stations

The following locations on the BC&SJ maintain a train register:

  • Salem
  • Deschutes Junction
  • South Jackson
  • Pocatello

Why register? Suppose an extra is proceeding from Oakhill toward Mill Bend. They know from the schedule that the Redland Passenger West was due through Deschutes Jct. at 3:40. It's now 3:45. Has the passenger train already headed down the branch line (no peeking at the lower deck?). The extra crew checks the register at DJ and can see if they have (so the extra can go) or are running late and have not (the extra must wait).

Goto BCSJ Track Plan Goto top

Station Operators

At open stations a train order operator will be on duty. There tasks include

  • Reporting trains to the dispatcher as they pass by.
  • Manage the train order signals at the station.
  • Copy train orders from the dispatcher and either hoop them up to the passing trains or stop the trains so the crew will come sign for orders.
Train order stations on the BC&SJ are Salem, Mill Bend, and Pocatello.

If running short handed, train crews may be required to do their own OS (reporting themselves off-sheet or passing each TO station) rather than using a separate operator.


The Dispatcher

It's the dispatcher's job to expedite the flow of traffic over the railroad. They accomplish this by sending Train Orders to the various crews.

They also must cut clearances for every train that will run on the railroad list all the train orders applying to that train.

Also, they must write train orders to create all extra (non-scheduled) trains that run. An extra train is not a train until an order such as

To C&E Engine SP 4100 at Salem. Engine SP4100 run extra Salem to Pocatello
is written and made complete (when the operator has correctly read back the train order(s) the dispatcher makes those orders complete). This, along with what other orders may be needed (such as meet or right over orders) and a clearance card let the crew of SP4100 head out on the main BUT only after they very carefully read all the orders handed them, check the timetable for trains they must clear (the main) for, and double check the Train Register to ensure all train due at their current location over the last 12 hours have actually arrived.

Because the dispatcher is not in direct contact with the train crews (as is the case with Track Warrant Control) but must dictate orders to the operators at the open train order stations, they need to plan and think far ahead. A dispatcher caught by surprise be a situation will be frantically issuing train orders but most likely getting further behind.

When enough crew are available for a session the dispatcher will always dictate train orders to the station operators who then get them to the passing train crews.

Goto top
Let's run a train!

Whew! So now we're ready to run a train. The crew caller has called us for the Bear Creek Hauler West (am). This train leaves from PO (Pocatello) so we head over to the Pocatello Station Operator's office.

Goto BCSJ Track Plan

Let's run a train - Clearance and Orders

Today our train is the Deschutes Hauler East, an extra powered by a pair of SP&S RS-2 diesels no's 80 & 81. The operator hands us a clearance card showing one order, #6 and the flimsie for the order. We of course already have our Employee Timetable and rule book.

Order #6: To C&E Engine SP&S 80 at DS, Eng 80 run extra Deschues to Pocatello .
Our clearance card says
Do not leave before 8:34 am.
It's now 7:50am. Good! This time the crew caller gave us enough time to get our act together. Sometimes though things can be a mad rush.

bchw train card
Let's run a train - Train Card

We pull the train card that tells us our train's work and stops. We'll be running from Deshutes (staging) to Redland where we'll contact the Redland local switch crew. We'll give them cars for Redland and Prineville and they'll give us cars for destinations on the mainline. Then we'll run to South Jackson Yard where we'll swap blocks with the yard giving them any cars we have for South Jackson, Mill Bend, Oakhill, or Saleml. The YM (yardmaster) may give us cars to take on to Pocatello.

Let's run a train - Car cards

Before heading out to inspect our train we get the car cards from the operator. There should be one of these for each car in the train.

Let's run a train - Inspecting our train

Once out at the train, we walk it looking for derailed wheels, bad couplers and damaged equipment. All seems ok. The train is hooked up to yard air so we won't have to pump the brakes ourselves. We received 17 car cards from the operator, we counted 17 cars in the train not including the hack and our luck continues as the car cards actually match the consist.

The engineer heads for the lead unit to do the brake set and release and I walk back to the hack. The waybills show that the first 8 cars in the train will be dropped off at Redland with the remainder heading for destinations on the mainline..

The hogger backs up the train then slowly then eases forward taking up the slack to test for couplers that "let go" when compressed. There's motion in the hack so we're ready to go!

Goto BCSJ Track Plan

Let's run a train - Can we leave now?

Not yet.

First, is it 8:34am or later? It's now 8:03am so we'll need to kill some time before leaving.

What else didb't we do yet? How about checking the Employee Timetable? What trains might we meet out on the line? Lets see, if we leave at 9:20 and should be in South Jackson by 9:50. what could be in our way? Let's look at each train listed in the time table. No regular trains are listed on the Deschutes branch so we can make our run to Redland without worrying about oncoming traffic.

We wait until 8:34am and pull out of Deschutes. It's a short trip and we're in Redland before we know it. The Redland local crew takes our 8 setouts and gives us 16 cars heading for the mainline, loading us up to our max length of 25 cars.

Blocking is persnickety for this train. Salems first, followed by a block of South Jacksons, Mill Bends, and Oakhills, and the Pocatellos (longs east) at the end of the train. The Redland local crew has the cars already blocked and inserts them in our train between the Salems and Pocatellos we left Deschutes with.

By 9:07 we're done swithing in Redland and head for Deschutes Jct. We'll hold short of the main there until we do a timetable scan looking at what might be in our way once we move onto the mainline. We arrive at Deschutes Jct. at 9:16. The timetable shows:

  • 203 - This train won't be leaving Pocatello until 4pm. Not a problem for us.
  • 202 - This train won't pass through Deschutes Jct on the main until 3:29pm. Not a problem for us.
  • 201 - This train should have passed through Deschutes Jct westward at 8:27am. Not a problem if he's already passed us, but what if he's late. We'll need to check the train register at Deschutes Jct.
  • 200 - The trains should have passed Deschutes jct. eastward at 6:39am. Again, we'll need to check the Deschutes Jct register to see if it has already passed.
  • 111 - This first class westward express won't hit Deschutes Junction at 2:35pm. Not a problem for us.
  • 110 - This first class eastward express is due through Deschutes Jct. at 10:04 and due to leave Oakhill at 9:39. If we leave promtly we're OK.
  • 100 - The eastward reefer express is due to leave Salem at 11:39am, far enough in the future to not be a problem for us.
  • 21 - The westward passenger local is due to leave Mill Bend at 11:26am and South Jackson at 11:04am. It will take us about 10 minutes to get to South Jackson from Deschutes Jct.. so this train isn't a problem for us..
  • 20 - The eastward passenger local is annuled today.
  • 15 - The easward Silver Bullet is annuled today.
  • 14 - The westward Silver Bullet is due to leave Salem at 4:02pm today. Not a problem for us.

We go check the Deschutes Jct. register. Train 201 passed at 8:40am, 13 minutes late. Train 200 passed at 6:41am, only 2 minutes late. With all trains accounted for we're good to go.

Let's run a train - Leaving Deschutes Jct.

We can easily make South Jackson before 10:54am. The hoghead blows the horn twice and off we go. 10 minutes later we enter South Jackson's yard limits at 9:15am. We climb down and call the YM. He says come in on the siding and he's got 6 cars for us to take to Pocatello..

The YM looked at the Time Table before telling us to do that. Check rule 93

Within yard limits engines may use main track without train-order authority, clearing or protecting against first-class trains and without flag protection against second and inferior class trains, extra trains and engines.
Although authority isn't required to use the main track within yard limits everybody still has to clear for 1st class trains. The YM looked for first class trains and saw that trains 110 was due through the yard at 10:14am. It's likely that our block swap could have us there longer than that so he brought us in on the siding to keep the mainline clear.

Goto BCSJ Track Plan

Let's run a train - Work in South Jackson

We give the YM 14 of our 25 cars and take 8 from him. Yes I remembered to trade the car cards with the YM - it's so embarrassing to finish a run and realize that the paperwork for half your train is miles away in another town! We have 17 cars now. We pump up the air and check the brakes. We did the block swap quickly and it's only 9:48am.

Train 110 is due to leave Mill Bend for South Jackson at 10:13am. 110 is due to leave South Jackson at 10:56am. If there's nothing coming from Pocatello we can leave in front of 110.

The track to Pocatello from South Jackson is effectively double track once we're past Toh Jct. Train 21 is due throught Toh Jct at 10:38am. We can easily clear Toh Jct. so with two toots on the horn we pull out of South Jackson and head for Pocatello.

After a dizzy spell in the helix we pull into an empty track in Pocatello at 10:09am and tie up. Our run is complete.


While we're cogitating the air finishes pumping - the yard gave us cars with air already in them. A quick set and release passes. It's now 10:19.

The South Jackson Train Register shows that 202 pulled into the yard at 9:15am (in fact the YM was starting to sort its cars when we showed up). Train 21 left SJ at 8:48 and there's nothing else on the schedule before we can get to Mill Bend. But should we hold the main in MB or hit the siding?

Let's run a train - Which track in Mill Bend?

Its 9:55 now and it looks like there's nothing in the way except possibly 22 the Oakhill Passenger West which might be delayed at the MB station. But wait a minute. The next stopping point beyond Mill Bend is Oakhill. If it takes us another 10 (fast) minutes to get to Mill Bend and another 25 to get to Oakhill and 5 more to clear up, is there anything coming down the hill toward us we'd meet on the way up? If there is we'd better wait at Mill Bend!

10:00 + 10 + 25 + 5 makes it 10:40 before we could hope to be at Oakhill. Looking at the eastbound column we see that train 22 (the east half of the Oakhill passenger 21) is scheduled to leave at 10:20am. But its not scheduled to leave Deschutes Jct (at the far end of MB) until 10:40. We can't get to OH but we can easily make it to MB. So we head over to Mill Bend and pull into the hole being careful to line the turnout behind us for the main. It's 10:12.

We sit tight for a while and a bit before 10:40 we see a headlight coming down the hill beyond Deschutes Jct. At 10:48 a passenger train pulls up to the the Mill Bend depot. Alright! With train 22 beside us we're clear to go. The front end brakie lines the Mill Bend west switch for the siding and we ease onto the main.

Let's run a train - Leaving Mill Bend for Oakhill

Special instruction SI-3 in the Time Table (you did read those didn't you?) says even though we're an extra we need to sign the register at Deschutes Jct. so the hogger pulls to a stop once we clear the siding and while the brakie lines the turnout back for the main I high tail it over to the tower to sign on the dotted line. Since we're an extra and it's possible our engines might be recycled (used again on a different train) today I not only put X44 west in the "Train" box but write Order #6 next to it to uniquely identify us.

It would be nice to sit awhile and shoot the breeze with the DJ operator but time isn't waiting so I head back over to the hack, signal the hogger and off we go up the hill. It's 10:48am.

Goto BCSJ Track Plan

Let's run a train - Siding or Main in Oakhill

According to train order #7 we have a meet at Oakhill with Extra 32 (probably the Bear Creek Hauler East). But who goes in the hole? Checking the rule book I see Rule S88 which states

At a meeting point between extras or between work extras, the train in the inferior timetable direction must take the siding, unless otherwise provided.
Time table special instruction S-72 states that at least on this railroad West is the Best. We'll hold the mainline since we're west bound. Oakhill is a funny place though. If we were meeting a passenger train making a station stop, the dispatcher would have instructed us to hold the main in Oakhill even if the passenger train was a first class train. Why? Because the depot is on the siding in Oakhill.

We grind our way up the 2.8% grade through what will be some magnificent terrain (or so we are told if the lazy bums at Hillmover's Construction ever get off their duffs). At 11:11am we pull across the east turnout at Oakhill. There's no sign of Extra 32 yet so we continue to roll slowly toward the west end of town. We stop and wait a few minutes before BCSJ 32 a 2-8-8-2 purchased from the N&W during a motive power shortage pulls into sight trailing a plume of imaginary smoke.

Let's run a train - Can we leave Oakhill for Salem?

While X32 is pulling into the siding it's back to the Time Table again. Can we go on to Salem? It's 11:16 and it will take us about 8 minutes to get to Salem and another 12 to pull into the clear. Is there anything coming east at us before 11:16 + 8 + 12 = 11:36?

The schedule shows 110, Reefer Madness leaving Salem at 12:08pm. That gives us a comfortable margin of 32 minutes over what we need to get to Salem and clear up. At 11:18 X32 is in the clear and the OH west turnout is lined for the main. The hogger gives two pulls on the horn and we're off again.

Let's run a train - Tied down in Salem, We're Done!

21 minutes later we've eased into Salem and are tied down in the clear, ready for another assignment or some beans. Oops! I almost forget to sign the Salem train register so we hike over to the operations office and sign the register and hand over the car cards for the train. Now we're ready for something new.


TT&TO terms and definitions

Meet - two or more trains meeting in oppositie directions at a specified location.

Pass - one train overtaking another train at a specified location.

Register - a book kept at certain train order stations showing which trains have passed through.

Train Order Station - a station occupied by an operator for at least some portion of the day. Station hours are specified in the Employee Time Table

Employee Time Table - a document listing the schedules of all regular trains as well as applicable speed restrictions, alerts, stations and their facilities (water, fuel, turntable, operator hours, wye, passing siding length). Note that time table is actually a conglomeration of all the schedules. A schedule is indicated for each regular train.

Schedule - the Time Table is made up of multiple schedules, one per train. Each schedule will occupy one column of the Time Table and lists the departure times for each station and the arrival time at the final station. NO TRAIN MAY LEAVE A STATION AHEAD OF ITS SCHEDULED DEPARTURE TIME.

Sections of a schedule - Regular trains may be operated in section so their schedule. That is, multiple trains may use the same time table schedule. These trains are referred to as sections of the schedule. If there 3 trains are running on the same schedule for train 204, they are referred to as first 204, second 204, and third 204. All sections except the last must display two green lights as classification signals, on the front of the engine.

When a train is waiting for an opposing train and that train shows up with green flags, in the absence of train orders to the contrary, the crew of the waiting train must continue to wait until all sections have passed (the final section will not be displaying green markers)

Train Orders - orders issued by the dispatcher to create an extra, modify a schedule, give one train rights over another or set up a meet or pass.

Regular train - a train with a schedule specified on the current Employee timetable

Extra train - a train not provided with a schedule on the current Employee timetable Extra trains are created by train order. For example:

Engine 213 run extra South Jackson to Redland.
This order creates an extra train (known as extra 213 west) and gives it authority to run from South Jackson to Redland. Extra trains display two white flags or lights at the front of the lead engine.

Work Extra - a train created by train order that is able to move in either direction on the trackage specified by the train order. Regular schduled trains and extras do not have authority to mave a reverse move. A work extra does. This allows work extras to make run around moves and use the mainline (when speicifed) to switch out local industries.

Flag man - a crewman sent out flagging distance to flag on coming traffic to stop. Flagmen are required to protect a train every time it stops on the mainline without proper timetable or train order authority.

Flagging distance - flagging distance on the BC&SJ shall be 1000 feet (11 actual feet).

Goto top

This page last updated November 7, 2005
This page and images Copyright © 2005-2013 by Charlie Comstock. All rights reserved.