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Notifications of operating sessions and open houses are made via e-mail to existing crew, FaceBook, and OperatingSessions.com.

There is no need for prospective attendees to register for an open house.

Operating sessions do require prospective attendees to register via OperatingSessions.com. Registration will be closed once a set number of positions is filled.

Existing crew will receive a special registration code within their e-mail notice of the session. This code will provide preferential registration for 48 hours before new crew are accepted.

OperatingSessions.com instructions to come

THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD
MIDDLE DIVISION
43rd SUB-DIVISION

EMPLOYEE ORIENTATION

FOR OPERATIONS ON
JERRY BRITTON'S
PRR MIDDLE DIVISION IN HO SCALE

EFFECTIVE February 4, 2020

Welcome

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Railroad's Middle Division!

Congratulations on signing on; we wish you the best during your tenure as an operator on the line.

A few house rules:

  • No surprise visits! If you would like to operate on the railroad, please gain permission in advance.
  • If you have to cancel your attendance at a session, please do so in a timely manner so that an operator on the stand-by list may be offered your position.
  • Please plan to attend the entire session as an early departure may adversely affect the experience of the other operators.
  • Please do not bring guests without first gaining permission.
  • No children under the age of 16.
  • You may park in the street or the driveway. Limit parking in the driveway to the left hand side, as far forward as the lamp post; do not park on the right side.
  • The powder room is on the first floor, opposite the door to the basement.
  • Soft drinks are available in the train room's refrigerator, please help yourself. A recyclables container is located opposite the foot of the stairs.
  • Handle locomotives and rolling stock with extreme care. They are not only expensive, but have very delicate parts, including but not limited to, grab irons, brake wheels, etc.
  • Hand throws on switches are for decoration only! All switches are powered and are operated either by a tower operator or via toggle switch on the fascia.
  • When switching within an area, “normalize” all switches when leaving the area. The switch is in the normal position when the panel indicator is green.
  • Have fun!

Seniority

Crew members draw numbered chips from a bag before each session. The individuals select their jobs in the order of the numbers drawn, starting with #1.

In this manner, all crew members have equal opportunity to select various jobs over the course of their career.

The Call Board

The call board is divided into two sections.

Down the left side are static positions, such as yardmasters and tower operators.

Down the right side are road positions, both mainline and secondary. When enough people are available, trains may run with both an engineer and a conductor. Running with two-person crews is a good way to train newcomers in rules and procedures so they can gain the experience to operate on their own.

photo to come

Mainline crews communicate with tower operators, when needed, via train phone. Train phone is simulated via lineside telephone.

Secondary crews communicate with tower operators via lineside phones. Locations of lineside phones are indicated on fascia control panels and represented trackside; locomotives/cabins should be stopped close to lineside phones for the convenience of the crews.

Until such time that lineside phones are implemented, crews shall walk to the tower operator to communicate. The act of walking to the tower operator shall simulate the act of walking to the lineside telephone. FRS radio shall be used temporarily between the yardmaster and the tower operator.

Digitrax Throttles

The PRR Middle Division utilizes a Digitrax digital command control (DCC) system. Operators are encouraged to bring their own Digitrax throttles. Wireless throttles are supported.

A limited number of Digitrax UT4 throttles are available for those who do not provide their own throttles.

 Digitrax UT4 Series Throttle Manual

SmartPhone ThrottlesiPhone 5 Throttle

To use your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with JMRI as a throttle, you run the WiThrottle app on the iPhone or iPod Touch. The basic application is available for free download from the iTunes store.

To use your Android device with JMRI as a throttle, you run the Engine Driver program or Digitrains on the Android device. These free apps are available from the Google Play Store or the EngineDriver site.

Follow the configuration instructions for the respective application. The wireless network SSID is PRR and the server to connect to is Lewistown. (The Supervisor will provide the password on-site.)

Web Browser Throttles

webThrottle runs on the most recent browsers on computers, smartphones and tablets. The device and browser must support HTML5 and websockets.  It has been tested on Safari, Firefox and Google Chrome running on Windows, MAC, iPad/iPhone and Android - it should run on Internet Explorer 10. There is nothing to install on the device! webThrottle is completely resizable and it ajusts automatically to the size and orientation of the device screen.

The wireless network SSID is PRR and the server to connect to is http://10.0.0.2:12080/roster. (The Supervisor will provide the password on-site.)

 

Reporting to the division superintendent, the supervisor is the railroad's executive at the local level. 

Supervisor 43, "LEWISTOWN", covers the main line from milepost 156.0 to 186.5, including the Denholm coal wharf, the Lewistown station, and WALL and LEWIS interlockings; the Lewistown Secondary; and the Milroy Secondary.

The Freight Agent collects car requests from online customers and forwards waybills to the Lewistown Yardmaster.

Duties During Operating Sessions

  • Interfaces with suborindate crew and operators as needed
  • Performs all necessary supervisory functions
  • Oversees and performs emergency maintenance

Duties Between Operating Sessions

  • At each switching area, selectively move car cards from Hold bin to Outbound bin
  • At each switching area, move all car cards from Inbound bin to Hold bin
  • Generate new empty car requests from online customers and forward to Lewistown Yard
  • Fill empty car requests per orders from Lewistown Yard; provide via intradivisional trains indicated below
  • Restock beverages

Additional Duties Between Scenario 1 and Scenario 2

  • Re-stage S-70 as S-71 (Northumberland)
  • Re-stage M-23 at Mount Union as M-19 at Newport (Staging 4-2)
  • Re-stage M-27 as M-26 (Staging 2-6)
  • Re-stage M-9 for next eastbound run (Staging 3-4)

Additional Duties Between Scenario 2 and Scenario 1

  • Re-stage M-18 at Newport as M-22 at Mount Union (Staging 1-1)
  • Re-stage M-16 for next westbound run (Staging 2-1)
  • On train 2, the Pennsylvania Limited, rotate last sleeper in consist for next run (Staging 1-2)
  • If train 3 was run, the Penn Texas, rotate last sleeper in consist for next run (Staging 4-4)

All trains run as extras per prototype practice. The employee timetable does not provide timetable authority.

Movement of trains is based on a Sequence of Trains table. Sequences for each line are independent from one another.

Main Line Operations

Crews follow signal indication and operate their trains out of staging, proceed through Lewistown, and return to staging.

Some trains will originate or terminate at Lewistown. Crews will follow signal indication to/from the yard.

Secondary Line Operations

All non-main line trackage is categorized as secondary lines. Secondary lines have no passenger traffic (or they would be “branches”).

Authority to proceed is granted verbally at the leisure of the LEWIS tower operator via telephone.

The LEWIS operator will grant permission between points on the secondary line. Crews must contact the tower operator by telephone to indicate that they have reached their destination so as to clear the block.

All movements on secondary tracks are at restricted speeds with crews responsible for stopping short of obstacles or other trains.

There are numerous “yard limits” along the secondary lines. Movements within the yard limits are coordinated among affected crews.

Train Order Cards

A Train Order card is included at the front of every train packet. The card provides the train symbol, the train name (if one), the class, the origin, and the destination of the train.

An Instructions area provides information such as stops or work to be performed during the course of operation of the train.

train orders

 

The Middle Division uses a "car card and waybill" system for freight car movements. The system is described on the following pages:

Car Cards

Waybills

Local Switching

Source Documentation

The operation of the PRR Middle Division is intended to adhere to prototype practice where possible and reasonable. The following are links to prototype documents for reference.

The Rules for Conducting Transportation (a.k.a. Book of Rules) is the general “rule book” for the entire railroad.

The Eastern Region, Middle Division, Employee Timetable #7 includes rules specific to the locations depicted as well as timetable schedules for passenger and freight traffic.

The Makeup of Trains includes the specific consists of all of the passenger trains passing through the locations depicted.

The Through Freight Train Schedules Between Principal Points includes the blocking information and makeup of all freight trains passing through the locations depicted.

The Appendix to General Notice No. 234-B: Local Arranged Freight Train Service, Eastern Region provides information on intradivisional local freight service.

Scenarios

Operating sessions run on a 2:1 fast clock and alternate between two scenarios:

  • The First Trick scenario depicts a 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. shift. All scheduled trains are run plus local service on the secondary lines. Mineral trains and other extras are operated as capacity and crews allow.
  • The Second Trick scenario depicts a 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. shift, with a break, and resumes at 3:00 a.m. to 7:00 a.m. All scheduled trains are run. In addition, non-prototypical local service is operated on the secondary lines. Mineral trains and other extras are operated as capacity and crews allow.

The schedule is derived from the prototype Employee Timetable and provides target o/s times at LEWIS. The ETT provides times at LEWIS for passenger trains. The ETT provides start and end times between Altoona and Harrisburg/Enola for freight trains; time at LEWIS is interpolated.

As it is impractical to separately model each and every train on the schedule, the approach is to group trains by typical consist and create a model consist for each group. These "composite" trains then run multiple times, but as different symbols (freight) or named (passenger) trains. You may view the representative and prototype consists by clicking on the train symbol on the Sequence of Trains document.