Mr. Chairman, Board Members, Employes and Stockholders,

The Office of the Chief Engineer is pleased to share with you this report of construction progress on the Pennsylvania Railroad, Middle Division, as of the end of the Third Quarter, 2020:

Middle Division Construction Progress
Location Surveying
Track Final Grading
(est., act.)
Middle Division Main Line
 Harrisburg/Enola (staging) 100%  100%  N/A Q2 2014
 WALL Interlocking 100%  100%  N/A Q2 2014
 Lewistown Junction (XA ) 100%  100%  40% Q1 2014
 LEWIS Interlocking 100%  100%  10% Q1 2015
 Ryde (268-270) 100%  100%  25% Q4 2014
 Vineyard (272) (stairway underpass) 100%  100%  N/A Q2 2014
 JACKS Interlocking 100%  100%  N/A Q3 2014
 Altoona (staging) 100%  100%  N/A Q3 2014
Lewistown Secondary
 Lewistown Junction (XA) 100%  80%  50% Q1 2017 
 Juniata Helix 100%  100%  N/A Q3 2013
 Lewistown (LN) 100%  80%  0% Q1 2017
 Furnace Branch Siding (LN) 0%  0%  0% Future Expansion
   Milroy Secondary
 Lewistown (LN) 100%  100%  50% Q3 2016
 Kishacoquillas Helix 100%  100%  N/A Q3 2015
 Lewistown (3902) 100%  100%  25% Q2 2016
 Menzies (3903, stairway overpass) 100%  100%  50% Q2 2015
 Burnham (3904, west half) 100%  85%  0% Q2 2015
 Burnham (3904, east half) 100%  100%  10% Q4 2013
      Standard Steel Company 100%  10% 0% TBD
 Yeagertown (3905) 100%  85% 10% Q1 2013
 Mann's Narrows (3906) 100%  100%  100% Q3 2013
 KV Junction (3907) 50% 50%  10% Q3 2013
 Reedsville (3907) 0%  0%  0% Future Expansion
 Honey Creek (3908) 0%  0%  0% Future Expansion
 Naginey (3911) 0%  0%  0% Future Expansion
 Milroy (3912) 100%  100%  10% Q1 2016
Susquehanna Division: Selinsgrove Secondary
 Selinsgrove (staging) 100%  0%  N/A TBD
Pennsylvania Midland

 Northward Relay Tracks (staging)

0% 0% N/A Future Expansion
 Everett 50% 0% 0% Future Expansion
​ Black Valley 50% 20% 0% Future Expansion
 Southward Relay Tracks (staging) 0% 0% N/A Future Expansion

 work train

Impediment to Operations | In Progress

Main Line


QC operation

Lewistown Junction (XA)

QC operationland forms, paint ground, cinders, ballast, ad hoc scenery

Roundhouse Road

control panel, QC operation, ad hoc scenery

LEWIS / Granville Bridge

re-attach switch machine, QC operation, filler ties, paint track, joint compound, backdrop, land forms, stain bridge, paint ground, cinders, ballast, water, ad hoc scenery


ballast, ad hoc scenery


QC operation

Lewistown Secondary

Lewistown Junction (XA)

control panel, QC operationroundhouse track and power, ad hoc scenery

Juniata Bridge

 land forms, backdrop, water, replace fascia, ad hoc scenery

Lewistown (LN) and Furnace Branch Siding (future)

spike turnouts, switch machines, control panel, car card boxes, sort rail, filler ties, paint track, paint ground, cinders, ballast, ad hoc scenery

Milroy Secondary

Lewistown (LN)

switch machines, control panel, car card box, filler ties, paint track, paint ground, cinders, ballast, backdrop, ad hoc scenery

Lewistown (3902)

land forms, filler ties, paint track, paint ground, cinders, ballast, water, fascia, car card box, backdrop, ad hoc scenery

Menzies (3903)

ad hoc scenery

Burnham (3904)

filler ties, paint track, land forms, paint ground, cinders, ballast, water, ad hoc scenery

Yeagertown (3905) and Standard Steel (future)

paint ground, cinders, ballast, ad hoc scenery

Mann (3906) and KV Junction

control panel, ad hoc scenery

Reedsville (3907) (future)

Honey Creek (3908) (future)

Shraders (3909) (future)

Naginey (3911) (future)

Milroy (3912)

filler ties, paint track, paint ground, move backdrop, ad hoc scenery

Pennsylvania Midland Railroad

Everett Terminal

subroadbed, roadbed and track, track power, switch machines, control panel, filler ties, paint track, cinders, ballast, ad hoc scenery

Everett Yard (future)

JMRI Projects

CATS 1980s-style CTC panel

Mainline occupancy detection (PanelPro)

Mainline turnout control (PanelPro)

Mainline CTC (PanelPro)

Juniata / Kishacoquillas helixes occupancy panel (PanelPro)

JACKS repeater panel (PanelPro)

WALL repeater panel (PanelPro)

Mainline train automation (Warrants)

Timetable (Timetable)

Supporting Infrastructure

Physical signals

Phone system


NMRA Achievement Program - Model Railroad Engineer - Civil

August 21, 2020 - Awarded NMRA Achievement Program (AP) Model Railroad Engineer - Civil certificate.


dispatchNMRA Achievement Program - Chief Dispatcher

October 1, 2017 - Awarded NMRA Achievement Program (AP) Chief Dispatcher certificate.


voltmNMRA Achievement Program - Model Railroad Engineer - Electrical

October 1, 2017 - Awarded NMRA Achievement Program (AP) Model Railroad Engineer - Electrical certificate.


goldspkNMRA Golden Spike Award

September 12, 2017 - Awarded NMRA Golden Spike Award certificate.



NMRA Achievement Program - Association Volunteer

December 1, 2016 - Awarded NMRA Achievement Program (AP) Association Volunteer certificate.


author1NMRA Achievement Program - Model Railroad Author

January 13, 2014 - Awarded NMRA Achievement Program (AP) Model Railroad Author certificate.


mbscNMRA Achievement Program - Master Builder - Scenery

October 1, 2013 - Awarded NMRA Achievement Program (AP) Master Builder - Scenery certificate.

Milroy Secondary Turn

Turnaround service for the Milroy Secondary, operating out of Lewistown Yard via the Lewistown Secondary, exclusive of the Standard Steel Turn and the Stone Turn.


  • Work only trailing point sidings heading east, turn at Milroy, and work trailing point sidings heading west.
  • At Yeagertown, drop cars not destined for eastward locations and pick them up on the return trip, if siding space allows. This simplifies moves at Reedsville and Milroy. Be sure to leave car cards in Storage Track card box during run to Milroy and back.

Special Instructions

None at this time.

Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society

The Society's mission is to further scholarly learning and interest in the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and its predecessor companies by stimulating and encouraging the collecting, researching, recording and preserving of all technical, historical and practical information concerning the PRR and to make this information available to interested persons in appropriate ways, such as publications, meetings, and the maintenance of a research archive. In addition, the Society hopes to further accurate modeling.

I have served on the Society's Modeling Committee, working with manufacturers to produce accurate PRR models.

Northern Central Chapter

I have served as chapter president, vice president, webmaster, and as a volunteer in the hosting of annual meetings.

New England Chapter

I have served as a volunteer in the hosting of annual meetings.

Middle Division Chapter

I have served as the chapter's webmaster.

footer logoNational Model Railroad Association

The National Model Railroad Association (NMRA), an organization of model railroaders, advances the worldwide scale model railroading community through education and standards as well as advocacy and fellowship.

logo vectorMid-Eastern Region

The Mid-Eastern Region (MER) is one of seventeen Regions within NMRA.  The MER includes Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, plus parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and North Carolina.  There are about 2,000 members in the MER.  MER activities include at least one convention each year – normally in the fall.

Susquehanna Division

I have served as a director of the Division and as chair of the Events Committee. I have served as a volunteer in the annual model railroad open house event.

opsig logoOperations Special Interest Group

The principal purpose of the Operations Special Interest Group (OPSIG) is to discuss, develop and disseminate ways of operating model railroads to realistically emulate practices of the prototype.

footer logoGroups.io

The most advanced email group service on the Internet.


Owner of the CATS-Users group. CATS (Computer Automated Traffic System) is an application built upon the Java Model Railroad Interface (JMRI).

footer logoYouTube



footer logoFacebook


Pennsylvania Railroad Middle Division in HO Scale

The blog for my model railroad based on Lewistown, Pa. Static content for the model railroad is at this The Pennsylvania Railroad Middle Division in HO Scale web site, including many articles from Keystone Crossings via The Pennsy Modeler

Pennsylvania Railroad

Owner of the group celebrating the late, great Pennsy in both prototypic and model.

Northern Central Chapter, P R R T & H S

Owner of the page for the local chapter of the Pennsylvania Railroad Technical & Historical Society out of York, Pa.

Huntingdon & Broad Top Mountain Railroad

Owner of the group dedicated to the Huntingdon & Broad Top Mountain Railroad, which interchanged with the Pennsy at Huntingdon and Bedford, Pa.

Kishacoquillas Valley Railroad

Owner of the group dedicated to the Kishacoquillas Valley Railroad, which interchanged with the Pennsy at Reedsville, Pa.

Bellefonte Central Railroad

Owner of the group dedicated to the Bellefonte Central Railroad, which interchanged with the Pennsy at Bellefonte, Pa.

The Great Scale Model Train Show

The Great Scale Model Train Show for over 28 years has provided a marketplace for everyone who enjoys building, operating, or simply watching scale model railroads. It's the largest show in the country dedicated to "scale" model trains, -- model trains that are intended to be reasonably accurate scale models. Merchandise at the shows includes all the common scales from Z to large scale. And there's much more than just the trains -- shop for scenery, tools, electronics, parts, videos, books, buildin supplies, software, display cases... everything you could want to make your hobby more enjoyable! Held quarterly in Timonium, Md.

Lewistown Secondary Switcher

Local service for the Lewistown Secondary, operating out of Lewistown Yard. 


None at this time.

Special Instructions

  • Yard limits are inclusive of Water Street, the Furnace Branch Siding, and Chestnut Street (visible).
  • Within yard limits, movement clearance is not required but movements are limited to restricted speed with the ability to stop short of obstacles or conflicting traffic.
  • Blue flags shall be implemented on all freight station sidings after car placement until car pickup. 

Key Tasks and Times

Time Task Notes
7:00 a.m. S-70 departs to Selinsgrove Provide clearance
10:30 a.m. STON-1 departs to Naginey Provide clearance
TBD Milroy Turn departs to Milroy Provide clearance
TBD Steel Turn departs to Yeagertown Provide clearance
Time Task Notes
4:00 p.m. S-71 arrives from Selinsgrove Provide clearance
6:30 p.m. STON-2 arrives from Naginey Provide clearance
TBD Milroy Turn arrives from Milroy Provide clearance
TBD Steel Turn arrives from Yeagertown Provide clearance
TBD Pickup LCL cars from freight station and return to yard 13 cars
TBD Place LCL cars from yard to freight station 13 cars


Jerry Brittons PRR MIddle Division

As a stand-in until such time as an era-appropriate CTC solution is developed, the Middle Division has adopted the use of the Computer Automated Traffic System ("CATS"), which is an application that rides on top of the Java Model Railroad Interface ("JMRI") libraries. CATS presents a 1980s-90s era Digicon dispatching panel.

3 Getting Started

Most of the Getting Started tasks will have been completed for the begining of your shift as Operator. If so, you may skip ahead to section four.

  1. Simply launch cats.bat (Windows) or cats.csh (Macintosh OS X or Linux) to start up CATS.

  2. Several windows will pop up. All but one are part of JMRI, so the JMRI tool set is available while running the dispatcher panel.

  3. The last window created is a blank dispatcher panel. Use the File -> Open menu item to navigate to the XML description file and open it.


    If you look at File again, you will see that Open is greyed out and Start Recording is an option. If you select Start Recording, then the current train locations and crew assignments (as well as subsequent train movements and crew assignments) are stored in a file you select. These actions are time stamped to allow the session to be recreated. Thus, the file provides a record of the operating session. It is not intended that the record be used for grading the operators, but for being used in conjunction with multiple records for adjusting train schedules. 

  4. The Trains menu is used for creating trains and changing their state. It has one menu item (Load Lineup) for reading in a lineup.  By allowing the lineup to exist in a separate file, you can have multiple lineups (e.g. even day/odd day or morning/afternoon) and select the one you want to use on the fly. It will be described in detail later. It has an Edit Lineup item for viewing, adding, and changing the information about a train. The last item, Rerun Train, is a way of running a train again, that has completed its work. 

  5. The Crew menu is used to identify the crew assigned to each train. Though you can add and delete crews at any time, it is usually easiest to add them before starting the operating session. It has an option (Load Crew) for reading in a file which contains crew names, one name per line. It also has an option (Legal Hours) for setting the “hog law” – hours a crew can work before they must be relieved. 

  6. The Jobs menu -- like the Crews menu -- has an option to edit the list of jobs and job assignments and another option to read in a list of jobs. 

  7. After the trains, crew, and jobs are read in, you should assign crew to jobs. This step is strictly optional. Any crew not assigned to a job or assigned to a job with the “Train” field checked will be put on the “Extra Board” and appear in selection lists for assigning crew to trains. Notice that you can add jobs at any time. You can select a block of jobs and reorder the list. You can adjust the column widths and if you select the “Accept” button, the adjustments will be remembered for the duration of the operating session. Finally, you can remove superfluous jobs for the rest of the operating session.

  8. This next step prunes the train list. Often a schedule will have trains that will not run in a particular operating session. At the beginning of the operating session use Trains -> Edit Lineup.


    That will bring up the list of all trains known by the dispatcher panel. Select one (or a block) and click on Terminate Train and that train will be hidden from lists and not appear on the layout. If you removed the wrong train, do not worry, it can be put back on the known list by using the Trains -> Rerun Train selection. You should cut back the list early, so you do not have to look at unwanted trains. Like the job screen, you can reorder the trains, add new trains, change the column widths, and change any information for a train that was set as “Editable” in designer. The Tie Down Train button works a little like the Terminate Train button. It is used to tell CATS that the train has completed its work, but the train’s label remains on the panel.

    Often, a visitor will bring a guest train. It is added to the list of trains with the Trains -> Edit Train -> Add Record menu item. Selecting it pops up a blank row under the currently selected row. Trains can be added at any time, but like crew, it is best to add them before the operating session begins, when the dispatcher is under less pressure.

  9. Now that the train list is tailored to the operating session, you can position the trains on the layout screen. To position a train, move the mouse cursor to the section of track corresponding to where the train should sit and touch the right mouse button. You will see a pop up menu. Select the Position train menu and click on Accept. You will see a list of trains which are not removed and are not on the screen. Select the one that is sitting on that track. This is another operation that can be done at any time, but it is best to set all the starting conditions before beginning so that the screen does not show an occupied track as empty. Some trains will not be on the layout when the operating session begins (for example, a train goes out with one symbol and comes back with another). That is fine. When the train appears on the layout, position it at that time.

  10. Under the File menu is the Replay button. It is used to read in a session log file (created by Start Recording from above). It “replays” the log and moves trains, changes assignments, etc. It serves two useful purposes. It was intended to restore an operating session. On the Crandic, one of our dispatchers is quite talented at crashing CATS late in an operating session. Because of this creativity, it was easier to replay the activities that happened before the crash than “user proof” CATS. A fall out of adding this capability is that you can record the initial positioning of trains and other things (such as taking tracks out of service) in preparation for an operating session. At the beginning of the actual operating session (after loading the layout, trains, and crew), you can replay the preparation log. It much simplifies starting CATS.

    Replay will ask if you want to preserve timestamps from the log. The guideline is answer “no” when starting an operating session. Then, the timestamps will reflect the time at which the log is replayed, so all the movements will be recorded as though they just happened, which makes later analysis easier. If you are resuming an operating session, you will probably want to answer “yes” so that the durations of the previous segment are preserved.

  11. We are almost ready to begin, but first the crew must be given their initial assignments. This step is also optional. There are several ways of doing this. At the beginning of an operating session, the easiest way is Train -> Edit Lineup or Crew -> Edit Crew. They do similar things, but from different perspectives. Train -> Edit Lineup brings up a list of trains that have not been removed and has a pull down list containing the crew list for each train. By selecting an item from the crew list, you associate a crew with a train. Conversely, Crew -> Edit Crew creates a list of crew (those not assigned to a job or assigned to a job with the Train box checked) with a pull down menu of trains that have not been removed. To associate a train with a crew, select the train. While you are making the assignments, nothing prevents you from assigning one crew to multiple trains or multiple trains to one crew. However, when you click on Accept, the assignments will be checked and a pop up error will tell you that there is a problem. The assignment window will remain until the conflict is resolved or the Cancel button is clicked.

4 The Operating Session

4.1 Setting Signals

Under CTC, signals are in their most restrictive aspect (Stop), until the dispatcher reserves a route from the signal to its successor, in the direction of travel. When the dispatcher reserves a route, all signals in one direction of travel may show “movement allowed” indications. All signals facing the opposing direction of travel remain in their most restrictive aspect. Thus, a train is given permission to go from only point A to point B. Movement from point B to point A is prohibited by signals.

Reserving a route also locks the route. This means that until the existing reservation is cleared, a reservation cannot be made in the opposing direction or a turnout on the route cannot be changed by the dispatcher. The computer will not allow the dispatcher to set an unsafe route. An unsafe route is one which conflicts with an existing route, one in which the dispatcher has granted local switching to a block, one in which the dispatcher has taken a block out of service, one which has one or more turnouts aligned to a different route, or one in which a block is shown as occupied.

The signals for the reserved route will obey the “Signal Aspects and Indications” of the employee handbook. The symbols representing the signals on the dispatcher panel will be “empty” (white or grey) if not involved in a reserved route; red, if in the opposing direction; yellow, if the next signal is red; or green, if the next signal is not red. Thus, the symbols mirror the signals the engineer sees, to the extent that can be done with five colors. The colors of the signal icons are only loosely connected to the actual layout aspects. It is possible to define an aspect to show yellow (e.g. normal approach medium) and the icon to be green (because the next signal is non red).

The way the dispatcher reserves a route is to click the left mouse button when the mouse is positioned over an “empty” or “off” signal symbol. If the reservation is accepted, then the signal symbol changes color and the tracks composing the reserved route turn green with an arrow head pointing to the exit of each block. A subtle distinction exists between white “empty” icons and “grey” empty icons. White ones have a physical signal associated with them on the layout. Grey ones do not; thus, the color difference is a reminder to the dispatcher that the train engineer does not see a signal that the dispatcher does.

There are two ways to clear a reservation. The dispatcher can cancel a reservation by clicking the left mouse button when positioned over a signal iconl that is green or yellow. Alternatively, when a block within the reserved route is occupied, the reservation is cleared, but the block still shows occupied. This means that the signals again show their most restrictive aspect.

A Control Point (CP) is a signal (icon) on the dispatcher panel. An Intermediate Signal (IS) is a signal on the layout without an icon on the dispatcher panel. A route request propagates from the CP where the request is made, down the tracks, to the next CP. If there is an opposing reservation anywhere on any block, the request will be rejected. If there is at least one IS between the request origination signal and an obstruction, then the request will be allowed, but the reservation will stop at the IS protecting the obstruction. When the obstruction clears, the reservation will continue to propagate. If there is an obstruction between the request origination signal and any signal, the request will be denied. Similar rules hold for clearing a route.

Routes can be “fleeted” by using the right mouse button when positioned over a signal symbol. Fleeting is best used when one or more trains are taking the same route, in the same direction without opposing or crossing traffic. Fleeting means that after a block in a reserved route is occupied, then emptied, the reservation is renewed automatically. Fleeting is cleared by using the right mouse button and selecting the menu item or clicking the left mouse button when positioned over a signal symbol.

The logic behind fleeting forms the basis of DTC. Direct Train Control can be used when there are no signals protecting a block on the layout. In that situation, the dispatcher verbally tells the crew the limits of their train movement. The dispatcher clicks on the signal (similar to CTC) and the route is reserved. After the train passes over each block, the block does not return to idle, but shows a different color, indicating that the track is not in use, but has had its reservation fulfilled; thus, it belongs to the train that went over it. The dispatcher regains ownership by clicking on the signal.

If the dispatcher places the mouse cursor over a signal symbol that is red and clicks the left button, then the signal on the layout shows “Stop and Proceed”. This behavior was requested (because the flashing red looks cool) so that the dispatcher could indicate that a train had permission to enter a block that contained a potential hazard (such as another train). (this feature is not yet implemented, but granting track authority yields a similar affect). Some railroads name this feature “call on”.

4.2 Throwing Turnouts

If a section of track contains a turnout, that turnout is under dispatcher control, and the block is not occupied, reserved, or given to local control, then the dispatcher can move the turnout by clicking the left mouse button when not over any signal symbols or train labels while the mouse cursor is near the switch points (preferably in the “vee” between the routes).

4.3 Train Detection

If the layout supports occupancy, the tracks on the dispatcher panel will change to “occupied” (red) in response to detection messages from the layout. An occupied block in a reserved route will turn red, but the exit arrow will remain, showing the expected direction of travel of the train. When the detection clears, the reservation will be removed (unless fleeting is in affect for the block). Blocks can manually be marked as occupied or cleared by using the right mouse button when positioned over the desired track. Tracks which do not have detectors associated with them are painted in a grey color, to distinguish them from detected tracks. This is a reminder to the dispatcher that reservations on those tracks will not clear automatically. However, positioning a train label on undetected track will tell CATS that the track is occupied and CATS will color the track accordingly.

4.4 Tracking Trains

Train labels can be placed on sections of tracks to record where trains are. Trains move, so the labels need to move. If train tracking is enabled (Appearance -> Train Tracking), then the labels will follow detection reports automatically. Otherwise, the dispatcher will have to move them manually.

The simplest way to move a train label is to place the mouse cursor over the label and “drag” the label to another block by moving the mouse while holding down the left mouse button. The cursor changes from its default symbol to a cross inside a circle when the program recognizes the left button has been pushed when over a train label.

The other way of moving a train is to use the four arrow keys on the keyboard. The problem is knowing which train will move. The normal life cycle of a train is something like the following: it is created; it is positioned on the layout; crew is assigned to it; it does its work; it is tied down; it may be removed. The color of the train’s label indicates which state it is in. Trains in the first and last state have no labels on the dispatcher panel; thus, have no color. A train that is positioned without a crew is “empty” (default light grey). A train with a crew is almond or blue. A train that has completed its chores is a rose color. Only one train will be colored blue – the one that has the focus and will be moved by the arrow keys. This train is one of the ones that is positioned on the layout and has a crew assigned to it. The “Page Up”, “Page Down”, and tab keys are used to cycle through this set of trains (many computers do not tell CATS when the tab key is pressed, so do not be surprised if it doesn’t work). So, to move a train on the dispatcher panel it must have a crew assigned to it (coloring it almond or blue). If it is almond, it is selected by repeatedly pushing the “Page Up” or “Page Down” or “Tab” buttons until it turns blue. Then the arrow keys move it. The train will move in the direction of the arrow key, if the track goes in that direction. So, pushing the up arrow when a train label is located on horizontal track does nothing.

If recording is turned on, every time a train is moved, the movement is given a timestamp and recorded for further analysis.

If the right mouse button is clicked while the cursor is positioned over a train label, the following screen pops up:


This can be used to edit the information about the train under the cursor and is very similar to the train edit screen, except only the information on one train is shown. Any changes take affect when the Accept button is pushed. Note the 3 buttons in the middle:

  • “Tie Down Train” releases the crew and changes the color of the train’s label, leaving it on the panel.
  • “Terminate Train” releases the crew and removes the train’s label from the panel.
  • “Rerun Train” is an option on “tied down” trains, initializing one so that it can work some more.

4.5 Track Authority

Track Authority is granted to a train to perform local switching. This means the turnouts in the block are unlocked and the signals protecting the block are set to their most restrictive aspect, protecting the block from other trains.

Track Authority is placed on a block by positioning the mouse cursor over a block, clicking the right mouse button, selecting “Track Authority”, and pushing the “Accept” button. Track Authority is removed by a similar operation. When Track Authority is placed on a block, the block is painted blue.

Track Authority on a block is reflected on the layout by presenting a “Stop and Proceed” (flashing red) aspect on signals protecting the block.

4.6 Out of Service

If a block is having maintenance performed on it, then the dispatcher should place Out Of Service on the block. This is accomplished like “Track Authority” – placing the mouse cursor over the track, clicking the right mouse button, and selecting “Out of Service”. OOS is removed by the same process.

No special signal aspects are used on the layout to designate OOS, but the protecting signal drops to “Stop”.

4.7 The Callboard

The crew callboard (created during setup) lists the crew and which trains they are assigned to. Whenever the dispatcher ties down a train or removes a train from the panel, the crew becomes unassigned and the callboard reflects that status. So, the program helps the dispatcher keep track of available crew.

If your operating session tracks crew time (TBD), you can set up CATS to assist in monitoring when crew was assigned to a train and when they have to be relieved. The “time on duty” algorithm is a little complex, but flexible. If all of the “ONDUTY” “EXPIRES AT”, or “TIME LEFT” columns are hidden, then time is not monitored.

When determining “time on duty”, CATS looks at the train’s information. In the following order:

  • If “ON DUTY” is blank, then the clock starts when the assignment is made.
  • If “ON DUTY” is an absolute value (i.e. “HH:MM” with no leading ‘+’ or ‘-‘), then that is the time the first crew was assigned to the train. If the crew is relieved (another crew is assigned to the train), the relief crew is on duty when the relief assignment is made. This option simulates the crew jumping on a train at the scheduled time, driving the train off-layout for awhile, and reaching the layout. It accounts for the fact that the crew had worked the train before it appeared on the layout from “somewhere else”.
  • If “ON DUTY” is a relative value (starts with ‘+’ or ‘-‘), the value is added to or subtracted from train’s “DEPARTURE” time. This also simulates a crew working a train for some time before the train appears on the layout. In this case, though, the time worked is tied to the train’s scheduled departure time, so if it changes, the crew “on duty” time changes.
  • If the “DEPARTURE” time is blank, then the “ON DUTY” time is relative to when the train assignment is made.
  • If the “DEPARTURE” time is absolute, then the “ON DUTY” time is relative to that time. For example, if “DEPARTURE” is 11:45, then “ON DUTY” times of “11:00” and “-00:45” are equivalent.
  • If the “DEPARTURE TIME” is relative, then the departure time is computed relative to the time the assignment is made and the “ON DUTY” time is computed relative to that time.

CATS tries to make relative times absolute when they are first used. For “DEPARTURE”, this is when a crew assignment is made. For “ON DUTY”, this is when the train screen or crew screen is pulled up, if “DEPARTURE” is absolute.

The “dead on the law” time is computed from the “ON DUTY” time. The “HOURS” value is added to the “ON DUTY” time to arrive at when the crew should be relieved (EXPIRES). Thus, the “TIME LEFT” value is simply the amount of time between the current time and the “EXPIRES” time.

The clock used for computing these can be either the computer clock or a fast clock. So, HOURS should be chosen appropriately for the clock.

A future feature is to have CATS alert the dispatcher when a train is scheduled to depart or the crew should be relieved.

4.8 Keyboard Shortcuts

Moving a mouse around to the menu bar, pulling down a menu, and selecting a pop up window can be tedious and time consuming, particularly in the heat of dispatching. CATS supports a few keyboard shortcuts for accessing the frequently used pop up windows:

Key Sequence Pop-Up Menu
Control-C Edit Crew menu.
Control-E Switch between Engine labels and train symbols.
Control-J Edit Jobs menu.
Control-T Edit Trains menu.


The Yardmaster directs yard crews and engages in subordinate's work as needed. They receive empty car order waybills from the Freight Agent and assign available freight cars appropriately. They order empty cars from Altoona/Enola as needed. 

The Lewistown Drill Crew classifies and build trains at the direction of the Yardmaster. They also service customers within the Lewistown (LX) limits and hostle locomotives.


The title bar of the waybill is color coded for the convenience of the Yardmaster. and Drill Crew The color is an indicator of the destination of the shipment, making classification easier. The waybill may also include routing information.

Waybill Color Codes for Destinations:
Route East (Enola)
Route East (Northumberland)
Route West (Altoona)
 Newport Turn (LE)  
 Mount Union Turn (LW) 
  Lewistown Junction (XA) 
 Lewistown Secondary (LN) 
Lewistown Secondary
Furnace Branch Siding (LNFB)
 Milroy Secondary (39) 
Milroy Secondary
Stone Turn (ST11)
Milroy Secondary
Steel Turn (SS05)

Assignment of tracks for classification is at the discretion of the Yardmaster. Tabs are provided for use in the car card boxes to provide quick reference as to assignment of tracks.


Control Panel

Documentation to come

Key Tasks and Times

Time Event Notes
7:00 a.m. S-70 departs to Selinsgrove

Takes 1 LCL car.

10:30 a.m. STON-1 departs to Naginey Takes 1 LCL Trap car.
12:45 p.m. M-22 arrives from Mount Union  
1:00 p.m. M-16 east bound exchanges block Takes 2 LCL cars.
2:00 p.m. M-19 arrives from Newport  
On-going Local service for Lewistown XA  
TBD Milroy Turn departs to Milroy Takes 2 LCL cars.
TBD Steel Turn departs to Yeagertown Takes 1 LCL Trap car.
Time Event Notes
 3:00 p.m. M-26 arrives from Altoona  
4:00 p.m. S-71 arrives from Selinsgrove  
6:30 p.m. STON-2 arrives from Naginey  
10:30 p.m. M-9 west bound exchanges block Takes 2 LCL cars
3:00 a.m. M-27 departs to Altoona  
4:45 a.m. M-23 departs to Mount Union Takes 1 LCL car
6:00 a.m. M-18 departs to Newport Takes 3 LCL cars
6:59 a.m. S-70 ready to depart for Selinsgrove Departs during First Trick
On-going Local service for Lewistown XA  
TBD Lewistown Switcher takes LCL cars to freight station Takes 13 LCL cars
TBD Lewistown Switcher retrieves LCL cars from freight station  
TBD Milroy Turn arrives from Milroy  
TBD Steel Turn arrives from Yeagertown  


  Structure Manufacturer Model
Lewistown Junction
  Passenger Station Joe Henry Kline Lewistown Station (scratch built) (needs restoration)
  REA Building Joe Henry Kline Lewistown REA Building (scratch built) (needs restoration)
  Apartment Building Joe Henry Kline Lewistown Apartment Building (scratch built) (needs restoration)
  LEWIS Tower Joe Henry Kline LEWIS Tower (scratch built) (needs restoration)
In Progress Granville Bridge Model Railroad Stoneworks Rockville Bridge (custom kit)
Complete generic farm scene     Walthers Lancaster Farmhouse
Complete Walthers Meadowhead Barn
Complete Walthers Van Dyke Farm Windmill (1st of 2)
Complete Walthers Concrete Style Silo
Complete Overhead Water Bridge IHC Water Bridge
Lewistown - Yard  
  Roundhouse Joe Henry Kline Lewistown Roundhouse (scratch built) (needs restoration)
  Yard Office Joe Henry Kline Lewistown Yard Office (scratch built) (needs restoration)
  Bunk House Joe Henry Kline Lewistown Yard Bunk House (scratch built) (needs restoration)
  Sand House Joe Henry Kline Lewistown Sand House (scratch built) (needs restoration)
  Ash Hoist Joe Henry Kline Lewistown Ash Hoist (scratch built) (needs restoration)
  Coal Tower Joe Henry Kline Lewistown Coal Tower (scratch built) (needs restoration)
  Water Tower RailWorks 100,000 gallon tank (needs painted)
Complete Tool House American Model Builders PRR Tool House
Complete Scale House Joe Henry Kline Lewistown Scale House (scratch built) (needs restoration)
Complete Viscose Co. Walthers Empire Leather Tanning Co.
Complete Walthers Plant No. 4 (background)
Lewistown - Downtown  
  Hotel Lewistown   (requires scratch build)
  St. Marks Episcopal Church    
  115-117 Water Street (duplex)    
  119-125 Water Street (quadplex)    
In Progress Franciscus Co.


Trackside Oil Dealer with Storage Tanks (part of)

Complete Walthers Walton and Sons Lumber Company (part of)
In Progress Walthers Trackside Oil Dealer with Storage Tanks (part of)
Mann Edge Tool Co. (requires scratch build)
In Progress 32 S. Dorcas Street (Yearick's Dray) Woodland Scenics/DPM B. Moore Catalog/Showroom (kit)
  34 S. Dorcas Street (Stoicheff Auto Parts) Carolina Craftsman Kits The Roudabush Building (kit)
  ??? Water Street (apartments) Woodland Scenics/DPM Townhouse #3 (kitbash)
  Freight Station   (requires scratch build)
  Harrisburg Auto Parts    
  Manino's Banana Warehouse    
  Highway Department    
Complete Chestnut Street
Grandma's House
(Dan Cupper tribute)
Walthers Aunt Lucy's House (kitbash)
Complete Chestnut Street Walthers 2-Story House with Garage
Complete Chestnut Street Walthers American Bungalow
Complete M. W. Brandt Walthers Walton and Sons Lumber Company (part of)
  Montgomery Ward    
  Lewistown Frozen Food Service, Coble's, et al    
Complete Hoffman Co. Walthers O. L. King & Sons Coal Yard
Complete Texas Co. Walthers  Trackside Oil Dealer with Storage Tanks (part of)
Lewistown - Northeast  
In Progress Atlantic Refining Co. No. 2 Walthers Interstate Fuel & Oil
  Spanogle-Yeager Milling Co.    
  J. H. Miller    
  TBD Railroad Kits Reaghan Feed Mill (kit)
  Passenger Station   (requires scratch build)
  Freight Station    
  TBA (tribute) Bar Mills Saulena's Tavern (kit)
  Kovalchik Salvage    
Complete Suburban Atlantic States Gas Company Walthers Propane Tanks
Complete  Dicken's Cider (fictitious) Walthers Arrowhead Ale (background)
Complete Standard Steel Walthers Rolling Mill
Complete Walthers Electric Furnace
Complete Walthers Northern Light & Power Sub Station
Complete Walthers Engine Blower House
Complete Walthers Coke Retort
Complete Acetalene Plant Walthers American Millwork Company
Katie's (requires scratch build)
  Pavlov's Dogs (fictitious) FOS Scale Models Tiny Lou's Grill (kit)
  J. M. Yeager No. 1   (requires scratch build)
Complete J. M. Yeager No. 2 Walthers Clayton County Lumber
xxx (abondoned logging railroad)  
    City Classics Company Houses
Mann's Narrows
Complete Water Tower RailWorks 100,000 gallon tank
  TBA (tribute) Railroad Kits Boilermakers Beer and Ale
  N. O. Reardick FOS Scale Models Gardiner's Tack, Field & Farrier (kit)
  Belleville Flour Mills    
Lewistown - Furnace Branch Siding  
  Sun Oil Co.    
  J. Krentzman    
  Lewistown Ice & Storage   (requires scratch build)
  Juniata Gas & Oil Co.    
  Lewis Stikin    
  Penna. Edison Co.    
  American Gas Co.    
  Overhead Door Co.    
  ex-Susquehanna Silk Mill    
  Marker's Store    
Honey Creek   
  TBA (tribute) FOS Scale Models  Barlow's Smokehouse (kit)
  Tipple Walthers Valley Aggregates OR Glacier Gravel (kit)
Complete TBD (fictitious) Walthers Valley Cement
Complete Walthers Grocery Distributor
Everett Terminal
  Engine House Walthers Two Stall Engine House (kit)
  Diesel Fueling/Sanding Rack    
  Everett Transload Walthers Railway Express Agency and Railway Express Agency (kit)
  Walthers Railway Express Agency (background) (2)
In Progress

Universal Exports

Walthers Water Street Freight Terminal
Complete Vandelay Industries  Walthers Commissary/Freight Transfer Building (background)
  Wayne Enterprises    
Other Kits on Shelf   
    American Model Builders PRR New Freedom Depot (kit)
Complete Tool House American Model Builders PRR Tool House
Complete ? Backdrop buildings at Viscose or Standard Steel Walthers Superior Paper
Complete   Walthers Lakeside Shipping
Complete   Walthers Golden Flame Fuel Co.
Universal Exports (Everett) Walthers Water Street Freight Station (2nd kit) (kit)
    Walthers Interstate Fuel & Oil (2nd kit) (kit)
    Walthers New River Mining Company (kit)
    Walthers PRR Block Station (kit)
    FOS Scale Models Green Cab Co. (kit)
  ? Milroy Carolina Craftsman Kits H. J. Mull Store (kit)
  ? Honey Creek Nucomp Miniatures Trailer Park
Complete   Walthers Van Dyke Farm Windmill (2nd of 2)
Candidate Structures 
    Railroad Kits Fulsome Inn (kit)
    Fos Scale Models Shakey's Pool Hall & Bar (kit)
    Fos Scale Models Jimmy D’s Bar & Grill (kit)
    Fos Scale Models The Pub Crawl (kit)
    Walthers Sunrise Feed Mill (kit)
    Walthers National Fuel Supply Co. (kit)
    Walthers Miss Bettie’s Diner (kit)
    Bar Mills Star Diner (kit)
    Bar Mills Booty Corner (kit)
    Bar Mills Fenster’s Farm Fresh (kit)
    Bar Mills Four Fingered Tony’s (kit)
    Bar Mills Mooney’s Plumbing (kit)
    Bar Mills Potter’s Pub (kit)
    Bar Mills Sweaty Betty’s (kit)
    Woodland Scenics Deuce's Bike Shop
    Woodland Scenics Betty's Burning Building
  TBA (tribute)   Woodland Scenics Duggan’s Paint Store
  Carolina Craftsman Newport Hardware Company (kit)
    Mine Mount Models Palzer's Plumbing Supply (kit)
    Mine Mount Models Randy's Auto Repair (kit)