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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.)

 

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 first "revenue" train has operated on the PRR Middle Division in HO scale!

QA was deemed successful on track one eastward. The car count was gradually increased and this video shows the train at 29 cars, pulled by an ABA lashup of EMD F7's, with a cabin on the back.

The video starts at Ryde and continues across the Granville bridge and past LEWIS tower.

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.

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.

 

avolu

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.

The Middle Division maintains an Employee Directory, a Seniority Roster, and confers the status of Seniority Roster upon employees that meet the criteria. 

43rd Sub-Division

Photo Name Hometown Comments
Identity and whereabouts unknown.
Known to use alias "Super Seeper".
Rumored to be "The Keeper of the List".
Superintendent, Middle Division
jbritton Britton, Jerry Etters PA Supervisor, 43rd Sub-Division
  Frantz, John York, PA  
  Jacobs, Tom Robesonia, PA  
  Pounds, Ted Harrisburg, PA  

Shenware's Waybills is used to generate multi-move waybills. Waybills contain the information that you would expect: the shipper, the destination, and the contents (which may be "Empty for Loading"). They may also contain special instructions, such as icing a reefer prior to delivery.

Inbound Traffic

Inbound traffic will arrive to Lewistown Junction yard by way of Altoona, Enola, or Northumberland. Cars will carry loads except for any empty cars previously requested by the Yardmaster.

Under the supervision of the Yardmaster, cars will be classified by destination routes. The title bar of the waybill is color coded for the convenience of the Yardmaster. The color is an indicator of the destination of the shipment, making classification easier. The waybill may also include specific 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)


A local crew will take all cars for a specific route out for delivery and follow the instructions on the Local Switching page.

Outbound Traffic

Outbound traffic will be initiated by a waybill (not in a car card) arriving to the Freight Agent requesting a car "Empty for Loading".

IMG 2068

The Freight Agent works with the Yardmaster to assign the waybill to a car (via car card). Empty cars should be chosen in this order: foreign road cars in the same general direction as the shipment's destination, then home road cars. If not utilized for outbound shipments, foreign road cars should be sent home empty after a reasonable time to minimize "per diem" fees.

If a car is not available, the waybill is held until such time as a car is available. The Yardmaster can order empty cars from Altoona or Enola to maintain a supply on hand.

Once assigned, the car will be classified accordingly and sent out on the next local and delivered for loading. It will later be picked up and forwarded to its intended destination. It will then be routed through Altoona, Enola, or Northumberand.

Less Than Carload (LCL) Traffic

An exception is made for LCL traffic, which is handled differently than car load traffic. Jeff Wilson's book, "Express, Mail & Merchandise Service" (Kalmbach), is an excellent read on the subject. Some excerpts follow. As specific prototype information is lacking for Lewistown, what follow are the LCL practices that have been established for the PRR Middle Division in HO Scale.

"Railroads handled a significant amount of packages, crates, and other shipments that didn't take up an entire boxcar. This is most commonly referred to as less-than-carload (LCL) traffic, and is also known as merchandise, package, and break-bulk freight."

"To efficiently handle merchandise traffic, railroads used a system of local depots, small-city freight houses, and huge freight terminals and transfer houses."

"Individual boxes, crates, and packages are collected at small depots, local freight stations, or large terminals. They are shipped to the closes large freight house and offloaded. There, shipments are combined for common destinations, reloaded in boxcars, and routed to large transfer stations near their destinations."

"There, the process goes in reverse, as packages are unloaded, sorted, and reloaded for their final destinations, eventually arriving at a local freight station or depot, where shipments would be loaded on trucks for final delivery."

Wilson also discusses the roles of various cars used in LCL service...

"A package or merchandise car usually refers to cars being handled on-line -- among freight houses, transfer stations, or combination depots on the host railroad."

Scheduled LCL exchange service (merchandise cars) is established between Lewistown and Altoona, Harrisburg, Northumberland, Newport, Mifflin, and Burnham. Multiple cars may be assigned to protect each schedule, as needed.

IMG 2069

"A peddler or waycar were used to distrinute LCL to multiple stations along a route. They would be loaded at a larger freight house or transfter station. Peddler cars served stations too small to warrant receiving their own LCL car. The local may pause at a station for the peddler car to be unloaded; if the train had other work to do in town, the local would set out the peddler car at the depot until it was ready to depart and then pick it up."

The Newport Turn, Mount Union Turn, Milroy Turn, and trains S-70/S-71 each carry "peddler" LCL cars and pickup/deliver LCL traffic en route. These cars are all be routed to the downtown Lewistown freight station for shipment sorting. The process runs in reverse as well.

IMG 2070

 "A trap car was a car loaded with LCL items by a shipper on a rail siding at its own factory or warehouse. The shipper would load the entire car (or multiple cars), but the items were all individual shipments heading to multiple customers. The railroad would pick up this car and bring it to a nearby freight terminal, where it would be unloaded and the individual parcels sorted to their ultimate destinations."

Dedicated LCL cars (trap cars) are provided to Standard Steel Co. (Burnham). These cars are all be routed to the downtown Lewistown freight station for shipment sorting. The process runs in reverse as well.

IMG 2071

LCL Waybills

LCL waybills look much like regular waybills. However, they only have one cycle, from shipper to receiver. The header is color coded like regular waybills, but reads "LCL WAYBILL". LCL waybills are also a half inch shorter than regular waybills.

Below is shown the box car assigned to Burnham for regular Merchandise LCL service. At right are three waybills for shipments destined for offline customers in Burnham. When this car is loaded at the downtown Lewistown freight station, the LCL Waybills are placed into the car card for the Merchandise car.

IMG 2072

When a location has an assigned Merchandise car, all of its LCL waybills are inserted into the Merchandise car's car card. The approprite local will deliver the car to the destination (Burnham in this case). Between sessions the LCL waybills will be removed and outbound LCL waybills inserted. The car card will then be moved to the Outbound pocket for pickup and the return trip. The process repeats.

IMG 2073

For locations that do not have a dedicated Merchandise LCL car (most), outbound LCL waybills will be placed in the Outbound bin. When a local comes by with a Peddler LCL car, it will pick up the outbound LCL waybills and place them in the car's car card. The local may also be dropping off inbound LCL traffic and would put the inbound LCL waybills into the Inbound bin. The Peddler LCL car routes through the downtown Lewistown freight station for sorting, with the various shipments being moved to cars appropriate for each shipment's routing.

IMG 2074

IMG 1126

The Chief Engineer is pleased to report progress on the construction of the Pennsylvania Railroad Middle Division in HO scale. Work was hampered early on by illness that plagued the track crew for five weeks. A sprint to the finish of the quarter saw the completion of two out of three goals.

Milroy was made operational on the Milroy Secondary.

Shenware's MiTrains is used to manage the fleet and print car cards. All locomotives and rolling stock are issued a car card prior to placement into service on the railroad.

For rolling stock, the car card bears the AAR type, the reporting marks (and verbose name of the railroad), the road number, the home road's class (if different than the AAR type), and the color (optional).

When the car card lacks a waybill, it is empty. Foreign road car cards will have instructions for disposition of the empty car -- East to Enola, West to Altoona, or East or West:

car cards

Home road cars, unless assigned to a specific service, do not include Empty Car instructions. Local yardmasters may hold the empties for future customer fulfillment and assign as needed, when needed. Yardmasters must maintain an inventory of empty cars of various types, ordering empties from Enola or Altoona when needed.

For locomotives, the car card is similar except that the AAR type describes the model of locomotive:

loco cards

Prep Cards

Initially, all car cards receive the addition of a "Prep Card" which tracks various preparatory tasks the locomotive or rolling stock requires. Once complete, the Prep Card is removed.

prep cards

DCC Function Cards

A DCC Function card is included in the Locomotive Card of the lead locomotive in a consist. The card documents the DCC address of the consist as well as the primary functions.

dcc cards

Bad Orders

When a locomotive or rolling stock develops a mechanical issue or a breakage, please remove it from the railroad and complete a Bad Order form. On the form, include the nature of the problem and the location from where the locomotive or rolling stock was last assigned.

bad order