The Wheeling Freight Terminal layout hosted another op session recently, which prodded me to continue the freight car movement discussion. The photo above is similar to many team yard images I’ve seen from the Teens through the 1940s. These have inspired my layout work. Click on any image here to review a larger size.
The previous operations post offered a review of the prototype and the layout components. As mentioned, the layout is entirely within yard limits with a focus on moving freight cars to their layout destinations. Many model railroaders use car cards and/or waybills as a freight car movement tool. These often follow prototype practices by including information on the consignee, lading, origin, destination, and rail routing. The Wheeling Freight Terminal does not use a waybill for each freight car. Prototype waybills were often handled by two people, the train conductor and the station agent or clerk. These waybills would be delivered to the terminal clerk when inbounds arrive on the Wheeling Freight Terminal. The clerks were the data holders of their day. Waybills would be reviewed and a list would be created for the yard crews to use in sorting the inbound traffic and moving them to their destinations. Creating these lists is my first step to prep for an operating session.
Inbound freight cars are spotted on the two center yard tracks. On the prototype, these cars would have arrived via a transfer job from the B&O Benwood yard a few miles down the Ohio River from the freight terminal. The inventory list starts at the cars closest to the crew locos. Each car is listed by type, reporting mark, car number (last few digits only), and destination. There are only a few specific spot locations on the layout.
At the most recent session, only one string of inbounds was inventoried before starting the session. Mike participated again and he created the list for the other inbound cars. I wanted him to experience these clerk duties to start the session. It only took five minutes for him to create the list.
Once the lists are completed, certain freight cars are noted for specific spots. Typically, four to eight cars need to be exchanged between the crews based upon the final destinations. The team yard crew can’t do much with cars destined for the freight house, so they are handed off once the inbound cars are sorted. the freight house crew performs a similar trade. After the hand offs, the inbound car lists are modified to reflect the changes.
After the hand-off and final car sorting, crews can start moving strings of freight cars to their team yard or freight house destinations. We will cover this step in an upcoming operations post.
I wish I could show prototype documentation on this B&O facility in 1926. I have discovered zero information on how business was conducted. The daily routine and duties have been lost as time marches on. What I do on my HO scale version of the Wheeling Freight Terminal is conjecture and based upon prototype details from other places and times.
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