Simcoe Sub Schedules

I often refer to my layout as the Port Rowan branch, but the line I’m modelling is (or was) actually part of the CNR’s Simcoe Subdivision.

The Simcoe Sub consists of the two branches originating at Simcoe and running to Port Rowan and Port Dover. Looking at the Simcoe Subdivision Time Tables for April 1953 and April 1957 – which were in effect in the late summer in the two years I model on the layout – I’ve determined a number of interesting things that inform my operating sessions.

Simcoe Subdivision Time Table – April 1953:
Simcoe Subdivision Time Table - April 1953 photo SimcoeSub-1953_zps75b8e7f6.jpg
(Click on image for larger version)

Simcoe Subdivision Time Table – April 1957:
Simcoe Subdivision Time Table - April 1957 photo SimcoeSub-1957_zps72bbbf3c.jpg
(Click on image for larger version)

To fully understand what’s in these scans, I really need complete Employee Time Table documents – #3 and #11, as indicated on these scans. I would also need a copy of the CNR’s operating rules from the period: I have a volume from 1929, which is better than nothing, but not good enough. I’d prefer something from the 1950s.

(If anybody knows where I can obtain such copies – perhaps someone has duplicates in a collection they’d like to sell? – please contact me. Thanks!)

With that in mind, here’s what I either know, or can guess:

First, I can’t see that anything changed, operationally, in the four years between Time Table 3 and Time Table 11. That’s not surprising, since these lines were at the end of their lives. (The exception is speed and equipment restrictions. The line hasn’t changed, but the relevant equipment has: In 1953, the restrictions apply to Consolidation (2-8-0s) and Pacific (4-6-2) steam engines, and note CNR 10-wheelers (1300 series) are the heaviest locomotive allowed to operate to Port Rowan. By 1957, no mention of Pacifics or Consolidations, but Mikado (2-8-2) types are listed, as are single unit diesel road switchers. These larger steam engines would operate on trains only as far as Simcoe – and run light down the Port Dover branch to the water tank at MP 5.6. I would never see them on the Port Rowan branch, unfortunately.)

The Mixed Train runs on the schedule of M233 to Port Rowan, operating as a second class train – and runs on the schedule of M238 returning to Simcoe, operating as a third class train. (There’s a good reason for this: I’m guessing that Eastward trains are superior to Westward trains (since the Eastward Trains are listed to the right). If M238 was also a second-class train then M233 headed to Port Rowan could, if running late, run afoul of M238’s schedule – in effect, it would be stopped dead by its future self. By making M238 inferior by class, this can’t happen.)

The Port Rowan branch is defined as Yard Limits from the junction switch in Simcoe to end of track – 16.9 miles away in Port Rowan. Train and yard movements between Simcoe and Port Rowan are restricted to 15 mph. (Curiously, in the 1953 Time Table the mixed train would actually have to exceed this speed limit over most of its run in order to maintain its schedule. Running at 15 mph would cover the distance between Simcoe and Vittoria on time, but the train must do more than 20 mph to keep its schedule west of Vittoria. Between St. Williams and Port Rowan (the stations I’ve modelled) the speed calculation looks like this: 3.39 miles / 10 minutes = .339 miles per minute * 60 minutes = 20.34 mph. And remember, all of this is without any time allotted for station stops! The problem appears to be corrected in the 1957 Time Table, which provides 14 minutes for the run from St. Williams to Port Rowan.)

St. Williams is a train order office (office signal S T). I assume the “D” means it’s staffed only in the daytime. A four-car spur is listed but the siding is not. (UPDATE: See comments from Monte Reeves and Steve Lucas to explain why this is so.) The S next to the time indicates it’s a regular stop (as opposed to a flag stop).

M233 is scheduled to leave at 12:30pm for the 3.39 mile run to Port Rowan, arriving in Port Rowan 10 minutes later (in 1953 – and 14 minutes later in 1957). There, the crew has until 2:00 pm to switch the train, turn the locomotive, build M238 and take a break for lunch. That’s 80 minutes in 1953, and 67 minutes in 1957.

Port Rowan is a Train Register office, as noted by the “R” on the schedule. (It’s also a “Z”, but I’m not sure what that means.) There’s a train order office operating in the daytime, with telegraph code P R. Track capacity in 1953 is listed as 17 cars – although by 1957 it’s simply designated as a YARD.

In addition to the Mixed Train, the Time Tables both note that there’s a wayfreight operating six days per week between Hamilton and Simcoe. This is called for Hamilton in the morning – 8:00 am in 1953, and 8:15 in 1957 – although the times are not scheduled: this train would run as an extra. Again, I’d never see it on my layout.

15 thoughts on “Simcoe Sub Schedules

    • Hi Bruce:
      Very useful – thanks!
      This confirms that the “D” in the time table stands for, “Day train order office”. It also tells me that the “Z” stands for “Yard Limit Sign” – curious, since the whole darned branch is considered to be within yard limits. (I guess since yard limit signs must be posted at the outer ends of yard limits on any track that enters that yard area, a sign is needed at end of track in Port Rowan to remind crews that they are within yard limits on their trip back to Simcoe. I wonder where the sign was in Port Rowan? At end of track by the feed mill?)
      Thanks for reminding me of this resource, Bruce!

  1. Hi Trevor,
    The 4 car siding in St.Williams is possibly the Hammonds Mill stub -ended siding west of the station. Don’t forget the St. Thomas/Jarvis mixed train …six months CN crew and motive power and six month Wabash crew and motive power which I believe ran up to 1955.
    Monte Reeves

    • Hi Monte:
      Right you are. So, the “other tracks” capacity listed at St. Williams must be the four-car siding, and Hammonds – at MP 14.0 (1957) – is the spur, at five-car capacity.
      Interestingly, I have more capacity on my modelled siding in St. Williams than the prototype! Given that I’ve also transplanted the tobacco sheds from a photo taken near Vittoria – where there was a 10-car siding – I would be tempted to rename St. Williams as Vittoria. Except, I like the little depot at St. Williams… and the only photo I have of the Vittoria depot is an early days picture that shows it as another monster like at Port Rowan. One of those will be enough!

  2. Hi Trevor,
    Oops, my error. I see that both Hammonds and Walsh station car capacity are listed. Sorry about that. The CN/Wabash mixed will be found on the Cayuga Sub timetable. As Pierre knows the CN crews always had to have an eye for the Wabash!
    Monte Reeves

    • Hi Monte:
      Yep – good point that the CN/Wabash Mixed would also be on the line – although not on my layout. With its crossing of the Cayuga Sub, the junction to both ports, and the American Can plant, a layout built around Simcoe Junction and Simcoe (1.8 miles apart) – fed by three staging areas – would offer a lot to build plus interesting operation. Much too big for my space, though…

  3. Those Wabash guys were reputed “to run on smoke”, highballing across the Cayuga Sub. as fast as wheels would turn. I remember old Hamilton conductors telling me about near-misses with the Wabash, and one conductor getting fired for a while after a collision with them.

    If you can find a young Merle Mooney braking on the mixed out of Hamilton (he hired on in 1948 and trained me as a new brakeman there) well, then…

    If the entire Port Rowan branch is within Yard Limits, then 1951 UCOR Rules 71-73 drummed into every new brakeman’s head come into play, along with Rule 93–

    71. A train is superior to another train by right, class or direction.

    Right is conferred by train order; class and direction by time table.

    Right is superior to class and direction.

    71a. (SINGLE TRACK) Direction is superior as between trains of the same class.

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

    72a. (SINGLE TRACK) Trains in the direction specified by time table are superior to trains of the same class in the opposite direction.

    73. Extra trains are inferior to regular trains.

    Rule 93. Within yard limits the main track may be used clearing the time for first and second class trains at the next station where time is shown. Protection against third class, fourth class, extra trains and engines is not required.

    Third class, fourth class, extra trains and engines must move within yard limits at yard speed unless the main track is known to be clear.

    In your 1953 ETT example, second class mixed westward mixed 233 is superior to third class eastward mixed 238 by class per Rule 72. If 238 was a second class train as well as 233 and 233 was running late, it would either have to made superior to 238 by train order conferrring right over 238 –

    “Train order Form C—

    (1) No 1 Eng 401 has right over No 2 Eng 402 M to B.
    If second named train reaches the last named point before the other arrives, it may proceed, keeping clear of the schedule of opposing train as required by rule.
    (2) Extra 701 East has right over No 403 Eng 456 A to F.”

    Or else per Rule 82 and 83 (quick rules reference here, think I got it right) 233 has to clear the time of second class 238 and wait for it until 238’s schedule ran out 12 hours later.

    Solution–make 238 a third class train in the timetable and therefore inferior by class to 233.

    Needless to say, things could get complicated on a branch line with a 20 MPH limit. I’m careful about claiming anything resembling expertise after getting my pee-pee slapped on another board by a retired train dispatcher after I overlooked a rule application in a post there.

    Keep in mind that second class 233 doesn’t have to look out for other trains in yard limits (Rule 93 again) but third class 238 does, always required to be able to stop in half the range of vision!

    • Hi Steve:
      Again, thanks for wading in – great information.
      Your description of the 2nd Class/3rd Class issue sounds spot on to me.
      The only thing I would add is that the train that held 233’s schedule was also the train that would hold 238’s schedule – and that’s the real reason why 238 was a third-class train. If both were 2nd class and 233 was running late, it would have to duck into a siding and meet 238 – an impossible situation since no train 238 existed without the equipment from 233. Without that change in class, I guess the only way to deal with a late 233 would’ve been to annul the schedule for 238, then run the return trip as an extra. Or, as you say, wait 12 hours for 238’s schedule to expire.

      • Thanks, Trevor! This issue of superiority by direction presented itself on many Canadian branchlines, and was most often dealt with in CPR and other roads’ ETT’s as in this TH&B Waterford Sub. example–“144 will wait at Waterford for 145.” CN seemed to prefer making the return movement of a train on a branchline of a lesser class than the outbound train to accomplish the same end. Note that the train to/from Simcoe at Port Dover did not have its class change at Port Dover, as it returned in the inferior direction.

  4. There are no “sidings” on the Simcoe Sub. in the operating rules sense. There are many “other tracks”. Sidings are defined in the 1951 UCOR – “SIDING—A track auxiliary to the main track for meeting or passing trains.” “Other tracks” were not defined, but could be stub-ended or double-ended. The dispatcher (aka “the proper authority”–just ask a dispatcher if this was their true title) had to be notified of equipment left in a “siding”–this did not apply to “other tracks”.

    Rule 105–
    “No car or dead engine shall be left on or obstructing a siding without promptly advising the proper authority.”

    This would not have been a big issue with only the Daily Effort running, but arrangements would have to be made if other trains were running to avoid a Mexican standoff somewhere enroute. The conductor of an extra says “We’ll clear 233 at St. Williams” and a few minutes later says, “oh s&^%, the track’s full”. As the crews of both trains get into a shouting match or worse–been there, done that, I kept the brakeman from beating up the hogger one night–“come out with me for a minute, Vxxxx…”

    233 was a Second Class train, thus it owned the track in the absence of a train order giving another train right over it. But an extra could meet with third class 238 in the bush somewhere. Somebody is going to have to back up. Bet that it won’t be 238. Good thing that you can run an engine or train back and forth forever without a work order in Yard Limits! Or you can arrange stuff first.

    • Hi Steve:

      A-ha! Thank you – that makes much more sense now.

      The rest of this is academic since the whole line from Simcoe to Port Rowan is in Yard Limits, and there was only one train on the line at a time in normal operation anyway. That said…

      Does this mean that the double-ended track in St. Williams – which is not a siding as far as the Dispatcher is concerned – could never be used by two trains to meet? If it’s not a siding, then the Dispatcher couldn’t write a meet order for St. Williams. At the same time, the crew on an extra train headed west from Simcoe would not be able to read the Time Table and say, “We can meet M238 at St. Williams and get in the clear on the double-ended side track” since they’d have no knowledge of whether that track had any space on it.

      Again, I’m not likely to run two trains at a time – and see no need to on the layout, which is most enjoyable with a single train on the line. I’m just asking because I want to better understand the prototype.

      Thanks for wading in!

      • The best way would be to “have one engine in steam” on the line, but failing that, arrangements could be made. Likely traffic was so light that the mixed could handle it all anyhow. And work trains dumping ballast, etc., could be run on and off the line before the mixed showed up. A foreman on a pile driver driving piles for that steel pile deck girder bridge would be covered by train order, Rule 42 or protected per Rule 41 with torpedoes and red/yellow approach flags, and a red flag between the rails either side of the work. And then they’d try to be out of the way for the Daily Effort, anyhow.

        • I should add that any track is fair game for a crew to clear a train’s time. But they get to flag against First and Second class trains, even in Yard Limits, if they can’t clear them. Yard Limits impose no restrictions on First or Second Class trains. CPR ran many 900-series speed freights as Second Class trains.

          • Hi Steve:

            “They get to flag against First and Second Class trains, even in yard limits”.

            I bet they do. Once.


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