Safe marshalling rules

In a previous post on my recently-completed BAOX tank car, Walker Coe asked about whether we follow safe marshalling rules on my layout. I’m guessing he asked because of the photo I used to illustrate the post:
 photo BAOX-378-Done_zpscibsj07u.jpg
(Click on the image to read more about this tank car)

The picture shows a gondola placed next to the tank car. That would be a problem if the gondola was carrying a pipe load – like this:

 photo NYC399671-PipeLoad_zpsssbbhbze.jpg
(Click on the image to read more about this gondola and its load)

But the gondola in the first image is empty, so we’re good.

The answer to Walker’s question is, “Yes”. We do follow safe marshalling practices when building trains on the line to Port Rowan. As Walker pointed out, a dangerous car (like a car full of fuel) cannot be placed next to a locomotive, an occupied van (caboose), or loads that are prone to shifting and not protected by a bulkhead.

These rules apply to freight extras on my line. For mixed trains, the rules are even more specific. They include the above rules, plus some rules that apply to passenger and mixed trains. I’ve included the rules for mixed trains in the Special Instructions section of my employee time table:

 photo ETT3-D1-01_zpsa051c825.jpg
(A much-condensed employee time table: Click on the image to read more about it)

My version of the rules for mixed trains is condensed from a prototype CNR employee time table. The rules, for my layout, read as follows:

No freight, merchandise or lumber car shall be placed in any passenger train in the rear of any passenger car in which any passenger is carried.

There shall be a buffer car between the locomotive and the first coach carrying passengers. In local and mixed train services, a combination baggage or express car with passenger compartment shall be considered a buffer car within the meaning of this rule, if the baggage or express end of such car is next to the locomotive.

In mixed trains, one more more cars must be handled between postal, express or passenger cars, and car or cars containing oil or gasoline.

Whenever it is necessary, after arrival, for a mixed train to move the passenger cars away from a station platform to perform switching, unloading of freight, or other service, a second stop must be made prior to departure if there are any passengers to detrain or entrain.

As an aside, the first rule in that list is the reason that when the mixed train backed from Simcoe to Port Dover, the passenger and LCL equipment was shoved by the locomotive but any carload freight was hauled behind the locomotive – putting the locomotive in the middle of the train. In the photo below, this train is backing to Port Dover – shoving two passenger cars and a boxcar that’s operating in LCL service. But while it’s out of view to the left of this image, there’s carload freight for Port Dover tied onto the front of the locomotive:

Lynn Valley Tank - Robert Sandusky Photo photo LynnValleyTank-RS.jpg

It’s details like the proper marshalling of cars in a train that help bring a relatively simple layout such as mine to life, so I employ them whenever I can.

(Great question, Walker – thanks for asking!)

3 thoughts on “Safe marshalling rules

  1. Hi Trevor,

    Thanks for the honours of my own post!

    I’m glad to hear you’re still looking into placards for your “dangerous” equipment; and I’m very impressed (and inspired) to hear that you’re researching options available to do so. By getting the proper placards, and a more realistic placard holder will truly bring these cars to the high standards you’ve set for your layout.

    As for the marshaling, I’m glad you use era appropriate resources to base your “rules” and practices on. Nothing like condensing down a prototype book to suit your needs, and enhance your operations. If more modelers were enlightened to such things as marshaling, they’d get so much more fun out of operations, and it wouldn’t be switching just to switch; there’s now a very good reason to make an extra few moves.

    I always enjoy reading your blog, and I can’t wait until I get to read about the enhancements you’ll be making to your tank car fleet!



  2. “The details…” yes indeed.
    This weekend I attended the St. Louis RPM. There was some quiet time in the main hall when Clark Propst’s HO Allied Mills switching layout was not being operated. I pulled up a chair to look at the track chart, car cards and overall design of this fasinating layout. The details in how the mill was operated was fasinating. Again validating the notion that Less IS More!

    • Hi Charles:
      I hope you said hello to my friend Pierre Oliver while you were there…
      And I see that some photos of your equipment made it to the forum of the S Scale SIG. Nice work!

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