Home About HOTRAK  Apprenticeship Program Handbook Layouts Modules Members


This page was last updated on February 28th, 2012.

Table of Contents


  A Brakeman is the designation given to an individual who has just commenced the Apprenticeship Program. All activities of such individuals are performed under the direction of an engineer (who acts as their mentor) and it is used to provide learning experience for members.

The brakeman may be charged with throwing switches in front of and behind the train or may be tasked with managing the car cards on behalf of the engineer.  It is up to the engineer to decide what functions he wants the brakeman to perform.

 Branch Line

 A Branch Line is normally a single track diverging from the Main Line and heading to multiple destinations and Sidings.

There is no Dispatcher on a Branch Line.

Usually a Branch Line is a dead-end.

 Car Card

Every car must have a printed identifying Car Card. Each car should also be labelled on the underside with the owners Initials to help identify cars as there are duplicate cars on the layout.

 You are responsible for preparing Car Cards for all your rolling stock. See the Members Page for a Template

Car Cards are printed on coloured card stock. All Car Cards are inserted into a Plastic Pocket so as to produce a pocket for Waybill. There is a supply of Plastic Pockets available at cost. See an Executive member to find out who has the supplies.

Car Forwarding

This is a system under which a car leaves the yard on a freight train and is switched into an industry siding.  The next freight train then picks up the car and forwards it to another siding.  A third train returns the car to the yard.

 Chief of Operations

 The Chief of Operations is a member of the executive and has duties as laid out in the Bylaws of the Club.

Once the Layout Plan has been finalized and accepted for a Set-up the Chief of Operations is responsible for:

Determining the total number of trains to operate on the layout simultaneously both Freight and Passenger

Set the Maximum length of trains

Define the industries to be served by each Freight Train

Define the Stations to be served by each Passenger Train

Define the Routing of each train

Create Crew Instructions for each train

Supply Waybills for each industry

Request Rolling stock to operate layout

At the Set-up the Chief of Operations  is responsible for:

Direct the distribution of cars on the layout

Operation of Main Yard(s)

Flow of cars from siding to siding

 Any of these functions may be subcontracted to other Members.

 Crew Instructions

 Crew instructions are created before each set-up for each Freight Train and Passenger Train.

These instructions inform you which sidings you will switch and other important information.

 Although you may have operated the same train at the prior set-up, please read the instructions again, as the COO changes them to adapt to each set-up.

 Ensure you read the instructions thoroughly. This reduces confusion and errors in car placement.


The Engineer is the designation given to an individual who has completed all aspects of the Apprenticeship Program and has been granted membership in the club (or who was  “grand-fathered” as an Engineer prior to the implementation of the Apprenticeship Program). 

 Facing Point Move

 A Facing Point move is where the Locomotive moves past a turnout in a reverse direction then drives forward into the siding. All car movements are accomplished using the front of the locomotive.

 Fiddle Yards

There generally one to three Fiddle Yards on the layout each session.

These yards are used for general assembly of private trains.

 For some set-ups a Fiddle Yard maybe designated for a specific purpose such as Passenger Train operations or the use of Locals for the purpose of blocking their train.

 Fiddle Yards maybe used as temporary storage of a train for such purposes as washroom break or meal break.


 A journeyman is the designation given to someone participating in the Apprenticeship Program who has completed all the brakeman tasks (i.e. two set-ups and two disassembly tasks and one supervised engineer task).  As a Journeyman you will be permitted to operate trains without supervision only during periods when there is no dispatcher. 

Locomotive Card

The Locomotive Card is a similar size to the Car Card and is printed on plain white paper.

The card lists the engine Identifying marks, number, LocoNet address, functions available and any other pertinent information required to operate it.

See the Members Page for a template.

The Locomotive Card is inserted into a Plastic Pocket or laminated.

There is a supply of Plastic Pockets available at cost. See an Executive member to find out who has the supplies.

Main Line

The Main Line Track is the entire track that forms a continuous path around the Layout.

The entire Main Line track is controlled by the Dispatcher when he is on duty.

 The inner loop of track in the return loops is also considered Main Line track and at the discretion of the Dispatcher may be given to a Local for switching purposes.

  Main Yard

There is usually only one Main Yard on the Layout.

 All Local Trains and Through Freights originate and terminate in a Main Yard.

The Main Yard may also have a Coach yard where Passenger operations may also originate and terminate.

The Main Yard is controlled by the Yard-Master and he is responsible for all movements in the Yard and controls all tracks except the Main Line.

To enter or leave the Main Yard you need permission from both the Yard-Master and the Dispatcher.

  Operating Pass (Red Pass)

The Operating Pass is a red card controlled by the Traffic Superintendent for the purpose of limiting the number of trains on the layout governed by the size of the layout and perceived bottlenecks that will cause delays.

The number and types of Operating Passes available are determined ahead of time and may change as the operating session progresses.

The Identity Number of your train is on your pass and is to be used when communicating with the Dispatcher.

 Right-hand running

On the portions of the Main Line where there is double track your train should be on the right-hand track similar to when you drive down a road.

 When moving from Single Track to Double Track you should always go to the right.

When leaving a Branch Line or Siding you should always crossover to the right-hand track as soon as possible if you are not there already.

 Road Foreman

The Road Foreman is a member of the executive and has duties as laid out in the Bylaws of the Club.

At a Set-up the Road Foreman is responsible for setting up the Command Stations, wiring the Stations to the Layout and ensuring that the track is properly gapped.

When the Layout is complete he is responsible checking the Track Power and LocoNet around the Layout.

During the Operating Session the Road Foreman is responsible for solving Track Power problems and LocoNet problems.

Other duties include:

Giving advice on construction of modules

Giving advice on the wiring of modules

Helping members with wiring problems

Inspecting new modules for conformance to the Standards

Giving guidance on the repair of modules

Tracking faults on module

Any of these functions may be subcontracted to other Members


A Secondary-Yard is a small yard such as Castor River or NTC Yard.

A Local or Through Freight will deliver a cut of cars to an Inbound track and pick up and take away a cut of cars from the Outbound track.

 Car Cards for the Inbound cars will be left in the Inbound Car Card Holder and the Car Cards for the Outbound cars will be picked up from the Outbound box.

The Train Crew should contact the Sub Yard Office for instructions before entering the Sub Yard.

A Local Switcher will look after the distribution of inbound cars.

  Set-up Foreman

The Set-up Foreman is responsible for getting the Layout set-up for an operating session.

 His responsibilities are:

Positioning modules

 Aligning modules

Levelling of modules

Installation of Fiddle Yards

Installation of Joiner tracks

Connecting of Track Power and LocoNet connectors between modules

Applying Skirting if needed

 See Set-up Procedures for more detailed job description.

 Any of these functions may be subcontracted to other Members.

Storage Area

This is an area at St. Anthony’s that is donated to the Club for the Storage of Club modules and accessories.

 Member’s modules may be stored here by prior arrangement with the Storage Coordinator and the Club Executive.

  Storage Co-ordinator

The Storage Coordinator is responsible for the packing of Club Modules and assets in the Storage Area.

The Storage Coordinator is to ensure that the stack of modules and assets is stable.

The Storage Coordinator should pack the stack so that any modules that require work between Setups are easily removed from the pile with out compromising the stability of the pile

 Teardown Foreman

The Teardown Foreman is responsible for the orderly dismantling of the Layout.

He is responsible for:

Removal of Joiner Tracks

Disconnection of Track Power and LocoNet

The disassembly of Club Modules and Fiddle Yards

The boxing up of Club Modules

Moving of Club Modules to the storage area (will be packed by Storage Coordinator)

The collecting and packing of Club Assets (clamps, radios, etc.)

Movement of vehicles in and out of Loading Area

General cleanup of room when vacated

Any of these functions may be subcontracted to other Members.

  Traffic Superintendent

The Traffic Superintendent is a designated person who manages the operation of the whole layout.

His primary job is to hand out the Red Operations Passes to operators with a mind toward balancing the flow of traffic and work on the layout.

 He keeps a time log of what trains are in operation and if there are people waiting for a Trick and he will keep a list and as Passes become available he will inform the waiting operators.

 He is also the contact point if operators are having difficulties on the layout such as bad track, equipment failures, procedural problems and other problems related to the movement of trains.

The Traffic Superintendent will be wearing a safety vest so he may be readily spotted.

Trailing Point Move

 A Trailing Point move is where the Locomotive moves past a turnout in a forward direction then backs into the siding. All car movements are accomplished using the rear of the locomotive.

  Train Card

The Train Card is a set of instructions giving you the route the train is to follow and what type of work is to be accomplished during the trip. These instructions are unique to each set-up and are to be followed.


Waybills identify the type of car required, the size of the car, its destination and contents.

Waybills may also list specific delivery instructions.

Waybills are created and stored by the Chief of Operations (COO).

 Waybills are inserted into the Car Card to show the destination of a car.