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The Yard and Yard Operations



This page was last updated on October 23rd, 2012.




1. Purpose
2. Physical Layout gf the Yard
 2.1 Numbering of yard Tracks
 2.2 Pullback Tracks
 2.3 Other Tracks
3. Movements within the Yard
 3.1 Movements under yardmaster's Authority
 3.2 Entry to and Exit from the Yard
4. Yard Track Usage
5. Car Card System
6. Making up Trains
  Blocking of Trains
 Castor River
 Through Freights
7. Trains leaving the Yard
 7.1 Paperwork
 7.2 Leaving the Yard
8.  Trains Entering the Yard
  Trouble Shooting
Appendix A - Sample Enginer and Yard Operations cards

1.    Purpose

This document describes the  layout and operation of the main yard together with the roles and responsibilities of the Yardmaster

2.    Physical layout of the Yard

The main yard consists of two separate sets of modules, Ottawa East and Ottawa West.  Diagrams can be found at:
Module_Sheets/Ottawa_EastDescription.html and Module_Sheets/Ottawa_WestDescription.html
while pictures are at
Module_Photo_Pages/ModuleOttawaEast.html and Module_Photo_Pages/ModuleOttawaWest.html
Note - the diagrams are oriented differently and Ottawa West needs to be updated.
Normally these modules are set up together to make a double ended yard.  However, in some cases the modules are set up separately to form two stub-ended yards.

2.1 Numbering of yard tracks

The yard tracks (1-7) are numbered outwards from the main line.  For ready reference these are identified by plastic tabs placed in between the rails at each end and in the center.

2.2 Pull-Back Tracks (see picture below)

At each end the yard throat is connected to a pull-back track which is used by the yard switchers.  The pull-back tracks are connected to the inside main line by crossover switches.

2.3 Other Tracks (see picture below)

Ottawa East contains a van or caboose track which is next to and parallel to the Ottawa East pull-back track.
Ottawa East also has two intermodal and container terminal tracks which are accessed through track 7.
Ottawa West contains several tracks for storing locomotives waiting for work.
Both ends of the yard have a "pocket" track which is connected to track 7 and the pull-back track.  This is a useful track to put working yard locomotives when they need to keep out of the way of entering or leaving trains.
When the Maenclochog Engine Terminal is attached next to either end of the Yard, light engine movements between the yard and the terminal on the third track will move under the authority of the Yardmaster.

3.    Movements within the yard

3.1 Movements under Yardmaster's Authority

All movements within the yard are controlled solely by the Yardmaster.  Trains and light engines must move at a speed not greater than scale15 mph being prepared to stop short of other movements or incorrectly set switches.  

The most effective way to operate the yard is to use switching assignments, East End and West End, under the supervision of the Yardmaster.  If there is a shortage of staff, the yard can be worked by the Yardmaster at one end with an Assistant at the other end.

3.2 Entry to and Exit from the Yard


Ottawa West looking west
Trains running on the main lines may enter the yard only upon the authority of the Yardmaster and must use the track indicated by him or her.  The Yardmaster will normally advise the incoming train of any possible conflicting movements but in any case, section 3.1 applies.  Trains entering the yard must put back not only the main line switch but also the crossover switch on the pull-back track

The Yardmaster must ensure that the outgoing engineer has the appropriate red Operating Pass and must obtain the agreement of the Traffic Superintendent before releasing any train from the yard.  The engineer should be asked to ensure that the outgoing train has the correct train and car cards.

Trains leaving the yard may do so upon receiving permission from both the RTC, when applicable, and the Yardmaster.  The main line switch must be returned to normal as must the crossover switch on the pull-back track.

4.    Yard Track Usage

The normal track usage is as follows:
- track 1 is used for incoming trains
- track 2 at the discretion of the Yardmaster
- tracks 3 and 4 are used for unassigned cars
- tracks 5 and 6 is used for trains ready to depart
- track 7 should be kept clear as far as possible. It is used to move cars from one end of the yard to the other and to provide access to the Ottawa West locomotive tracks and the Ottawa East Intermodal Terminal.

Track usage may vary according to the traffic demands and will be determined by the Yardmaster.

5.    Car Card System

Each car on the layout must have a car card.  A downloadable template can be found on the Members Page.
 
Two car Card Boxes are attached to the rear of the yard plexiglass cover containing 8 pockets.  The pockets are labelled 1-7, one for each yard track with a spare pocket which will be discussed later.  The cards are placed in these pockets in the order in which the cars are on the track from left (east) to right (west) with the left hand side on top.  In this way it is possible to quickly find the card for a car no matter where it happens to be in the yard.  Whenever a car is moved within the yard the corresponding car card must also be moved by the Yardmaster or the Assistant making the move.

A block of cars representing an assembled train may be clipped together with binder clips with the correspondingEngineer card but the cards must be in the correct order and should be placed in the correct pocket.  If there are two or more outgoing trains on the same track the block of train cards must be placed with the easternmost first with the subsequent train blocks placed behind.

The eighth card pocket may be used for unused Engineer and Yard Operations cards.

6.    Making Up Trains

The population of the layout and the initial set up is described in  Local Train Design.

The first step is to decide which train to make up.  It is good practice to have one train of each number made up and either out on the line or ready to depart.  After that the Yardmaster may consider making up additional trains.   Using Appendix A as an example let us assume that Local train L3A is already out on the layout and the Yardmaster wishes to make up a local L3B.  The Engineer card for L3B indicates that 5 cars are required with codes VC, VD, VB, VH and VJ.  

Note that code VD is shown twice on the Engineer card for train L3B.  This indicates that a car with code VD from the yard must be spotted at "M" Foundry on track 4, a car with code VD must be moved from "M" Foundry track 4 to "M" Foundry track 5 and a car with code VB moved from "M" Foundry track 5 back to the yard.

The Yard Operations card for train L3 indicates that 4 boxcars and 1 open hopper will be required:
Boxcar (40')(VC), Boxcar (VD), Open Hopper (coal) (VB), Boxcar (50' or less) (VH) and Boxcar (50' or less) (VJ)

In a similar manner train L3A will require 2 boxcars (40'), 1 gondola, 1 open hopper (coal) and 1 boxcar (50' or less);
while train L3C will need 2 boxcars (40'), 2 open hoppers (coal) and 1 boxcar (50' or less).

The Yardmaster will then review the unassigned cars available, normally to be found on tracks 3 and 4 (see 4. Yard Track Usage).  This is completely at the discretion of the Yardmaster and will depend upon how much assistance he has.  He may choose cars from one track or it may be more convenient to choose cars at one end or the other for convenience of switching.  the Yard switcher(s) will then pull out the cars chosen and the Car Code cars inserted in the appropriate Car Card pocket.

A place must be chosen for the made up train, normally on yard traxcks 5 and 6 (see 4. Yard Track Usage).  Again this is at the Yardmaster's discretion.  Normally two trains can be placed on the one departure track and occasionally three.  Trains heading east from the yard should be placed at the east end of the track and those heading west at the west end.  The Car Cards for the newly made up train, properly organized, should be clipped together with the appropriate Engineer card and placed in the appropriate Car Card pocket.  

Only one local train of each type may be active on the layout at one time.  This is to ensure that trains are not trying to switch the same point at the same time. There should be only one Engineer Card sleeve for each local train.  This goes out with the train that is currently on the layout.  In the example above, train L3A, which is on the layout, will have a transparent sleeve.  The Engineer Card for train L3B will not have a sleeve and this will serve as a reminder to the Yardmaster that a train L3 is already on the layout and a second one may not be released until the first one returns.
     
Once a train has been made up and placed on a departure track a train identifier tab should be placed on one of the freight cars for ready identification. Where more than one train has been placed on the same yard track they should be separated by a few inches to avoid confusion.  In this way the yardmaster will instantly know what trains he has ready to depart and which trains he should make up next.

It is best not to make up a train until all the cars of the specific car type are available.

It is possible to turn round an incoming train, providing that the paperwork is correct, and use it as an outbound without removing the Car Code cards.  This should only be done if there is a need to send out such a train quickly and at least some of the cars should be exchanged for unassigned cars wherever possible.

Blocking of Trains

The term "Blocking" refers to the placing of cars in a train in order to facilitate switching en route.  A train would normally be blocked so that the cars for the first destination are together at the front of the train, the second destination next and so on.  This would allow the engineer to work by making his set offs from the front and his pick ups at the rear.  However, because some engineers like to work from the rear and trains may or may not have a caboose the best the Yardmaster should  achieve is to put all cars together for the same destination.  If there is insufficient time to carry out this minimum blocking the Yardmaster may send the train out "rough" but this may increase the amount of en route switching needed.

Castor River

This module is the sole instance in which local trains simply exchange a block of four to six cars. Internal switching is handled by the local Castor River engineer.  Where a local train is conveying a block of cars for Castor River these must all be blocked together at the end of the train.

 

The specific car types to be forwarded to Castor River will be determined by the Yardmaster in conjunction with the Castor River engineer.  A separate set of waybills is used for Castor River cars showing the industry served and the car type.  The Yardmaster must ensure a good mix of destinations so that car spot capacity is not exceeded.  Cuts of cars for Castor River may be forwarded from the main yard either on a Local Freight or as a separate extra move.

The Castor River engineer will remove waybills from incoming cars and outgoing cars return to the Yard without waybills.  The Castor River engineer will return used waybills to the Yardmaster from time to time

Through freights

Some engineers prefer to tour the layout without carrying out any switching en route.  A block of unassigned cars is usually used for this purpose.  Depending upon the cars available and traffic demands the Yardmaster may use a block of up to ten cars from his supply in the yard or he may place a block in a Fiddle Yard siding.  The Through Freight Engineer Card will be kept in the yard, card pocket 8.  If the cars are standing in the yard the car cards will be placed in the normal location in the Card Box.  If the cars are standing in a Fiddle yard track the associated cards will be clipped to the Through Freight Engineer Card in pocket 8 of the Card Box.

7.    Trains Leaving the Yard

7.1  Paperwork

Before releasing a train from the yard
 - the Yardmaster must ensure that the Engineer has a red Operating Pass and that the Traffic Superintendent agrees that this particular train may enter the layout.  
 - the Yardmaster must ensure that the Engineer and Car Cards are correct for the train.
 - the Yardmaster should ask the Engineer to check his car cards to confirm that they correspond to the cars in the consist and that the Car Codes correspond with the Engineer card .

7.2  Leaving the Yard

 - if a caboose has to be attached to the rear of the departing train the movement will be agreed between the Yardmaster and the Engineer.
 - it is the responsibility of the Engineer to obtain permission from the RTC, where applicable, to leave the yard and enter the main line.
 - it is good practice for the Yardmaster to remind the Engineer to return the pull-back switch to normal and to check that this has been done.

8.    Trains Entering the Yard 

An engineer with a train who wishes to return his train to the yard should speak to the Yardmaster and ask for instructions as to which track he should use, normally this will be track 1.  The Yardmaster will work with the Engineer to decide on disposal of the train locomotive and movement of the caboose, if any, to the caboose track.
It is the Engineer's responsibility to advise the RTC, where applicable, that his train has entered the yard and is clear of the main line and to hand back his red Operating Pass to the Traffic Superintendent..

The Yardmaster should immediately check that the Car Cards coincide with the cars actually returned.  The cars will then normally be moved to tracks 3 or 4 (or another depending upon the circumstances) and the Car Code cards removed.  The cars are now unassigned and ready to be incorporated into new trains.

  Trouble Shooting

If the Yardmaster finds that the Car Cards of an incoming train do not coincide with the cars in the consist the Engineer should be requested retrace his route on foot and rectify the problem (either by replacing the offending car or the offending Car Card.

If the Yardmaster finds that the Car Cards appear correct but the Car Codes are incorrect it is preferable for the Yardmaster to attend to this problem himself as it suggests an incorrectly switched car.  This is most easily rectified by checking the cars and Car Cards at the specific location against the Layout Population Sheet. The solution may lie in changing out the Car Code cards to ensure that the Car Cards coincide with the Layout Population Sheet.

Appendix A  Sample Engineer and Yard Operations cards

A template in .doc format, for working purposes, can be found on the Members Page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local 3 - Brantford

Local 3: Yard Operations

 

 

Instructions

Car Types

 

Pick up train at Yard (5 cars)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Car "VA" - Open Hopper (Coal)

 

 

 

Brantford Coach and Body

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track 2 - VC

 

 

 

*

Car "VB" - Open Hopper (Coal)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massey-Harris-Ferguson

 

 

*

Car "VC" - Boxcar (40')

 

 

 

 

 

"M" Foundry (Track 4) - VG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"M" Foundry (Track 5, Door 1) - VA

*

Car "VD" - Boxcar

 

 

 

 

 

 

"M" Foundry (Track 5, Door 4) - VE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Car "VE" - Boxcar (40')

 

 

 

 

Cockshutt Plow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track 12, Door 2 - VG

 

 

*

Car "VF" - Gondola

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track 12, Door 4 - VJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Car "VG" - Gondola

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Car "VH" - Boxcar (50' or less)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Car "VJ" - Boxcar (50' or less)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Car "VK" - Boxcar (50' or less)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*

Car "VL" - Boxcar (50' or less)

 

 

L3A  Month Year

L3: Yard Month Year

 

Local 3 - Brantford

Local 3 - Brantford

 

 

Instructions

Instructions

 

Pick up train at Yard (5 cars)

Pick up train at Yard (5 cars)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MHF, Verity Works

 

 

 

 

Brantford Coach and Body

 

 

 

 

 

Track 1 - VC

 

 

 

 

 

Track 2 - VC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Massey-Harris-Ferguson

 

 

 

Massey-Harris-Ferguson

 

 

 

 

 

"M" Foundry (Track 4) - VD

 

 

 

"M" Foundry (Track 5, Door 1) - VA

 

 

 

"M" Foundry (Track 5, Door 2) - VB

 

 

"M" Foundry (Track 5, Door 2) - VB

 

 

 

"M" Foundry (Track 5, Door 3) - VD

 

 

"M" Foundry (Track 5, Door 4) - VE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cockshutt Plow

 

 

 

 

 

Cockshutt Plow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Track 12, Door 1 - VH

 

 

 

 

Track 12, Door 3 - VK

 

 

 

 

 

Track 12, Door 4 - VJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L3B Month Year

L3C Month Year