Train Orders

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Sun May 7 21:08:36 EDT 2006

Permit me an observation regarding the sample train order submitted by a
of this group viz "Ex 302 West meet No. 4 at Singer." There are two
this order would never have been issued on the Southern Railway and later on
the Norfolk Southern, at least on the Piedmont Division. We did not
the word "Extra." In fact the dispatcher went to the trouble of spelling
out the
word when dictating a train order. I cannot speak for the N&W but in the
years on the Southern Railway, whenever a meet order was issued for two
the order MUST stipulate which train is to take siding. This rule was
after a disasterous head-on collision between two trains on the Carolina
when there was a mix-up about who was to take the siding. I realize that
are superior by right, class, or direction. In that sample meet order
above, train
No. 4 is superior to Extra 302 West, but there may be operational reasons why
a dispatcher would dictate that No. 4 take the siding, such as the siding
too short to hold the train of Extra 302 West. Or it may be that Extra 302
will reach Singer first in plenty of time to get in the clear and prevent a
to No. 4. The Norfolk Southern rule book which I still have since I
retired in
1986 still indicates that when a meet order is set-up between two trains the
order MUST specify which train is to take the siding. In fact, that question
was always asked at every rules class that I ever attended. I might add here
that one of the most often used abbreviations on train orders, other than "MP"
was "C&E" for Conductor and Engineer. Incidentally, the clearance card
for Extra 302 would be addressed to "Extra 302 West", and not "Ex 302
Another much used abbreviation was "MPH" for miles per hour. A typical
slow order would read, "Reduce speed to 25 Twenty Five MPH between MP
594 .6 and MP 595.0. I can understand why there is no such thing as
12 Noon or 12 Midnight on a railroad, but on the Southern there was no
such thing as an even hour in a train order. For example a work order
about passing
a T&S gang would begin "Effective 801 Eight Naught One AM until 501 Five
Naught One PM etc." Same thing with an originating train with high and wide
cars. For example, "No. 142 One Forty Two on duty Inman Yard 401 Four
Naught One PM will have wide car extreme width 13 thirteen feet 2 two inches
which must be met and passed on tangent track only." And so it goes.
Bill Sellers

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