More: No Operator at WB

nw-mailing-list at nw-mailing-list at
Sat Oct 9 20:26:59 EDT 2004

Here's another point to consider in respect to situation of "no open train 
order office at WB."  Harry Bundy is probably the only Lister who could offer an 
informed conjecture...

There were two operators in West Roanoke.  (1)  The opr at "DO" office at 
12th Street Yard Office, who was much too remote from the two main lines to get 
engine numbers, deliver train orders of block trains, and who had no train 
order signals.  And (2) the opr at "UN" Tower at Shaffers Crossing, who's building 
was in the middle of the yard and too remote from the main tracks to get 
engine numbers or block trains, and who had no train order signals.  

So, in the absence of an operator reporting trains anywhere in Roanoke west 
of "MH" at the passenger station, what did the train dispatcher use for an OS 
time for trains departing any point in West Roanoke?

Now, the Timetable Special Instructions do show the location of all 
telephones on the division, both "B" Block Phones and "D" telephones connected to the 
train dispatcher.  There was a "B" Block Phone at "WB, Pull Out Track."

So here's how I think the process might have transpired:

(1) Conductor registers his train at UN Tower (Shaffers Crossing) and picks 
up any train orders which be addressed to his train at that point.  (2) Engine 
goes to WB and couples on and (perhaps several hours later) is ready to leave. 
(3) Head end brakeman goes to the Block Phone and rings up operator at UN and 
asks for permission to pull out onto the westbound main line.  (4)  Opr UN 
gets permission from train dispatcher at "R" Office (train dispatcher's office 
in General Offices) and relays it to brakeman on the train, and train departs.  
(5) Train dispatcher uses the time he granted permission on the main track as 
the OS time for his train sheet.

Sounds reasonable, 'eh?

Take another situation, viz. that of a westbound train made up in the Pull Up 
Yard.  It departs from the Pull Up and uses the Westbound Running Track to 
Shaffer's Crossing where the 24th Street Switch Tender puts the train out onto 
the main line (with the train dispatcher's permission, probably relayed through 
the operator at UN.)  Did the train dispatcher use for his OS the time his 
permission was granted to the 24th Street Switch Tender?

And, then think of the matter of eastbound trains arriving at West Roanoke.  
How did the train dispatcher know when the train was clear of the main track 
and get an arrival time at West Roanoke for his train sheet?  (Perhaps the Pull 
In Switch Tender reported the arival to the operator at UN, who relayed it to 
the train dispatcher?)

Aaaah..... so many questions, and so few firm answers !  But, absent mystery, 
what would be the fun of "doing history" ?

Senator Bundy, git to the podium and make a speech !

-- abram burnett
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