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Fractured Fairytales

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  • Member since
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  • From: Omaha, NE
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Fractured Fairytales
Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 11:54 AM

The "On Operation" column reminded me of the cartoon "Fractured Fairytales" with its confusing mash-up of the fable of the "Blind Men and the Elephant" and the expression "the elephant in the room".

The "Blind men and the elephant" is a parable of Indian and Buddhist origin.  A group of blind men approach an elephant and depending on what part of the elephant they touch, they have a different concept of what an elephant is.

"An elephant in the room" is an English phrase that refers to an obvious truth or problem being overlooked or ignored.

The two are completely different phrases with different meanings.  Dziedzic keeps referring to "elephants in the room".  I'm not sure what "truths" he thinks we operators are ignoring or not addressing.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by gregc on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:34 PM

dehusman
I'm not sure what "truths" he thinks we operators are ignoring or not addressing.

he said  "When and how to use waybills and switch lists seems to be our own elephant in the room".

my impression, from a thread a few years ago, is that conductors use a switchlist or "track list", not waybills.

i think the column discusses how different operators do things differently.   He mentions knowing the contents of the car may be needed to know how to switch a car.

i try to operate a model railroad.   i'm far from trying to model railroad operation.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 7:05 PM

gregc

i try to operate a model railroad.   i'm far from trying to model railroad operation.

I agree.

I admit I play pretty fast and loose with the scant rules that I know, but I am open to learning new stuff, and when something better comes along I try to latch onto it and tighten up things a bit. Waybills and elephants are still a ways off in the future; maybe a few years off. 

For now, when I dispatch five empty tankers to the grain depot to pick up food-grade cooking oil, I try to make sure they're corn oil tankers and not crude oil tankers. If I get that right, I call it a success.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


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Posted by cuyama on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 10:29 PM

dehusman
The "On Operation" column reminded me of the cartoon "Fractured Fairytales" with its confusing mash-up of the fable of the "Blind Men and the Elephant" and the expression "the elephant in the room".

+1. The mixed usage was unclear.

I'm fortunate enough to have operated with real-life railroaders, including engineers, conductors, and dispatchers. They are perfectly happy to use car-cards-and-waybills on their own layouts and on layouts they visit. Or switchlists, if that’s what the host uses. 

Use what works. The car-routing method is not a status symbol.

Byron

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Posted by dehusman on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 10:33 PM

I can understand the "blind men and the elephant" reference (although it is kind of insulting) but the "elephant in the room" reference makes no sense.  The elephant in the room is something that is obviously there but everybody is ignoring.  Because I chose one thing doesn't mean I am ignorant of or refuse to acknowledge the alternatives.

If I CHOOSE to use car cards then that's not an "elephant in the room".  If I am aware of switch lists, its not a case of the "blind men and the elephant".  I'm not saying that that is what real crews used, I know what switch lists are and how to use them (I have done it professionally).  I am CHOOSING to use CC&WB.  He just used really poor metaphors for saying whatever it was he was trying to say.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Thursday, June 14, 2018 12:14 AM

"An elephant is warm and mushy."

Guess where THAT blind man stuck his hand.

 

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, June 14, 2018 3:38 AM

In my 9 1/2 years of braking I never seen a waybill nor did I need to see one.

My switchlist had the road's initials and numbers but,all that I was concerned about was:

Pattons Warehouse

Setout 243366,243823

Pickup 174509

Leave 12332  at spot..

The conductor would leave the waybills in a mailbox located at the end of the dock or end of the building that faces the railroad gate-usually next to a door.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by riogrande5761 on Thursday, June 14, 2018 6:28 AM

Made me look.

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by gregc on Thursday, June 14, 2018 8:42 AM

i am sympathetic of the writers of columns that have to come up with a topic every month.   This first ten columns may be easy; then ideas become scarce

i found the elephant analogy interesting and the explantion made sense to me.   At least in this case, it was just literary license

i am less forgiving when technical explanations are incorrect or confused.  Not a fan of voodoo.

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by dknelson on Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:00 AM

I also noticed that mash-up of cliches, mixed metaphors, and analogies in the column -- I guess we should be grateful he didn't bring in the 800 pound gorilla to resolve it all for us -- but grasped his point.  I read the operations column and am grateful it's there -- but really miss Andy Sperandeo.

I have operated with waybills, switchlists and computer generated car forwarding outputs that probably come closer to switchlists than waybills in function.  I am also familiar with the friendly little war between the serious waybillists and devoted switchlisters. 

My own feeling is that in normal operations on a normal layout I am not purely a brakeman nor purely a conductor (and obviously not purely an engineer nor fireman either).  So the fact that "real" brakemen never see waybills, and "real" conductors have little or nothing to do with switchlists, is not really interesting because I am neither "real" nor restricted to any one crew function.  I mostly just need to know where to put the danged car (which sometimes does involve needing to know what the lading is) and what car(s) to pick up or leave alone, but from a practical perspective I know that the next gang to operate the layout needs to know the same things.  The 4 cycle waybills help the next crew; the switchlist does not.   The computer generated car forwarding output sort of switchlist helps the next crew but does it behind the scenes.      

What I do know is that once you get over 10 or 15 cars, those 4 cycle waybills become an annoyance particularly if the layout owner has not included "work areas" for you to put stuff, yet has a strict "don't put stuff on the layout" rule.

When all is said and done I'll take the computer generated car forwarding output. 

Dave Nelson

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, June 14, 2018 11:29 AM

dknelson
When all is said and done I'll take the computer generated car forwarding output.

From what I've seen the computer generated switch lists aren't too awful (depends how they are formatted and how many secret decoder rings are required to understand them) for industry jobs.  The computer generated lists I have seen from most software bears no resemblance to a train consist or list and isn't close to a switch list used in a yard.  Yes, switch lists used by industry jobs and switch lists used by yard engines look and function differently (hand written or computer generated).  The typical computer switch list for a yard doesn't allow a crew to "think" like a real crew.

One of the reasons I like CC&WB, its easy to organize the CC&WB as needed so while you aren't holding a piece of paper, the way you organize the work and how the crew thinks about the work can be closer to accurate.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, June 14, 2018 1:16 PM

dknelson
and "real" conductors have little or nothing to do with switchlists,

Dave,Every conductor I worked with had a copy of the switch list..

Why?

He was assured the brakeman was delivering the correct cars and following any special instructions.

-------------------------------------

I mostly just need to know where to put the danged car (which sometimes does involve needing to know what the lading is) and what car(s) to pick up or leave alone, but from a practical perspective I know that the next gang to operate the layout needs to know the same things

-----------------------------------

 

See you are emulating the job of a real brakeman and don't even know it..We had to know where that dang car went too.

Larry

SSRy

Conductor

“Shut one’s eyes tight or open one’s arms wide, either way, one’s a fool.” Flemeth-the witch of the Wilds.
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Posted by rrinker on Thursday, June 14, 2018 2:02 PM

 Perhaps another question might be, what did the original draft of the column look like compared to how it had to get pared down to fit the space (and I have to add I really am not a fan of the "pick some quote from the article and paste it by the photo of the author" look they've been doing). When writing gets that convoluted it's almost as if entire paragraphs got chopped and so what might have made sense now seems like totally random muddling.

 Or maybe Dziedzic is that bad of a writer - although I did not find previous of his columns to be so random. That's always a potential issue, sometimes you can know the material but just aren't as good at explaining it.

 As for always coming up with fresh material - bunch of years ago I was offered an opportunity to write for a publication, but I declined. For one, I'm not much of a writer - I went into engineering to reduce the amount of writing I needed to do. But the other is exactly as stated - I can think of some things to write about that might be 4 or 5 articles' worth - after that - I have no idea WHAT I would write about. I'm just not that creative.

                     --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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