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Does the prototype use an "off spot" location when switching?

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  • Member since
    April 2002
  • From: Frankfort, Indiana
  • 424 posts
Does the prototype use an "off spot" location when switching?
Posted by Morpar on Friday, May 5, 2023 5:56 PM

Last Sunday we had the monthly operation session at the train club. With my complete lack of experience I take whatever job is available so I have a chance to learn more. This time I had 2 switching trains, and the second one is where my question lies. The club uses car cards, and in one area (maybe more) there are 3 slots in the card rack. Pick up, drop off, and off spot. Now I knew what the first 2 mean, but had no clue about the off spot. Which made a pretty easy job a LOT more complicated. So does the prototype normally have situations where they will have more cars to set out at an industry than there is space for so they set them out somewhere else, or would the cars go back to the yard for the next train to try again? I rather enjoyed the extra challenge once I understood what I should have done, but was curious if it prototypical or not.

Good Luck, Morpar

  • Member since
    June 2011
  • 1,002 posts
Posted by NP Eddie on Friday, May 5, 2023 6:10 PM

Morpar:

My experience on the NP BN BNSF as a clerk at Northtown Minneapolis, MN, tells me this is a hard question to answer due the following variables:


Does the industry have all its spots (freight car locations) filled?

If so, them the railroad switch crew may leave them on a switching lead by the industry or take them back to the railroads yard for carrier convenience.

In either case, the freight office's Demurrage Department will charge the industry a "Constructive Placement" charge which means the industry will be daily demurrage on the car until the car(s) are physically placed in the industry.

Ed Burns

  • Member since
    January 2002
  • From: Canterlot
  • 9,568 posts
Posted by zugmann on Friday, May 5, 2023 6:17 PM

Morpar
So does the prototype normally have situations where they will have more cars to set out at an industry than there is space for so they set them out somewhere else, or would the cars go back to the yard for the next train to try again?

Usually the latter, but the former happens from time to time.  

  

The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer, any other railroad, company, or person.

  • Member since
    February 2001
  • From: Wyoming, where men are men, and sheep are nervous!
  • 3,391 posts
Posted by Pruitt on Friday, May 5, 2023 6:21 PM

On the line between Casper, WY and Laurel, MT on the now-BNSF (formerly BN, formerly CB&Q), my retired friend who was an engineer on that line has told me they certainly do (or at least did) off spot positioning of cars relatively frequently for some of the seasonal industries (like the sugar beet plants).

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