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Flimsys or Flimsies recall?

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Flimsys or Flimsies recall?
Posted by switch7frg on Thursday, October 14, 2010 10:15 PM

Whistling   Does anyone remember them?? What year did they become obsolete ? And why? I can recall my younger years seeing those  yellow papers in the trash barrell at Findley  st. yard of NYC  , while searching for used 6 vt. telegraph batterys  for our bike lights .   Both front and rear .   I found a pic  of my bike with those batts. and lights hooked up from 60 + yrs. past.   Respectfully, Cannonball

Y6bs evergreen in my mind

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Posted by Bob-Fryml on Friday, October 15, 2010 4:20 AM

"Tissue flimsies" began to be phased out probably in the mid-to-late 1960s when the railroad industry realized that a photocopied train order was just as valid one appearing on a thin, yellow Form 19 or Form 31.

Prior to photocopying, only a limited number of say a specific slow order could be cut at one time.  As soon as the supply was exhausted, the train order operator would have to ask the dispatcher to repeat the original while the operator cut a new batch.  Following this procedure took time away from both employee's duties.

In today's world the train dispatcher stores track warrants and track bulletins in a computer.  He then assigns what train symbol is to receive what warrants and bulletins.  As needed, a switchman or conductor later uses a simple computer inquiry to request the required track warrant and track bulletins applicable to his train.  In "dark" territory (non-block signal equipped) or single track automatic block signal territory, an additional track warrant issued by voice may be necessary to authorize any movements on the main track.  

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Posted by henry6 on Friday, October 15, 2010 9:06 AM

I'm not sure the LIRR isn't still using them at Babylon and Divide!  I think they were using them at Patchogue tower  until it was closed and torn down less than 10 years ago.  Green 19 orders and yello 31 orders.  (19's could be delivered on the fly, 31's had to be signed for by each addressed crew member.)

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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Friday, October 15, 2010 10:05 AM

I'd say they became obsolete in the late 1970's/ early 1980's for 2 main reasons:

- Radios on trains became more reliable and almost universal.  And, the elimination of cabooses and the down-sizing of crews to just 2 or 3 men put them all in the cab of the loco, so there was only 1 point of contact needed for the flimsies any more.  Plus, the conductor was also there - and the best person - to copy down the track warrant.  In effect, the conductor became a mobile, on-the-spot, real-time, 24 x 7 operator.

- The widespread closing and elimination of train order stations and their operators.  Also - and as part of that, the railroad's 'command, control, communications, and signals' systems and culture gradually became more comfortable with radio-issued orders that were written and checked by and between just the dispatcher and the train crew, and did not need the involvement and records kept of that transaction by yet another person, the lineside operator.

I believe ConRail was one of the first to use radio-issued track warrants on a wide-spread basis, but maybe that's just because I was most familiar with it at the time that change-over was occurring.

- Paul North. 

P.S. - EDIT:  This "ABC's of Railroading" article on "Train Orders" says 1986

 http://trn.trains.com/en/Railroad%20Reference/ABCs%20of% 20Railroading/2006/05/Train%20orders.aspx

See also this one on "Railroad's Traffic Control Systems" at

 http://trn.trains.com/Railroad%20Reference/ABCs%20of%20Railroading/2006/05/Railroads%20traffic%20control%20systems.aspx 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, October 15, 2010 10:06 AM

Somewhere....I still have a copy of the 1st 19 order I ever copied as a new hire operator.

19 West copy 3

How the operations have changed.  Places I worked on the railroad are no longer railroad places.

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, October 15, 2010 10:26 AM

I remember the operator/agent at Rantoul, IL putting orders up on the crane (or whatever they called it) in the early 70's.  Every now and then he'd have to hoop them up instead.  Never saw any of them first hand, though.

IIRC, they were often orders for trains to run on the wrong main.

LarryWhistling
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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Friday, October 15, 2010 10:45 AM

'Stand' or 'mast' is what I've heard and seen them called - no dout there were local variations on that.

A fascinating and detailed essay about ''Handing On'' is at -

http://www.halcyon.com/tawhite/handon/handingon.htm 

- Paul North. 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, October 15, 2010 1:04 PM

Most of the locations I worked used the tried and true method of train order delivery

Place the bottom of the handle in your hand nearest the rail and measure the top of the wye on top of the near rail with your arm extended....then you were the proper distance from the rail to be able to hand up the orders without being hit by the passing train.  String was tied to hold the orders and was fitted over the points of the wye and secured in a spring clip at the base of the wye.  Crewman placed his hand through the opening of the wye and thereby captured the string & order on his arm.

Handing up to the head end of trains was the easy part....you could see them.  Trying to pick up the caboose markers at night as the engine crew was laying on the power to accelerate their 100 car train out of town was the real trick, as the accelerating train kicked up increasing volumes of dust and debris, plus you didn't want to be any closer to the train than necessary to be able to hand up the orders to both ends (banding or other debris from cars can do serious damage to a human body).  A time in railroading that will never be repeated.

tree68

I remember the operator/agent at Rantoul, IL putting orders up on the crane (or whatever they called it) in the early 70's.  Every now and then he'd have to hoop them up instead.  Never saw any of them first hand, though.

IIRC, they were often orders for trains to run on the wrong main.

Never too old to have a happy childhood!

              

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Posted by CSSHEGEWISCH on Friday, October 15, 2010 2:04 PM

I never actually saw orders being handed up but I do remember asking for (and receiving) the orders from the crew at the end of the run, in this case a Rock Island suburban local in the mid-1970's.  Try to imagine the condition of the track when the crew got five pages of slow orders for a Chicago-Joliet suburban run of about 40 miles.

The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
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Posted by Paul_D_North_Jr on Friday, October 15, 2010 3:34 PM

Something like that was described in an article in Trains in the 1970's or early 1980's on the C&NW about its piggyback trains from Chicago to the UP at Fremont - ''The Flight of the Falcon'', or similar.  During the western end, the cab light kept flickering on and off as the engineer and conductor tried to keep track of a small book of slow orders, some of which were slow orders within other longer slow orders.

- Paul North. 

"This Fascinating Railroad Business" (title of 1943 book by Robert Selph Henry of the AAR)
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Posted by jeffhergert on Friday, October 15, 2010 5:50 PM

Paul_D_North_Jr

Something like that was described in an article in Trains in the 1970's or early 1980's on the C&NW about its piggyback trains from Chicago to the UP at Fremont - ''The Flight of the Falcon'', or similar.  During the western end, the cab light kept flickering on and off as the engineer and conductor tried to keep track of a small book of slow orders, some of which were slow orders within other longer slow orders.

- Paul North. 

That still happens to this day.  The formating of the slows have changed but at times, especially in the spring when the frost comes out of the ground you can have a couple pages worth of slows.

I have in my collection some of the onion skinned orders from various railroads into the mid-1980s.  Somewhere I have a 3 part (office copy and one each for the engr and condr) carbonless train order blank that the CNW used.  It is a thin, but not onion skin paper.  It allowed the operator to just place it in the typewriter (or write it out) without having to place carbon paper and tear it into the proper number of copies.

Some railroads placed in the back of their employee time tables a train order blank.  It could be used to make photo copies to have the proper form on hand.  This was when some railroads started transmitting train orders by radio directly to trains.   One example actually had the header read, "radio train order."  Some railroads still do this with their track warrant form and track bulletin forms.

The General Code of Operating rules, First Edition had rules for train order operations.  The second (1989) and subsequent  editions did not.  Towards the end of the 1980s, the train order form became superfluous as the railroads converted fully to track warrants or direct traffic control.

Jeff

 

          

 

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Posted by henry6 on Friday, October 15, 2010 7:25 PM

BaltACD shows a picture of a "fork" which had three clips, one at the crotch and one the end of each arm.  A circle of string (job for agent/operator/towerman in spare time: cut string in proper lenghts then tie in circle so as to be ready when needed; maybe 20 at a time) would then be attached to the string and the orders and messages knotted into the string; train crew would put arm through the string loop to take orders leaving fork in person's hand or on the staff or crane or whatever it was called on that railroad.  Before the advent of the fork there were actual hoops with a spring snap or string attached.  The whole hoop was snatched by the train crew, messages removed, and hoop dropped on the ground...sometimes up to a mile from where the orders were picked up.  Several retrevial methods were then used. One, didn't bother, let the next guy do it.  Second, get around to it whenever.  Third, get and train a dog to retrieve.  Four, make some kid think he was doen' an portant raylroad job by getten them sticks back to the deeepo before the next train.  Five, keep fit by going after them as soon as possible and return quickly.  Needless to say the need and cost of quite a few hoops was great and the use was (wasted) time consuming, so there was a genius who invented the fork, saved everybody lots of time, lots of wood, and got a bonus reward....from the string manufacturers.

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, October 15, 2010 10:25 PM

I cannot speak for all carriers Computer Aided Dispatching systems, however, my carriers system will not permit overlapping TEMPORARY speed restriction to be issued.  The CADS system formats all Temporary Speed Restrictions on a subdivision into a single train message entry and they are displayed in increasing mile post order.  Train messages are issued in Sub-Division blocks for each subdivision the train will be operating over.

jeffhergert

 Paul_D_North_Jr:

Something like that was described in an article in Trains in the 1970's or early 1980's on the C&NW about its piggyback trains from Chicago to the UP at Fremont - ''The Flight of the Falcon'', or similar.  During the western end, the cab light kept flickering on and off as the engineer and conductor tried to keep track of a small book of slow orders, some of which were slow orders within other longer slow orders.

- Paul North. 

 

That still happens to this day.  The formating of the slows have changed but at times, especially in the spring when the frost comes out of the ground you can have a couple pages worth of slows.

Jeff

 

 

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Posted by tree68 on Monday, October 18, 2010 1:43 AM

While the IC agent had the hand forks available (and occasionally used them), the Rantoul station had a stand on which the "loaded" forks stood out from the stand, then swung down out of the way once the loop of string (with the order attached) was hooked by a crew member.  I have a picture somewhere, but I know not where.  I also recently saw a picture of a similar device in a RR magazine article about a tower that recently closed.  It's 3 AM and I just got back from an EMS call.  I'm not looking for it right now.

LarryWhistling
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Everyone goes home; Safety begins with you
My Opinion. Standard Disclaimers Apply. No Expiration Date
Come ride the rails with me!
There's one thing about humility - the moment you think you've got it, you've lost it...

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Posted by wabash conductor on Monday, October 18, 2010 9:40 PM

My nfrist time to pick orders on the fly was on a wabash p-1 hudson at about 80 mph from a train order stand at Gilmore  Mo (no longer there)  while making student trips firing.

 

    R M Davis   OSAGE bEACH MO

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Posted by bigduke76 on Monday, October 18, 2010 11:59 PM

the first  time i ever saw orders hooped up was not until i was 12 in owatonna MN.  a rock island 4-8-4 bore down on the depot at 55 MPH, and the fireman missed the hoop!    the hogger made a full-service air application and the train stopped in its own length, about 60 cars.  the rear brakie was just half a car length from the agent when everything ground to a halt.  very soon the air released and back the whole works came, at a rattling good clip too- no grade crossings.  as i recall the fireman picked up the hoop  in reverse!   then it was off to the races again, and the rear brakie got his orders at about 40 MPH.  this would have been about V-E day, may 8 1945.  -  arturo

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