Lists of Divisions and Division Points

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Lists of Divisions and Division Points

Postby Way Uptown » Wed May 13, 2009 5:14 pm

Is there any place that publishes (or published) a central list or division points and division names for RRs? My primary interest is in Class I's of the immediate post-war era.

I know that individual RR's employee timetables would have this information, but I'm looking for a more user-friendly index for many RRs. A quick scan of my c. 1950s and 1960s Official Guides doesn't reveal anything like this (though maybe I don't know what to look for)

(Apologies if this has been posted somewhere, but I can't find an answer on the forums)
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Re: Lists of Divisions and Division Points

Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon May 18, 2009 11:56 am

Way Uptown wrote:Is there any place that publishes (or published) a central list or division points and division names for RRs? My primary interest is in Class I's of the immediate post-war era.

I know that individual RR's employee timetables would have this information, but I'm looking for a more user-friendly index for many RRs. A quick scan of my c. 1950s and 1960s Official Guides doesn't reveal anything like this (though maybe I don't know what to look for)

(Apologies if this has been posted somewhere, but I can't find an answer on the forums)



A couple answers to your question.

1) If you're looking for routes, station names, and division points, you'd need to try to acquire employee timetables for every railroad that you're interested in. A daunting task to say the least.

2) You could acquire some old copies of "The Official Guide," a formerly monthly publication that listed every railroad station and railroad service in North America. Issues from the 1940s are rare, and usually sell for $50-100 a piece. Reproduction issues of a 1930 volume are available from time to time at swap meets. I know the main branch of the New York Public Library has an archive of "TOG."

When you say "Divisions" and "Division Points," what exactly are you looking for? Not every railroad clearly labeled their "divisions" and some names were not made public, they were merely for the operations side of things. Are you looking for names like "Hudson Division, Harlem Division, Montauk Branch," etc.? You'd need the aforementioned Employee Timetables... And by "Division Point," do you just mean where one division ended and another began? Official guide should have this info that you're looking for.

Are you really looking for all data from all Class 1's in America?

-otto-
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Re: Lists of Divisions and Division Points

Postby Way Uptown » Mon May 18, 2009 1:00 pm

Thanks - as often seems to happen here, this response helps me realize what my precise question is, which is this:

I have a June 1951 Official Guide of the Railways. How can I figure out, from the timetables, where a given railroad's division points were?

And by "division points" I mean the places where through trains changed crews, where longer-distance freight trains were made up and broken down, and where local services like way freights were likely to originate and terminate.

Thanks for the response!
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Re: Lists of Divisions and Division Points

Postby Otto Vondrak » Mon May 18, 2009 1:31 pm

Way Uptown wrote:And by "division points" I mean the places where through trains changed crews, where longer-distance freight trains were made up and broken down, and where local services like way freights were likely to originate and terminate. Thanks for the response!


Ah ha. Yes, that's the kind of information you could glean from an employee timetable. ETT's from the 1940s are rare and pricey, again in the $25 to $100 range depending on road, rarity and condition. You'd probably also need the assistance of a railroad's historical society to help break down the info, too.

Are there specific lines you're interested in? Might be able to steer you to the right resource...
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Re: Lists of Divisions and Division Points

Postby 2nd trick op » Thu May 21, 2009 6:58 pm

An Official Guide would provide some "indirect" help in that a stop of five minutes or so for a passenger train at an otherwise not important community usually meant a change of crews, who in turn were usually qualified on a divisional (or subdivisional) basis. It's also worth noting that not every road broke its divisions down into smaller territories, usually referred to as either subdivisions or districts.

Most of the major roads in existence during the "Class I" era have enough interest to support historical societies and or web-based interest groups devoted to their operations, so you might be able to find some information there. But the Employees Timetable is still the ultimate source of information. And remember too, that divisional boundaries sometimes changed over the years.
Last edited by 2nd trick op on Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lists of Divisions and Division Points

Postby SooLineRob » Mon May 25, 2009 4:05 pm

While I'm not familiar with using an Official Guide, the following cues may help you find yards where crew changes were made as well as through freights making set outs and pick ups.

Generally, in the era you're interested in, crew runs were in the 100-150 mile range. In large cities where there were numerous yards (congestion), these runs may have been shorter; possibly only 80 miles. Once "out in the country", the runs were able to increase to the nominal 100-150 mile distance.

Crew changes may not show up as a "dwell time" in a station; however a 5 to 30 minute dwell may indicate a crew change/locomotive change. On "hotshot fast freights", only a momentary stop was required. The inbound crew would exit towards the rear, and the outbound crew would enter from the front, and the train would be rolling again within a minute or two from the time it stopped (if it stopped at all!). Back in the day, "rolling crew changes" were the norm!

Once a dwell time reaches the 30 minute mark or longer, that would indicate a set out, pick up, or other work was being performed to the train.

I'm also not sure of the rules in effect during this era, but trains received an inspection en route. Nowadays, it's near the 1000 mile distance from a train's originating yard. This "1000 mile inspection" would show up as a dwell time, and be performed at a "large" yard where mechanical forces were employed, as well as a crew/loco change, set out/pick up, et cetera.

Crew change locations vary through the years. Changes in operations/management/labor agreements would relocate crew changes every so often. The coming of "InterDivisional Service" in the '70's eliminated many crew change locations, increasing a crew's run into the 200 to 300 mile range.

Also, when trying to determine the location of crew changes when using an Employee Timetable, look for notations that indicate a station has the following "services":

Standard Clock, Bulletin/General Order Board, and Register; Roundhouse/Shop/Turntable/Wye and Yard Limits. Employees going on duty need the first three items before the train moves an inch. The last two items indicate frequent moves are made when doing work at a yard.

Hope this helps...
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Re: Lists of Divisions and Division Points

Postby younger » Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:24 pm

Quoting Soo Line Rob: "Generally, in the era you're interested in, crew runs were in the 100-150 mile range. In large cities where there were numerous yards (congestion), these runs may have been shorter; possibly only 80 miles. Once "out in the country", the runs were able to increase to the nominal 100-150 mile distance."

Yes, until comparatively recently, the basic day for freight train crews and all engine crews was 100 miles, and the basic day for passenger train crews was 150 miles. Any distance over these called for overtime pay--and if a crew's run was less than its basic day, it received a full day's pay(though the passenger train crews between Nashville and Chattanooga received only 150 miles pay for their 152 miles, whereas the Atlanta-Chattanooga crews received a full day's pay for their 134 miles; a Nashville Chattanooga conductor told me this).
There can be differences from the standard in runs that are brought about by existing geography--why should a road establish a crew change point ten miles from an existing city simply because it was 100 miles from the previous point?
Now, for an illustration of differences on one division. In the sixties, the main line of the IC's Louisiana Division had three division points: New Orleans, McComb, and, for passengers Canton, and for freight, Gwin. New Orleans-McComb: roughly 100 miles; McComb-Canton: roughly 100 miles; McComb-Gwin: roughly 150 miles. Passenger train crews would leave McComb southbound (except for the City of New Orleans; they would leave northbound), return home 24 hours later, and go out 24 hours later. Passenger engine crews worked only 100 miles at a time; I never did inquire as to how long they would be in McComb before going out again. Freight train and engine crews would go to New Orleans or Gwin and return (they preferred working north since it meant more pay).
Why the different north terminals for freight and passenger trains? The freight trains ran (and still run) through the Delta--Yazoo City-Greenwood-Memphis--since the grades are easier than those of the then passenger line through Canton and Grenada--coming into or leaving the passenger line at North Jackson.
The passenger trains now run through the Delta, and Amtrak has its own division points; Greenwood is the change point beetween Memphis and New Orleans.
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