Definitions from the N&W Rules and Regulations -1917
Prepared by Chip Deyerle – June 22, 2012
In the first report, we learned about the N&W’s safety objectives as well as the general rules for employees. This report looks at a few definitions from the N&W Rules and Regulations that describes definitions used in 1917 to define trains, time tables, track terms and yard definitions for that period. The definitions are found on pages 9,10, and 11 of the Rules and Regulations.
According to the N&W Rules and Regulations, the 1917 definition of an “Engine” was “a locomotive propelled by any form of energy.” Since this is a definition of engines related to railroads, steam engines, electric engines as well as gasoline or diesel engines pulling rail cars, this definition was reasonable for the time.
“Motor”, however, was defined as “a car propelled by any form of energy.” Since that time, we have seen the word “motor” taking on a multitude of descriptions beyond a “motor’ car. We have to realize that in 1917 parlance, the term motor car was widely used among the railroaders to describe a conveyance for rail crews, track inspectors, and others, to perform a wide range of railroad duties and functions. Moreover, many were wrestling with the concept of a “motor car’, car, auto, automobile, coupe, sedan which described a vehicle powered by gasoline, steam, or electricity.
The tem “Train” is defined as” an engine, or motor, or more than one engine, or motor coupled, with our without cars, displaying markers.” While the word “markers” is not defined in the rules and regulations, it could refer to the special flags placed on the engine.
The description of “Regular Train” is defined as “A train authorized by a time-table schedule.” When referring to a train timetable, N&W trains were numbered and defined as either freight or passenger trains and made scheduled runs in accordance with the current time-table. This practice continues as a current practice. Time-tables govern the runs.
The term “Section” means “one of two or more trains running on the same schedule (and) displaying signals or for which signals are displayed.” We will look into the term “Section” in later reports.
The term “Extra Train” is defined as a train not authorized by a time-table schedule. It may be designated as Extra –for any extra train, except work extra; Work extra-for work train extra.” An “Extra“usually pulls rail cars that were beyond the limit for a scheduled freight train. An “extra” may have been necessary when hauling large shipments of coal to the Lambert Point Rail Yards in Norfolk, Virginia.
The term “Superior Train” was defined as “A train having precedence over another train.” This definition was followed by “Train of Superior Right”- defined as “A train given precedence by train order.” While this will be discussed further in subsequent reports, passenger trains usually had “precedence” over freight or coal trains, while, fast freights had priority over regular freights and coal trains. As the definitions above reflect priorities for the railroads, this anticipated the need to move troops and military shipping via priority precedence.
The precedence of trains was also set by time-table, as” Train of Superior Class” is defined as “a train given precedence by time-table.”
Going further, train superiority also included “Train of Superior Direction” was defined “A train given precedence in the direction specified by time-table as between opposing trains of the same class.” Evidently, trains traveling in one direction on a single track required governance to prevent a rear-end collisions between two trains. We will revisit this topic in the section concerning automatic signal blocks.
A “time-table” is defined as “The authority for the movement of regular trains subject to the rules. It contains the classified schedules of trains with special instructions relating thereto.”
A “Schedule” is defined as “That part of a time-table which prescribes class, direction, number and movement for a regular train.”
A “Division” on the N&W is defined as “That portion of a railroad assigned to the supervision of a Superintendent.” This definition defines the limit of corporate authority of a Division Superintendent.
A “Subdivision” is defined as “A portion of a Division designated by time-table.”
The “Main Track” is defined as “A track extending through the yards and between stations upon which trains are operated by time table or train order, or both, or the use of which is governed by block agents.”
A “Single Track” is described as “A main track upon which trains are operated in both directions.”
A “Double Track” is described as “Two Main Tracks upon one of which the current of traffic is in a specified direction, and upon the other in the opposite direction.” Three or more tracks is defined as “upon any of which the current of traffic may be in either direction.”
The” Current of Traffic” is defined as “The movement of trains on a main track, in one direction, specified by the rules.”
A “Station” is defined as “a place designated on the time-table by name, at which a train may stop for traffic; or enter or leave the main track; or from which fixed signals are operated.”
A “Siding” is defined as “A track auxiliary to the main track for meeting or passing trains.”
A “Fixed Signal” is defined as “A signal of fixed location indicating a condition affecting the movement of a train.” Whilethe use of the semaphore signalshad been in use for many years, the definition can be extended to the fixed locations of the automatic block electric signals used today on all railroads and light rail. A note included with this definition was also more specific:
Note to Definition of Fixed Signal. The definition of a “Fixed Signal” covers such signals as slow boards, stop boards, yard, switch, train order, block, interlocking, semaphore, disc, ball or other means for displaying indications that govern the movement of a train.
A “Yard” is defined as “A system of tracks within defined limits provided for the making up of trains, storing of cars and other purposes, over which movements as not authorized by time-table, or by train order, may be made, subject to prescribed signals and rules, or special instructions.” This definition is broad and sufficient in defining the generally considered rail yard functions.
A” Yard Engine” is defined as “an engine assigned to yard service and working within the yard limits.”
A “Pilot” is defined as “an employee assigned to a train when the engineer or conductor, or both are not fully acquainted with the physical characteristics or rules of the railroad, or portion of the railroad, over which the train is to be moved.”
A “Train Register” is defined as “A book or form which may be used at designated stations for registering signals displayed, the time of arrival and departure of trains and such other information as may be prescribed.”
In subsequent reports, we will look into these definitions to gain a better understanding and the considerations in making such a definition.