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Yardmaster's Primer

If you'd like to take on the challenge of running Yaeger Yard, then good for you and much appreciated!

Here are some things you'll need to know in advance.  It's not insane over in Segway, Va., but it is compact and busy.  Please take a glance at each of the links - a little advance prep will make you a lot more comfortable and efficient.

  • Yardmaster's Instructions At-A-Glance.  This grid contains everything you'll need to know about the trains due into and out of Yaeger - all on one page, more or less in the order of appearance.  White bars affect the yard, gray bars (probably) don't, and black bars are N/A.  I'll have a current version for you at the ops or before, which will fill in the blanks with set-out counts and engine changes. Please take a minute to spin through in advance, and feel free to ask any questions.
  • Master Car Routing Report.  This is generated by the forwarding system and lists every freight car on the railroad (except mine-run coal), with its destination (bold) and origin (non-bold).  Two dots signify the car is an outbound - or if it's already in a road train, that it stays in the consist as overhead traffic.  As with the grid, you'll have the current copy at the ops.
  • Segway local switchlist.  Shows local movements as well as manifests for PL-3/4 and #64/65.  Current copy will be posted at the ops.
  • Turnover Report.  This is a short note containing up-to-the-minute status of the yard and expected wrinkles.  Current copy will be posted at the ops.
  • Yard track plan.  On the Yaeger schematic, note that the bowl has dedicated classification tracks:
    1. Outbound Priority (..) - reefers and modern boxcars, for TP-1 & RP-2.
    2. Outbound Manifest (..) - everything else, for SM-8 & CM-7.  Boxcars can go on either type of train, but not reefers.  Generally older, smaller boxcars are relegated to the manifests, but either way works.
    3. Segway (SE) - local spots, empties, inbound coal from HS-26
    4. St. Amour (SA)
    5. Line West - Three Rocks (TR), Mineshaft Gap (MG), Kentucky & NorthEastern (KN), Claymoor (CM) 
    6. Line East - Bryan Ferry (BF), Dominion (DM), and Millsbrae & Atlantic (MA)
  • Ferro-Mnemonic™ tabs.  You probably already know that the yard uses a classification system of steel cartop tabs that can be picked up with a magnet.  You do not need to use this system if you'd prefer not to, but most YMs have found it pretty helpful, especially in a compact yard.  Clerk inbounds once and they stay clerked - no car shuffling, writing, re-writing, or dealing card decks onto the layout.  
  • The turntable.  It's a "Thumbstrong" type (manual) that is best aligned by using the flat end of a pic against both rails simultaneously, rather than eyeballing it.  Most importantly, there is a polarity reversing switch on the panel that must be thrown toward the cab end of the bridge.  One day, an auto-reverser will magically appear - but for now, watch the cab end!
  • Truths.  We hold these to be self-evident - if not initially, then certainly so after your first trick as YM!
    • It's a one-man show - there is no room in the alcove for a hostler or yard monkey.  Hence the condensed instruction grid, ferro-mnemonics, etc.  
    • Classification is the lowest priority - if you're busy, breaking up inbound blocks can wait, as long as they get clerked.  The system is designed to have flux in it - not much coming into the yard will be going back out during the same trick.  You may need to cherry-pick a car or two for locals you'll originate, but otherwise, keeping the trains rolling is the top job.  
    • East vs. West is N/A with respect to the yard - there just isn't enough space in the yard.  All outbounds (..) can go on any appropriate train, regardless of direction.
    • Give the visiting road crews jobs - hostling engines, helping with setouts, clerking, etc..  
    • You can't tack the helper onto westbounds from the pocket.  They will stall on the hill before they clear SE tower.  Have the helper crew run to the east end and shove from EY tower.
    • You have the east-end switcher to help with facing-point moves (supply track) and runarounds or other complicated moves if necessary or convenient.  That engine lives in the diesel house, and has its own tethered throttle.

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