Waybills and Switch Lists
A form of waybill was used on the Gorre & Daphetid RR prior to the
introduction of the tab-on-car system. Rod Smith described how this system
worked on the Yahoo G&D Group website in September of 2006.
Yahoo G&D Group website #4651
Operating the G&D Before the Tabs on the Cars
September 26, 2006
"It's been awhile since I wrote a story about the G&D, and I promised to
describe early operations, so here goes.
"Many may think John used tabs on cars for operation from the beginning.
Such is not the case, though. When I joined the operators during 1963, the
car top tabs were still in the future. At that time we had another system.
John had cut some cards, probably from 3X5 file cards, which were about
1X3. On these cards he had hand lettered the cars road name, number, type
of car (box, flat, reefer, etc) and color. There may have been more but I
don't recall. Then, he had made a bunch of tabs about 1" square with three
layers of paper. These could be clipped over the car cards, since the middle
layer was smaller than the outside ones. Unfortunately, they didn't clip
securely, so we had a lot of difficulty keeping them in place. Woe unto any
operator who dropped his cards! Tabs went flying, and it was hard to
remember which tab went with each car card. I'm sure we shuffled some
"The tabs had destinations written on them and were color coded just as
the later ones were. All were at least double sided; some had two
destinations on each side for a four stop trip. For those, John had made the
middle layer smaller on two sides so it could be rotated 90 degrees on the
top of the car card. These tabs also had identification as to which type of
car they were appropriate for. Wouldn't want to send a tank car to the
corral, now would we.
"In the Great Divide yard, I had a box with several dividers in which I could
place the car cards. The tabs went in a box like a kit box when they were
not on a car card. To make up a train, I would choose some tabs, place
them on appropriate cards, and switch out the train. Now, as you know,
John believed in weathering. He also believed in having more than one car
of the same road name but with a different number. Many of these were
G&D cars too. Imagine having a yard full of cars, including say 6 tankers. Of
those 6, 4 are G&D cars and they are numbered 22, 23, 25, and 28. With
heavy weathering, it wasn't easy to pick out any one number, but that's
what I had to do. Sending the wrong car would put me on the receiving end
of good natured ridicule from the other operators and I wanted more than
most anything to avoid that happening. Didn't always succeed, but I tried.
"Soon after my arrival, we came in one evening to find John had replaced
all the car cards with similar sized envelopes and the tabs had become slips
which fit inside the envelopes. Very similar to the systems in use to this
day, though a different shape. Now we could drop the things without major
problems. Still had to be able to pick out those numbers, though. We used
these for about 6 months, until John converted to the tab system, similar to
the one published in Model Railroader in 1965 by Ed Ravenscroft. Ed used
tacks, but John made each tab from paper with tiny bits of wood or card on
each side to keep them on over the roof walk. For tankers, he made round
ones with a hole in them to fit over the vents in the domes. All tabs, as I
recall, were four destination tabs. It was amazing how many cars we could
process in a session with the tabs. Probably 25% more than before. That's
because we didn't have to look for car numbers anymore. Weathering didn't
matter. Just follow the tab instructions and make up the train. I suspect
John was unhappy we didn't notice his equipment as much as we had
before, but hey, we had a railroad to run! And, the reefer ice was melting."
Rod Smith Yardmaster, Great Divide 1963-64
Waybills, Switch Lists and TrainPlayer
Waybills and switch lists provide a means of facilitating operation with
TrainPlayer. The predetermined instructions add purpose to the actions of
the train crews by providing a list of which cars are to be set out and
In the scenarios that follow, waybills and switch lists have been generated
so that you, the train crew, have not only a set route to follow, but also a
defined task to accomplish.
Waybills are instructions to road crews for the picking up and setting out of
cars along their route.
The waybill usually provides:
Type of train
Direction of travel
Number for each car in the consist
Type of car
Loaded or empty
Cars to be set out at each location
Cars to be picked up at each location
Location for which each car is eventually destined
Industry for which each car is eventually destined.
Switch Lists are used by yard crews to spot cars in the yard and to adjacent
industries. They are made out by the yard master or yard clerk and usually
indicate for each car the car number, car type, load, tonnage, origin,
destination, date of arrival, and mileage.
For simplicity the switch lists used here with TrainPlayer record only:
Loaded or empty
Pick up location
Set out location