Monday 23 February 2015


Today you are called for an Extra East out of Brookmere.  The Agent has handed you the consist in the form of car cards and waybills.  In a sense this is a "Switch List" or "Train List" when grouped together in order with AAR car type, load, shipper and consignee.  You note that all but one of the waybills have the blue stripe with the text: "Penticton and East" across the top. Thus, there will not be any on-line switching to do on your run today.  The one waybill without the blue stripe is an idler flat for the overhanging load which of course will stay with the Gondola load of poles to its final destination.  A straight shot to Penticton.  You note the maximum consist is 16 cars including caboose, so your 13 cars is well within the limit. You scan the "Train Card" instructions which give a brief outline of the important things that need doing before you are ready to go.  Next, over to the Roundhouse.

The locomotive foreman has assigned Engine 3628 and you are pleased to have her 'cause she's a good steamer with a power reverse. This makes switching a lot easier.  You ease your iron horse out of the roundhouse and onto the Turntable.  You do not have to turn her today, just a short move for the 'table to the vacant engine lead, then back up through all the switches to get her over to the run-through track, which is Yard Track #1.

Trundling down the track and approaching the station, the fireman rings the bell until clear of the platform.  For the rest of your switching moves in the yard, the bell is not necessary.

Backing into the Caboose track, you couple on to your conductor's early "mobile home" which is conveniently the first in line.  We try not to disturb the slumber of the occupants of the other "cabeese" or did you hear about yet another game of cards in which an unknown quantity of lucre is most probably changing hands.

You set out your caboose on Yard Track #1, then reach into Track #2 for the cars on your switch list.  Looks like you are taking everything that is going east to Penticton.

Pulling them clear of the switch, your brakeman gives you the sign for backing them onto the caboose.


You push them well into the yard track.  The caboose is almost opposite the station which is convenient for the Conductor who has been inside, talking to the Operator. 

Following the information on the waybills, two more cars are retrieved from Yard Track #3 for the train.  That should do it for the switching.  Time to pump up the air, walk down to the station to meet the Conductor, check your watches and go over the Train Orders.

Only one Order today which is a combined "Runner" and a Meet Order on No. 91.  The Dispatcher is making your life easy today by fixing a meet with the opposing Westbound.  Could be she is running late or switching in Princeton.  No need to choose where to duck into a siding for No. 91 but you would not want to delay her.  Time to go.

Two longs on the whistle and bell ringing, you slowly pull out of Brookmere, stopping or at most crawling into the clear of the Yard Lead switch to let the Brakie back on.  Remember to re-line that switch back to "Normal".

The caboose rolls by.

This has been a morning in the yard at Brookmere for an Extra East on the Kettle Valley line in September of 1949.  This is a simple run for clarity and conciseness in illustrating procedures in Brookmere yard for train crews attending our operating sessions.  Recently, construction work in the yard has produced a detailed and working Locomotive Turntable which is evident in a photo in this post.  It was a great deal of work and thus delayed the writing of this post.

Coquihalla Man


  1. Nice work on the turntable CM! btw: on the prototype when would 3628 have displayed its white flags: from the engineer picking up the loco in the roundhouse or once the train was made up and it was departing the yard?

    1. Thanks for the compliment. It took more than a few hours but glad to say that the Turntable works well and looks like the real one. Very pleasing to have it going finally.
      Not really sure about when the extra flags were put in place. My guess is that the crew would affix them when the train was made up and ready to go. Not even sure who put them up. I know that a brakeman's duties would require him to check for the flags among other things shortly after booking in, so maybe then. On the other hand, examining photos, I have not noticed many extra flags displayed on light engines in a yard. In the context of model operations, I set them up before the session. The more things we can prep the better.

    2. should give them to the crews with the train card and let them put them on before they depart! (...along with little flagmen of course!) You might realistically find little white flags littering your right of way! :)

  2. Fabulous layout. Congratulations!

    Gord Schneider
    Brantford, ON