Saturday, March 10, 2012

Destroy All Former Time Tables

In switching over to Daylight Saving Time, I am reminded of the routine updates of Employee Time Tables.

"Destroy All Former Time Tables" was printed on the cover of all Employee Time Tables, except Pacific Great Eastern, along with the date and time the publication became effective.

Employee Time Tables contained the raw materials necessary for the safe navigation from point A to point B, as opposed to Public Time Tables, filled with illustrations and sales banter.

Employee Time Tables are printed in a wide variety of sizes. For years both Canadian National Railways and Canadian Pacific Railway, for example, printed in an unwieldy 11” x 16”.

Finally in 1960, CNR and CPR switched to a more widely accepted 8.5” x 11”.

Reading an Employee Time Table may at first seem dull and robotic. But dig a little further, and one can gain an appreciation for territory the railroad passes through.

Usually broken down into operating divisions and subdivision, the main purpose is to indicate the arrival and departure times for various classes of trains and mileages between stations.

Digging deeper, we can glean the car capacity of various siding, businesses and industries located along the line, along with their car capacity, an a variety of operating information such a speed restrictions, permanent slow locations, and important restricted clearance.

Many Employee Time Tables list company doctors, watch inspectors, and chain of command, from Superintendent down to relief train dispatchers. Time Tables may also include diagrams showing the location of train phone wire, showing telephone pole cross arm with train wires marked as [•]

Others include the ubiquitous “speed table” and Tonnage Ratings for different classes of locomotives.

Spokane, Portland and Seattle Employee Time Table even included a nine inch ruler along its back edge, presumably for measuring trout caught at scheduled meets (?)

Not only was this Southern Pacific time table an unusual size of 4” x 11” (for fitting into bib overalls?) but it also included track profiles for the various divisions.

So now we get to a 2005 copy of the Canadian National Operating Manual, which includes employee time tables. This is obviously not going to be carried in a bib overall pocket, measuring 113/4" x 9" x 3" thick!

The volume is encased in a hard plastic binder, which from my fiddling around with it, is unwieldy. But then, I'm not an operating crew member, so I can't intelligently speak to it's "user friendliness" on the job.

Unlike the CNR Employee Time Tables I illustrated from the 1950's, this volume includes a wide range of communications, including:
  • Operating Bulletins
  • Time Tables
  • Divisional Data
  • Passenger Train Information
  • Locomotive Operation & Train Handling
  • Rules
  • Instructions

While on the bulky side, it would seem to me that this approach is a vast improvement over the way things were done. Many railroads issued "Special Rules" and "Operating Instructions" in separate publications. And Locomotive Operating Manuals in yet another publication.

So as you can see, you can learn a lot about a railroad, by reading the information contained in the Employee Time Table. It can make for interesting reading!

1 Comments - Click here:

Steve Boyko said...

Thank goodness that not all railway employees destroyed previous copies!

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