Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Time Tables - And More! Part 1 of 5

Prince Rupert, December 1958. My pathway to the Yard Office was through the passenger station, and up the creaky oiled wooden stairway. I spotted a box of shiny new passenger schedules and grabbed a copy. Fifty years later, I still have that time table – which has survived about a half dozen marriages and one heck of a lot of moving from venue to venue!

Yup, it’s gotten a little dog eared over the years. But my belief is, that just like a book, if a time table isn’t doggy eared, it hasn’t been used, looked at, appreciated for the hours and hours of effort it took to create it.

There is an entire body of knowledge and skill that goes into the creation of a time table. Let me share a few considerations that must be dealt with once we’ve decided where to build the railroad:

  1. Distance between stations.
  2. Ruling gradient, curvature, and alignment of tracks – can the train be safely moved from point to point at a profitable speed?
  3. How long does it take to get from A to B to C?
  4. How long will the consist stop at any given station?
  5. How many cars are needed and of what type?
  6. What type of power pack will be needed to move this consist?

I think your knowledge of railroading will help you figure out what a challenge it would be to take a blank piece of paper and at the end of the day, have a workable, reasonable, accurate time table.

Now multiply that by all the branches and variations included – back in those days – to provide a seamless transportation system the traveling public could rely on.

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