Monday, January 16, 2017

Replicating prototype paperwork

I'm experimenting with making car cards that closely resemble actual prototype paperwork. It turns out that I can replicate the look and feel in the roughly 2.5 x 2.75 inch space I have available. The plastic sleeve has information pertinent to the car as explained in a post from last week.

Additional sheets stacked in the sleeve represent the paperwork attached to the freight car ("Hauptzettel"), which was used by the switching crews to determine where a car is going. There was a large number of variations of Hauptzettels based on the kind of freight, purpose, and urgency. I'm missing a few bits of information for my railroad (primarily schedule and train numbers) to completely fill in the required information. Since I have been unable to find a table linking the various yards and freight stations in Germany to their respective routing number ("Richteinheit") for now I'm trying to make up somewhat plausible numbers as I go. This is primarily relevant for cars coming from or going to towns beyond the boundaries of the modeled railroad. Cars coming from elsewhere will have a Hauptzettel with the closest yard or major freight station, while paperwork of cars leaving the modeled railroad will be coded for the yard closest to the destination.

I made some blank Hauptzettels first, and then went all in. To keep some sanity I'm preplanning car movements across the layout, similarly to how fully filled-in 4-cycle car cards are pre-planned. However, instead of filling out one half of a 4-cycle car card I make the respective Hauptzettel.

Let's take a look at some examples for the Welztalbahn:

The first sequence is for car 21 80 336 1 494, a flat car with stakes, DB type Kls 443. The model of this car is loaded with timber. The sequence for this car is shown in the photo in the row at the top.

  • The car starts loaded on a local transfer freight in Prechtal staging and is delivered to Emsingen. The routing calls for sending it to Talheim. Emsingen is not a yard, Talheim is one town over, so I didn't put a Richteinheit-Code on the Hauptzettel. I don't know if that would have prototype practice, or if they had labeled for the closest yard and then maybe send the car there, just to get it back a day later, or put the car right on the next local transfer to Talheim, since it's obvious where it's supposed to go.
    Note that Hauptzettel in the 60's and 70's only include the destination station, not the sender or receiver of the freight. That information is included in the waybill traveling with the conductor. Local rules and practices at the destination station usually determined where to deliver a specific car. I'm simulating this by adding a "handwritten" note to deliver the car to Gregorius, which is the sawmill in Talheim.
  • In the next session we assume the car is unloaded, and no longer needed, so it travels as empty car ("Leer") to a nearby yard for storage. I picked Freiburg Gbf, which is near the imagined south-end of the Welztalbahn. This implies that the car will be picked up at the sawmill by a local transfer run to Emsingen, where a southbound local freight will take it to Freiburg.
    How do we know that the car needs to go on the southbound freight, and not the northbound freight? We're in the Black Forest which belongs to the regional railroad office in Karlsruhe ("Bundesbahndirektion Karlsruhe"). The Richteinheit Code for all yards and major freight stations in the region starts with "Kar", followed by a sequence number that roughly identifies the area. Since all major freight exchange points in the region are in the Rhine valley, I assume that Karlsruhe numbered their Richteinheiten from north to south along the Rhine. The switching crew in Emsingen has a cheat sheet that basically says, "Cars for Kar 12 - 15, Switzerland, and Italy go south, everything else goes north." The actual switch crews had similar tables for the various destinations across Germany. Eventually, the car ends up in Freiburg staging.
  • Finally, in the next session it comes back, requested for loading in Prechtal. The car might have been "somewhere else" in the meantime. Since Freiburg is the closest yard for cars inbound to the Welztalbahn from the south, the Hauptzettel is tagged for Freiburg. The car arrives in Emsingen, the local crew knows which trains goes to Prechtal, and the car is put on the next local transfer run to Prechtal staging. Now the cycle can start anew.
The sequence with two cards in the lower left is for car 21 80 336 1 327, also type Kls 443, but this car merely bounces back and forth between Prechtal and Talheim. It gets a regular Hauptzettel in both directions, with a note that it's empty ("leer") when going from the sawmill to Prechtal.

The third sequence is for car 254 917, a box car DB type Gmhs 55. The 's' indicates that this car may be put into trains traveling at up to 100 km/h and the 'h' indicates the car is equipped with steam heating connectors, i.e. it's feasible to put this car in passenger trains. The sequence for this car is on the lower right.

  • This a LCL (less than carload) freight plan, indicated by the red border. On the outbound run, the car travels on any available local freight train from Freiburg to Hausach, indicated by the lack of specified trains at the bottom of the card.
  • On the return trip from Hausach, the car needs to be set out at specified stops. I have not built the revised schedule yet, so the rows are missing the respective train numbers. I'm thinking that the car might arrive from Hausach on the regular local freight, gets set out to the freight shed immediately, loaded/unloaded and then continues south with a local passenger train. The set out in Denzlingen is already off-layout, so the passenger train will take the car to staging.
Of course, all this paperwork is in German and I live in California. I'm hoping that most of the meaning can be derived by visiting operators with knowledge of only 3 words of German:
  • "von" = "from"
  • "nach" = "to"
  • "Zug" = "train
This will be added to the cheat sheet. 

Finally, I'm likely taking some liberties in historical accuracy, as I have been unable to find a copy of the applicable rule book yet (Deutsche Bundesbahn DV 605 "Gueterbetriebsvorschriften") which explains various aspects of the process in vast detail, including samples of paperwork.
Most online sources I've found focus on the 50's and 60's (Germany Epoch III). DB made substantial changes to freight operations starting in 1974, and my layout is set in 1972, so I'm reasoning that practices in the early 70's likely resembled what was done in the 60's.
There are some aficionados that do something similar to what I'm trying here, but they focus on Deutsche Reichsbahn in East Germany where practices were similar in concept, but had diverged over time in implementation, so the paperwork and routing codes look a bit different, too.

Update January 10, 2018:
I got a DV 605 and have examples now.


modorney said...

One thing to think about is putting a picture of the car on the back.

In the US, less than carload freight (LCL) was handled in a number of ways. Some railroads would park a boxcar at the freight station, while the local did its switching. Hopefully, by the end of the switching (an hour or two) the statin agent removed and replaced freight in that boxcar. Then it went to a large LCL warehouse.

Bernhard Beck said...

Hi Mike,

photos are actually a thing on my car cards, see

I think LCL practices were very much driven by distances between towns, e.g. I'd expect East Coast railroads to have totally different schemes in their metropolitan areas, than a West Coast railroad.