Operating trains over a division involves considerable paperwork for the
dispatcher and his staff.
The train sheet, a written record that depicts
the progress of each train from one end of the division to the other, is
maintained by the dispatcher.
Other forms dealing with clearances and
messages affecting operations, while usually dictated by the dispatcher, are
frequently compiled by the telegraph operator.
To present a clearer
picture, the timetable, which governs to a great extent the dispatcher's
method of operation, and the train sheet, which presents an animated, ever-
changing picture of each train's progress, are discussed before the specific
duties of the key individuals in the dispatching office.
Additionally, written accounts of train dispatching frequently deal
solely with loaded cars and trains from which the railroad derives its
revenue. Often overlooked, however, are the empties which the railroad must
move over its lines and furnish to shippers. Many think of this particular
phase of railroading as relating principally to the freight or traffic
the dispatcher in moving trains of empty cars.
Therefore, the car
distributor's function, how he maintains a record of empties on the
railroad, and how it affects the dispatcher, are covered in some detail.
The employees' timetable is the authority for moving all regular trains.
Its pages dealing with schedules appear similar to those in the timetables
furnished to the traveling public. However, the two timetables should not
be confused because the employees' timetable goes much further. In a sense,
it becomes a supplementary book of rules. It may amend, supplement, extend,
and even interpret many of the standing operating rules, because of peculiar