and concentration are necessary with some involved orders or series of
orders; crew members must read, repeat, and listen to others read and repeat
them. It is dangerous indeed and often prohibited for one member to read an
order and then tell others what it means before they read it.
members may be influenced by the oral interpretation, which may be
incorrect, and they in turn may also read it wrong. Discussing complicated
orders is advisable, and complete and unanimous agreement must exist before
acting on them.
Sometimes it is a simple matter to get dispatcher
clarification, but more frequently the crews are unable to contact him.
When a dispatcher writes a train order in his train-order book, he
dictates the order over his wire to one or more operators along the
The handwriting in the train-order book should be clear and
legible, but it does not require the extreme writing care required of
Frequently, written orders must be read by poor light on
lurching engines and cabooses without the writer being present to interpret
any unreadable words or phrases.
Train orders are numbered consecutively each day beginning at 0001
hours. When subdivisions of a railroad are under the jurisdiction of more
than one dispatching office, a different series of numbers is used by each.
This prevents duplicating numbers for crews operating in more than one
dispatcher's territory. One might use the numbers from 1 through 200; the
other, the numbers from 201 to 400.
"Slow orders" are train orders that restrict speed to suit the track, a
certain bridge, or a particular work area.
They are often recorded in a
special book. Slow orders are relatively few and are often in effect for a
stated period--often several days.
Some railroads post these speed
restrictions on a bulletin board that road crews must read and sign before
going out on a road affected by slow orders. Other roads give every road
crew a slow order written on a regular train-order form.
In writing orders, such even hours as 1000 or 1500 should not be used in
Specifying it in even hours is peculiarly conducive to
operations. When time normally would be 1300, it is necessary to move it a
little ahead or a little behind to, for example, 1301 or to 1259.