order reading, "Run to Goshen Regardless of Opposing Train." The engineer
refused to make the run on the strength of the doubtful safety of a holding
order transmitted by wire.
Superintendent Minot appears to have been a man of wide abilities as
well as vision, for he himself took the throttle and ran the train to
Arriving and not finding the superior train there, he wired the
next station ahead to hold the train. History does not record whether the
engineer was by then convinced of this new system's safety, but after a
series of-wires sent ahead, the train was able to reach its destination
several hours earlier than if it had adhered to the timetable.
Many changes have come about in train orders since their humble
beginning, but their basic principles and extreme importance are identical
Perhaps there is no industry in the world where seemingly minor
errors can result in the deaths and property damage that can occur in
single-track railroading. When movements on single track are controlled by
train orders, not only must the dispatcher's movement plan be scrupulously
correct, but also the transmitting, relaying, and delivering of the orders
must be done in a virtually foolproof way. Moreover, the language of the
orders must be so unmistakably clear that it cannot possibly be
Strict accuracy of stated time, engine numbers, station
call letters, and direction is vital. As shown in figure 5.1, the body of a
train order is written with no punctuation; however, some of the examples of
train orders given in this text are punctuated to provide proper grammatical
structure necessary for a clear understanding of the text material.
writing orders, the dispatcher must step out of his role as their originator
and place himself in the position of the crews. He must then ask himself if
he would thoroughly understand the orders if he were the addressee and not
in possession of the knowledge held by him as the dispatcher.
This chapter discusses in detail the use of train orders in moving
trains over the rail line.
However, before that discussion begins, give
your attention for a moment to the train-order rules given in appendix III.
They are rules 200 through 223, quoted from Technical Manual 55-200.
you to attempt to memorize them would be impractical, but do read them
carefully for general familiarization and refer to them as you study this
Crews receiving train orders have a grave responsibility in reading,
interpreting, and properly executing them. Careful reading