a. Class is conferred by the timetable and cannot be raised or lowered
by train order. However, the class can be taken away from a train if the
dispatcher annuls its schedule and runs it as an extra. First-class trains
are superior to those of second class, second is superior to third, third is
superior to fourth, and so on. Some railroads even have fifth class, but in
the interest of a basic presentation, this text avoids using any below the
second in the examples given.
Extra trains are inferior to all others.
However, on most railroads when two extras meet on single track, the train
going in the superior direction holds main track, and the other takes
b. Direction is also conferred by timetable. For example, a railroad
may specify that the eastward direction is superior to westward.
meeting point between trains of the same class, the one moving in the
inferior timetable direction must take siding unless otherwise provided in a
Right is conferred by train order, and it is superior to class and
An illustration of how right may be superior to direction is
shown in paragraph 2.5b; the following illustration shows how right may be
superior to class.
While reading this example, you may wish to refer to
figure 1.1. Assume that a 125-car westbound extra, loaded to the engine's
rated capacity, approaches Wildwood about 15 minutes before first-class
train No. 62 is due there from the opposite direction. Although train No.
62 is first-class, it is a slow, daily local hauling mostly baggage,
express, and only a few passengers.
Since 5 or 10 minutes delay to this
kind of first-class train is relatively unimportant, the dispatcher may
sidetrack it just before it reaches Wildwood to keep from stopping the heavy
If, instead, the extra were sidetracked to clear No. 62, pusher
assistance might be needed to get it started again, and other trains in both
directions might be delayed.
The extra, of course, would need a written
train order to proceed into an area on a first-class train's time.
eastbound passenger train would also need a train order to take siding
because both its class and direction are superior, and consequently, its
crew expects to hold the main track against all trains.
then, would issue a train order transferring the right to the extra and
stripping the superiority from the passenger train. However, this change is
effective only until the trains meet, at which time each reverts to its
Remember, then, in the absence of orders to the contrary,
the superior train holds main track.