What Auto Scan Looks For

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Denny D’s Did You Know Davis Jct.



At Davis Jct. On the the Desoto Sub, there are always questions about the proper procedure for entering the main track off of the Lesperence Industrial Lead. There are times when you may need to hand operate the spring switch prior and it is imperative that the proper procedure is followed . Proper understanding of a few rules will help to clear up some of the confusion. While the focus is going to be for a trailing move through the spring switch, a review of what to do with a facing point move will also be good refresher for all of us.


Facing Point


Main to Main: The indication of the block signal at 9.8 is what is going to determine whether you need to hand operate the switch. At any spring switch, you must test the switch by operating it back in forth under the following conditions. If the block signal is a restricted proceed or dark, or if the switch indicator is red or dark. The reason for the red signal or indicator could very well be because the switch is gapped.


Main to Industrial Lead: Obviously you must hand operate the switch to leave main. However, there is another often overlooked rule that applies. Item 10K in the SSI states that the crew must have a job briefing when hand operating a main track switch. The part of 10K that refers to initialing the Conductors log only applies in non-signaled territory. The main track here is TWC/ABS, so this would be not be required. However, GCOR 14.7 says that if you use a hand operated switch to clear the main track, you must notify the dispatcher that the switch is lined and locked normal. 


Trailing Point


There are four rules in the GCOR that must be looked at to properly understand the procedure to enter the main track off of the Lesperence Industrial Lead. The procedure to follow is going to be determined by the type of track warrant you have, work-between or proceed.


9.12 - Stop Signal


The signal a Davis Jct. on the Industrial Lead is an absolute signal. If it is red, regardless of whether you have to follow the 5 minute wait or not, it is a Stop Signal and you must still stop first. GCOR 9.12 tells us what to do at a Stop signal. Since this is ABS territory and you are on an other track, 9.12.4 C refers us to 9.17. Entering the Main Track at a Hand operated switch.


9.17 - Entering the Main Track at a Hand Operated Switch


In ABS territory you must first operate the switch and wait 5 minutes prior to entering the main track. During the 5 minute wait, the conductor must remain at the switch and alert. If a train approaches, the switch must be lined back for that train. In TWC/ABS trains operating in the same direction can have the same or overlapping limits and operate at maximum speed because they are protected by block signals. This why the delayed in block rule in ABS is restricted speed until you can see the next signal and the track to that signal. A train could’ve waited the required 5 minutes and may have entered the main track ahead of you. The proceed signal you see through the trees may be for a short train that entered the block ahead of you.


As a side note, if you are entering the main track using the crossover at Ivory Yard, you must first operate the crossover switch your train is on and wait 5 minutes before operating the main track switch. Another 5 minute wait is not necessary. 



8.9.3 B - Hand Operating a Spring Switch Before Making a Trailing Movement 


With the switch at Davis Jct. being a spring switch, the procedure for establishing and maintaining block signal protection is different than a normal hand operated switch. Stop before the signal. Line the switch. After the 5 minute wait, the engine will need to pull beyond the signal and stop short of the switch. The conductor will then return the switch to the normal position, lined for the main. The will maintain your block signal protection.


9.12 A - When Hand Operation of a Spring Switch or 5 Minute Wait Is Not Required


There are some exceptions to the 5 minute wait and being required to hand operate the spring switch. This is why it is critical to pay attention to the type of track warrant you have. I have only included the exceptions that would apply at Davis Jct.


  1. The signal is a proceed indication. If the signal is a restricting and you have a track warrant, you do not have to stop or hand operate the switch. Don’t forget that you are at restricted speed until you go by the next signal. If your track warrant is not affect until after the arrival of another train, do not go until you have verbally verified that the train has passed. Also do not overlook that you may have joint limits. If it is with a person, you must get permission to enter the limits or be notified by the dispatcher that the person has reported clear. If they have reported clear you must still operate at restricted speed within the entire joint limits.


  1. The block is still occupied by a train that is moving away from the switch.


  1. A Work Between Track Warrant. The signal will still put you at restricted speed. However, a work between does not automatically put you at restricted. If two trains have the same limits with a work between, they will have a joint track warrant and will be operating at restricting speed. It is important to note that this exception is specific to work between track warrant. You could have a proceed track warrant with joint limits. This exception would not apply in that circumstance.


The key to remembering when to Hand operate and wait the 5 minutes is the type of track warrant you have. With a proceed track warrant you will need to line and wait unless you meet one of the exceptions. With a work between you do not. Do not forget that the signal is still an absolute signal. Even though you may not have to operate the switch and wait 5 minutes, you must still stop first.


8.9.4 - During Snow or Ice Storms

One last rule to make note of is 8.9.4. If there is a snow or ice storm the gap may be packed full of snow or the switch components may be covered in ice. This could cause damage to the switch when trailing through a spring switch. In this circumstance you will need to hand operate the switch.



Although it can be a bit confusing at times, following these tips will help to keep you rules compliant at Davis Jct.



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Denny D’s Did You Know

Denny D’s Did You Know



DID YOU KNOW that the North and South Connections at Gorham are controlled by the Mt. Vernon Subdivision Dispatcher? For those that operate on the Chester and Mt. Vernon Subdivisions, it is important to understand a few important aspects of doing work at Gorham. Whether setting out or picking up cars, turning power, or getting on a train originating there, there are few rules and and Timetable instructions to keep in mind. With a great number of recently marked up furloughed conductors, a lot of movement to other boards, and even for those of us that work that way regularly, a review of those instructions will help keep us all in compliance.


Connection Tracks


North Connection: Information about the south connection is found in the Mt. Vernon and Chester Subdivision pages of the Timetable under SI-14 (Miscellaneous Instructions). It shows the limits are between CP-D338 Gorham Jct. and CPD-084 Gorham. CTC is in effect, and controlled by the Mt. Vernon Sub Dispatcher. CP-DP084 is controlled by the Chester Sub Dispatcher.


South Connection: The south connection track is the main track of the Mt. Vernon Subdivision, ending at MP 339.1 (CP-D085 Chap). CTC is the main track authority. Chap is controlled by the Chester Subdivision and main track is controlled by the Mt. Vernon Sub Dispatcher.




CTC is the main track authority on both the North and South Connection. To enter a main track in CTC you must have either a controlled signal with a proceed indication or verbal authority from the dispatcher (GCOR 10.1). If your train is in the yard and you need to enter either connection track, you must obtain verbal authority from the Mt. Vernon Subdivision Dispatcher prior to lining the main line switch. This especially important to remember when coming out of the south end of the yard. The Chester Subdivision Dispatcher controls CP-D085. If the dispatcher gives you a signal at Chap, it is imperative to remember to get authority from the Mt. Vernon Sub Dispatcher prior to lining the switch to come out of the yard. Operating the switch before being verbally authorized to enter the main or a track with CTC in effect is a main authority violation and will result in a decertification.


Bulletins and Subdivision General Order


Bulletins: GCOR 6.2 states that before you can initiate movement on a main track or controlled siding, you must have track bulletins or receive instructions from the dispatcher that there are no bulletins needed. This is important for crews operating to and from Dexter. You will notice that you do not have the Mt. Vernon Subdivision listed on your Track Warrant for Bulletins. This means that you do not have bulletins for either connection. If you are instructed to set out, pick up, or turn your power at Gorham, you must talk with the Mt. Vernon Sub Dispatcher to verify that there are not any bulletins affecting your movement. This is important because there could potentially be a Form B in effect that you would not have any information about.


General Order: Item 7-A in the SSI shows that you must have a copy of the Subdivision General Order that you will be operating on. If you will be occupying either connection you must have a copy of the Mt. Vernon Subdivision General Order. For those that are on the RE04/RT04 pools, it would be wise to make sure that you have a current copy with you in the event that you have to do work at Gorham.








South Connection: 338.5 to 339.1 = 20 MPH


North Connection: 25 MPH. It is important to remember that if you will be operating through the North Connection onto the Mt Vernon Sub main that you will be entering at 338.5 which is which is the north limit of the 20 MPH. Although just barely, you will be entering into to the 20 MPH permanent restrictions. For those of us who may not have realized this, PTC has reminded us. 


While these reminders are obvious to most of us that operate on the Chester and Mt. Vernon Subdivisions, a review is always helpful. It easy to become complacent and overlook something that may be obvious during our daily routines, or when something out of the ordinary comes up. Keeping these basic rules in mind will help to keep you compliant and working safe.


If you have any questions regarding Gorham or any other rules, feel free to contact me.


Dennis Dunn

(314) 609-2164








For Extra board employees, if you utilize this rest option your guarantee and bouns day stay in tact. 

 This is similar to the past Agreement, the Local Chairman will be policing the use of the extra rest, the system at this time will allow everyone to take the rest regarless of "Starts". The Agreement is TEMPORARY and it is clear that only after the fourth or fifth start at the home terminal. 


If anyone is abusing this option, they will have the extra rest removed and could end up loosing the ability to utilize this agreement. 


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Contract Update



   I have attached a synopsis of what trip rates will look like with the associated GWI. I have also included a powerpoint from the negotiations to show some comparison. 



National Negotiations update: Coordinated Bargaining Group unions reach tentative national contract agreement


INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, October 5 — Rail Unions making up the Coordinated Bargaining Group (CBG) announced today that they have reached a Tentative National Agreement with the Nation’s Freight Rail Carriers. The CBG is comprised of six unions: the American Train Dispatchers Association; the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (a Division of the Rail Conference of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters); the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers; the National Conference of Firemen and Oilers / SEIU; and the Transportation Division of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (SMART TD).

On Wednesday, October 4, the CBG’s full Negotiating Team met in Independence, Ohio, for a review of the terms of the proposed voluntary agreement. Following that review, each of the CBG Unions’ Negotiating Teams unanimously endorsed the Tentative Agreement. On Thursday, October 5, the involved General Chairpersons of SMART TD, BRS and BLET met as well and those groups also unanimously endorsed the Tentative Agreement for consideration by the respective membership of each Union.

The Tentative Agreement, which will be submitted to the memberships of each involved Union in the coming weeks, includes an immediate wage increase of 4%, with an additional 2.5% six months later on July 1, 2018 and an additional 3% one year later on July 1, 2019. In addition, wage increases of 2% effective July 1, 2016 and another 2% effective July 1, 2017 will be fully retroactive through implementation, for a compounded increase of 9.84% over an 18-month period and 13.14% over the 5-year contract term (this includes the First General Wage Increase of 3% implemented on January 1, 2015).

All benefits existing under the Health and Welfare Plan will remain in effect unchanged and there are no disruptions to the existing healthcare networks. While some employee participation costs are increased, the tentative agreement maintains reasonable maximum out-of-pocket protections for our members. The TA also adds several new benefits to the Health and Welfare Plan for the members of the involved unions and, importantly, it requires that the Rail Carriers will, on average, continue to pay 90% of all of our members’ point of service costs.

On a matter of critical importance, the employees’ monthly premium contribution is frozen at the current rate of $228.89. The frozen rate can only be increased by mutual agreement at the conclusion of negotiations in the next round of bargaining that begins on 1/1/2020.

In addition, the CBG steadfastly refused to accept the carriers’ demands for changes to work rules that would have imposed significant negative impacts on every one of our members. As a result of that rejection, the Tentative Agreement provides for absolutely no changes in work rules for any of the involved unions.

“This Tentative Agreement provides real wage increases over and above inflation, health care cost increases far below what the carriers were demanding, freezes our monthly health plan cost contribution at the current level, provides significant retroactive pay and imposes no changes to any of our work rules,” said the CBG Union Presidents. “This is a very positive outcome for a very difficult round of negotiations. We look forward to presenting the Tentative Agreement to our respective memberships for their consideration.”

A copy of the Tenative Agreement is at:


PTC Guide

Denny D’s Did You Know

Did You Know there’s an updated version of the PTC guide on the web.

Same access for home or work.

If you want access it at work to print go to the Employee home page - Operating Systems & Practices - there you will see the latest pocket reference guide under PTC.

What if my signal is favorable and PTC has a Stop Target? Notice B under B. 










PPE Online Ordering

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