Friday, April 27, 2012

Waybills-23, cuts of cars: update

In the first post about handling cuts of cars, I referred to Ted Pamperin’s article in Model Railroader (February 2012, p. 45) and his citations of how coal was handled, for example for cleaning and sizing, after leaving the mine but before being sent off to customers. (The post can be viewed at: ) Ted’s article showed a Montour mine ticket of this kind, in a somewhat fuzzy version. I wondered, and had an e-mail from a reader who wondered, if a sharper and more readable version was available anywhere.
     My good friend Larry Kline let me know that this exact subject had been discussed on the Yahoo Group for the Montour Railroad (you can find it on the Yahoo Groups home page under montour_rr), and that these mine tickets had been posted to that group. He also sent me copies of two of them, which are from the collection of Gene P. Shaeffer and originally were provided to the Montour group by Bryan Seip. I contacted Mr. Schaeffer for permission to reproduce these, and he was kind enough to send more, along with explanation of how they were used.
     They are indeed more readable than what MR showed in Pamperin’s article, and moreover were not white, as reproduced in MR, but were green or bluish (known on the Montour as “green bills”). Interestingly, the Montour prepared these as two-part documents, perforated down the middle, so that one side could be retained by the shipper, while the other side went to the railroad.
     Here is a blank bill, showing the two sides.

     Here is how Gene Schaeffer described the use of this document. “It was used in the movement of ‘Stop Off’ coal between the mines and Champion Preparation Plant. The green bills were provided by the Montour RR and taken to the shipper’s office at each tipple. The coal company shipper would usually stamp the mine info on the lines reading ‘From’ and ‘Mine.’ The shipper filled out car number, date and type of coal. On the Montour it was either MET or STEAM coal. The conductor filled out the bottom of the form. The left portion of the bill was taken to the Montour RR Yardmaster at the Champion Preparation Plant, who kept track of what tracks the cars were on and when dumped at Champion. After dumping, the left portion of the bill went to the Montour Agent at Champion who wrote up all of the car numbers on a billing sheet. It and the right portion of the bill ended up at the Office at Champion Preparation Plant where the bill for ‘Stop Off’ coal was given to the coal company for payment.”
     Here is the left side of one of those “green bills” after use:

The car is Montour hopper 8145.
     In the 1950s, P&LE used a somewhat similar form for moving cars from an on-line mine of the Montour to be weighed at Montour Junction. Here are two examples. You may wish to click on the image to enlarge it.

Both cars here are Montour hoppers, numbers 16319 and 17125. Most of the information is pre-stamped. Note the cargo is shown as “BLOCK COAL.”
     Finally, there was also a B&O form of this type, used for movements from the Champion Preparation Plant to the B&O at Snowden on the Library Branch. This car was lake coal, destined to Lorain, Ohio.

This bill also has the dimensions of a lengthwise-folded 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper, but turned 90 degrees. (Waybills were often folded that way.) Like the other slips shown above, the individual car information is mostly filled out by hand.
     As I said in the previous part of this post, my own interest is not in coal traffic, but in any movements of cars not involving the normal waybill. In these forms, you can readily see the analogies which I picked up to use with the log bills for Otis McGee’s layout, but my use of the empty boxes to write in numbers of cars, is straight from Ted Pamperin’s own design of a C&O empty car order.
     These forms strike me as but one example of how much prototype paperwork is actually out there, in the hands of various former employees, collectors, and enthusiasts, not to mention modelers, but which rarely surfaces unless donated to a museum—and even then, only if the material is discovered (and publicized) at that museum. It’s been suggested before, but I will say it again: a clearinghouse for information about these kinds of resources could be a big help for modelers.
Tony Thompson


  1. These entries are really great, but I am just becoming more and more confused by the amount of information. Perhaps a simplified overview, or flow chart do this then that might be forth coming at some point?

  2. Sorry for any confusion. I confess to wanting to show the prototype documents as they were, for whatever use people may wish to make of them. Those most interested in the forms shown above will be those modeling substantial coal traffic, but as I said, these forms offer stimulating thoughts for many other kinds of multi-car traffic, too.

    Some kind of a flow chart or process description to indicate the ways in which these various forms were used on the prototype, and corresponding suggestions of how a modeler might use them, is a good idea, and I will mull over how to do so for a future post
    Tony Thompson

  3. I searched eBay for "shipping orders" and "waybills" and found yet another type used for "milk and cream" traffic. The example was for the NYC West Shore Railroad.

    The link is:

    This form appears to record the containers and "crates" accepted by the railroad. Using such a form would be too detailed for model operations, but interesting from the prototype prospective.

  4. Thanks, Robert. An interesting document indeed, but the above link will not work for long, as this is a sale item on eBay. Anyone interested should look promptly.
    Tony Thompson