Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Waybills, Part 54: more Shipper Guides

I have written, in past posts about waybills, that invaluable sources of information about shippers and consignees of prototype railroads are the Shipper Guides or Directories issued by most railroads. I even showed some of the waybills I developed with use of the Guides (you can read that post at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2015/11/waybills-part-44-shipper-guides.html ). These Guides tend to be hard to find, even at railroad museums, but Ted Schnepf’s “Rails Unlimited” operation has reproduced a number of them and has them for sale. Here is a link to Ted’s page for these particular documents: http://railsunlimited.ribbonrail.com/Books/shippers.html . I also mentioned these Shipper Guides in a post about resources for information about waybills, along with a number of other books and documents (at: http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2012/02/waybills-18-resources.html ).
     Last week, I attended the 23rd annual Railroad Prototype Modelers meet in the Chicago area (formerly known by the name of its original site, Naperville), and I will post a report on the meet shortly. An item of news this year is that Ted Schnepf has continued to find and reprint more of these guides. Some of the previous ones were from smaller railroads, for example, Chicago and Eastern Illinois, but his three new ones are truly major railroads, all eastern: Pennsylvania, New York Central, and New Haven. These add a tremendous amount of additional information about shippers, and I immediately bought two of them.
     Shown below is one of the two, the PRR guide, dated 1945. Just the thought of a list of all shippers on this huge and very busy railroad is mind-boggling.

The other guide I bought is the New York Central one, dated 1963 but still with a great deal of useful information for my modeling year of 1953.

Note that the cover mentions that it includes Pittsburgh & Lake Erie, as well as P&LE subsidiary Pittsburgh, Chartiers and Youghiogheny (PC&Y), thus extending this guide to even more territory.
     To illustrate how I use information from guides like these, I will choose one specific example from the NYC guide, for an industry I once looked at close-up, when I lived in Pittsburgh. That was the Union Electric Steel plant in Carnegie, PA, just outside Pittsburgh. Here is the listing for Carnegie (you can click on it to enlarge the image):

Note that this guide, as do a few other guides, lists all shippers in a place, even if served by a competitor (in this case, the PRR). Union Electric Steel was served by PC&Y, and I happen to have a waybill for that railroad. Actually, it’s a P&LE waybill, but in its later days, the PC&Y had run out of its own waybill forms, and had to modify P&LE bills for its own use (by typing “X” through the P&LE name, and spelling out PC&Y above it), and I have captured that from a scan of an actual PC&Y waybill. Here is my own layout’s bill from this company:

I have some steel bar loads that will suit this waybill perfectly. Note here also that I have added some handwritten marks, as was typical of waybills in use. (For an example, see the Illinois Central waybill included in my article entitled “Contents of a Waybill,” in The Dispatcher’s Office, the OpSIG magazine, for April 2010.)
     I just cannot recommend these Shipper Guides highly enough. They are simply a superb resource if you want to use prototype shippers and consignees in your layout operation, as I try to do. Go to the “Rails Unlimited” site, listed in the first paragraph above, and see which one(s) will suit your needs.
Tony Thompson


  1. Hey, Tony - I provided those to Ted. Glad to know they are available. Incidentally, I also have a smaller one for the PRR which is just the Eastern Division. Other than being smaller, it's the same information as the big one for that division. I'll continue to send him any more I can dig up so they'll be readily available to anybody.

  2. My full appreciation and thanks, Randy. One of my hopes in publicizing these Guides is that others who hold originals will make them available to Ted or to SOMEONE so they can be reprinted and shared. We are all the richer when they do so, just as you did.
    Tony Thompson