Friday, November 18, 2016

Waybills, Part 55: article in The Dispatcher's Office

The current  (October 2016) issue of the OpSIG magazine, The Dispatcher’s Office, or DO, contains an eight-page article by me, about my waybill system. (“OpSIG” is the Operations Special Interest Group or SIG of the National Model Railroad Association, NMRA.) I wrote this article to update and clarify waybill design and use, in the way I currently practice these matters. It contains full citations of prior publications on the development of more realistic model waybills, both by me and by others.
     Here is the cover of this issue. As you can see, it is Issue 4 of Volume 22. Like some other issues of the magazine, back issues can be purchased directly from OpSIG via their website. Here is the order form information: . The order form has not yet been updated for 2016, but you can send them email to inquire.

     My article begins on page 26 with this opening page. That’s a prototype Southern Pacific waybill that you see on this first page.

The title may sound like just a brief update, but in fact it describes well the content and intent of the article. I was able to incorporate several new aspects of how I use my waybills.
     My previous two articles in DO got garbled during magazine production, and I was obliged to make corrected copies available on the web. That didn’t happen this time, although one of the Figures did get omitted. That would be okay as an editorial decision, but unfortunately the references to that figure in the text did not get removed, and also, of course, the remaining figure numbers were off, relative to a count of what is in the article.  That may have confused some readers. I show the missing figure below, obviously not one of great import (it was intended to be Figure 13), but for anyone reading the article and wondering what Fig. 13 was, this is it, the cover for a reprint of the Great Northern shipper guide.

     I enjoyed bringing the description of my waybill usage up to date, and also enjoyed writing something for the use of OpSIG, an organization I belong to and happily support. You may find something of interest in this article, if you haven’t already seen it.
Tony Thompson


  1. Hi Tony, I always enjoy following your blog posts, and particularly the extensive ones on waybills. I have been a little slow getting to your recent DO article. In it you indicate that you have moved to waybills with the car initial and number on the waybill rather than on the plastic sleeve. This is of course much closer to the prototype, but results in a waybill that is only good for one move with one car. Could you comment, either in a reply, in another blog or on the Railway Operations Yahoo Group how you use these, compared to past practices. Do you still use plastic sleeves? Do you have multiple waybills for each car? And, also for variety of car moves, waybills for multiple cars to the same destination? Thanks, Andy Love

  2. Thanks for the questions, Andy. I have touched on these points in prior blog posts, but perhaps never clearly described the entire waybill process I use. I think it would be useful for me to write a new blog post to address your points. I expect to do so soon.
    Tony Thompson