Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Waybills, Part 91: model Form 704

In the preceding post, I showed the prototype Southern Pacific waybill form 704, a Conductor’s Memorandum Waybill, and included the rules for its use, from SP Circular 40-1 (that post can be found here: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2021/09/waybills-part-90-sp-form-704.html ).

How can this example be reduced to a model version, in particular for my 2.5 x 3.5-inch waybill sleeves? The first step is to remove the example lettering. This is done with the clone stamp, in Photoshop or other photo editing software, to replace all the type areas with nearby empty areas. With that done, the example Form 704 is now an “empty” form, though still in original format. Note that I have also changed the date lines from “193_” to “19_” so I can use it for a later era.

Also, of course, the form is quite tall, compared to my format, so it needs to be compacted in various ways. The simplest way is to remove most of the lines for “description of articles,” since for model operations I make these quite brief. Secondly, line spacing can be reduced. Here is one attempt at doing so, though it is still an RGB image of the original color.

This still isn’t quite the right proportions — a bit too tall for its width — so I removed the line for conductor name and train number. I also removed the color and changed the image mode from a grayscale to a bitmap image (which is the format I prefer for sharpest type).

In final form, with size adjusted to 2.5 inches wide for my waybill sleeves, here is my new form. Note that it is now labeled “Part 2,” as it should be, and that the lowest line in the form above has been removed. It will be printed on yellow paper, as are my Empty Car Bills also. Both these types of forms are valid only on the issuing railroad, so the color match has meaning.

To illustrate this form in use, I decided to print one with a trial filling-out. There are basically two ways to do this. One would be entirely by hand, as would likely happen if a conductor made it out. Perhaps more likely is that an agent, not quite ready to make the full waybill, could type such a document also, so as to get the “hot car” on the road. I chose the latter approach, and included some hand-written parts.

I will experiment with introducing these forms into operating sessions. I will favor the “agent filled out” mode (as shown above) in that context, since that avoids having to provide a visiting conductor with a Bill of Lading. I will report later how it works out.

Tony Thompson

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