Patch Operating Sessions

    Operations on the Patch commenced Thursday, March 19, 2009. You can see photos from the operating session by clicking on the link at the bottom.

    For the first few sessions, I’m giving an orientation, adapted from my Apple Keynote presentation and showing a short Santa Fe film, called “Assembling a Freight Train.” It has many scenes around First Street Yard and describes the car destination tags, which I use for car forwarding. I won’t always do this, but for the first few times it helps operators understand what I’m trying to do.

    I also go through the job descriptions and the work involved. See the job description and the industry guide. The first session began with the midnight trick, Job 322, which works both the Freight House and 7th Street Alley in the Patch. I may use this job repeatedly for the first sessions, to get a feel for how things work overall.

    Additional sessions are planned with two man crews, I want to see how everyone approaches the job. You can click to see photos from these session at the bottom of the page.


    The car tags, instructions, uncoupling picks, pencils and switch lists are handled in an old wooden “inbox” with dividers. This keeps everything together and convenient.

    The instructions are printed as though they were typed and the schematic as though it was hand drawn. Old heads have told me they never had any fancy “tools” to help them get to know the area. It was learn-as-you-go.


    At right are the switchlists that are used to switch the cars. From left to right are the car’s initials, last 3 digits, “pull,” “ hold” or “spot” notation and where it is or where it goes. The check marks act as dittoes for repetitive info. Also noted are door numbers where required. Switchlists are tools to organize the work, not a system of car forwarding.

Inaugural Operating Session 3/19/09Op_Session_031909.html
Operating Session 3/31/09Op_Session_033109.html
ProRail Operating Session 4/23/09Op_Session_042309.html
Operating Session 6/08/09Op_Session_060809.html
Operating Session 10/14/09Op_Session_101409.html
Operating Session 12/15/09Op_Session_121509.html
Operating Session 12/22/09Op_Session_122209.html

2009 Sessions

2010 Sessions

Inaugural Operating Session 3/19/09Op_Session_031909.html
Operating Session 1/1/10Op_Session_010110.html
Operating Sessions 3/7-8/10Op_Session_030710.html
Operating Session 9/3/10Op_Session_090310.html
Operating Session 9/18/10Op_Session_091810.html
Operating Session 4/6/12Op_Session_040612.html

2012 Sessions