Train orders, Dayton, Texas May, 1980. (Old school freight operations!)

SP freight at Dayton, TX May 1980.  Note engineer snagging the orders.  --©photo by C. E. Hunt

SP freight at Dayton, TX May 1980. Note engineer snagging the orders. –©photo by C. E. Hunt

Before automation, train orders were used to determine which train had the right of way at any point along the line. They also passed along important information about unusual speed limits, track work, etc.

One day in May of 1980 as a 17-year old armed with my manual Minolta, I was in Dayton, Texas to capture a train order sequence.

Dayton Texas station May 1980 door

The station from which the employees put out the train orders had seen way better days. –©photo by C. E. Hunt

I noticed a bustle of activity as I heard a train horn in the distance.

A woman came out of the station to put out a train order for the approaching SP freight.--©photo by C. E. Hunt

A woman came out of the station to put out a train order for the approaching SP freight.–©photo by C. E. Hunt

I was thrilled to be able to capture this moment as the train approached.

Train approaches.  Order is in place.--©photo by C. E. Hunt

Train approaches. Order is in place. Note a second employee getting ready for something else. –©photo by C. E. Hunt

SP freight Dayton TX May 1980 III

The locomotive crew snatches the orders! Note the second woman approaching the the train order stand again.  –©photo by C. E. Hunt

Then the process was repeated.

The orders for the caboose are put on the stand.  Both station employees are now visible.--©photo by C. E. Hunt

The orders for the caboose are put on the stand. Both station employees are now visible.–©photo by C. E. Hunt

Here comes the caboose!

See the conductor reaching for the orders?  --©photo by C. E. Hunt

See the conductor reaching for the orders? –©photo by C. E. Hunt

Big-time, old school, freight railroading using train orders.

Technology has replaced all of this process, but I am glad I was able to capture the “old school” way in 1980.

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6 thoughts on “Train orders, Dayton, Texas May, 1980. (Old school freight operations!)

  1. Was looking for some photos of the old Dayton Texas depot, when I came across your photos. The older woman in the pictures doing the handoff is my mother, she worked the depot for 20 years…..She is still alive at 81 years old.

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      • She will be excited to see the photos…..The depot was torn just a few years later. Made me quite sad. Liberty kept theirs. I have some not great images of it from newspaper clippings, postcard, etc. Yours are so clear. Would appreciate anything else you might be able to share from my hometown.

        Liked by 1 person

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