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.
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
I was thrilled to be able to capture this moment as the train approached.
Train approaches. Order is in place. Note a second employee getting ready for something else. –©photo by C. E. Hunt
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
Here comes the caboose!
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.