Valley Line Crew Info
Welcome to the Valley Line! My operating sessions attempt to follow New Haven Railroad prototype practice as closely as possible. Consequently, the mainline trains (on the famed "Shore Line" from New York to Boston through Old Saybrook, CT) are operated strictly by the prototype schedule, as indicated by the employee timetable (and, eventually, full signaling) and the four local freights are operated by Timetable/Train Order. But don't worry - once your local is on the branchline, you likely won't have any other trains to meet or avoid.
A typical session lasts about 3 hours and - if we have a full crew - we run 33 mainline trains and 4 local freights. The mainline trains run back and forth between West End (New Haven/New York) and East End (New London/Boston) staging yards through the town of Old Saybrook. Two of the locals operate at least partly on the Shore Line. Providence Division Extra #1 (PDX-1 a.k.a. the Shore Line Local) works the Shore Line eastbound from Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven to Fort Yard in New London, switches Old Saybrook along the way, and interchanges with PDX-2 in Saybrook as well. PDX-2 (a.k.a. the Haddam Local) works the Shore Line westbound from Fort Yard to Cedar Hill Yard and up the lower end of the Valley Line. It interchanges with PDX-1 at Old Saybrook and with Hartford Division Extra #7 in East Haddam. HDX-7 (a.k.a.the Valley Local) operates from Hartford Yard south to Middletown and return, doing all switching along the way. Depending on the day, it goes all the way south to East Haddam or up the Berlin Branch - but every day it interchanges with HDX-12 in Middletown. HDX-12 (a.k.a. the Airline Local) operates from New Haven to Middletown and return, interchanging with the Valley Local in Middletown. Be sure to click here for more information about the different job assignments and click here for more detail about each of the four local freights. You may also want to click here for prototype system maps which will orient you if you're not familiar with this region.
After you sign-in on the Crew Register, there'll be a job briefing where we'll go over the latest Bulletin Order and other things you need to know for the day. Then you'll receive your paperwork (Clearance Form A, Train Orders, Wheel Report) and throttle. Your "Wheel Report" is a list of all the cars in your train and where they're to be delivered. As you come to each town, you need to 1) sign the Train Register, indicating the time you arrived and the number of cars in your train and 2) check the bill box for what, if any, work you have in that town - it'll contain a switchlist and/or a Car Transfer Form which will indicate any cars that need to be picked up and where they're headed. If there are any new orders for your train, they'll be in the bill box as well.
If you're new (or if you'd like a reminder), you'll also receive a Job Card (which outlines your assignment and includes "Conductor's Tips" for doing it effectively) and a Loco Card (which gives you the function key assignments for your particular locomotive should you want to take advantage of all the bells and whistles, literally).
Whether you're a boomer operating on the Valley Line for the first time or an Old Head, you should find the hyperlinks below (and in the left column under "Valley Line Crew Info") helpful in getting the most out of an operating session. But above all, Have Fun!