Operating Paperwork on the Santa Cruz Northern

Sign in
Duration: 8:11

Membership Options


Sign up for premium membership and get access to our best model railroad videos and step-by-step instructional projects. Learn new techniques and tips from friendly experts. Anytime. Anywhere.
Monthly $8.00
Annually $79.00


Upgrade to GOLD membership and get unlimited access to our entire library of premium model railroad videos, receive discounts on DVDs, video downloads, and classes in the shop. In addition, you’ll receive nine video downloads, access to GOLD member LIVE events, and so much more!
Annually $145.00

Dave Clemons is dispatcher on the Santa Cruz Northern model railroad of Jim Providenza. For the operating paperwork, they use track warrants to identify where a train or equipment can be operated on the railroad. They use a slightly shortened version modeling purposes because it’s a lot easier to handle. The paperwork tells the engineer of the train where to be operating safely and consistently with the appropriate rules. Dave then translates that information onto what they call a train sheet which identifies what he has told the crews to do as they move across the railroad, identifying the information on the bottom of the sheet. Dave goes on to demonstrate using this paperwork while dispatching. Bill Kaufman is an engineer on the railroad who is working the Santa Cruz Northern Mountain Local in this demo.

Allen Keller goes on to ask how Dave solves operating dilemmas. He tries to look to the prototype or types of train being run, just like in track planning. The easiest solution is not to reinvent the wheel. If there is an operational issue it is almost guaranteed that the prototype has solved it. They also have real operators on the railroad. The real railroaders bring a wealth of experience. One such operator early on in operations refused to take a train out while in a session. It was because he knew better and that the train couldn’t handle that particular maneuver. These are little things that Dave wouldn’t have thought of. They run a little over a dozen trains per operating session. This is quite a lot for this area, more than would be on that railroad if it existed today. Dave goes on to give some advice for planning a layout with Allen Keller. For more on operations paperwork, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.