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Date: 11/09/12 21:31
Lap Order
Author: wabash2800

So you read an account of an old time head-on collision in TT and TO territory with manual blocks and the cause is attributed to a "Lap Order". Would this always be caused by an error of the dispatcher in "overlapping" train authority, thus causing the collision? Or could it also be a train crew overlapping authority by not following their train orders?



Date: 11/09/12 21:35
Re: Lap Order
Author: railstiesballast

As I understand it, a Lap Order is a set of overlapping authorities created by the dispatcher, each individual train order may look OK and the train crews don't know that they are in peril.



Date: 11/09/12 21:52
Re: Lap Order
Author: ctillnc

Dispatcher error.



Date: 11/10/12 06:47
Re: Lap Order
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So you read an account of an old time head-on
> collision in TT and TO territory with manual
> blocks and the cause is attributed to a "Lap
> Order". Would this always be caused by an error of
> the dispatcher in "overlapping" train authority,
> thus causing the collision? Or could it also be a
> train crew overlapping authority by not following
> their train orders?


For example... Thomas White is much better at describing dispatcher issues that i am.. A simple example of a "lap" order would be the following... Let us say that your railroad run east and west... on the westend of your railroad is the station: Anthill followed by Boothill , Cathill, Dumbhill and Easyhill.. Both Anthill and Easyhill are open trainorder offices. At Anthill the crew receives a trainorder that says," ENGINE FR 3200 RUN EXTRA ANTHILL TO EASYHILL". excuse the capitols the SP typewriters had only capitol letters. at Easyhill the crew gets the following trainorder.. "ENGINE FR 8787 RUN EXTRA EASYHILL TO ANTHILL ". The crews receive a Clearance with the trainorders and track bulletins.. Away they go and the railroad is dark territory. Both trains are entitled to the maintrack.. both trains are authorized at maximum speed.. Between extra trains the dispatcher is responsible to provide protection for the extra trains. An example would be EXTRA FR 3200 EAST HAS RIGHT OVER EXTRA FR 8787 WEST FROM ANTHILL TO EASYHILL
AND FR 3200 EAST WAIT AT
BOOTHILL UNTIL 301 PM

CATHILL 333 PM

DUMBHILL 401 PM

FOR FR EXTRA 8787 WEST

Let us say that the FR 8787 cleared up at CATHILL at 320 PM and FR 3200 EAST arrived at CATHILL at 311 pm the train is free to continue its journey because both trains have fulfilled the issued trainorder.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/12 06:57 by SanJoaquinEngr.



Date: 11/10/12 08:08
Re: Lap Order
Author: WAF

To narrow it down, someone needed to take the siding against the other train.



Date: 11/10/12 08:14
Re: Lap Order
Author: SanJoaquinEngr

WAF Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> To narrow it down, someone needed to take the
> siding against the other train.


True but in the order it states that the FR 3200 East has right over the FR 8787 West...



Date: 11/10/12 09:01
Re: Lap Order
Author: mamfahr

> So you read an account of an old time head-on
> collision in TT and TO territory with manual
> blocks and the cause is attributed to a "Lap
> Order". Would this always be caused by an error of
> the dispatcher in "overlapping" train authority,
> thus causing the collision?

Hello,

There are many ways that accidents / hazards would occur due to the handling of train orders and/or clearances, but (in my experience) the term "lap order" would apply only to the improper wording of an order, or omission of an order, by the dispatcher. A "lap order" was an order that was not worded properly, or not issued at all, such that proper protection was not in place to protect trains.

A "lap" generally meant that there was an overlap of operating authority between opposing trains, that could be due to a "lap order" or any number of other reasons. Note that, according to the old ICC, the most common cause of accidents in timetable/train order territory was not because of the wording of specific orders (as in "lap orders"). Accidents were most often the result of improper *addressing* of train orders. In other words, the orders were most often worded properly (the bodies of orders) but were not addressed / issued properly so they weren't delivered to trains at the locations where they were needed.

Take care,

Mark



Date: 11/10/12 09:38
Re: Lap Order
Author: spnudge

That is one of the reasons that all operators read back the order to the dispatcher. Operators on the line will pick up a mistake and tell the dispatcher. As each order is read back, the dispatcher underlines the words as they are repeated in the book. Another self check.

I was on a west train and had to head in at Sudden for an east man that right over me. After a bit, he went by and we were ready to go. The signal on the siding wouldn't clear so I sent the head man up to push the button. He was almost there when a headlight came around the curve up by Arlight. I grabbed my orders and went through them thinking I had screwed up. We didn't have anything on another east train. I called the east man and asked him to stop at our power. He did and it was interesting. He had nothing on me except right to West Santa Barbara. No waits, nothing. I had nothing on him.

Well, he went on his way and we went over to Surf. The conductor went in the office for about 30 minutes and when he came out we took off for SLO. By rule, we should turned the whole matter over to the Superintendent. The big O and the trick dispatcher covered it up on the side phone and nothing was said.


If it wasn't for ABS, we would have got together. When I worked the Wendel line years later, it always made me nervous. MofW left a switch open at a spur and a east bound found it at 40 mph. The bad part is there are still miles and miles of dark territory in the US.


Nudge



Date: 11/10/12 11:03
Re: Lap Order
Author: MyfordBrowning

wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> So you read an account of an old time head-on
> collision in TT and TO territory with manual
> blocks and the cause is attributed to a "Lap
> Order". Would this always be caused by an error of
> the dispatcher in "overlapping" train authority,
> thus causing the collision? Or could it also be a
> train crew overlapping authority by not following
> their train orders?

By manual blocks, do you mean no automatic signals or a manual block system where towers or station control access to a block. If it is a manual block system, the operators at block stations would be at fault instead of the dispatcher.



Date: 11/10/12 11:26
Re: Lap Order
Author: WAF

SanJoaquinEngr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> WAF Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > To narrow it down, someone needed to take the
> > siding against the other train.
>
>
> True but in the order it states that the FR 3200
> East has right over the FR 8787 West...

Thought the orginial order was both running extra against each other and that was the lap without a meet provision. Am I missing something? Then you revised it with a wait order for 3200 East.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/12 11:35 by WAF.



Date: 11/10/12 11:34
Re: Lap Order
Author: WAF

Interesting Nudge, when you mentioned as the order is repeated back and each number, initial and word is underlined. I have many of those books for the Coast to BI and there are partial orders that the trick DS makes a mistake and voids them in the book because once you use the number, you can't reuse it if you make a mistake. On some orders, the trick DS uses a red pencil to line through parts of the order and revise them.

I have some books where there was an "incident" and the book is closed out with many blank pages and undelivered orders are transfered to the new book. You guys sure had to be on the top of your game in dealing with orders.



Date: 11/10/12 13:41
Re: Lap Order
Author: mamfahr

> ... I have many of those books for the
> Coast to BI ...On some orders,
> the trick DS uses a red pencil to line through
> parts of the order and revise them.

Hello,

I've not seen a dispatcher line through words of an order with the checking pencil as a way of revising it. When errors are made in writing an order, you normally "VOID" it and start again with another number, as you mentioned. On the other hand, I've seen many that liked to line through words as parts of the order are fulfilled, to help them keep track of what was "dead" and what was still "alive" in the TO book. Is it possible that's what you're seeing there?

Take care,

Mark



Date: 11/10/12 14:03
Re: Lap Order
Author: WAF

mamfahr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > ... I have many of those books for the
> > Coast to BI ...On some orders,
> > the trick DS uses a red pencil to line through
> > parts of the order and revise them.
>
> Hello,
>
> I've not seen a dispatcher line through words of
> an order with the checking pencil as a way of
> revising it. When errors are made in writing an
> order, you normally "VOID" it and start again with
> another number, as you mentioned. On the other
> hand, I've seen many that liked to line through
> words as parts of the order are fulfilled, to help
> them keep track of what was "dead" and what was
> still "alive" in the TO book. Is it possible
> that's what you're seeing there?
>
> Take care,
>
> Mark

Most likely. Thanks



Date: 11/10/12 18:15
Re: Lap Order
Author: TAW

mamfahr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > ... I have many of those books for the
> > Coast to BI ...On some orders,
> > the trick DS uses a red pencil to line through
> > parts of the order and revise them.
>
> Hello,
>
> I've not seen a dispatcher line through words of
> an order with the checking pencil as a way of
> revising it.


No, no, no, no! That was just not done. If I came in to relieve a guy that did that and such an order was still live, I wouldn't sign the transfer.

> When errors are made in writing an
> order, you normally "VOID" it and start again with
> another number, as you mentioned.


On the other hand, I have seen strategically spilled ink or cigarette burns (no, the correct thing was not written next to the burn or stain, the idea was to obliterate the mistake, not make a correction obvious).


I relieved a guy who had taken to using the new (at the time) erasable ball point pens in the train order book. I didn't know he was doing that. When each order was dead (fulfilled, superseded, annulled) we would cover the order with our sign (typically our own initials but left over from telegraph days, not everybody used their initials but rather some other letter or combination of letters unique to them) using red pencil or crayon. I started to sign an order and realized it was still live, so I went to erase the red pencil mark (perfectly legal) so that I wouldn't overlook it later. I erased the order! I was .... um....chagrined. I told him the next day that I wouldn't take another transfer from him if he used an erasable ball point pen again.


> On the other
> hand, I've seen many that liked to line through
> words as parts of the order are fulfilled, to help
> them keep track of what was "dead" and what was
> still "alive" in the TO book.


...particularly just before transfer time so that your relief didn't need to figure out everything from scratch while reading the live orders.

TAW

THOMAS WHITE
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA
Rail Transportation/Train Dispatchi



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/12 20:09 by TAW.



Date: 11/10/12 18:27
Re: Lap Order
Author: TAW

spnudge Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> That is one of the reasons that all operators read
> back the order to the dispatcher. Operators on the
> line will pick up a mistake and tell the
> dispatcher. As each order is read back, the
> dispatcher underlines the words as they are
> repeated in the book. Another self check.

We used to test operators to make sure that they were paying attention because of the importance of not only the repeat, but that each operator listened to the others' repeat. We would break an operator in the middle of a repeat: BK go ahead there Palmdale...and Palmdale had better start on the next word.

TAW

THOMAS WHITE
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA
Rail Transportation/Train Dispatchi



Date: 11/10/12 20:00
Re: Lap Order
Author: TAW

mamfahr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > So you read an account of an old time head-on
> > collision in TT and TO territory with manual
> > blocks and the cause is attributed to a "Lap
> > Order". Would this always be caused by an error
> of
> > the dispatcher in "overlapping" train
> authority,
> > thus causing the collision?
>
> Hello,
>
> There are many ways that accidents / hazards would
> occur due to the handling of train orders and/or
> clearances, but (in my experience) the term "lap
> order" would apply only to the improper wording of
> an order, or omission of an order, by the
> dispatcher. A "lap order" was an order that was
> not worded properly, or not issued at all, such
> that proper protection was not in place to protect
> trains.
>
> A "lap" generally meant that there was an overlap
> of operating authority between opposing trains,
> that could be due to a "lap order" or any number
> of other reasons.

Actually, no other reasons. Lap means only one thing, overlapping authority. Since authority, other than schedule, comes from the dispatcher, and by definition schedules cannot contain laps (the right, class, direction thing), a lap is authority issued by a train dispatcher.

A lap can be in the form of commission (an order or combination of orders that authorize two trains to use the same piece of track simultaneously), or omission (the orders cover everything but are not addressed to one of the trains involved).

There can be a condition called a technical lap. There can never be a collison, but the dispatcher is responsible for sticking out overlapping authority in violation of the rules:
ENG 1234 RUN EXTRA AYE TO EFF

ENG 1234 RUN EXTRA EFF TO AYE
is a technical lap. There can obviously not be a collision, but the procedure for fixing opposing trains has been violated. A correct way is:
ENG 1234 RUN EXTRA AYE TO EFF

AFTER EXTRA 1234 EAST HAS ARRIVED AT EFF
ENG 1234 RUN EXTRA EFF TO AYE

In both examples, the train is fixed one way at Aye and the other way at Eff before it arrives. To fix the whole thing is one order at Aye is
ENG 1234 FUN EXTRA AYE TO EFF AND RETURN TO AYE.

It gets more complicated if the train is a local fixed on a running order, but needs a work order somewhere in order to use all hands to switch...nobody to flag. Some railroads required the running authority to be taken down before sticking out the work order
ORDER NO 100 IS ANNULLED
ENG 1234 WORK EXTRA
BETWEEN SEE AND DEE
1001AM UNTIL 1201PM
NOT PROTECTING AGAINST EXTRA TRAINS

but it could also be legally (if no requirement to take down the running order)
ENG 1234 WORK EXTRA
BETWEEN SEE AND DEE
1001AM UNTIL 1201PM
HAS RIGHT OVER EXTRA 1234 EAST
NOT PROTECTING AGAINST OTHER EXTRA TRAINS

I preferred this method when I could, especially if the local had something on other trains. There is a big hazard (and a lot of extra work) involved in taking down a running order at an intermediate station for a train that has something on other trains, then sticking out a new running order at the intermediate station.

Actually, in dispatcher language (which includes the term lap), a lap can occur in CTC, lining a signal through Track and Time (or the equivalent by any other name), called lapping up a permit, or talking a train past a red signal into an opposing train. A lap can also occur in train orders when the dispatcher allows a train to run ahead of the times in a track car lineup (called lapping up a lineup).

A collision that is the result of delivery failure that some may call a lap can be caused by an external factor (usually an operator has been out or asleep, the dispatcher needs to stick something out to help an opposing train, rings the operator and asks if the superior train has passed. The operator, not wanting to admit being out or asleep says no. The dispatcher sticks out a restricting order for the train that is gone. The order is not a lap. The operator is ultimately held responsible provided the reasonable caution was taken. For example, if the train should be showing or gone within reason and the dispatcher didn't pursue it further (in pre-radio, a prudent dispatcher would question the operator and perhaps not try to advance the train being helped), the dispatcher would be culpable. The order itself is not a lap. Both trains are addressed and the order does not create overlapping authority.

There is also the operator who, to be expedient, has the order typed before the dispatcher sends it. He thinks he knows what the dispatcher will stick out, so he is ready. The only problem is that the order he typed is not the one the dispatcher transmitted. That should be caught in the repeat...should. I was visiting Fruitvale tower in Oakland many years ago and watched the opr repeat a pre-typed order. He said it was no problem, this train got the same thing every day - but today they didn't. I waited until after he repeated to see what would happen. Nobody - NOBODY noticed. I told him what happened and he managed to bluff about spilling coffee and got spatch to send again.

Same thing happened at Tacoma Jct soon after I hired out on MILW. I caught the guy I was breaking in with (students with experience are such a pain) passing out slows that hadn't been repeated - and they weren't right. I caught it when I was clearing a train and the C&E copies of one order came from different batches...and were different.

I used to prevent that by frequently sticking out orders for what I wanted to happen in a different way, especially the "rubber stamp" orders for locals that did the same thing every day. For the same reason, I would stick out track and time authority differently...but equivalent, of what was requested.

The really good opr knows what spatch is going to do, not what spatch is going to say:
DS: Plymouth (ring)
Plymouth: 19 east five in the mill
Plymouth has the orders in the mill (typewriter) with the station and date and has a clearance card started with station, date, the train about to be addressed in the order, and the order numbers already hanging for that train,if any.

Remember - stupidity is not against the rules. Doing certain stupid things is.

Another way in which a collision can happen without a lap is also the responsibility of the operator. Even in the 70s, I watched guys do this (including a MILW opr I was breaking in with at Ceder Falls WA, who instructed me to do it and I refused) - there is a detailed description of a head-on collision on SP in AZ in something like 1910 (my library is 10000 miles from here) in Tucson Was a Railroad Town. 31 orders (or the SP, ATSF, BN practice of just a Train Order form but requiring signatures under certain circumstances) were designed to prevent delivery failure to the superior train. In the 1946 (I think it was 46 - distant library again) edition of Rights of Trains, Josserand has extensive discussion of 31 orders. It should be air tight - if the C&E sign the order, they must have seen it. To be expedient, some operators (including the SP guy 100 years ago) would OS the train and sign the order for the C&E when the train showed up, not even stopped yet. Over the years, I have had a couple of operators even be so blatant as to ask for the names of the C&E before the train arrived. "Just be be sure I've got the right guy signing" would be the response to the obvious question. No, I wouldn't give the names.

Failure to deliver an order as addressed is not a lap. The hazard is a train occupying the track beyond the limits of the authority prescribed in the order. Failure of a crew to stay within the limits of authority (time and space) is also not a lap.

TAW

THOMAS WHITE
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA
Rail Transportation/Train Dispatchi



Date: 11/10/12 20:07
Re: Lap Order
Author: TAW

WAF Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Interesting Nudge, when you mentioned as the order
> is repeated back and each number, initial and word
> is underlined. I have many of those books for the
> Coast to BI and there are partial orders that the
> trick DS makes a mistake and voids them in the
> book because once you use the number, you can't
> reuse it if you make a mistake.

Not necessarily a mistake. Spatch might do that if he suspected that someone wasn't paying atttention or had the order written out in advance (pretty well known who had a habit of doing that).

I also did it regularly with track and time.

~~
~~

> I have some books where there was an "incident"
> and the book is closed out with many blank pages
> and undelivered orders are transfered to the new
> book. You guys sure had to be on the top of your
> game in dealing with orders.

We were required to do that...and turn ourselves in along with the closed out book, if we stuck out a lap (yup - turn ourselves in for our own violation), even if the trains never saw each other. Punishment would be more severe for not turning in if an audit found it later. Of course, the book was also closed out for non-lap incidents involving train orders.

TAW

THOMAS WHITE
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA
Rail Transportation/Train Dispatchi



Date: 11/11/12 07:15
Re: Lap Order
Author: wabash2800

The lap order I was referred to happened in the early part of the last century on a Wabash line that was all single track with TT and TO and no signaling other than interlocking signals and boards at towers and depots. It was one of at least two that I'm aware that a dispatcher was fired. Incidentally, the tower operators were not involved in the TT & TO and therefore, did not have telegraph equipment in the towers. They just flipped the board after the engineer whistled for authority to cross the plant. If he did not get the clear, (plant was lined for train on other RR or tower operator didn't get it lined quick enough), the train had to stop. And, they did have derails, so if he over ran the signal, he'd be on the ground. (And yes, it happened and sometimes with the loss of life.) Many times, if the the train could not stop in time to avoid the derail, the engineer would throw the engine in reverse and the engine crew would "Take to the Birds" (jump). From what I've been able to determine, the towermen were under a different craft at the time and just were levermen, thus didn't communicate with the dispatcher.

Now, on this line, they had at a bare minimum of 17 trains a day and about half were passenger. So add extras and second sections, fatigue caused by not even a 16 hour law, alcohol on the job by some, and the constant changing of train orders and meets, (sometimes multiple meets) and you had a recipe for disaster. And the RR had a lot of wrecks. It got so bad that the Wabash installed "Block Towers" (not literally towers but shanties) at remote locations to get better control of the trains. And this is considering the fact that the regular stations averaged about six miles apart already. I contend it was a knew-jerk response to the many wrecks. But things improved with both the tower operators and the station agents involved in telegraph TT & TO train control and fewer trains, and a few night shift operator positions opened up at stations. The Block Towers went away. Wild days.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/11/12 07:25 by wabash2800.



Date: 11/11/12 07:40
Re: Lap Order
Author: TAW

wabash2800 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> But things improved with both the
> tower operators and the station agents involved in
> telegraph TT & TO train control

"You sure you want to do that?" from a good opr before the first repeat were the most powerful words ever spoken.

TAW

THOMAS WHITE
MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, WA
Rail Transportation/Train Dispatchi



Date: 11/11/12 12:45
Re: Lap Order
Author: DNRY122

"You sure you want to do that?" has survived into the digital computer era in certain programs that give the user a chance to rethink a "delete" command.



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