locked Re: Blank Wheel Report

Michael Young

It's been almost 50 years, so some details might be wrong, but here is what I remember from "sitting in" at Andrews Yard (Columbia SC) in 1972.  Computers were just beginning to be used, and only trains 156/157, the "Bean Train" from Savannah to Pot Yard, received a computer-generated consist via teletype.  A Block Consist form was completed to go with it, I'm attaching a copy of one for 157 in December 1972. I do not recall ever hearing the term "Wheel Report" ever being used by anyone at any time, but that's not to say it wasn't, I just don't recall ever hearing it.  All other freight trains leaving Columbia received consists that were handwritten on regular Switch Lists.  I have a stack of blank SOU Switch Lists somewhere in my archives.  After completion by yard clerks, they were sent to the Yardmaster for review.  I was in the tower one day when the lists for the local working the "C&G" (as the V-Line to Greenville was known). It was the biggest stack I had ever seen for a train, and I commented to YM Stokes that I was unaware there was that much business on that line. He responded that that was the hardest working job out of Columbia, that they always had a heavy train with lots of pickups and set-offs to do, and that they'd be lucky if they could complete it all without going on the law.  Of course, almost all of the V-Line is gone today.  After I made the fateful decision to hire out with Amtrak in 1973, I became familiar with SCL operations.  They had a standard one-page form, the "Conductor's Handled & Delay Report," which conductors turned in at the end of their runs, and which I sometimes heard them refer to as a "Wheel Report."  It was a combination form used by both passenger and freight conductors, and I probably read hundreds of them to dispatchers over the years, all from passenger trains.  It did not list any cars in the consist, only engine numbers, number of pickups/set-offs and total cars handled, including tonnage (for freight trains) and passenger counts when applicable.  It also listed any en route delays with explanations, and that was the only thing dispatchers were interested in for passenger trains.  I did overhear SCL operators reporting freight trains and they included car counts and tonnage.  Ninety percent of the time, those forms were referred to as "Delay Reports" by passenger conductors, although occasionally one would say, "Here's my Wheel Report."  But I never saw any form on either Southern or SCL that was officially identified as a "Wheel Report."  If this is all TMI, I apologize, but I post to the group so rarely, I tend to get carried away, LOL.
Mike Young

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Holley via groups.io <th498@...>
To: main@SouthernRailway.groups.io
Sent: Wed, May 26, 2021 1:12 pm
Subject: Re: [SouthernRailway] Blank Wheel Report

Hello Jason and list.

This is an explanation of a wheel report from the GNHS:

Before computers a wheel report was simply a high-class train list. It was a compendium of all cars handled by a particular crew between that crews' initial and final terminal. On most roads when the train got to a terminal, the conductor would file one copy of the wheel report with the yardmaster (or actually with his office staff) and another copy with all the waybills for the cars would be delivered to the connecting conductor. The connecting conductor would write a new wheel report for his crew, and so on. Specific practice varied from road to road but this is an overview in general of how it was handled. At designated terminals a clerk would take each wheel report and "bible" every car in the train - enter it in a large book with column headings for car numbers running from tens to thousands. For example NYC 200138 would be entered (depending on road) either under "2001" column or under "38" column. That way if somebody wanted a trace on the car it could be found, and information passed along that it went through terminal Podunk at 4am Dec 21.

This explains it better than I ever could.


Tom Holley

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