• a question regarding dispatching...

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by PMGPE
...apologies if this has already been covered, but I searched this forum and come up empty.

Can anyone tell me how dispatchers and/or engineers enunciate road numbers? Is Union Pacific 4011 pronounced "union pacific four oh one one", or "U P four oh one one", or "union pacific forty eleven" or something else?

Thanks for any help you can provide me.


ps: I also posted this on the UP forum
  by ExCon90
A related question: For dictating and reading back Form Ds and equivalent over the radio, do any railroads have a requirement that numerals must be spelled out; i.e., o-n-e, t-w-o, etc.?
  by justalurker66
2.14.1 Verbally Transmitting and Repeating Mandatory Directives
When transmitting and repeating mandatory directives:
• State and spell single digit numbers by number and digit.
• State multiple digit numbers by number and digit.
• Identify decimal points as “point”, “dot”, or “decimal”.
• State and spell directions.
Single digit "one, o-n-e" ... multiple digit "ten, one-zero". Note the rule is for mandatory directives not all communication.

b. Dictation of Form D by Radio, Telephone or in Person

Form D’s may be dictated only to employees who are qualified on the Operating Rules. Form D’s must not be dictated to or copied by an employee operating the controls of a moving train.

When dictating and repeating Form D’s, employees must read aloud and plainly pronounce all applicable preprinted and written portions. Numerals in lines 1 through 13 of form D’s must be pronounced digit by digit. For example, “105” will be pronounced “one-zero-five.”
  by justalurker66
Just for clarity ... these are rules for mandatory directives. Not really an answer to the original question about how "Union Pacific 4011" would be pronounced. Listening briefly to a UP feed on railroadradio.net the repetition isn't done for non-mandatory directive communication.

Doepack's answer from the UP forum matches what I am hearing online ...
doepack wrote:For U.P. dispatchers, the normal protocol for road freights is "U.P. four zero one one" plus the direction of the train (east or west). Some dispatchers will also include the train's symbol after the locomotive number/direction combination.

In Metra commuter territory, dispatchers will usually just say "Metra XX", with XX being the two digit train number; with odd numbers being outbound trains from the city, while inbound trains are noted with even numbers. Once in awhile, when changing a track warrant, or copying an "XH" (crossing hazard) procedure, dispatchers will refer to Metra trains by their locomotive number (i.e., METX "123" west/east)...
  by Gadfly
Probably a bit different on each road. On NS it was "(NS) Engine 5009", pronounced "Engine Five Naught Naught Nine", or it could be "Engine Fifty Naught Nine" depending on the context and to whom it was addressed. NS/Southern used the "naught" for zeros way back when. I don't know about the present day.

  by Deval
I'd say "UP Forty Eleven", or if giving a mandatory directive UP Forty Eleven, "UP Four Zero One One."
  by 10more years
I've noticed CSX dispatchers, when they use times sometime combine letters and numbers. For instance; 0015 would be pronounced "Zero O one five". I've wondered why they just don't say "Zero Zero One Five".
  by CN_Hogger
It also depends on the dispatcher. We have a couple that will call us like this, IC 2 7 1 1(two seven one one) and most others will say IC 2711 (twenty seven eleven). I as an engineer will mix it up at times, some engine numbers are tongue twisters...
  by 2nd trick op
The above posts bring back a memory:

When Hurricane Agnes disrupted major rail lines all over the Northeast in the early summer of 1972, all sorts of alternative routes and diversions had to be worked out. Erie Lackawanna had to make much heavier use of its Binghamton-Syracuse branch for a shot time.

One day I was sitting in E-L's BRIDGE 60 tower in Scranton (preserved today as part of Steamtown) and listened in on a dispatcher and operator transmitting a meet order. The op repeated a number as "t-e-n" rather than "o-n-e, n-a-u-g-h-t", and the dispartity was quickly noted.

Peter Josserand (the unofficial operating rules "guru" of his day) would likely have been pleased.