Rules, rules, rules!

2016 CTGSo I finally went out and bought myself a copy of the 2016 Canadian Trackside Guide. The book by the Bytown Railway Society is “the comprehensive listing of Canadian railways including their US-based operations. The 2016 edition features the latest updates (to end of February) to all the sections including motive power, industrial locomotives, preserved equipment, passenger equipment, work train equipment, subdivision details, radio frequencies and more.”

The reason I wanted The Guide was to gain insight on how trains operate on my prototype (the QGRY). I had hoped to find a timetable of trains and gain insights into operations, and while I was unsuccessful in this regard, I did learn something new.

Beside the listing of subs and milemakers I found the initials OCS which I learned stood for OCCUPANCY CONTROL SYSTEM. The QGRY operates in what is known as “dark territory” and no signals are used to govern train movements. All movements must be authorized by the dispatcher, who verbally instructs the train to proceed, usually by radio. The dispatcher selects the stations or mileposts between which the train may move – a segment of track known as the authority limit. In the US this is called Track Warrant Control.

Googling ‘Occupancy Control System (OCS)’ lead me to Transport Canada’s Canadian Rail Operating Rules – an amazing resource that I will attempt to digest and understand. You can download the entire PDF doc here:

Not sure yet how this will inform my plan for operations, but at least I have learned that I don’t have to worry about installing signals on the QGRY.