1955 Wabash freight waybill.

We use resources to push many of our modeling projects forward. Prototype photos assist our understanding of hardware use and placement, weathering, and lettering. Prototype data from Official Railway Equipment Registers, Authorization For Expenditures (AFE), and ICC Valuation details guide efforts to add rolling stock, locomotives, and structures to reflect the prototype scene in the point in time we set for our modeling.

As we begin to operate our railroad layouts, freight car movements become a focus. Our prototypes used waybills as a clerical tool to move loaded freight cars to customers.

Many modelers now replicate the look of the forms to do similar tasks in miniature. Tony Thompson has written extensively about waybills on his blog. There was recent discussion on the Proto-Layouts email list about creating these waybills with software.

Frank Hodina, chief minion here at Resin Car Works, had created waybill files to use in model railroad operation a few years ago. He created the waybill using Excel and the Bohemian typewriter font. Above is a screen shot of the Excel page.

Frank’s waybills are meant to be folded in half like the prototype. They fit in a standard 2.5 x 4.5-inch (more or less) plastic sleeve, similar to those available from Domino Plastics. Why fold the waybills in half? Frank says he spend hours working on patterns for various freight cars and then hours building them, so why not have the waybill look more like prototype. A bigger size font can be used which makes them easier to read.

Frank offers these files for modelers to customize and use on their layouts. The screen grab above illustrates the different files created to reflect the set up used on different railroads. The Bohemian typewriter font is also included. Click here to download the ZIPPED folder to your hard drive. This link is also posted on the Helpful Links page of the blog.

Frank needs help to find other waybills to use for the headers. He could use a better CB&Q waybill and he lacks any for southeastern roads such as the L&N, Southern and Seaboard. Leave a comment below with your contact details if you can help.

We encourage you to visit the Operations Special Interest Group (OpSIG) website. They offer several operations links to explore on their resources page. They also have an ever-growing industry database to help you populate destinations for your freight car waybills. If these ideas spark your interest, why not join the OpSIG to learn more and make contact with modelers who operate regularly.

While we are on the subject of resources, we highly recommend the fine Railway Prototype Cyclopedia series that was produced by Ed Hawkins and Pat Wider. A total of 34 volumes were published and many can be found through vendors and on the second-hand market. As their website has closed down, it is difficult to know what the issues contained. Here’s the RPCyc index PDF to help you find the volumes you need. This link is also posted on the Helpful Links page of the blog.

With summer upon us, we may post less frequently here. Rest assured; the RCW minions are always busy. Here’s a tease for an upcoming release.

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5 thoughts on “Resources

  1. I have been working on a template for a “modern” version of the waybill. It’s the same format for the most part but highly simplified, basically it’s a printed sample of the bill out of the computer. I downloaded a Dot Matrix font as well.

    All of the paperwork I have saved over the years is from the 1990s so not sure how much help I would be, however I am receiving some paperwork for B&M’s Conway Branch (1972) soon.

  2. I may have additional waybills, I purchased a bankers box work of paper last year.

  3. Very cool file. Thanks Frank and Eric. Note: I had to left click to save the zip file.

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