Kansas City Subdivision Operations

The Milwaukee Road Kansas City Subdivision is operated as a freight railroad with a focus on inter-railroad transfers and local industry switching.

Background to Operations

(or - why does this railroad exist?)

The Milwaukee Road services industries in Coburg Yard, Sugar Creek, Centropolis, Indepenence, Lydia Avenue and Armourdale. Sugar Creek is home to a large Standard Oil Refinery, requiring pickup of petroleum products and delivery of crude oil. The Rock Hill Gravel Company and KC Scrap Metal are located at Armourdale. Independence is home to the Lumber Yard, with Lydia Avenue hosting the Team Track and Stone Container Manufacturing. Centropolis is the location of Sykes Cold Storage, Freight House and General Mills. Coburg Yard hosts a small Grain Elevator and Standard Oil Company depot.

The central point in the operation is Coburg Yard. Milwaukee Road trains from Bensenville (staging) arrive at Coburg Yard and exchange cars for return to Bensenville. Local Switch Jobs originate from Coburg, travel to their respective locations, switch cars and then return to Coburg. These trains are all handled by Milwaukee Road locomotives. Transfer Jobs originate from either:- Burlington Northern Murray Yard (BN), Frisco Rosedale Yard (SLSF), Union Pacific Armstrong Yard (UP), Kansas City Southern Kenoche Yard (KCS) or Santa Fe Argentine Yard (ATSF)

Coburg Yard is equipped with 4 tracks plus a diesel roundhouse engine facility.

Milwaukee Road Kansas City Subdivsion Operations

A typical day at the Milwaukee Road - Kansas City Sub begins with the Yardmaster checking for foreign railroad deliveries and switching out the Yard industries at Coburg (the grain elevator and Standard Oil Co). If there are cars for a foregin railroad, the Yardmaster will make up a clearance card and give it to the Dispatcher, who will call the crew of the foreign railroad transfer run. See Take a trip with the KCS Transfer for details. The following railroads exchange cars with the Milwaukee Road at Coburg -

There are also Milwaukee Road Manifest Freights to exchange cars bound for destinations along the Milwaukee Road mainline to Chicago.

The Yardmaster will then make up cars for the Lydia Avenue, Armourdale or the Centropolis Turns as cars are available for delivery. The Indepdendence/Sugar Creek turns takes a the GP9 or MP15AC and departs with cars for delivery and will bring back some cars destined for exchange with the foreign railroads.

Transfer runs can happen anytime with the Santa Fe, Frisco, Union Pacific, Burlington Northern and KCS. The Milwaukee Road will also bring a Bensenville manifest to drop off and pick up a block of cars at Coburg.

Layout familiarization Top

Before operating on the Kansas City Subdivision, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the layout. Click here for a black and white track diagram. Or download a colour track diagram. As you look at the layout, you are facing south. East is therefore to your left and west is to your right. North is behind you. Starting from the far left, there is Southwest Junction with Milwaukee Road Bensenville Yard behind the buildings.

In front of the buildings is Centropolis Industrial district which serves Sykes Cold Storage, the Freight House and General Mills. Moving across the Blue River bridge is Sheffield Junction.

Over the level crossing is Rock Creek Junction. The track loops around to the front of the layout. Here is Freight Line Junction and Coburg Yard.

The outside main track is the North Main and the inside main track is the South Main.

On the South Main at Rock Creek Jct, you will find Independence Business Lead which serves Hillside Lumber.

On the North Main at Rock Creek Jct, you will find Sugar Creek which serves Standard Oil refinery.

Traveling further along to Broadway Tower takes you to the foreign railroad yards (BN, SLSF, UP, KCS, ATSF) plus Lydia Avenue and Armourdale. Lydia Avenue has the Team Track and Stone Container Manufacturing. You will find Rock Hill Gravel and KC Scrap at Armourdale.

Principal of car movement Top

Railroads exist to move freight from one point to another point. These points may be simply a location, or be the loading dock of an industry. The Kansas City Subdivision moves cars by means of waybills. The waybill specifies where the car is to go and what load it is carrying.


  1. Car Type
  2. To: <Station>
  3. Industry
  4. Optional VIA line
  5. From: <Station>
  6. Lading:
Car to KCS

Letís take a look at each of these parts. Part 1 is the Car Type, which is taken from the American Association of Railroads car code register. All you need to know about this code is that it should match the code on the car card. More about the car card later.

Part 2 (To: <Station>) tells us which location on or off of the layout the car will be delivered to. Likewise with Part 3 Ė this is the Industry which will receive the car.

Part 4 tells us that the car will be delivered to itís ultimate destination VIA another railroad company. For example, we want to send a load to St. Louis, but that city is not on the layout! Easy Ė we send the load VIA the SLSF (Frisco), who will deliver the car to its final destination.

Part 5 tells us where the car came from.

Finally, part 6 tells us what the car contains, e.g. Frozen Food, Peanut Butter, Lumber, Fertilizer, etc. etc.

Waybills will send a car to one of two places, either an industry on the layout or a foreign railroad company. Here is the basic movement pattern for all cars.

Transfer train => Coburg Yard => Local Turn train => Industry => Local Turn train => Coburg Yard => Transfer train

Car card

The Car card shows the Type, Road, Description and Number of the car for which it is issued. Car cards have a pocket on the front to hold the current waybill for the car. Car cards stay with their cars at all times. Car cards are kept in boxes nearby where the Car is sitting. Bensenville Staging has a 3 slot card holder. Centropolis has a 3 slot card holder. Hill Side Lumber and Standard Oil have a 2 slot. Team Track and Stone Manufacturing have a 2 slot holder and Rock Hill Gravel and KC Scrap have a 2 slot. Foreign Roads have their cards nearby the Foreign Railroad staging yards. All industry card holders are clearly labeled for their industries. If the car is in Coburg Yard, its card will be in the Yardmasters card holders.


The Waybill tells the operator where the car goes. The Car Card identifies the car and holds the Waybill. Car Cards stay with their cars wherever they go, but waybills can be changed to suit.

Kansas City Subdivision Jobs

Types of trains Top

There are three types of train on the Kansas City Subdivision:-

Transfer Train

Transfer trains operate from their respective staging yard over the subdivision. Transfer trains enter controlled track at Broadway Tower. They enter Coburg Yard from the west where the Yardmaster will co-ordinate the exchange of cars. The Transfer train then returns back over the subdivision and returns their cars to the end of their respective yard track in Broadway Tower staging.

Duties of Transfer Trains

If you are assigned to Transfer train service, you will be given a clearance card in the pocket of your locomotive car plus a throttle from the dispatcher. The first card in the deck is your locomotive card. It contains a summary of the locomotive functions. F0 corresponds to the 0 (zero) key on your throttle. Other functions (F1-F8) correspond with their respective key on the throttle. When you are given your assignment, select your locomotive by keying itís number on the throttle. Press # (hash) key, then both direction (R/F) lights will turn on. Key in the number, e.g. 3 5 0 and then press the # key again. To test that you have the loco, press F2 to sound the horn.

The clearance card will indicate the number of cars to take to Coburg Yard. On your assigned yard track, for example, KCS, make a train using the lead cars on the track representing the yard. Complete making up your train by picking up your railroad company's caboose on the caboose track.

Some switching may be required to obtain the correct caboose. Once the train is assembled, ensure that you have car cards for the cars you have picked up, then press the Request button to request entry into signal territory. Operate your train from Staging into Coburg Yard. Movement is authorized by signal indication.

Once you enter Coburg yard, you will be under the direction of the Coburg Yardmaster. The Yardmaster will take your car(s) and arrange to give you car(s) to take back. After exchanging car(s) at Coburg, exchange car cards with the Yardmaster and make your way back to Rock Creek Junction, pressing the Coburg West Entrance Button to request departure signal. Drive your train back to staging, put the car(s) on the far end of your track, then put the caboose back finishing with your locomotive where it started from.

Train Types

Local Turn

Local Turn trains originate from Coburg Yard and travel to their respective industry tracks. You will receive a clearance card and a set of car cards from the dispatcher.
You may be sent to one of:- Independence, Sugar Creek, Lydia Avenue, Armourdale or Centropolis. On arriving at their industry track, you will pick up and set out cars according to the waybills on their cards.
After completing the switching, you will return to Coburg Yard. This may involve changing your loco and caboose positions, especially for Centropolis, Lydia Avenue and Armourdale.
This simply means moving the caboose to the other end of the train and putting the loco on the opposite end. On returning to Coburg Yard, you will put the locomotive back on the roundhouse turntable. As always, train movement within Coburg Yard is under the direction of the Yardmaster.

Train Types

Milwaukee Road Bensenville Manifest

You will be given a clearance card specifying the number of cars to bring from Bensenville. For casual running nights, this train will already be assembled for running.

On full operation days, this is a more involved job, as you will have to use the Bensenville switch enging (Baldwin #908) to make up your train on track 3. You will need to put a caboose in first, then pick the cars from track 1 or 2. If the clearance shows 2 cars, then pick the first 2 cars to run.

Finally, pick up the first available road locomotive from track 4, put on the train then proceed to the first signal. At the first signal, there is a Entry Request Button labeled 'Bensenville'. Press it to request entry into the signal controlled portion of the subdivision.

You will operate your train over the subdivision, arriving at Coburg Yard. Upon entering the yard, you will be under the direction of the Coburg Yardmaster. The Yardmaster will arrange changing over your cars (you will leave the cars you came with and take back cars for Bensenville.)

You will need to turn the loco on the turntable for the return trip to Bensenville, do that while the Yardmaster switches out the cars. After re-assembling the outbound train, back up and depart from Coburg Yard, using the Coburg East Departure Request button. Make your way over the subdivision following signal indications until you arrive in Bensenville.

After arriving in Bensenville, use the local switch engine to pull the cars out and put on track 1 or 2, allowing the loco an escape route to the loco track (#4). On full Operating Sessions, the locos must be rotated with the locomotive coming off duty put to the far end of the loco track.

Rules for movement by CTC

The movement of all trains operating over the subdivision is monitored and controlled by the Train Dispatcher using Centralized Traffic Control.

The Kansas City Subdivsion is fully signalled on all main tracks. Coburg Yard, Centropolis, Broadway Tower staging are all within Yard Limits and movements should be made at restricted speed whilst looking out for other train movements.

CTC rules are in effect from Southwest Junction to Broadway Tower. All train movements in CTC territory are made on signal indication.

How to drive trains

The Kansas City Subdivision uses EasyDCC with wireless throttles.

To select a locomotive, press the hash key (#). The Forward and Reverse lights will both illuminate. Key the locomotive number e.g. 7 1 0 then the hash key (#). The Forward light will be on steady. To test that you are controlling the locomotive, press the 0 key to control the headlight. Turn the knob clockwise to increase speed and counter-clockwise to decrease speed. To change direction, press the large red key just below the knob. The lamp shows the current direction ( R or F ).

Coburg Yardmaster

The Yardmaster is responsible for arranging cars into trains for local switching, working with the Dispatcher when transfer cars are waiting in the yard so that Transfer runs can be started.

The Yardmaster also will switch out inbound cars on transfer trains and Bensenville manifests, exchanging inward cars for outward cars and getting the trains back out on the main track to complete their runs.

The Yardmaster will prepare clearance cards for the Dispatcher, for Local Turns, the cards will show Locomotive, # of cars to destination and the destination of the Train.

For Transfer trains, the clearance card will only show # of cars and the railroad cars are coming from. E.g. - 1 car from UP.

For Bensenville Manifests, the clearance card will only show # of cars


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