The items below are summaries of the various positions on the M-I. The railroad generally operates with a crew of 5, but it is flexible enough to work with 3-6 operators. Detailed instructions and descriptions are available for each job (click on the highlighted job).

Boat Job

  • Equipment & crew
    • Engine MP #1817 (Baldwin 4-8-0 Mastodon) + Idler Car
    • Requires Conductor and Engineer
    • General Manager will demonstrate boat operation for new employees
  • Boat pulls & shoves
    • Conductor aligns and works boat
    • Boat capacity is 4 cars on each of three tracks (total of 12 cars per load)
    • Before moving the boat to align another track, assure car brakes are set (blue flags inserted thru coupler into hole on deck)
  • Movements across the incline grade crossing is currently via “mother, may I?”; Semaphores will eventually be installed
  • Boat job has priority over main
    • Call tower when needed
  • Work boat’s center track first
    • One car cut is removed, taken to Thomure and engine returns with a cut to be shoved in its place
    • The boat is then repositioned to another track for repeat performance; and repeat again until all cars have been exchanged
    • The adage to remember is “one cut off, one cut on”
    • Note for new employees: Captain “Gunnie” Grieshaber is always receptive to suggestions – the John-boat at the dock is used to retrieve crew members who cannot swim
  • When all boat cuts have been pulled and the cut is ready for movement to Middle Yard, contact the Yardmaster for clearance
    • Deliver cut to Middle Yard and pull northward bound cars
  • Operators will typically spend about an hour working one boat load of cars; the prototype worked a cut of 18 cars on the Missouri side, worked the same number of cars on the Illinois side and traversed the Mississippi River every 90 minutes!


  • Equipment & crew
    • Engine MP #4612 (Alco RS-11)
    • Requires 1 (serves as Conductor and Engineer)
  • “Boss”of Middle Yard
  • Makes & breaks trains
    • Create extra trains and assign crew to move traffic along the sub
    • Boat transfers
    • Maximum train tonnage = 12 cars
  • Weighs outbound loads
    • Redirects if excess weight
  • Directs entry into Middle Yard
  • Facilitates Bad-Order cars
  • Note: occasional river flooding may cause some yard tracks to be out of service

Road Crew

  • Engine MP #365 (EMD GP9) + Caboose
    • Requires Conductor and Engineer
  • Run local scheduled trains and extras per orders

Superintendent/General Manager

  • Also known as the layout owner
  • Stages cars on Boat and at Derby Jct.
  • Facilitates boat operations
  • Serves as Tower Operator
  • Re-rails as needed
  • Assists when called upon
  • Manages car forwarding system
  • Brews coffee