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Car Cards & Switch Lists - Moving The Railroads Goods
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 Posted: Fri Jan 16th, 2009 05:27 pm
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W C Greene
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James-It may be slow going, but I think it will catch on. It took me a while to get into the swing but now I know that I want to operate my layout as if it were a real railroad. I do bounce around, one day (or days), I might do nothing but build crap, or maybe work on locos, or begin the needed ore cars. On those nice days, I will go outside with every intention of fixing some scenery or detailing some area, but will fire up #5 for a "brief" run to the mines....and after 3 or 4 hours, I have found myself operating the line and not doing what I started to do. It's kind of like a virus that comes to visit, I am infected with the "operations bug". Even just taking the super's Model T for a run can lead to more "movements" on the line. Hopefully in the coming weeks, I will be able to get another piece built (the smelter) which will feature a passing siding, ore dump, and a turntable which will then "complete" the railway...as far as operations are concerned. Alpha to Omega and back to Alpha without having to imagine the smelter run nor 0-5-0 the cars & loco for the run back. I suppose that  day will be the real first run. The management can't afford champagne, but a nice cold brew will suffice.              Woodie



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 Posted: Fri Jan 16th, 2009 06:05 pm
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Sullivan
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Woodie,

Oh, I completely realize what can actually take place.

Trust me, once I get some track in place I know for a fact the first moves won't be real operations; they'll be moving a car back and forth over the line that's in place. Even once I have an ore chute in place I'll still be shuffling things around.

I'm just trying to give the fellas some 'candy' to sweeten the prospects. There are a lot of good articles out there by knowledgeable folks that can be used as jumping off places.

It's all good!!

Last edited on Fri Jan 16th, 2009 06:55 pm by Sullivan



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 Posted: Sat Jan 17th, 2009 01:37 am
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Herb Kephart
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To operate the way the prototype does, is quite a different thing from prototype operation in the model railroad world. One person (the owner/builder of the layout) can run a way freight, setting off and picking up cars with his eye on (an imaginary?) clock, to be sure that his train is in the clear when a passenger, or express freight is due. The second train can exist, and be run, or can be represented by the peddler freight sitting on a siding for a given period of time. This scenario can be accomplished by any number of operators , from one to the maximum number that the layout and equipment can support. In my mind, this is prototype operation.

Operating the way the prototype does, however, requires at least three people, as far as I can see. Two one man "train crews" and a dispatcher. If there less personnel available, you have one crew and a dispatcher, who writes orders to run extra. There are no meets to be made- there are no other trains. This arrangement would wear thin after a very short time- two individuals handing back and forth slips of paper- or if verbal orders were allowed- the equivalent of "Simon Says". It would seem to me, that to be a meaningful position, the dispatcher should be handling at least three crews, more would be better. So now the roster stands at four- or more. It takes a layout larger than the usual home one to accommodate this many.

There are those on this forum, I am sure, who could invite three other modelers over for a session an evening or weekend afternoon. My experience is however, to get a time and place for a group to get together is a problem, and IF it can be accomplished, is such a rare thing that the group wants to catch up on what's new, show off their latest piece, or just BS. The last thing that I would want to suggest is filling out paperwork before anything could be run

So, for the above reasons James, I feel that operating to give the appearance of the prototype is far more practical in a non-club environment. I have no beef with those who choose to do different.  I sit and watch the iron roll by on occasion, I have fun switching also. Anyone who models railroads has to be doing it for the fun of it- the pay sucks! I am offering the above as an observation to your comment that the category was slow taking off. I will still follow the thread, it just ain't my can of suds.



Herbacide :old dude:



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 Posted: Sat Jan 17th, 2009 02:17 am
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W C Greene
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Herberonski-you are right about the number of operators needed to run a "prototype operation". If I did such on my layout, I would need engineer, fireman, conductor, and one brakeman for every 2 or 3 ore cars. Geez, I don't think Bill would allow that many guys in his back yard at a time. To be "prototypical", we would also need to be running our little lokies with live steam or gasoline and the crew would have to be 2" tall fellows who get 1:32 size cash weekly. So we do what we can and overlook such non scale things as giant fingers doing the coupling and rerailing. This is getting crazy (I am getting crazy!).

Back to operations-I have rebuilt my hoist mechanism so it runs a little slower and takes more time to lower cars down to the low line. Two new mines have been located on the low line which have somewhat complicated things. The hoist will not pull loaded cars up, just lower empties down so a locomotive must run the low line past the Gila cliff dwellings to be able to switch the empties for the tipples. When loaded, the loco then has to pull (or push) the cars all the way back to where the low and high lines separate, staging them to be picked up by the train that runs to the smelter. On the way back from the smelter, 2 empties are lowered to the mines again. Of course, the cars cannot block the line below during the times that the Gila Tram hauls touristas to see the sights. I told you it was complicated. When the smelter section gets going, things will become even wilder due to a 4 way switch which was supplied by a noted PA builder. Fun fun fun...     Boudreaux



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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2011 08:46 pm
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Sullivan
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Since Chat moderator Woodie has suggested the Sunday night/Monday afternoon topic of operations I thought I would take this opportunity to once again post the link to a primer I found some years ago.

This is A Primer for Narrow Gauge and Short Line Operations by Barry Cott, ca. 2004.

He put this together when he was working out the plans for his Pakesley Mill & Timber Company. I find it to be a nifty little plan for operating a small rail road using switch lists. I would not necessarily use all the ideas he presents but find many of them quite compelling.

http://www.opsig.org/pdf/CottPrimer.pdf

Many of you will find this overly complicated and those running Class I main line operations will think it too confining and/or over-simplistic. To each his own.



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 Posted: Tue Apr 12th, 2011 10:25 pm
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JohnB
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Two issues: one is that contemporary short lines and branch lines are often defined as completely within yard limits, which means that trains don't run by train order, CTC signal, DTC, or anything else -- they have a modern equivalent of a yardmaster or "operations manager", who drives around and generally supervises. In some cases, there is actually no dispatcher, and the crews simply know to stay out of each other's way. Since speeds are usually in the 10 mph category, that's not a problem. Nor is this new -- the Sierra Ry started operations without a dispatcher.

Second, I also agree that getting a group together is more difficult than the operations articles in the press make it appear. Reality is that a lot of guys want to be the chief, and nobody wants to be the Indian. They're waiting for everyone to want to go run on their layout, and they don't want to spoil it by running on someone else's layout. Also, nobody wants to think someone else knows more than they do.

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 Posted: Wed Apr 13th, 2011 07:32 pm
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mopman
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I think the hardest part of starting an op session is getting everyone together at the same time.  We all have different schedules of work and time off.  Once you get the first session out of the way, and the crews feel more comfortable, additional sessions become easier to schedule (or so I've heard).



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 Posted: Fri Apr 15th, 2011 07:31 pm
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W C Greene
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Mopman and I do in fact belong to a group of fellows who meet once a month at another gent's place with a large, beautiful layout...but we never operate it! Maybe someone will bring a loco or car to see how it does, but no real operation goes on. Now, this could be due to the fact that we are all OLD, or maybe operations are WORK, or everyone is waiting for snacks & drinks and chewing the fat and watching train videos. When we met here at my layout in the back yard, we didn't operate anything...could be due to the 2 cases of beer that were brought. Many factors contribute to the lack of operations. My layout is set up so that maybe at most 3 guys could run, I have an ore hauler and there are really only 2 engineer jobs...pick up and set out and smelter switching. Of course, there's the tourist train which could occupy a third man. At the moment, I only have 2 transmitters so the 3 man crew is pretty much out. One of these days Alice...bang, zoom...

                           Woodie



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 Posted: Sun Apr 17th, 2011 12:13 am
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mopman
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Woodie, two man crews per transmitter could be used and that would be four.  Also, if I sign on, I can bring my own transmitter and then there were six and that would probably be the max just as on my layout.

However, my problem is getting a single op session going without the club because as you know most of them don't dig operation.  If I could get you (Woodie), Sullivan and Ban, that would make for the perfect "first run" with multiple operators with the car card/waybill system.  I'll say it again, the problem is getting everyone on the same schedule.  Once you get past the initial "first run", I'll bet it will be easier to get a crew together for the next session.  "If you build it, they will come".



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 Posted: Sun Apr 17th, 2011 12:47 am
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W C Greene
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You are right...an engineer and flunkee, er...brakeman...to pull the pins and handle the links! I love it! That's right, all operators would need to be on the job so it may need to happen after all of us are retired (soon) so time is not a problem...we won't have anything else to do..We can always call Bill, he would be the Super who naps between trains.

                              PH's flunkee



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