I don't know a thing, so...

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by CN1, Mar 21, 2004.

  1. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    ........be patient.

    I have read almost everything here about "Hot to get started" in operations. I have many questions, I don't know where to start. I'll give a try.


    I need to make up a card for every piece of rolling stock I have, with such info as: type of car, size, loaded weight, owner/leaser, reporting mark and serial number. Right? :confused:

    Then what? :confused:

    I don't understand what you do with this. You put it in a pocket? The pocket is situated on the fascia where the industry is?:confused:

    How does it follow the car? What do you do with it? Are you supposed to write on it and then throw it away at the end of the session?:confused:


    Waybills? Is it like the "game plan" of the train? if so, do you have one waybills per train? Per operator? Per session?:confused:

    I'm sorry but I think I need visual aids:eek: :confused:
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    There are a lot of ways to do it.
    Think of this method:
    Each car card lists 4 locations where the car can go -- alternate loadiing and unloading destinations.
    You need 2 sets of "pockets" -- "out" and "in". Put a double pocket at each town or yard or siding. Put the car cards for all the cars that are at that location in the "out" pocket. Put a paper clip on the card showing where the car goes next.
    Each train conductor has another pocket. When they arrive at a town, the check the "out" for cars going in their direction. they pick up the cars (or as many as they can pull) and the cards and take them to the destination (or a yard). The cards are put in the "in" pocket where the cars are left. (If the cars are being dropped to go to another train, put it in the "out".) At the end of the session, the designated flunky takes all the "in" cards and moves them to the "out" pocket and move the paper clip to the next destination, ready for the next session.
    This is a simple way to do it. It can be made fancier.
    You can get computer programs where the car cards are electronic, and all the conductor gets is a list of what cars move where.
  3. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Ok it helps.... so let's try this, if you don't mind. Let say I have the following:

    2 40" boxcar
    2 50" boxcar
    1 tank car

    (1) I have a card for everyone of them with all the details such has:eek:wner/leaser, capacity, loaded weight, serial number, reporting mark...right?:confused:

    *I have 2 forty-foot boxcar sitting at yard AA, empty waiting for their next assignment. So their own cards will be in a pocket (glue to the fascia) across that yard in the "out" pocket. Right? :confused:

    *There's one fifty-foot boxcar sitting at industry BB, full wiating to go somewhere... lets say at wharehouse CC. Again there's a pocket with the car card in it. In the "out" pocket with a paperclip and paper attached to the car saying where it's going. Right?:confused:

    *Finaly the remainder is sitting at a sidding (do I need a pocket there too??) wiaiting to be pick up. They are empty. They are going to Wharehouse DD.

    How do we proceed next?

    Thank you for taking the time
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    In the scheme I outlined, the boxcar at BB will have a list of places, say BB CC GG HH. since it's at BB, you moce the paperclip to CC. When your local comes along to BB, the conductor looks at the card and decides whether CC is in the direction he's going. If it is, he picks up the car in the train and adds the card to the collection he has. He also drops any car in the train that's destined for BB and puts the card in the "in" box.
    If the local goes to CC, they will drop car and card there. If they don't, they drop the car in a yard where another train can pick it up and take it to CC. This time the card is put in the "out" pocket because it can be moved immediately -- no waiting to unload. (On a big club layout, there may be a couple of yards on the way.)
    Depending on the size of the layout, you may only need one set of pockets for a town, or a whole series of them. If the Black Rock mine takes hopper by the score, it will need its own pocket.
    The image I have of the cards shows the 4 destinations down one side , with the paperclip encircling one of them.
    I've said 4 destinations. You can have cars routed among a lot more or some with only two. If every car has 4, your operating sessions may become familiar.
  5. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I've set this up with the idea that it takes overnight, that is, until the next "session" to load/unload a car. That's why I said you move the cards from in to out between sessions.
    You can vary the rules. If you limit trains to five cars, some of the cars may get left behind.
    For test purposes, you might just use a separate piece of paper with the routing on it. This will also keep your car card clean. The important information on the car card are road name/reporting marks and car number and car type. It's hard to work with just reporting marks on some private owner cars, or cars that say Southern Pacific but carry TNO.
    No duplicate numbers. :thumb: You'll have to relabel the bargain string of Athearn ATSF boxcards.
  6. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Thanks David. I appreciate this. I think I'll have more questions in a bit.

    you said "The image I have of the cards shows the 4 destinations down one side , with the paperclip encircling one of them."

    Where's the image?

    thanks again
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The image, I'm afraid, is all in my mind. :oops:
    I've just given you some ideas to work with, and one method that has been used.
    I didn't talk about waybills. They aren't needed with this system, but they add interest when you know what you're carrying.
  8. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    I think I got it......maybe...


    Now, I'm afraid I will beat this horse to death...

    About the car cards, do they have their own pocket?
    Something like this maybe :confused: http://home.cablerocket.com/~crowley/mvc-016s.jpg

    I'm kind of confused with the above link.
    It says that these are the car cards
    but I don't see any description of the car?

    It says that these are Waybills card. But I see a boxcar description.... :confused:

    It goes on briefly to explain how this system works,
    Am I right to think that you can make your own system?

    The more I learn the more confused I am. It seems to me that this should be simple, but for some reason I'm not grasping the essentials here.......
  9. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    This is good! CN1, your questions and Chris' answers helped me make beter sense of cards in operations. I've read explanations of it before but I glaze over without fully understanding! I'd really like to SEE it in action but this thread is the next best thing.
  10. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Ralph I feel like a dog watching TV!! It's all very confusing but it's starting to make more sense.

    Too bad we don't live in the same area. I would realy like to see this in real time too......
  11. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    "The nice thing about standards is that there are so many of them." was said about computers, but it applies here.
    This system is different than the one I described. It's more flexible, but needs more parts. In his system, you have a job that needs doing, described on the waybill -- boxcar from BB to CC. You have to find a car to do the job.

    There have been many system over the years. My friend Bill has holes in the roofs of many of his cars from a system that used thumbtacks. Another has little clear plastic clips where they put coloured card markers to tell where the card has to go. Most of my operating has been with computer generated lists.
    I was decribing an index card with the car details at the top and the movement sequence down the side. You could vary it by having the movements on a separate slip of paper that would get changed when it's done. Otherwise, you learn that every time you have the Santa Fe stock car, it moves from Old McGregor's farm to the cattle show, then from the race track to the meat packing plant. :D
  12. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hello CN1...!

    Take a look at this post with a picture of the car card / waybill pockets we use at the local modular club.

    Here are several links to programs (some I have actually seen, others are just recommended links) that help to inventory your rolling stock and locos and also create car cards.

    This first one is from a guy in our local club ( www.ovar.ca ) - it is a modified Access db.


    These are just recommended sites or sites I have found by accident ( :D )


    Hope that helps! :)

  13. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    David, it does help me a lot.
    It starting to make more sense.

    I just caught on that the Card Cards have to be big enough to create somekind of pocket (bottom part fold on itself) and that is where you will be putting the waybill (wich is the card that tells where the car has to go).

    If I understand this correctly, if a car goes to AA, BB,CC and then DD, it will have 4 Waybill cards in the Car Card Pocket. Right?

    At everyplace where I intend to pick-up/drop-off a car (siddings, Industries or yards) there should be somekind of permanent pockets (That can hold a number of Car Cards with their waybills) attached/screwed/glued on the fascia.

    These pockets should have an "in" and "out" sections, so that way you could tell what needs to stay there and what needs to be pickup.

    The operating session ends when all the work as been done.

    At the end of the session all waybills are pick-up and shuffle back in the pile and ready for the next operating session.

  14. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    Now about the waybills:)

    That card can be use 4 ways. Right? Just like a plain playing card.

    How do you decided what you will put in a waybills?

    How many waybills do you do?

    No two waybills are the same. Right?
  15. Tad

    Tad Member

    These are links to a series of articles that you may find helpful. They were written by Tony Koester .

    Enhanced car forwarding on the Midland Road


    Part one: Car cards and waybills


    Part two: Fill out a waybill


    Part three: The "VIA" line


    Part four: Other routing aids


    Part five: Bill boxes and cycling the waybills


    Part six: Empty-car orders


    Part seven: Mine-block forms and card packets


    Part eight: Bridge traffic


    Improved handling for empty freight cars


    One option for getting a starter pack of card cards, waybills, and bill boxes can be obtained here for $29.95:


    In Product Search by Keyword enter


    Then click GO.

    The instruction sheet can be viewed here:

  16. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

  17. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The waybills only need to be logical. 4 locations works neatly with 2 sided paper. It is convenient because you look at the waybill and if it shows where the car is now, you turn it to the next location and move the car. (You need some indication if it's rotate or turn over.) You'll have AA and BB on one side and CC and DD on the other. BB will be upside down to AA.
    You can also make waybills with 2 locations, say, coal mine and power plant. When you match the waybill to the car card, the conductor finds the empty car in a yard, moves it to the coal mine. It stays overnight and then is taken to the power plant. Another overnight to unload and then it returns to the yard. Have a "return to yard YY" on the car card.
    You can have a bunch of identical waybills, if the power plant needs 12 carloads a day.
    What do you put on the waybills? Something logical. Specify the load. If you run reefers, you may have them taken for icing before being loaded. (When Herb Mitchell operated with us, we acquired "Mitchell Herbicides". One of their loads was "dead Herbs". :D )
  18. CN1

    CN1 Active Member


    Now let me ponder all this..
    :eek: :wave:
  19. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Don't ponder; make up a few cards and try it on your layout. You don't need fancy apparatus because you may choose a different system when you'r done. Thumbtack some envelopes to the side of the layout or just lay the cards on the scenery.
  20. CN1

    CN1 Active Member

    It's getting easier now... think

    Alright! The Car Cards and Waybills make more sense now, so I'll use my computer to make them up. I'll try a trial run soon to see what happens. I suppose it would be more fun with another operator:D

    How do you decided which car will go where? and when? Do you shuffle the Waybills beforehand/ like Monopoly cards?

    As far as the Switch list is concern, that would only apply for Switcher making or breaking up trains, right?

    Thanks to everyone and especially David (60103) for helping me out on this. :thumb: :wave: :wave:

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