Operating A Small Layout

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by trainwhiz20, Jul 23, 2005.

  1. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Hey guys.

    I need some help. I've been at club operating sessions, but now I have to buckle down and adjust to something a lot smaller--a 4x7 HO layout.

    Here is the track scematic:

    I have never done a card/waybill system, and have no idea how to set it up. I know the basics of loads/empties, but I could really use some help on customizing it for my layout.

    P.S.--The top track (the last platform at the station) continues to the 'outside world', and the ATSF mainline in the midwest.

    The industries are small, we have a oil depot which serves as a holding station for gas stations in the county, and a loading dock, where boxcars are loaded with varied amount of goods from the nearby town of black river.

    Passenger Ops. are another aspect, too. We'll cover that later, as I can get started on that. It's the frieght area I need help in.

    I've got my switcher and cars all set to go, I just need your help! :thumb:
  2. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    There was an article in MR recently (within the last few years... ;) ) that showed a guy and his operating group (one other guy) running a small layout - about 4x8 - with prototypical paperwork. That is something that might work for you...

    A train from outside would deliver a cut of cars for the local switcher to deliver. With it would come a switch list and possibly some other paperwork. How their lists were generated I do not recall, but it would be fairly straightforward to come up with some sort of randomizing scheme to 1) place cars on the layout that are already in use a local industries, and 2) set up the incoming train.

    To get started, you could even use colour coded dots... Cars with blue dots go to the "blue" industry, etc. You'd still want some sort of randomization with a ceck to make sure you are not trying to send a petroleum tanker to pick up fresh fruit, for example.

    Anyway, hope that helps, and gets you started. I'd offer to look up the article, but all my magazines are currently packed. you might try the index of mags at trains.com if you want to track that specific article.

  3. that there was an artical on it. i have that book with the info in it. if your still looking i can try and run copys of it and email them to you..... as i failed many times do the online posting:p
  4. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

  5. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    If you go to the "How To" page of the Railroad Links in my signature you can find some information and ideas. :thumb:
  6. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    How about a variation of John Allen's Timesaver.

    Find out how many cars can fit the passing siding between the two switches, w/o fouling the switches---hopefully as many as three plus a switch engine, but no more.

    Place a tank car at the depot, a box car at the loading dock. Leave the free siding to the right open.

    Make sure there is one of each type on that passing siding as well.

    Place a short commuter train, an engine and a couple of coaches, on the inside track of the station and a short way freight on the outside track.

    Finally, place a yard limit sign off of each switch from the passing siding, down the main in each direction a distance of one switcher and one freight car and an inch or two from the points.

    The Object: to exchange the related cars from each industry as an empty for an incoming full one from the train in the siding in as short a time---regardless of the number of moves---as possible. The extra car serves as an obstacle to be switched around as part of the train to be shipped elsewhere. This must be done while regularly scheduled freights and passenger trains are operating.

    The Rules:

    1. Moves may be done on the mainline but no cars are allowed to remain on the line at any time.

    2. A switcher and/or its car may not pass the yard limits at any time.

    3. The main must be cleared one minute before a scheduled train passes thru.

    4. No move may foul the points. All cars must have enough clearance to be passed.

    5. The oil depot siding can only hold two cars and a locomotive, the freight depot can only hold one car and a locomotive and the free siding, two cars and a loco.

    Penalties are one minute added to the final time for each offense with the game ending upon completion of assigned moves or a collision with a scheduled train.

    One player is required to run the scheduled trains at predetermined times, one is actively switching cars. No paper work is required as the switching is done as a local inferior to all scheduled trains.
  7. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member


    I like it. Thanks for all the replies guys. Actually, I stumbled upon this layout, the Lone Wolf and Santa Fe, and noticed his Operations page. This sounds great, but it might not be as great for a layout with so few industries. What do you guys think?

    @shaygetz--Thanks for the timesaver idea. I will definately try that. Sounds interesting.

    @Mason--I remember that article, and upon your mention of it, was able to reread it. It doesn't really work for me since it's more about prototypical paperwork, rather than operation. And as the owner of the Lone Wolf says on his page, "I already have a job, I want railroading to be fun." I appreciate the insight though.

    @Tileguy--Thanks for the link, I'll read through that.

    BTW, what do you guys think of my new logo (in my sig)? And what do you think about my recently completed Black River Depot? (See ATSF Black River thread in HO)

  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Depends on your definition of fun... Those two guys (both named Bob if I recall correctly) obviously were passionate about their paperwork... :D

    Logo is nice... Clean, easy to read. Good colours. Are you puttin git on any locos or rolling stock?

    Can you edit your post to put in a link to your ATSF thread?

  9. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    True. They were having fun with their paperwork, and maybe they enjoy that aspect of the hobby, but it just isn't for me. Too much work. :rolleyes:

    My ATSF HO Black River Subdivion

    The thread was dead for a while, while I was absent from The Gauge, but now I'm back, and progress is happening every day on the layout. It's amazing, really. Latest pictures are of the depot.

    I too like the logo. At a later date I might try decaling a boxcar. Maybe. I've been looking through topics at the Guage for refrences...

    Thanks Andrew. :D
  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I had a thought about the logo after reading it several times...

    To me, it reads "Black River, ATSF Subdivision" which seems out of order. I think it is more logical to read "Black River" and "Subdivision" together, so I made this alternate version for your consideration (not animated).

    EDIT - for some reason, it chose to make the white background transparent, but you get the idea...


    Attached Files:

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