Operational Considerations/Questions When setting up operations on your layout, there are several things that must be considered. How you answer these questions greatly affects the operations and operational setting of your layout. When you start thinking about these things, it can seem overwhelming if you have never done it before. ( I know that it did for me.) These would be similar to "givens & druthers" in layout design. Instead of a physical design, here we are talking of operational design. Do you have a theme for your layout? Do you have an operational scheme for your layout? How many operators does it take to operate your layout? What city(ies) & state(s)/province(s) is your layout located in? (Not physical location, but modeled location. Real or fictional) What is your home road? What type of trains do you run? Do you have different classes of trains? What are your interchange roads? Where are your interchange junctions? What industries do you have on your layouts? What are they named? What do they ship and receive? In what types of cars? How do you decide: Who to ship to? What did you ship to them? Where to ship to? Who shipped to you? Where did they ship from? What did they ship to you? Blocking/Routing Instructions for cars? Do you make it up or do you try to make it realistic? If you use waybills: Do you use 1, 2, or 4 cycle waybills? Do your waybills stay with the car forever? Do you occasionally switch out & shuffle some or all of your way bills? Do you cycle all waybills between each session? Or do you allow loading/unloading periods for some/all cars? If so, are the periods fixed or variable? What type of traffic control do you use? Do you use timetables? If so, do you use a clock / fast clock to govern operations or merely a sequential time table that orders events in an "operational day?" Do you have a rule book? These are some of the questions that I have worked through in setting up operations for my layout. I'm sure that this list is by no means exhaustive. Do you use signals? Do you have a dispatcher? Feel free to add, subtract, debate or disagree.