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Operations on the B-and-M Eastern Route

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  • #16
    Thanks, Marty. Bill, searching for "folding cup holder" turned them up for as little as $2.50 each from a marine supplier.

    Milestone: all freight cars presently on the layout have car cards. I will start on waybills as soon as I decide the best way to get text into those teeny spaces on the MicroMark blanks. A Sharpie "fine" pen is not fine enough to be easily readable at that character size.
    James

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    • #17
      Update: My old typewriter works on the MM waybills, but it's time to fix the sticky keys (clean with rubbing alcohol). And buy the cupholders, finish my two new commuter coaches and do a couple of DCC conversions. Because I've invited some Hub Division friends over for a trial Op Session on April 13.
      James

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      • #18
        James, somehow I missed this thread before but am enjoying following along as you prepare for operations. This is my favorite part of the hobby and I faced many of the same issues you are facing when I set up my first layout. One area I couldn't find any information on was how to set up a car card and waybill system. Fortunately, I have several friends in the area that I could learn from, but once I had it figured out, I set up a web page that explains how I approached it. Here is the link, should you be interested;

        http://home.comcast.net/~prrndiv/ccandwb.html

        There is a lot of information there, and this system will also tell you how many cars you need for your layout, and how many of each type. I hope this helps.

        Keep us posted on your progress with your first session. This is the fun part - watching your layout come to life!
        Mark

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        • #19
          That's an interesting write-up, Mark. I've been reading and thinking about operations for years, but I never got to the point of formalizing the "multiplier" as you do. My layout is smaller than yours, so I'm estimating about 70 freight cars for its current level of completion.

          On another note, pouring an ounce or two of rubbing alcohol through the typewriter's key pivots improved it a lot.
          James

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          • #20
            Glad you enjoyed James. If nothing else, it's food for thought. I do remember writing out all the car cards and waybills. Its borderline torture after a while! But its all worth it at the end.
            Mark

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            • #21
              My old typewriter works better (but not like new) after cleaning with rubbing alcohol, but boy does the computer keyboard feel funny after a while on something where the shift key lifts the whole carriage, weighing at least a pound. Some might say I'm spending too much time researching each waybill, but it feels right to have the Gear Works receiving castings from GSC in Granite City, Ill (not IL in my era) via NYC to Rotterdam Jct., NY, then B&M. I'm only 1/4 done, but it progresses. I've read up on LCL routes too - there will be quite a few moves. Next are grain, produce and coal moves.
              James

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              • #22
                A typewriter? What is that???

                Well, this is the tedious part - making all of those waybills, but it sounds like you are going about it the right way; thinking through the moves. Trust me, when it all comes together, it will be worth it!
                Mark

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                • #23
                  Yup, you use a different set of muscles with an old typewriter James. If you need new ones I can have Remington send you some in a boxcar from their factory in Middletown on my railroad. If you use that CRC contact cleaner it will also lube the keys and carriage.
                  Bill Shanaman

                  New Haven RR

                  Hartford Division

                  in Colorado.

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                  • #24
                    My Olympia Socialite from High School is small, light and has a dust cover, so all I ask is that it last as long as I do. Waybill the boxcar to GE River Works, Bldg. 41 Receiving, West Lynn Mass. and once it's empty I'll spot it at Bexley Freight House to be loaded with Marchant Calculators (my mother's roommate worked there when we moved out of Boston, so there are still boxes with their logo kicking around in family attics). I got to use one in HS, but that was just as the Bowmar Brain was being launched, and I've never seen another.
                    James

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                    • #25
                      Matching waybills to car cards is being quite interesting. I'd been expecting to operate even before I had any permanent track, so I'd bought John Nehrich's freight car fleet books, kept track of Ted Culotta etc. and been careful about what I bought. But matching my "1950s national average" fleet to the industries I've got reveals issues:

                      1. Too many hopper cars. If my locale wasn't coastal, power plants and GE's River works complex would use all I own. But as it was, their coal arrived by sea. Neither does my locale justify hoppers in bridge traffic, neither loaded nor empty. Even with locomotive coal and coke for GE's foundry, I only need 10% hoppers.

                      2. Just barely enough gons: GE received and shipped them, plus a couple for enginehouse ash.

                      3. Enough reefers, maybe even for the full layout. As I complete the round-the-walls oval, I will add two mid-room peninsulas, which will add several destinations for meat & produce.

                      4. The tank car surge is years away: The 2nd peninsula will add an oil terminal generating 5-10 cars a day, including some of the colorful specialized cars the manufacturers like. For now, I only need 4 on the layout, black SHPX or GATX.

                      5. A few more regional cars, for moves which they would have been assigned to. I know the AAR Car Service rules were widely ignored, but routinely using a per-diem boxcar for a mill-to-printer paper back & forth would eventually irritate someone in Accounting.

                      So far, everything has been fixed up by swapping cars between the layout and my "train show" boxes. But I've about 15 more waybills to type. I'm reasonably confident about pleasing my crew Sunday afternoon.
                      James

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                      • #26
                        This should be a great session! Good luck with it, and please share the post-mortem.

                        Thanks!

                        Pete

                        in Michigan

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                        • #27
                          Answer to #1. Send the rest of the hoppers off line as a unit train. Run it through one way or both ways. This will utilize your hoppers and give you an extra train to run.

                          #2 Never enough gons or flats for that matter.

                          #3 Think about clean out tracks for the reefers as they did get a cleaning before the next use. Same with stock cars if your going to have any. This adds interests in operations if you 'play the game' with the evolution of a car. Reefers were often used for return loads of 'clean' lading such as news print and other items that would not contaminate the vegetable loads (See #5). Meat reefers on the other hand only were used in meat service because of animal transport regulations.

                          #4 Put the scheme together now so you have it in place when you need it for the tank cars.

                          #5 It fun to mess with the accountants or bean counters. Yuk, Yuk. Bill
                          Bill Shanaman

                          New Haven RR

                          Hartford Division

                          in Colorado.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            James, be sure to follow up and let us know how the session goes. Since this is your first, there will be a lot of 'tweaking' to do as time goes on and you figure out where the shortcomings may be, if any. Good luck!
                            Mark

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                            • #29
                              A reasonably successful afternoon operating trains. A couple of people who'd been interested were unable to attend, but we had enough of a crew to run the freight schedule. During the 'pre dawn' portion of the 12:01 to noon timetable session, I was doing considerable 'piloting', dealing with a weird DCC glitch and replacing a guardrail, so no pictures of the 'Casco' working Bexley or out on the road.



                              As 'dawn' arrived, Erich's '1st Lynn Goat' was pulling Acme and the team tracks.



                              Meanwhile, Shack was figuring out what the 'Camel' needed to do in Bexley yard.



                              One thing was to give the F-3 he was using a spin on the turntable (the Motive Power Desk really needs more DCC roadswitchers and switchers).



                              Erich switches on the west lead while Shack cuts off to pick up the 'for and via Boston' cars from the east lead. Then the Camel will pull into the middle siding and end its run in staging.

                              In summary (Shack/Erich, feel free to chime in if you're members here):

                              1. The equipment stayed on the track pretty well. The T-1a Berkshire I used for the Casco doesn't have the best suspension, and I either need to adjust the tunnel portal or use diesels next time.

                              2. The roller track cleaning car needed help on some industrial tracks I rarely use when running trains by myself.

                              3. Aside from the period in which the MRC wireless dongle and its base station were not talking, the power & turnout controls did well.

                              4. The 'ease of use' aspects of my control system did their job, but the learning curve for switching in areas with power-routing turnouts can't be eliminated.

                              6. I need to write 1-page-per-train direction sheets for all the freights. People probably won't need them after their 2nd session, but they need to exist.

                              7. Not so many active waybills next time. Only one train got slightly too big, but freight execution time was longer than I'd guessed in the timetable. Another DCC switcher would let Bexley run 3 tricks while West Lynn gets two of its own.

                              8. Much of Bexley yard is hard to switch due to its location by the stairs. I need to show visitors how to maximize what they can do in the accessible part, and I need to consider how work is assigned to minimize coupling/uncoupling elsewhere.

                              9. Card shuffling/throttle resting shelves. With the momentum settings required for decent sound/motion matching, it turns out to be really useful to just lay the throttle down and tweak knobs/push buttons while doing other things as the loco starts/stops.

                              I'm going to run out the rest of the 'morning' session during the week, keeping track of timing and how much the main track gets used. And then see if I can round up a crew for May 10.
                              James

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                              • #30
                                James,

                                This sounds like a Good Afternoon all around. Glad things went well, and that the glitches were minor.

                                I'm slightly bothered by item (9) though, where you mention putting the throttle down and pushing buttons. Setting the throttle down on a layout is like leaning on the layout or strewing your paperwork all over it -- a general Op Session No-No. Is there a way you could add a support on, say, the fascia, to allow operators to set the throttle down somewhere other than on the layout? If so, this might be worth considering.

                                Overall, though, I think you can be pleased. Your Operators seem to have enjoyed themselves!

                                Pete

                                in Michigan

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