Model Railroad Operations
A small crew of guests operating my Chesapeake & Atlantic
Train movements are generated using a computer program and the
Manifests are printed out beforehand.
Once you have your layout built to
a point where you can run some trains on it, you do. If you do
not know about operations, then you will just run your trains around
and around. Soon, you will become bored with it and begin to ask
yourself if that is all there is to Model Railroading. Well, let
me tell you its not. Those of us who have been in Model
Railroading for a good while and built more than a couple of
layouts, have learned that actually operating our layouts similar to a
real railroad is where the fun really is. Sure there is fun in
building the layout, but the real fun comes when you can invite a few
friends over and actually OPERATE the layout. And your layout
doesn't have to be complete or finished. As long as trains are
running, it can be set up for some operations.
So what IS model railroad Operations and how is it done? Well,
you have to set up your layout, define your industries, determine where
ship cars to, and set up some positions for your guests to operate at.
This can seem intimidating at first, particularly if you have not
done it before. Then you and your guests run trains, taking cars
to and from the industries on your layout according to a train Manifest
or Switch list, not just randomly with no purpose. Definitely not
round and round continuous running.
There are two major camps for Operations. One group advocates Car
Cards, and the other group advocates Computerized Switch Lists.
Both take about the same work in setting them up, but each has
its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are a few photos of
the two types.
|Car Cards and Waybills for
||The pockets required on a
layout for organization at each switching location
|| The Industry File
For switching purposes, you must carry around all the Cards for the
train that you are running.
At each stop, you must sort through the Cards to determine what cars
are to be set out,
then sort through the Cards in the layout boxes and determine what cars
are to be picked up.
Then switch the cars and also change out the Car Cards you are carrying.