The Woodstock Model Railroad Club invites you to come along with as together we build an empire. Stay tuned for progress updates, tips and techniques. All comments are welcome. Email

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Points to Ponder

As the new year begins and operations return to normal we should consider the direction we want to proceed. Continue our grab a train and go approach, knowing someone else will correct switching mistakes and set up trains for us, or do we want to help take ownership by learning how the layout operates and why each operation is important, and should be done correctly, for the enjoyment of everyone? If you prefer the latter, read on.  Some of the ideas listed below have been discussed before and some are new. All are designed to be educational, spread out the work, and help each member avoid mistakes, that we all make, from time to time.

Verification of rolling stock locations. Have a list at each town listing industries and the rolling stock that should be at each one. At the start of each session members will be assigned a town to check. This will get all members not only to know industries and their location but also emphasized the importance of proper spotting of rolling stock. Any errors will be corrected at once, before sessions begin.

Verify consist. Operators should do this, when picking up a train and after switching each town. If it is wrong, correct it. This will help eliminate switching errors.

Designated start time. Do we want to have a start time, e.g.. 6:30 or 7:00, or when enough members are present? No specific time.

Dispatcher. Do we want to have trains dispatched in a logical order? They could also control train movement. Operators have to ask the dispatcher for clearance to proceed to the next town. The Dispatcher should ask things like, have you verified your consist, or do it for them, are you east or west bound, are you switching the next town? We should not have 2 people switching in the same town.
  First comment from our dispatcher friend, Gary. "Stagger train starting times to vary operations and congestion on the railroad."

Do we want to identify yard tracks by, putting a number on a piece of plastic glued to the ties of each yard track, or a sign post, or an illustration of the yard on the fascia?

Two man crews. Theoretically we could double our membership. What is the advantage? Experienced members could help newer members. Two people checking switching moves and departing consists. Camradery. Foster new ideas. A new member can join a crew without having to buy all the equipment at once.

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