Author Topic: CAR CARD OPERATIONS  (Read 14976 times)

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superchief

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Re: CAR CARD OPERATIONS
« Reply #45 on: May 25, 2020, 11:16:01 AM »
+1
I have operated on Dean(colddriver) with the tabs and have watched Mark Dance's video and spoke with him 2 years ago at sound rails and it convinced me to go with car tabs. I have held about 15 sessions since and I am not going back to computer switch lists or car cards. I have about 900 cars on the layout and it took a while to make the tabs( it would of taken longer to fill out the car cards!!) I did not see it listed before but the tab is painted(this will tell to town the car will go to) and then some marking on the colored tab( this will tell where in the town to car is to be spotted). So a Tank or coal car with a yellow tab mark with "JF" will go to the town of Marceline, MO. and will be spotted at Johnson Fuels. This make classing the cars in the yard very simple and blocking very easy!!! For smooth roof passenger cars and tank cars I bought some poster tack and put a little ball under the tab and the tab stays put. I think the tabs work great and as we all get a bit older reading some of the numbers id getting hard, like on the lower section of the tank cars.
                                                                                 Gordon Bliss - Santa Fe-All the Way

Rossford Yard

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Re: CAR CARD OPERATIONS
« Reply #46 on: May 26, 2020, 07:37:45 AM »
0
I have operated on Dean(colddriver) with the tabs and have watched Mark Dance's video and spoke with him 2 years ago at sound rails and it convinced me to go with car tabs. I have held about 15 sessions since and I am not going back to computer switch lists or car cards. I have about 900 cars on the layout and it took a while to make the tabs( it would of taken longer to fill out the car cards!!) I did not see it listed before but the tab is painted(this will tell to town the car will go to) and then some marking on the colored tab( this will tell where in the town to car is to be spotted). So a Tank or coal car with a yellow tab mark with "JF" will go to the town of Marceline, MO. and will be spotted at Johnson Fuels. This make classing the cars in the yard very simple and blocking very easy!!! For smooth roof passenger cars and tank cars I bought some poster tack and put a little ball under the tab and the tab stays put. I think the tabs work great and as we all get a bit older reading some of the numbers id getting hard, like on the lower section of the tank cars.
                                                                                 Gordon Bliss - Santa Fe-All the Way

Gordon,

For some reason, I like looking at my yard tracks and seeing a string of the same color tabs on each track.  Maybe part of our satisfaction with MR ops is doing a job well done.  When having to read car nos., etc., you are never really sure.  When I see a string of yellow dots on one track, red on the next, it makes me happy.  And, if one car happens to be at the long end of a track with the wrong dot, almost impossible not to go cherry picking, but maybe I'm a bit OCD.

You have one of the great N scale Ops layouts I have seen, and no use not to enjoy that to the fullest, IMHO.

railnerd

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Re: CAR CARD OPERATIONS
« Reply #47 on: May 27, 2020, 04:14:52 AM »
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That's my HO club, Silicon Valley Lines— that session was recorded in Spring 2019.

-Dave

John

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Re: CAR CARD OPERATIONS
« Reply #48 on: May 27, 2020, 05:03:24 AM »
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That's my HO club, Silicon Valley Lines— that session was recorded in Spring 2019.

-Dave

Nice ... whats with the chain link fence partitions?

John

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Re: CAR CARD OPERATIONS
« Reply #49 on: May 27, 2020, 06:06:14 AM »
0
I found this on JMRI io groups .. its a comparison of JMRI Ops vs ShipIt ..

Hoot

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Re: CAR CARD OPERATIONS
« Reply #50 on: July 06, 2020, 09:35:56 PM »
0
I realize that this is not prototypical paperwork for the Pacific Electric, but this is for a model railroad, and I am using artwork from an era correct notepad

This is in Excel, so it can be edited as needed. I also plan to draw up a SPINS (Southern Pacific Industrial Numbing System, a map of all tracks) sheet for the branch, that is why there is a SPINS column, to match up with the track number.

That looks quite similar to something I read in MR awhile back. Jim Hediger used a form like that on his OS, he called it a wheel report. If I recall correctly it was not only easier to manage but easier for new operators to figure out. I think he made up multiples for each train (I want to say it was 10 but I could be wrong) so that each operating session not only the were the same cars showing up at the same place but the was and ebb and flow to each industry. The form tells you what type of car to put where, and the operator just picks the car in the train.

cv_acr

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Re: How about an .....
« Reply #51 on: August 18, 2020, 11:12:44 AM »
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Personally, I've never liked the 4-cycle car cards and waybills system.  I feel like it locks the layout into a never-ending and unchanging cycle that just gets repeated over and over.

Only if you use it in such a rigid fashion.

Expand your mind.

Remove the waybill when the last move is completed, and assign new ones. The CC&WB system can be EXTREMELY flexible if you make it.

R L Smith

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Re: CAR CARD OPERATIONS
« Reply #52 on: December 30, 2020, 10:48:23 PM »
+2
Just discovered this thread...  :facepalm:  Not enough hours in the week to keep up  with TRW!

I've been into ops for several years; most layouts I operated on used car cards and waybills.  I used them on my own layouts until about 10 years ago, after reading an article in NMRA Magazine (then called Scale Rails) about Industry Cards. 

Instead of having a car card for each freight car, I have a card for each industry spot. The card lists the industry name and spot (if more than 1), the type of car to be spotted (40' box, tank, coal hopper, etc). After spotting a car at the location, the card is flipped and contains much of the same info but also has instructions on where to send that car (typically the nearest interchange track) when it is picked up.  Colored dice determine how many cars are setout and picked up at each town.




The biggest advantage is, no need to read reporting marks. Also, fewer cards to write (most layouts have many more cars than they do industrial spurs). One can take the cards and hand-write a switch list or wheel report if that is your preferred method of operating. And, you won't find the same boxcar going to the same siding on a repetitive basis because no two locals will ever be the same. The use of dice provides randomness in the train makeup for each session. Said another way, each op session runs the Wayland Turn. But the consist of the Wayland Turn will be different each session - the number of cars and the industries switched are determined by the roll of the dice.

I did a PowerPoint clinic at an NMRA Division meet back in 2014 and still have it if anyone would like more details.

Ron
ELHS and NMRA member

If the women don't find you handsome, make sure they find you handy...

cv_acr

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Re: CAR CARD OPERATIONS
« Reply #53 on: October 12, 2021, 12:05:31 PM »
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I know this thread and post is a year old, and discussion has kind of died down, but I wanted to kind of go over it and add some responses/ideas/information to some of these posts in order to maybe spark some new discussion, or just new ways of thinking about things.

I noticed a few people saying they're not sure how to start, or addressing the "repetitiveness" of cc/wb (which is also an addressable "problem").

For operations on my previous N scale RR I used a variation of the common 4-cyle waybill.  While the concept and application of the system is straightforward and easy to use, getting it started stumped me. I filled out a bunch of waybills

On an individual basis, creating waybills is really simple. You just take your layout industries, and write up waybills for shipments in and out of all your industries. Move 1 empty to industry; load; Move 2 load from industry, etc.

– apparently a little too randomly - but couldn’t get things balanced. I’d have a typical 16-car train drop off cars and be leaving town with only a few cars behind 2 or 3 locos. Or too many cars. The yard would be overloaded….an industry spot would have too many cars at once.

Yes, this is the trick - but not really unique to CC/WB. Whether CC/WB, tabs, switchlists, you want to either:

- generally balance your shipments so that there's a "rough" balance of shipments heading in different directions to fill up your trains, and/or:
- figure out where your traffic (im)balances are to work out what your operating patterns should look like. It can be totally prototypical for traffic to "fall off" past a certain point (based on where large industries are, and where they ship to/from). Your 16 car train arriving and leaving half of it without picking up much could just be the operation that your layout traffic base supports. Or maybe you run an additional (regular or extra) train only to the west/east of your yard that terminates here with the overflow traffic. Dedicated industry switchers etc.

Some natural variation will actually occur with the system within yards.

Also, because this point may help out a number of the topics here, don't feel that you actually need to always use all four cycles. Use only 2 or 3 if that's all you need and leave the 4th blank. Cycle back to 1 or remove the waybill after the last move, whether that's move 2, 3, or 4.

At the end of the 4-th cycle I’d need to reposition everything for the new 1-st cycle, but to where?

Why would anything need to re-position? Just have the waybill moves crafted so that the car ends up back to its starting position so the end of the last move is the starting location of the first. If you don't remove waybills, this keeps the car(s) cycling indefinitely without any intervention.

Each waybill was for a specific car.

If you stick to this thinking, things will be repetitive and a little limited. By not explicitly pairing a waybill with only one car, the system becomes very flexible - but it does introduce more work/complexity in staging for an operating session for the owner than just turning all the waybills back to "move 1". (We'll come back to removing/replacing waybills later.)

For my new HO scale RR I wanted to give it another try, this time using both the car card and individual waybill. But I was still stumped as how to get things balanced. And if I did balance things for the first 4 cycles it would still be repetitive. Supposedly pulling the waybill and replacing with different one is the way to go, but then I’d be right back to the unbalanced situation. And waybills couldn’t be randomly placed, they’d need to match car & industry type. Maybe there’s an incredibly easy & obvious way to do this that I’m missing and/or I’m over thinking it….

This time I made car cards for each car. I listed the car’s initial location as the “EMPTY CAR – Return To” location. Then I put blank waybills (scrap paper) in each. Then I operated casually the way I have been the last 2 years since I completed track work. All along I’ve been moving cars based on what car is where, basically winging it, logically forwarding to a suitable industry, interchange, pick-up / drop-off by thru trains at the yard, etc., keeping train lengths and track capacities proper as I go. So what I did was as I made each move, I wrote it on the car card for the 1st cycle.  Then flipped to start the next cycle.

Nearing the end of the 4th cycle, it occurred to me I’d still have the repetitive and predictable situation. And replacing with a different waybill to avoid repetition would result in the unbalanced/not-proper-car-for-the-industry situation.

Try reversing the thinking on this. Achieve balance by pulling a certain number of waybills and assign them to cars (i.e. "find cars for waybills" not "find waybills for cars"). Then make up trains in staging/fiddle yard (come back to this below)

I also made a mental adjustment. I didn’t worry about continuity between cycles. For instance, a loaded boxcar headed to an off-layout destination that is picked up and left ‘overnight’ in the yard at the end of a cycle could be considered an empty – or a load - headed back to a different on-layout location at the beginning of the next cycle, although these ‘leftovers’ mostly go off-line to the interchange on the first early morning turn at the beginning of each op-session.

A question here: when you say the car is "leftover" in the yard, do you mean "terminated it's cycle in staging (including a yard used as visible staging or interchange track)" or "missed a connection in the/a on-layout classification yard"?

If it's in staging, that's the normal place to end the "cycle" and rotate to the next one. If it's on the layout, I'd suggest NOT fixing it - do maintain the "continuity" of in-transit cars on the railroad. This will effectively:
- leave cars on the layout/in the yard between sessions that leave some "starting" work in the yard for next session
- some of this can be part of the "designed" balance in the system, but a missed connection will add natural variation to what has already been criticized as a "repetitive" system.

This helps simplify as well. No need to coordinate off layout moves/locations. I also don’t dwell on off-layout shippers. I figure if I’m the guy on the ground, I don’t really care where the care came from, or what’s in it. I just need to know where I need to send it.

True. The car that goes into staging and comes back from staging the next session/cycle doesn't have to show that it's coming back from the same off-layout industry. You don't need to maintain any sort of continuity there (unless that's part of the geographical "story" you're trying to convey with the layout (e.g. there's a nearby large industry just outside of the modeled part of the layout, the staging represents a stub branch etc.))

Also for simplicity, I do not use a request-for-empty card. The waybill already notes ‘empty’ and its destination, the ‘empty’ order theoretically having been taken care of off-line at a larger yard.  (My layout has a small 3-track yard, thru trains in each direction drop/pick-up cars. I run a turn in each direction to serve a few towns and an additional turn to swap cars at an interchange)

Yep, that can be one way to enhance a CC/WB system, but your waybill cycle(s) will include the empty move to the industry.

OK, now with those specific points, we come back to the idea of not permanently having waybills, and replacing them in staging.

There are many methods to do this.

Obviously the first step is to remove the "finished" waybills from cars in staging. (Generally you will ONLY do this in staging/fiddle yards. Some exceptions for cars that return empty to on-layout yards but we'll ignore that for now.)

- randomly assign new waybills to cars in the staged train until all the cars have waybills (no re-blocking/re-staging of trains - blocking is done by assigning the waybills to appropriate cars)
- by some method (*more later), choose a certain amount of new waybills to assign in order to drive the traffic for the next session, and assign them to appropriate cars anywhere in the staging/fiddle yard, then re-block/re-stage new trains, blocking them per the assigned waybills. Cars that didn't get waybills assigned are stored.
- by some method (* more later), choose a certain amount of new waybills to assign in order to drive the on-layout traffic for the next session and assign them to cars in staged train(s) until all cars have waybills (no re-blocking/re-staging of trains - blocking is done by assigning the waybills to appropriate cars); fill out any cars not assigned waybills with generic "through" waybills  (hybrid approach)

The first and last methods will (generally) not require any breakdown or remaking of trains.
The second method (the one I use personally, and we use at the club layout) does involve breaking down trains in staging and re-blocking them, so it's more work to set up a session, but extremely flexible in the freight consists you can drive. This also allows you to have more cars than the layout operation necessarily supports, but every session will only use the number of cars that the layout does support. Additional stored cars that swap in and out during the staging process allow for more variability in the cars you see in sessions.

The method of choosing how many waybills of what type is also varied.

First you want to organize your waybills by reasonable categories, and/or your industries' shipments e.g. "Boxcars for Industry A", "Boxcars for Industry B", "Through Boxcars", "Hoppers for Industry C", etc....

Then you create a method of choosing new waybills from each category to assign to inbound cars from staging. The method could be:
- a list with a fixed amount for each industry (every session 4 for industry A, 2 for Industry B, etc.) that keeps the amount of traffic consistent every time
- randomized system using some form of card draws, die rolls, or a random number generator (I use a spreadsheet adapted from one that the club has used for years to drive a very realistic and balanced traffic flow every session)

This varies the number of cars each session - you can control the balance or variability by controlling how fixed or variable the control method is.
For example, my spreadsheet specifies a minimum and maximum for the # of waybills to assign and chooses a random number between them. There's also a frequency (%) so some industries only get cars ~50% of the time. (For no variation at all, the min/max are set the same and frequency is 100%.) If you have a very small number of such categories you could print a bunch of cards with different numbers on them and draw from a card deck.

Because only a fixed number of cars and waybills are being used per session, regardless of how many you actually have, you can have a lot more cars and waybills than are used in a session....  extra cars (and don't we all like collecting cars) won't clog the operation because the system just won't use them, but allow for variation by replacing cars so it's not the same ABC 1234 going to Industry A every other session. Extra waybills allow you to additionally shake up the system by varying destinations. e.g. you could have twenty waybills for one industry/category, and only use 3 (new ones) of them per session. If all the destinations are the same, it'll be consistent, but if you vary them, the cars will go different places. Roughly balance the system by making e.g. 1 in 5 if the waybills sending a load from the industry to staging or interchange point B instead of A.

No two sessions will ever be the same again. Unless you set up your system to be that controlled.

Notes to remember:
- only new inbound waybills are being assigned in staging. Cars at industries or in-transit on layout yards don't get replaced. Industry cars get turned to next move, in-transit cars are left alone
- only cars that have completed all their moves are replaced. Depending on how you have your cycles set up, there may be a significant percentage of cars still on move 2, 3 (on our club layout, every car has an "Empty Home Yard" and the waybill categories/"pools" are also designed to be filled and operate from a particular staging point, and the last move of the waybill always returns it to home. anything not at it's "home" point is rotating to its next cycle)
- you don't need to keep track of getting the last cycle(s) balanced returning "home". Your through traffic will vary with cars coming back to the "home" staging point, but your industry will never overload or "bunch up" or get totally derailed (pun intended) due to cars missing connections in one session because you control the inbounds through the new waybill assignment. The assignment mechanism controls the traffic balance. Balance can be adjusted by tweaking the min/max numbers and/or adding or removing waybills from the "supply" to shift the frequency of alternate destinations

More detailed notes and information on controlling "customer demand" and how this spreadsheet is construction on my blog site: http://vanderheide.ca/blog/2017/12/28/simulating-customer-demand-on-a-model-railroad/

Not saying anyone has to do any of these things, but these are some things to ponder if you want to "shake up" CC/WB and get more variation into the system.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2021, 12:28:31 PM by cv_acr »

LIRR

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Re: CAR CARD OPERATIONS
« Reply #54 on: October 14, 2021, 08:17:27 PM »
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All good comments, well explained, no disagreement.

However i’m not trying to strictly model car movements, operations for me is a way to move cars around with a purpose - yet keep it simple. I don’t want to need to move cars and/or waybills around in between op sessions.
I want to be able to go from cycle to cycle by simply flipping the waybills, or replacing with the next group


I’ve added another 4- cycles, so now it’s 16 sessions before a move is repeated.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2021, 08:42:23 PM by LIRR »

cv_acr

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Re: CAR CARD OPERATIONS
« Reply #55 on: October 15, 2021, 12:03:07 AM »
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All good comments, well explained, no disagreement.

However i’m not trying to strictly model car movements, operations for me is a way to move cars around with a purpose - yet keep it simple. I don’t want to need to move cars and/or waybills around in between op sessions.
I want to be able to go from cycle to cycle by simply flipping the waybills, or replacing with the next group

Totally fair, that's one way to do things.

Your post was just the one with the most openings for discusssion. :)