This is the "paperwork" portion of the prep - I already set up the trains. Now comes the "fun" part - filling out all the paperwork(!). Thanks to MikeR, the traffic is generated by a cool spreadsheet, but I still have to fill out all the switchlists (and clearance cards, and orders) by hand.
One of these days, I think I may just bite the bullet and convert to car cards - or at least something more automated. But until then, I'll keep my pencil sharpened...
Your lament in re CC/WB is interesting as I look longingly at your spreadsheet, now having a full set of completed Car cards and Waybills. They, too, do require fiddling.
Hey Roger and thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! I'd love to hear more about your CC/WB experience, since I'd expect (now that they're all completed) that operations would now be pretty automatic/automated - all you have to do to set up the next session is flip the waybills in the boxes, no?Delete
The system I use is admittedly pretty flexible, but it basically requires a full, manual setup each time, with everything written again from scratch. The only thing automated is the generation of the cars.
I'm admittedly still learning how best to operate the layout, but I want it to be as prototypical as possible. Only problem is that I don't have a prototypical number of clerks and agents working for me! %^)
Approaching the 37 th session next weekend I still am "learning" but have some thoughts:
Next time if there is one I will plan for OPS from the onset. No more kludge track plans and "make it works."
I'm a strong believer in ground throws as they slow crews down, work first time and in truth are more prototypical
Coupler height and swing (I use only KD #5s) is critical as it weight. I try for about 75% of NMRA standard. All truck pockets get reamed out twice a year---amazing what you get in that process.
Crews do get better over time. I'm part of a 15 - 20 person group here in the DC area and most of the folks are really pretty good, most of them.
My goal is to never re-stage, just move the mistakes with the next session. But I do move cars that are way off base, sometimes.
My Train instructions are CONSTANTLY being redrawn but, sadly, crews really do not read them nor do they follow them.
I try for constant improvement in reliability (make it work, always) rather than new track or more complexity or a new signal system (never), most of the time.
If your travels ever get you here to the DC area, we can put together an ops session on pretty short notice. Hope to do so.