It's been said many times before, but one of the many benefits of having regular operating sessions on your layout is the
added pressure gentle encouragement one gets to have something "new" to show each session. The most ambitious among us have a new or newly-weathered engine for the crews to operate; maybe even have a whole new scene completed the crews can enjoy running through. Or maybe you finally installed that crossover that everybody's been harping on bugging you about patiently asking you to get to.
But one doesn't always have the time for the grand gesture - especially if the ops sessions are scheduled frequently, or if life just gets in the way. Don't worry though - "it's the thought that counts" counts with your crews as well.
For my most-recent ops session, I wish I had something impressive to show or share after the 5 month hiatus, but unfortunately, I could barely make sure there was still a layout to run at all, much less work much on it. But I was still able to do a little "something" to make the lives of my operators just that little bit easier - especially considering all the prototype paperwork I make them manage. . . .
Yup - pen(cil) holders. I wish I could claim this as an original idea, but I know I saw it somewhere and just can't remember where. But I knew when I saw it that I had to
steal adapt it to my operations.
They're certainly nothing complicated - and only cost a few bucks - but these things fit perfectly on the little clipboards I provide to my operators. And it gives them a handy place to put their pencils - much better than in their teeth, behind their ears, in their hair (ahem - those who have it still), or - worse of all - on the scenery (for when I actually have more scenery to worry about!).
Granted, they didn't get all the ooohing and aahhing that a new scenicked section of railroad would have, but I know the thought was appreciated just the same.
Be sure to let me know if you try this for your operators - and especially let us know if you have any helpful ops tips too!