Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tweaking the Schedule (An ongoing process)

Frankly, other than ballasting some track (see Wordless Wednesday from the last couple of weeks) and making up some Super Trees I haven't done much on the layout since last months' Sea Trials test session. We've been busy with other summer activities. I did take a few moments to share a revised timetable with Bob Warren, the dispatcher from the session to get his input. Here's the revised (once again) timetable draft based on what I learned at last month's session:

Schedule shows three northbound "extras" - these of course will not be on the "real" timetable. The times for these through White River Junction comes from the "Manifest" schedules which are included in the prototype employee timetable. In general the railroad ran three northbound extras every weekday... so we need to be prepared to do the same.
Some notes based on where this currently sits:
1. Big lull in midday with "maybe" the "extra" northbound local... and not much else going on.
2. I should be able to re-use the equipment for 20/21 and 307/332 with some manual fiddling during the session. Good news since it limits the amount of passenger equipment I have to buy. Really good news since it also means I only need to stage one train on each end of the layout prior to session starting, clearing up a staging track at each end of the railroad.
3. No accommodation on schedule plan for second sections and the like.
 As we learned last month, having both locals out of the railroad at the same time can quickly bog things down. We could have handled some of it differently. but given that we were working with inconsistent schedules (strictly my fault!) and all new crew on a new railroad I think we did pretty well!
Bob's comments were interesting - and I'm looking into incorporating them into the ops plan:


Comments on the revised TT follow:

PAPER MILL.  Based on the sea trials lineup NO430 has a pickup in Everett.  I expect these are loaded cars of paper from the mill.  Who switches out these loads?  Here is my thought working with the schedule you provided.  NO211 can either leave WRJ 2 hours earlier or NO430 can leave St. Albans 2 hours later.  Delaying NO430 seems preferable because it gives the WRJ YM more time to do a good job making up NO211.  Since a delayed NO430 has only to cope with NO303 (that NB extra is not his problem) he should be able to stay on schedule.  Finally the mill has a 7AM cutoff for loaded paper cars, giving NO211 plenty of time to get these cars of paper ready for NO430 to pick up.  And there is a second cutoff at 4PM for cars to be picked up by NO210.
MIDDAY LULL.  Advance the clock 3 hours at 9AM.  Tell the guy on NO211 they went for beans (he has time for a Pepsi and a couple of pretzels).  Since NO211 is an extra this doesn’t affect his train.
THE VERMONTER.  I have an April 1952 Official Guide and that CV schedule calls for NO304 and NO404 to arrive at WRJ at 12:30 AM.  What doesn’t seem logical is the basis for the 2 different schedules.
CLASS.   It seems odd that all CV freights were 4th class.  Most RRs that I’ve known had 3 classes:  1/c passenger, 2/c through freights, and 3/c local freights.
DISPATCHING.  I find it often difficult to dispatch without an operator.  But making all of the NB freights extras makes this scheme look pretty simple.  I think the CV was on to something.
SEA TRIAL.  You used the term sea trial, but in my experience these always went well.  But they should have.  By the time I came along there weren’t any mysteries about Gearing Class DDs.  I’m thinking a first test flight where the pilot circles the field and immediately lands.  In the CV Roxbury case I would say that it exceeded expectations.  Good time



"Paper Scenery"
Way back when, "Boomer Pete" (one of Al Kalmbach's pen names) wrote a description of the "paper scenery" you can use as a means of expanding your layout. Things like schedules, posters, and switchlists are all examples of "railroad paper scenery." As I cleaned up after the test session I ran across Train Order no. 1 and the corresponding clearance card. Certainly paper scenery! I might have to frame these!