So far the Tabs have been working very well for us, everyone loves them. It has reduced the amount of paperwork I need to print off per session and now there is no need for the crews to carry anything around but the throttles.
One issue I've been struggling with however are the captive service cars. One of the problems is that some of those cars do not reach El Dorado yard in time before one of the Turns leaves El Dorado yard. Likewise the W&OV Razorback makes it to El Dorado and leaves the yard before some of the captive service cars can return to Malvern as well.
So what we've been doing is to keep a supply of these captive service cars in El Dorado on a track we've designated as the "Pool Track" Basically there is a day delay before these get switched on to the proper train. Now when these cars are called for, the El Dorado crew collects them from the Pool Track.
I also, while staging the layout, have to go through and make sure there are enough of these cars on hand that I can tab for that session. It can get a bit confusing at times, both for me and the crew as the tabs we are using now are some of the same tabs with the same color and designations for where they are coming from and and going to.
After our last session a month ago, Quin started thinking about how to correct this as we had a few issues with misplaced cars.
What he came up with was to make a new Tab, color it orange for El Dorado and place a "Y" on it. After further disscusion we decided to go a bit different route. Since pick up tabs are WHITE, I would keep these new tabs White as well. Instead of a "Y" I would use the designation "EDY" for El Dorado Yard.
So now when I stage the layout and I start placing the WHITE pickup tabs, I'll place a white tab with "EDY" on the captive service cars that will be picked up. Now I can tell the crews WHITE tabs are the tabs you pick up from and industry, period, regardless what designation is on the tab. In Malvern this gets kind of confusing as there can be three colors of tabs that need to be picked up: White, Blue and Green!
When the white tabbed cars get to El Dorado, the yard crew can now easily separate the white NB, SB and EDY tabs and not worry about which track to put them on. Likewise, when I stage the layout I can easily remove just the EDY tabs and can reload the captive service cars with the proper destination tabs for that session.
Clear as MUD? Hopefully it will be.
In this case, the pulpwood flat is empty and sitting on the Crushmoore pulpwood spur and will ultimately return to the ICG at Ruston, LA. The Malvern Switcher will pick it up because it's a WHITE tab. When it reaches Malvern later, the El Dorado yard crew will just place it in the yard along with everything else. Then when I restage the layout, if needed I'll place a BLUE ICG tab on it so the yard crew can add it to the Winnfield Turn. If it's not called for, it will just sit at El Dorado without a tab until it's needed in a future session.
We'll see how it works on the next session, which will be shortly I hope...