Thursday, May 12, 2016

"What am I supposed to do now?"

Another project off my list of things to do while I'm waiting for time to get back to my cabinets.

I've been thinking about this for some time now, ever since the first few full blown sessions, before most of the crews had any ideas of what to do after having a throttle thrown in their hands!

Normally I would get a "Deer in the headlight look" or the first question was "What do I do now?"  In the past I've explained how and what each train does and what's expected of the crew and their responsibilities were.  But there is a lot to digest and to retain.  

Several weeks ago I was chatting with Greg in Texas (as he was thinking about a possible trip). During the phone call he asked if I had some sort of rule book or instructions?  I said no, but have been thinking of trying to come up with something.

So after discussing it with a few of the crew, Greg and Steven I sat down and came up with this.  These are printed on 3-7/8"w x 6-7/8"t  pieces of paper.  I picked up some clear plastic ID badges off of eBay and also grabbed a few lanyards with swivel snaps so we didn't need to carry them in hand.

One side has the general Operating Rules of the layout, the other side has the basic instructions for each train.  The instructions only explain what each train does during the session.  I left it up to the crews to decide how the cars are to be switched once they reach the industries.  

As a bonus, the four lanyards matches the colored tabs that each train works with. The Winnfield Turn works with Blue tabs so it's lanyard is blue. The Haskell Turn is green, The W&OV Razorback is Yellow.  I chose Red for the Main Yard operator. The rest will use velcro to keep them near there needed location,   I also added roads logo to each of the instructions.

We'll see how this works on the next session...


  1. I like the size pocket you went with. Large enough to be read easily, but not so big that it is cumbersome to have hanging around your neck.

    1. Well that was my goal, thanks. I first tried a 3x5 but that just wouldn't cut it, too small. Next I tried a 6x8 but waaaaay too big, had plenty of room for the verbage though. Then I found a 4x7 on eBay and remembered I could custom size the print out.
      I think these will work just fine? I hope?

  2. I like what you've done with these instructions, Allen, and good luck with getting people to use them. When I first started ops sessions like this I provided brief instructions on how to operate each train, but some of the guys wanted more detail. So I now provide a typed sheet (one-third of an A4 page) with detailed instructions, and a summary of the instructions on the train-card cover, very similar to what you've done.

    When I first provided the detailed instructions, one of my operators commented that he started to read them, but his eyes glazed over.

    On another occasion, I noted that one of my most experienced operators was stopping his passenger train at all stations, even though it was supposed to run express through most towns. When I challenged him as to what he was doing he told me that I should have included that information in the train instructions; so I turned his train pack over and showed him that I had! He had not read either set of instructions.

    The difficulty is in providing enough information for the operator to know what the train is to do, without providing so much that they don't read it properly.

    1. LMAO!!!
      It's becoming the way of the world these days Ron. No one wants to read anymore, let alone take responsibility for their actions.

      Not sure how much these will be used, or who will even need them. I figured I'd waste my time anyway just incase. If nothing else it added a post to my blog :)

      Once again, sorry that I just noticed this post. Have no idea why it didn't show up like they normally have in the past.

  3. fwiw, I use passport vinyl pockets and print everything on 4 x 6" cards.

    I will be stealing your lanyard idea!

    1. Please do Gene! I got them off eBay for a buck each.
      I started with 3x5 index cards, but they were way too small, so I tried a few other sizes and finally settled on the 4x7's

  4. Sweet! Can't wait to get a chance to use one of those!!