May 22, 2010

Rico is complete - now for some ops stuff

Wow, I can't believe it's been almost a month since that last posting; looking for work and doing all the search-prep classes and whatnon burns thru the days at a surprising rate.

Anyway, I did get some time on the weekends and completed the trackwork in Rico; it's completely done now, including the Enterprise branch, turnout controls, the whole deal.

Next up is adding boxes for car-cards and waybills, and alongside that is finally figuring out my operating scheme (at least a 1st draft), adding at least markers for each of the buildings, etc.  I've decided to take a somewhat non-typical approach; if you're reading this feel free to comment on the validity of the idea.

Here it is:
I want to make operations a bit more flexible, so operators feel a little more like they're responding to the current situation on the layout, rather than following a tight script of events.  Perhaps this won't work, but my idea is to use only 2-cycle waybills, and to mostly keep the waybills stored seperately from the car cards.

We play a good number of board games around here - Rail Baron, Empire Express, Silverton, etc, and most of those function w/ some type of random demand request, which is then fulfilled as efficiently as possible to make money.  Of course, ops on a model railroad have a different focus, but I've been wondering if I could borrow some of those game concepts, and see how that might work.

The sequence would be something like this:
  • At the spur (factory, mine, stockyard, etc) there are a bunch of waybills in a pocket, available for use.  Each lists the type of car needed, and a destination.  So, a mine shipping lead has a card saying it needs to ship a load of lead to Grand Jct (which is a staging location).
  • The operator grabs the waybill, walks to a yard where empties have been returned, finds an appropriate car, and loads the waybill, empty-side up.  This becomes a waybill to move the empty to the mine.
  • The car is routed to the mine w/ this waybill, sits for a while, and is magically loaded.
  • The waybill is flipped to reveal the destination (Grand Jct staging in this example).
  • The car is then routed to that location, via a scheduled or extra local, or whatever else.
  • Once arriving in staging, the waybill is removed.
  • The empty car-card has instructions for where to return the car, and it's returned.  Alternatively, another waybill could be inserted before it gets back to its home yard.
Trains would be routed via schedules, and supported with 'train cards' laying out their runs for each operator.  For passenger runs, those would be set schedules.  For freights, scheduled locals would simply take all available loads from point A, and pick up what's needed along their route.  Extras would be handled by the dispatcher.

So - what da ya think?