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Active Staging

Click on thumbnails for larger image

Re-construction efforts in 1995 provided a fiddle or active type staging or assembly area to enhance operation. The staging yards, prior to 1995, were located under the old Sage Hen peninsula where an operator, the "MOLE", was seated inside two reverse loops. The double deck staging arrangement only afforded access to the head end of the trains, making it difficult if not impossible to stage the railroad real time. The new plan would daylight the operation and move it to a location where the operator (Mole) could stand up and be provided access to the entire length of the train, yet remain out of sight from the rest of the railroad operations.

This has been accomplished and is now located behind the Jiggs view block. Both ends of the railroad terminate in a single 10 track staging yard, with vertical holding shelves for the rolling stock attached to the back of the view block. Although the rolling stock may suffer a little wear and tear the approach and design has been very successful and has exceeded our expectations. The Mole was recently remodeled with new shelves. 

Mole Yard

Mole as built in 1995
Mole mods in 2000 replaced shelves and new paint

How Things Work

Staging Cards

We have come up with a series of staging cards for each scheduled train movement. They are used by the Mole and include blocking and interchange instructions, number of cars and their destinations and departure times for each train. Two operators or Moles are used and they support the east and west ends of the railroad. 

Examples of staging cards:   white = Salt Lake to Denver    yellow = Denver to Salt Lake

Train Instructions

Each train has an instruction card providing the crew with information about the train and the work to perform. These are clipped with the waybill packet and delivered to the crew when they report for duty. I printed them on card stock and then laminated them. 

Examples of train instructions: white = trains assembled in staging yellow= trains assembled in East Yard

Paper and Car Storage

The Waybills, car cards, staging cards and train packets are stored in various ways. 

Car storage shelves and staging tracks below. Total capacity of each is around 200 cars

for a total of over 400 cars.

Staging cards at west end of the Mole. Used to identify and instructions for building trains.
Train packets at east end.
Train packets at west end.
Waybill storage racks at east end.
Waybill storage racks at west end.

Waybill Delivery System (WDS)

With the re-location of the Mole, it became necessary to find a new way of delivering the waybill packets to the crews. The old location was at the end of a peninsula, just outside the crew lounge, allowing the Mole to hand the paperwork directly to the train crew. the new location is now located at the far wall, opposite the crew lounge. I didn’t want the crew’s to have to walk to the opposite side of the layout to pickup their paper work so some sort of delivery system was needed.

After many discussions and ideas I finally settled on using 10 foot lengths of 4" drain pipe hooked together forming 2 long tubes 26 feet in length. These were placed up inside the I-beam joists and sloped in opposite directions, running from the mole down to the end of the peninsula in one direction and from the end of the peninsula back to the mole in the other direction. I then purchased 3 pine wood derby cars, attached metal clips on the tops to hold the packets (clear pocket protectors or clips to hold the car cards), replaced the plastic wheels with rubber wheels, for smooth and quiet operation and installed foam rubber stops, in the ends of the tubes, to catch the cars. The packets or clips are simply attached to the cars which are inserted into the tubes and with a slight push the way they go delivering the paperwork, back and forth, as necessary.

Delivery cars and delivery tubes
Delivery cars and delivery tubes

Operation

The UCW employs 14 to 16 crew members who gather monthly (2nd Saturday) to immerse themselves in railroad operation. Old Line Graphics style car cards are used for car routings. These have been very popular with the crews as they are easy to handle. The waybills are computer generated and have only one or two spots depending on whether they are loads or empties. We have tried many schemes in the past from tab on car to computer generated switch lists and for our style of operation and staging the present scheme seems to work the best. 

Waybills

Waybills:

Left = Thru car  from Salt Lake to Denver 

Right = spot 1 delivery to online industry and spot 2 pickup and delivery offline

Car Cards

Car cards showing reporting marks, car type and delivery info

Industry Spot Cards

Online customer deliveries are regulated using spot cards. The spot cards are printed to match the siding capacity at each industry. If there is room for 8 cars at an industry then only 8 spot cards are generated. I do this for each industry matching the number of spot cards to the siding capacity. As we run a 12 hour fast clock schedule starting at 6 AM and ending at 6 PM I generally divide the spot cards so there are some for both the Am trick and PM trick. During the billing process, before the session starts, I turn the waybills at each industry for cars that are to be picked up and remove the spot card returning them to home base with other the spot cards. For the cars that are to be delivered I insert a spot card in each car card, matching the industry on the waybill to the spot card. When all the spot cards are issued, for an industry, any cars that are left will wait for the next billing cycle. If there spot cards left they are placed in a holding area waiting for next billing cycle.

Spot Cards

AM and PM spot cars used  to regulate delivery to online customers

Crew Management

Bidding for jobs starts prior to operation with each crew member drawing out for a number chit. The jobs a selected in rotation from 1 to 25. There is an un-written rule that each crew member only bid for the jobs they are qualified on. Each member is issued a crew badge that has a magnet strip applied to the back. On the bid board, located in the crew lounge, the names of the jobs are indicated and for anything but a pool job their badge is placed next to the job. For those lucky enough to be assigned a pool job they hang their badges on the Eastbound or Westbound call board located in the layout room by Likely Tower. The Tower operator will call each crew member as they reach to the top of the board when a pool train is ready. If a crew member wishes to take a break they simply remove their badge and when running for duty place it on the bottom of the callboard and begin the rotation to the top once more.     

Bid Rotation

Number chit indicating bid order

Bid Board and Crew Badges

Bid board located in the crew lounge with crew badges attached

Callboard

Eastbound call board located by Likely Tower in the layout room there is a Westbound board as well

Timetable

Train movements are governed by signal indication, which are controlled by the dispatcher, through the CTC machine. If crew communication is necessary, it is provided by telephones located at each OS section. The signals are all three color aspect and approach lit. Each crew member is issued a Timetable which provides rules and regulations, schedules, signal indications and other information as necessary.

Timetable

Front and back cover of UCW Timetable
Front page of Timetable supplement published to support recent rules updates
Timetable supplement showing 3 color signal aspects and other updates

Fast Clocks

Fast clocks, by Time Lynx, are located at various points around the layout. They run at a 2.4 to 1 time ratio, which allows for a 12 hour operating schedule to complete in 5 real hours. The clocks are used mainly, by the Dispatcher, Mole, Yard Master and Likely Tower operator, to keep the trains moving, somewhat on time, or for clock-in-time instructions from the dispatcher to the crews. A typical operating session lasts for about 6 hours with an hour break for dinner. 

Welcome
Enter
Overview
Geographic Profile
Train Control
Construction
Lighting
Links
Staging/Operations
CTC
Photo Gallery
What's New Kelly's Scenery