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Three Keys to Successful Operations

Components of a fun and engaging op session


Creating unique operator job roles and train consists helps tell the story of your layout and op session. Rather than mixed freight after mixed freight passing relentlessly in front of the viewer, a hotshot eastbound train of reefers blasts pass the idling drag freight of beets. Or imagine "clocker" passenger movements weaving around maximum tonnage coal trains. Developing varied roles and schedules better reflects the atmosphere of your real or imagined prototype and creates a model of a railroad from your collection of railroad models.



Interplay between operators and trains increases op session interest and enjoyment. Instead of different independent trains sharing one layout, the relationship between crews becomes important. Interaction also makes the various operator roles (dispatcher, yard crew, conductors, agents, etc.) more realistic and rewarding



One of the challenges in developing a successful operating scheme is balancing workloads between road and yard, local and through trains, dispatcher and train crews, etc. There are also trade-offs to be made between staging and siding capacities, ops session intensity and enjoyment, and rules vs. op crew initiative. I can help you identify the key competing areas, manage the compromises, and insure a rewarding balance for your sessions on an existing or planned layout.

I can help

Whether it's helping develop an ops plan from scratch, suggesting improvements to your existing scheme, or suggesting systems and documents to increase your operators' (and your own!) enjoyment, let's discuss your interests and layout.

Examples and ideas

See the clinics on operation elsewhere on this site – and consider how the Three Keys might enhance your operations.

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Operating inspiration takes many forms

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