Moving to Car cards

My old operating system was a lot of work

     I have been operating my various N Scale layouts since about 1970 or so. My original cards were more of what to move and where to. These were written up by my long time friend Peter Hyde on 5"x 7"index cards and worked quite well. Of course in those days my layout was using Cab Control using the English Duet throttle with only one remote throttle available with which to run trains. So we had a card for Cab A and a card for Cab B. Looking back I do not know how we managed to have so much fun considering the constraints we had and what is available now. The locos only just ran and my roster at the time only consisted of 1 Minitrix U28, a Minitrix Fairbanks Morse, a Rivarossi Berkshire (that would not pull the skin off a rice pudding), a Sekisui Hudson and PA A unit.
     I used to allow myself two pound a week to purchase one box car a week. Anyway enough of this old stuff suffice to say we had some great times running trains until the wee hours of the morning.

Don't they look old

      So as you can see these are very old however they served their purpose very well for the time.
      On my current RR I had an operator stationed at each town and had made up a timetable of the Trains that would arrive along with "From" and "to" with instructions of what to do with each train before passing the train on to the next town. On some occasions this could take me up to 4 hours by the time I staged each loco and car into its appropriate location. This system lasted until I moved to DCC as mentioned in my last blog.

Car Cards
     On a trip to the USA back in 2005 I had the good fortune to visit Jim Younkins Mud bay & Southern RR quite a few years before moving to DCC. Jim was already using car cards ( as too a good friend Ron here in Melbourne) however Jim had pictures of each piece of rolling stock on its own Car Card. What a neat idea and one to bring back home. John Fahey was the first to go this way and so as soon as my layout was converted to DCC I started in this direction also. Lots of photo's and downloading to John Fahey and he was able in a very quick time set up all of my cards with the cars image ready for printing, cutting and folding. If I recall there was over 160 cards to cut, fold and stick to get them finished ready for me to write up each of the four way waybills.

Tools of the trade for assembling my car cards. Can you see the invisible tape.

A finished version with the car and number for easy recognition by my crew.

John also designed the way bill sheets so we could print them on both side for the 4 ways
     John did a fab job of cropping the car images so they stand out easily on the cards, thanks John.
     Well the next week was taken up writing up my waybills all in pencil so I could make changes easily without wasting cards.
Car Card Boxes
     I made these using 3 mm MDF and cut them all out using my table saw. In fact I think I have made many sets for friends layouts as many of us moved to this format of operating. They went together quite well and with a coat of flat black to match my fascia they were ready to install.

Three pockets, New arrivals, Loading or unloading and Ready for departure.

As almost all of my scenery is complete I added a small shelf to allow the guys to rest the cards during switching.
They work pretty well although sometimes they could be longer.

Here is a card car box located at Augusta with train cards hanging below. the white piece above is a track plan for crew to see where they are on the layout. A newer version just added is black with white lines and looks a lot better.

I also made boxes for my locomotives so that they get rotated after each run. 
Well that's about it for today, Hope you are having fun running your layout.

1 comment:

  1. This is an informative and well illustrated post, Rod.

    I've pirated an idea for a car-card sorting rack from Rob's "Pacifico" layout. I'm keen to hear what you guys think of the prototype that I have installed.