Pigeon holes

Work Desk w LCL Organizer photo LCL-Rack-01_zpsc8f050ea.jpg

It’s been a while since I introduced my ideas for representing LCL and Express during operating sessions, so I thought I’d provide an update.

I’ve now created some freight receipts to represent shipments from St. Williams and Port Rowan. To make it easier for conductors to organize their paperwork, I filled these out in red ink – but it may be too obvious a difference, so I’m thinking about other ways to help operators track inbound and outbound shipments. One thought that occurred to me is to fill out all freight receipts with blue ink, but add a red dot in one corner to highlight outbound traffic.

I’ll work on that but in the meantime, I have generated enough receipts that I can start testing the system in earnest. As I started using the freight receipts while running sessions with The Daily Effort, I quickly realized I would need something to organize and hold receipts on the slide-out work desks at St. Williams and Port Rowan. I looked for something suitable at office supply stores, but came up empty handed. Therefore, I decided to make my own.

I designed a set of pigeon holes to hold receipts, making them wide enough to hold a receipt inserted lengthwise and not quite as deep as a receipt so that the conductor would be able to grab them. The pigeon holes are a lot like the boxes people mount on their fascias to hold car-cards, but designed to lie flat on the work desk. I had some nice poplar project wood to hand, so that’s what I used.
LCL-Organizers photo LCL-Rack-02_zps31e5b183.jpg

As the above photo shows, five square strips are sandwiched and glued between two boards. A third board is glued across the back so receipts could not be pushed through. This board is taller than the box and hangs below the assembly so that the finished organizers hook over the back of the work desk surface. (In the above photo, the organizer in the foreground is upside down to provide a better view of this board.) I’ll add a screw or two next time I’m under the layout to hold the organizer in place, if I decide it’s needed.

I lightly sanded all corners and edges on the finished boxes to make them “finger friendly” – a practice I learned from Steve der Garabedian of Black Walnut Studio, who has taught some excellent wood-working courses at my local Lee Valley Tools. I’ve learned lots from Steve, but that’s one lesson that I use over and over on my layout now. (Thanks Steve!)

With the back board hooked over the rear of the work desk, the organizers peek out from under the fascia when an operator slides the desk all the way open. This makes them easy to see, but keeps them out of the way: Perfect!
LCL-Organizer-Installed photo LCL-Rack-03_zps70f2b953.jpg

As the photos show, I designed these with four slots although only two are needed to sort LCL and Express. But I’m sure I’ll come up with uses for the other two slots so this is one instance where I’ve planned ahead!

18 thoughts on “Pigeon holes

  1. What a fun little project. I always enjoy these layouts. Every time I read your updates I keep finding myself thinking that the complete layout must be an absoloute blast to operate on.

    Remember the revolution in the hobby when we rose from our control panels to carry a walkaround throttle with us. Then, “operating” a model railway seemed simply limited to controlling the speed and direction of the locomotive. Here, on Prince Edward Island, we were operating our layouts using car cards and that too seemed to some other modellers like too much extra paperwork but seemed to fit our interests so well. I really enjoy the paperwork end of the hobby and little projects like this one could only make that work a little more fun and further supports the experience for the operator tasked with this experience.

    • Hi Chris:
      Thanks for the kind words and I agree: some modellers feel that operations – even the first steps of car-cards and waybills – is too much like “work”. I have a feeling that many would enjoy operating sessions if they had more exposure to them.
      And it was a fun little project!

  2. Greetings. Enjoying the continued updates, especially your direction/interpretation regarding Operation. It is a daunting aspect in the hobby and as many people are unable to get expossure from a Club Group scene, sites such as yours can break down the mystery, For myself, I would like to try a more protoypical system and as I will have a small operational layout, I suspect this would assist to pleasantly draw out the proceedings. Keep up the great work.

    • Hi Phil:
      Thanks – I’m glad you’re enjoying the posts. As I noted, I’m still working out a system that strikes a pleasant balance between what was done in reality and what will be entertaining but not onerous on a layout. I’ll keep sharing my results on the blog, of course…

  3. Looking back at your post on the receipts it would appear that those pieces of paper are indeed receipts for goods delivered. I assume they would have been associated with another piece that would be page 1 or an outbound form that would have been attached to the receipt until delivered waybill? I would assume it would be similar except for the upper right corner. It appears the receipt is a carbon copy. If that was the way it worked you have your solution to outbound paperwork.

  4. Very cool. I’m very interested in this aspect of your operations. Given that I will be focusing on a single station any increase in operation will be greatly appreciated!


  5. Trevor:

    Further to the ramblings of last night.

    The picture of the prototype bicycle receipt in your previous article shows a 2 in red in the upper right corner. Looking at the back of the previous page you can see the printing on it is different as there is a box area of typing that shows up that is not on the page 2. This is what I think you used to create your samples you show below. I am guessing your generated receipts are the first page of the document and the receipt shown with the red in the upper right corner is the second page.

    • Hitting send too early did not help. 8{(}.

      The receipts you made would be what you use for your outbound traffic. The ones with the red printing in the upper right are your inbound or received traffic (red = received). NOt sure how the two actually worked together but I guess is was a two or multiple page document that was used with original typewriter on the first page and carbon copies on subsequent pages. Maybe a third page was used for billing purposes.

      Interesting stuff all of this. Well done.

      • Great thoughts on this, Bruce – thanks. I can see a two-pager for outbound express and LCL, stapled together like the waybills I use for empty car movements. That would give the conductor a clue that something different was happening here…
        I really appreciate the input on this. Cheers!

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