Ops :: Pre-session “to do” list

 photo Pinky-ToDo_zps413a1ec8.jpg

I’ve started to compile a list of things to do before any operating session in which I’ll be hosting guests. This is a work in progress, but here’s the list I have so far. I’ll add to it as I think of things. In no particular order, I should do the following:

01 – Check that I have enough copies of required paperwork, such as Employee Time Tables, switch list blanks and so on. If not, print (and assemble, in the case of the ETT).

02 – Turn any trains on the Sector Plate so they’re ready to enter the layout. When building new trains, cycle the freight cars, pulling new cars from the storage shelves below the sector plate. Check wheel sets for dirt when building trains.

03 – Cycle the freight car waybills: Select appropriate waybills for cars in trains on the sector plate. Pull waybills from bill boxes in St. Williams and Port Rowan and determine which cars will be lifted during the session, then replace the appropriate waybills with bills to lift the cars.

04 – Set up LCL and Express paperwork, if running the mixed train.

05 – Choose suitable pre-written Clearance Forms and Train Orders, or write up new ones.

06 – Prep the Conductor’s Package.

07 – Set the fast clocks: to 12:30 pm for the mixed train, or to 3:30 pm for a freight extra.

08 – If the St. Williams agent/operator has work for the train crew to perform, set the order board on the St. Williams station.

09 – Check that there’s space on the Train Register at Port Rowan for recording trains that will run during the session. If not, print a new register page.

10 – Test throw each turnout a couple of times to make sure the points move freely. (This isn’t a big job, since there are only eight turnouts on the layout.) Do the same for the derail in Port Rowan.

11 – Ensure there are pens for the conductor. Check that the batteries are working in The Galvanick Luchipher.

12 – Charge the iPod Touch used as a TouchCab throttle, if necessary.

13 – Check the layout for dust or cobwebs and clean if necessary.

This may seem like a lot of work, but it goes quickly and ensures that my guests have a smooth, enjoyable operating session – so it’s definitely worth doing.

9 thoughts on “Ops :: Pre-session “to do” list

    • That’s my goal, Bill.
      Any layout that runs well and is well organized leaves a better impression on guests than one where things fail or the host is not prepared. I’ve experienced both extremes and I know which one I prefer, so I make an effort to present the layout in its best possible light to my guests.

  1. If I may be so bold as to suggest No. 14…make post-session dinner reservations! πŸ˜‰
    Great ideas and helpful for my next round of sessions.

  2. Excellent list, Trevor. And I like the links to each item on the list, gives you details of each item. This makes a great op session summary description! Charles’ suggestion for item 14 should include a round of “whole grain beverages!”
    Phil Gliebe, Waynesville, Ohio

  3. just for grins, here’s my reset list: (contact me off list for the Word version)

    Clean up Layout room:
    1) Clean all track
    2) Vacuum layout
    3) Vacuum floor if necessary
    4) clean locomotive wheels
    5) clean up all work surfaces
    General Preparation:
    1) check cab batteries
    2) check all signage (up to date, PTEC labels stuck down properly)
    3) distribute relevant documents to attendees by reference to web site
    Restage the Session:
    1) get all cards in yard and staging out and associated with cars
    2) turn all cards in industries, verify next destination
    Note Smurfit paper carPool: No more than 8 on the railroad (2 at Smurfit, 2 in yard in, 2 in yard out, 2 inbound)

    3) Locate and reposition all open loads
    a) Transformer loads to Waukesha
    b) Centerbeam to BNSF local in staging
    c) Wire loads in gon to MRVSJ or BNSF Local
    d) Gon full of drums to MI
    e) Empty depressed center flat to MRVSJ or BNSF local
    4) Historic Equipment Pool (cycles between NCRY, WP Museum, CSRM, Rio Vista)
    a) SP …693 beet gon to CSRM
    b) SP …208 covered hopper to CSRM
    c) WP …330 Covered Hopper to WP Museum
    5) Lehigh Cement
    Should be ~ 6 cement cars. 3 BNSF or predecessor, balance UP or predecessor. Move cars if necessary. Mix up the cars so the Critter will have some work.

    6) Set up NUMMI jpb (on the lead: do it first to make some room in the yard)
    a) 1st pull and write switch list including pick ups. NUMMI 1 should not exceed 10. Be sure at least 6 are going South (West Colton): steel will be going to Oakland or Roseville.
    Destination Type Number
    Body Parts 86’ Box 2-3
    Drive Train 60’ Box 2-4
    Parts 50’ or 60’ Box 2-3
    Steel Coil Car, Gondola 2 coils and a gon for scrap

    b) Check Auto rack loader: should have 6 equivalent racks, no more than 4 EU of either type (Bi-level, Tri-level). Check schedule to see which Rack train is running 1st:
    i) If AMIOA – use OAKLAND (O) destinations
    ii) If AMINP – use North Platte (Ξ”) destinations
    iii) If AOASP – use Spring, TX (β–‘) destinations
    c) write switchlist for 2nd pull (Racks)

    7) Set up locals, write switch lists including pick ups
    a) LRV 54 Local (mostly UP, predecessor, or friendly connections)
    Industry Cars
    Pleasanton Team 0 – 2 Reefer or box
    Villa Armando 1 – 2 Always one RBL, occasional LO
    KS&G 4 MT Rock Hoppers
    NCRY/UP MOW 1 – 2 No more than one NCRY
    PaBriCo 0 – 3 Box or gon
    Lehigh Cement 3 – 4 2 Bay Cement Cars
    Readi-Mix 0 – 2 Loaded Rock Hopper
    Niles Team 0 – 3 Any

    b) BNSF Local (Mostly BNSF, predecessor or Canadian)
    Industry Cars
    Richert 2 Bulkhead + box
    KS&G 2 MT Ballast cars for sand
    Waukesha 1-2 May include wire load, interchange at MI, don’t switch
    Interchange 1-3 Smurfit, Steel
    Snoboy Tanks 1-3 Total =< 5
    Snoboy Hoppers 1-3
    Lehigh Cement 2-3 Will be home road
    Niles Team 0 – 2

    8) Set up Snoboy (BNSF <= 5)
    a) Should have 5 tanks on 1&2: 2 or 3 for NUMMI-3, 1 or 2 for BNSF and 1 or 2 holds
    b) Should have 5 Covered Hoppers (LO) on 3&4: 2 or 3 for NUMMI-3, 1 or 2 for BNSF and 1 or 2 holds
    c) Should have 3 or 4 Chlorine tanks on 5. 0 or 1 for NUMMI-3, 1 or 2 for BNSF, 1 hold
    d) Whatever will fit (don’t need to fill) on 6 of Acid tanks and fill with whatever. 1 or 2 holds, 1 for NUMMI-3, 0-1 for BNSF
    e) Off spots – will get moved in by NUMMI-3 <=3

    9) Suggested yard track use:

    Track Use
    A/D General A/D use, the 54 local will be on this track (unblocked) at the start of the session
    Class 1 West Colton β–‘, waiting for the MOAWC
    Class 2 BNSF interchange, for now Oakland
    Class 3 Mission Bay Local, Smurfs
    Storage 0 Roseville Ξ”
    Storage 1 Leave open or use as needed
    Storage 2 Snoboy
    Storage 3 Racks
    Storage 4/ Waukesha Lead Reset depressed center flats with transformer loads, FeCl cars for H2O treatment plant

    10) Set up all transfer runs
    a) MOAWC or MOACI: 1 parts, 3 Hoppers, 4 Tank, 1 Wauk, 1 thru
    b) Rack Trains: (run 1 or 2 in any session) all will have 3 equiv 3-level and 3 bi-levels
    i) AOAMIRs (Oakland destinations)
    ii) AMINP (North Platte via Roseville)
    iii) AOASP (Spring, TX via West Colton)
    c) MRVSJ (2 body parts, 2 drive, 2 parts, 1 team, Smurfit, Kaiser + steel)
    d) MOACI – basically a repeat of MOAWC runs late
    e) Mission Bay local (4 RVs + 7 for tomorrow’s 54: KS&G, Teams, Lehigh) goes in Joint Powers Board Track behind yard

    11) Incoming transfer list to the Clerk’s folder, Copy of LRV54’s Pickups, indicate what is interchange on BNSF Set out list
    12) Update and print yard lineup
    13) Check Turnover report
    Print Documentation as required:
    1) ETTs – 2 sided, latest layout schematic
    2) Aspect – Charts 2 sided
    3) switch lists – 2 sides on laser, 2nd page face down and top towards wall
    4) sign up sheets (3)
    5) schedule (3) if changed
    6) (2) rule books if changed
    7) Update CATS for consists and crew
    8) Update Briefing notes
    Final Items:
    1) Clean up office, move junk to guest room
    2) Skirts
    3) put bridge down, verify connections
    4) back all trains into proper staging tracks
    5) Run track cleaner train

    House Stuff
    1) check toilet paper supply in guest bath room
    2) put H2O and soda out in cooler, get ice if necessary
    3) Put out snacks (courtyard if nice, otherwise dining room)
    4) Put cross buck out

    • That’s an amazing list, Seth. Thanks for sharing!
      I hope it doesn’t discourage anybody from hosting operating sessions, though… πŸ™‚

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