NYC ALCO FA / FB Units

NYC ALCO FA / FB Units
Custom Painted P-2000 units

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Rail Traffic Management for the N.Y.C.T.L.

Greetings All,

Dilemma: A P.C.C.M. is complete and I want to run some trains independently of the P.C.C.M.s. But I have cars on my layout from the P.C.C.M.s that will need to be addressed. What to do? 

Solution: Rail Traffic Management Form.   

The Rail Traffic Management Form aka R.T.M.F. was derived for use in actual ops and the virtual ops between my N.Y.C.T.L. and Ralph's Kings Port Division layout. http://kingsportdivision.blogspot.com/ When I proposed this to Ralph he quickly jumped on board and was kind enough to prepare the form for us to use. The R.T.M.F. is a work in it's very early stages but it looks promising.

In the early virtual ops we had a handful of cars that went from layout to layout. As the road names and car count expanded coming up with shipping destinations became more of a challenge with every round. 

Often after a virtual op was completed I had no real good way to move cars around my layout to prepare for future virtual ops. By creating this R.T.M.F. once the curtain comes down on a P.C.C.M. I can now engage in an actual op that allows me to move cars around my layout to predetermined destinations that make sense to me and can be used in upcoming virtual ops. Basically with the R.T.M.F. the ops never stop! 

Another key factor was brought up by Ralph who rightly asked how certain foreign road cars actually ended up on our layouts and were used in our ops. Case in point is a Rock Island 50' boxcar. Ralph knew that eventually that car would have to go back to the Rock Island. So in planning for that we also needed a way to get that car back to our layouts. Ralph came up with a car routing that works well for that car and we added it to the R.T.M.F. 

And lastly not all of our combined industries are good shipping matches for each other. So we are researching some of our connecting RRs to come up with suitable offline industries that will increase rail traffic and be represented by staging or in my case taking the car off the layout and staging them in my virtual ops box. 

Here's the R.T.M.F. Let's take a look PC 77047 at the top of the form and note box#1 "Load at Moore & Co with 1/2 ton bags(my layout) for Hedberg Aggregate in Marion NY via Williams Yard"(Ralph's layout) 
In P.C.C.M. 35 PC 77047 was picked up at Moore & Company along with BAR 5226 from Neubaum's Coffee & Tea Importers and PC 104478 was spotted at Drywell Inks.
Later in that installment these two cars along with NYC 80775 and EL 73510 were in train Extra 6109 and brought to Terminal Yard.
Extra 6109 arrives at Terminal Yard in P.C.C.M. 35
The Terminal Yard switcher pulls the 'common cars' contained in the R.T.M.F. from Extra 6109 after P.C.C.M 35 concluded. Now what?
Here's what. A couple of days later I want to run some trains. But which ones need to go where and which ones can be just sorted by whim. A quick look at the R.T.M.F. tells us again that PC 77047 (column #1) is loaded 1/2 ton burlap bags for Hedberg Aggregate and BAR 5226(column #2) is loaded with imported teas and coffee for Cavendish Fine Foods & Spirits in Mayfield NY.
Now I have a job for the Terminal Yard Switcher. PC 77047 and BAR 5226 will be shoved into the next outbound train for Selkirk along with NYC 80775 that is loaded with 55 gallon drums of ink from Drywell Inks. 
The Terminal Yard Switcher has shoved PC 77047, BAR 5226 and NYC 80775 into track 8 and coupled them up with IC 301330 loaded with cases of beer going from Heileman's Brewery (also picked up in the P.C.CM. 35 series) to Reynolds Beverage Distributors in Kings Port NY. These cars and the two T.O.F.C flats will all be going out to Ralph's layout in the next P.C.C.M. But how about EL 73510 in the above picture?
Remember EL 73510 was picked up empty from Neal's Lumber & Hardware in the P.C.C.M. 35 series and ended up in Terminal Yard at the end of the virtual ops. 
A check of the R.T.M.F. (column #3) shows that this car is needed at Walsh's Steel Wool Products in Empire City. The story we're using here is a late empty car request from Walsh has led the Terminal Yard freight clerks to commandeer the EL car as there are no empty 'home road' cars available for the empty request. So EL 73510 will be going back to Empire City on the next train to North Side Yard, either EC-1 or EC-3. 
EL 73510 is then shoved into track 5 for the next Empire City Turn. We'll see this car in an upcoming P.C.C.M after it's loaded at Walsh Steel Wool Products on my layout with muffler mesh for ACME Auto Parts at Mayfield NY on Ralph's layout. So when I get an urge to run some trains I can take this Empire City Train for a run and make sure that EL 73510 is spotted at Walsh.
And there it is! I'll be using the R.T.M.F going forward to enhance my own layout operations as well as the virtual ops. As the virtual ops grows I'm hoping the R.T.M.F will grow along with it. With 1:1 Sir Neal's Atlantic Pacific expected to rejoin the virtual ops shortly the R.T.M.F. may be helpful to everyone. I'll include references to it in the next P.C.C.M which will originate on the N.Y.C.T.L. later this week.


Thanks for Reading!!!

11 comments:

  1. John, that's a great form and once the A.P.R.R. gets back up and running, I'm sure I'll need a copy, and of course, add to it. Thanks for the detailed report. Looking forward to reading it!

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    1. Thanks 1:1 Sir Neal! It will take some work to get all the common cars routed. But once that's done it should be smooth sailing.

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  2. You and Ralph have taken virtual ops to a whole new level with this new process. Not to mention you get a bonus op moving the cars back into place. I would imagine that planning and implementing a virtual op with Ralph's King's Port and Neal's A.P.P.R would be extremely hard to pull off smoothly without this type of system you all have developed. I was wondering if the form (file) is a shared file that is updated by each operator. Just trying to get a grasp of how this system works. Very nice process.

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    1. Double the process is pretty simple it' the guy doing the explaining that's making it complicated. It's basically a four to six cycle of the common cars to maximize their usage.

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  3. Thanks for introducing the Rail Traffic Management Form concept on your blog John. As you noted its a work in progress but it already has shown the unanticipated benefit of providing operations guidance and fun on the N.Y.C.T.L. between our virtual ops Penn Central Car Movements! I'll try to talk a little about how we use the form as well the next time I'm running a virtual op.

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    1. I've had a lot of trouble finding the words to explain the R.T.M.F. I think as the next P.C.C.M. unfolds it will be clearer. At least I hope so!!!

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  4. I'm going to be the slow school kid from Globeville. It sounds interesting and I can catch glimpses of what's going on, but to be honest I'm a hamburger short in my Happy Meal. You and Ralph have the master plan, I'll just go where you need me. 🤔

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    1. I probably made this a lot more complicated than it needed to be but hang in there and it should come into focus in the next P.C.C.M. series.

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    2. It's more likely your newest member of the circle is not the sharpest crayon in the box. I just need pictures and easy to follow directions. You guys do a great job setting up your operations and train movements. 😉

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    3. I always envied the kids who got the big box of crayons with the cool sharpener built into the side of the box! I think it will take a couple more descriptions of practical examples to show how the form works. The main intent was to create some regular car movements (but multi-stepped movements to make them interesting, i.e. four cycles or more for each car) as a way of replacing our former approach of simply dreaming up where random cars might go on each other's layouts. We're hoping to put together a plausible system of shipments and deliveries that, once in place, will be easy and fun to follow. That's the theory anyway!

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    4. The Crayola 64 Box was the Cadillac of Crayons! A sure fire gift lots of kids of our generation loved to receive.

      Great explanation of the R.T.M.F. The theory is solid now we need to see how it works in practical application!

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