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.