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Shunting freight cars and delivery of goods, including logistics by car cards and waybills are a second element in reality. Weight loaded and unloaded which can be used for automatic modification of Loco acceleration. Dedicated functions for a train, controlled by loco throttle by “shift” when loco assigned to the train.
The Operator Control is an assistance to do car forwarding without real cards, but with help of a dialog. A card used with the carcard (above) to indicate the destination, routing and other information about the specific shipment the car is currently being used for.
If every Yard or station is controlled by its own Rocrail server it needs a networking functionality to run trains from station to station in automatic mode.
My old car cards could be reused as I simply cut off the clear pocket at the bottom of the cards and re-taped a new one on.
I am a retired SIGNAL & COM FOREMAN for Canadian Pacific RR (my checks said SOO LINE) and this is going to be the closest we modern day modelers are going to get (the full size RR have went to a IPOD type of set up) Paperless work orders! I had my friend at CN help me a little with modern paperwork, but was yet trying to figure out how to do the modern way of switching. After my presentation at the Fall Gateway Convention, a voice from the back of the room asked if I could convert it to an article for the RPO.
I believe that model railroad operation is one of the world’s most magnificent board games.
Before you can produce train orders, you have to figure out what trains are required to work your industries and serve your passengers. This is a good way to make sure your layout is working reasonably well, make sure run-arounds are long enough, and so on. The Color-Coded Tack (CCT) system was proposed by Ed Ravenscroft in the July 1965 issue of Model Railroader. The waybill is completely visible through the acetate window when it is in the pocket of the car card. However, I could consider this a permanent card and just flip it from Side 2 back to Side 1 and repeat the cycle. You cycle through the waybills by first turning the card end-for-end, then turning it over, then end-for-end again. Obviously, you could use these cards (OpSIG or a simplified version) as single-, two-, or three-destination cards if the particular situation makes it appropriate.
To get there, start with a spreadsheet (manual or computerized) of your industries and car types. As a reminder, you have to start with an idea of what trains are required to service your customers.
Having settled on six per spot (as shown in the spreadsheet), you see that I need 12 waybills for most industries. It is also possible when you randomly pick a waybill while resetting the layout that it will be for the same industry. So far my discussion of the mathematics of waybills has been on the basis that you opt primarily for single-destination waybill cards. First, if all of your waybill cards utilize all four destinations, it means that you have four waybills per car rather than four per spot. In this matrix I have put the industries and capacities across the top and the car types in the left column.
If you are interested in operations you should visit a couple of operating layouts and see how it is done.
Operation Pseudo-Soo LineAbout the AuthorBob Johnson has been modeling the Soo Line and his imaginary Pseudo-Soo Line for about 47 years. Why should a loco running when not moving a train from one location to another carrying people or goods? It will have at least a basic description of the car such as type and color as well as reporting marks and number to identify it.
Usually the waybill card is a separate item smaller than the carcard such that it can be clipped to or (more commonly) slipped into the pocket of the carcard leaving the car identification information showing. I was having some issues with the ebb and flow of traffic on my railway and needed to create some new bills an probably remove others to adjust the traffic flow. Mine are double sided as the empty car bill is on the other side of the loaded freight bill. Linn Westcott, long time editor of Model Railroader, first expressed that view in an editorial in the 1960s. You can omit this step if you just have a switching layout, but as soon as you add trains actually going somewhere you need to at least conceptualize a schedule. It gives the train name and number, where it originates, what it does, and when it does it.
I use Avery 5388 index card stock (three 3×5 cards per sheet) so it is easy to produce a corrected version or replace a mangled one if necessary (operators can be pretty hard on your paperwork). At the first industry, you pull cars currently in place and replace them with appropriate cars from your consist.
I have never seen it in use, but it is a good way to explain what we are trying to accomplish. You could indicate all sorts of special configurations if you wish, but it will greatly complicate your paperwork. I form pockets from 3×2? inch pieces of transparency film, the kind used with overhead projectors. In the sample provided, I attempted to add some levity because the Brewery and Coca-Cola plant were next to each other on the old Pseudo-Soo Line in Minneapolis. That is, once a car reaches its endpoint, the waybill card has to be replaced by another one. For example, I have several brine cars that bring cucumbers from interchanges and deliver them to the Gedney pickle factory at Cameron, Wisconsin.
There are three cars in the cycle, and each can be billed to three different endpoints, so I keep both a two-destination and a single destination card in the car pocket for each car. The amount of information results in a crowded, difficult to read waybill that can easily confuse an operator.

If your hoppers cycled back and forth between the same industry (say, a power plant) and the coal source, two-destinations might be appropriate. That is not to say that your sidings will never be chock-a-block with cars, but over several sessions it will average out.
You could get by with just two waybills per spot, but it will severely restrict the flexibility and randomness that makes it interesting. You can see by this matrix that I consider a lot of my reefers to be in bridge traffic – moving from the west coast eastward across the northern tier to New York and Boston markets. After every session, you replace all cards for cars that have reached endpoints – industry, interchange, or staging – with the exceptions noted.
With a computer, it is much easier to create the cards and keep track of waybill counts than when I started. He has hosted operating sessions almost monthly (plus many others) since 1981 with a short break while transitioning from the Minneapolis area to St.
The waybill may show information about 1, 2, 3, or 4 (sometimes more) movements depending on which side of the waybill is turned up. I also have some empty car bill only cards so that I can send empties anywhere I need them.
The old simplified info is still on the top of the cards but it is covered when there is a waybill inserted and is easier to read when looking for cars in the yard. Operation has all of the elements: a playing board (your layout) with multiple paths to success (trains), tokens (your rolling stock), a card deck to choose from (your waybills), and probability (will we make the meet?). As the layout and work to be done gets larger, you need a good methodology to make all of the work fit into the time available (normally the length of your operations session). This is scale model railroading and if I can suppose my HO track is 4 ft 8? in, then I can suppose that each car on the layout is equal to five cars on the prototype. I also use 3×5 inch index cards for my car cards so the package of train order and car cards is easy for the operator to handle. Cars pulled from industries go to the rear of the train; cars being delivered come from the front.
This could very easily have been mounted on the face of the building and would be very inconspicuous.
First, because you were picking your replacement tacks randomly, there was a chance that you would pick another orange tack. Ed passed away in 1998 and his crew continued to use CCT until the layout was dismantled a couple of years later.
Be sure this information is either on the back or hidden under the waybill so it won’t distract your operators.
However, the yardmaster also uses it to block the train prior to handling it over to the road crew. However, I also use some two-destination cards, depending on the situation and what I am trying to achieve. Early in the morning the westbound train delivered its milk car to the Lassig Dairy near Hawkins. Figures 11a & 11b show the waybill card sponsored by the Operations Special Interest Group (OpSIG). The waybill pocket is formed by folding the bottom of the pre-printed card upward and sealing the sides with packing tape. When figuring the number of waybills required, recognize that interchanges and staging tracks are just big general-purpose industries. Trains will be long, meets difficult, and run-around tracks and industry sidings too short.
This segment only covers industries at Ladysmith and I have omitted several car types for clarity. Most of my customers have capacity for two cars although, as you can see, Shellbrach Junk Yard can only handle one car per day. This is actually a sum of the car-type columns to show that I have generated enough waybills. Thus, if the capacity is two, two of the cars would get new waybills while any others would remain billed to the industry. The difference is that when I reset the interchanges, all cars get new waybills, even if there are more than the ideal number at the interchange. Beyond that, it shows the mish-mash of car types that you would expect to see at a general-purpose interchange. But how will balance be achieved if you opt for an OpSIG type card with up to four destinations per card?
Recently I counted 195 cars (not counting unit trains, such as my ore train and passenger trains) on my layout, compared to about 160 car spots, a ratio of 1.22 cars per spot. However, with multiple waybills per card, it becomes much more difficult to keep track of what you have done.
However, the key for me is car forwarding, that is, ways to direct the movement of specific cars to specific destinations so the railroad can earn its keep. There are numerous software programs that can make this effort relatively painless, but it can be done manually. Happily, my layout is a simple oval so trains like the Atlantic Limited always end up where they started. Soon you will have used up the original cars and start re-spotting cars you picked up a few industries ago. Thus, the yardmaster can sort not only by train, but can block (group cars together) by industry. Cars left in the yard presumably arrived in the yard after the appropriate train had departed. The cars in the yard haven’t gotten to their destinations, so those tacks remain undisturbed. Later, when I get into multi-destination systems, you will see that you can have multiple waybills on a single, physical card. If you only have one yard that does all of your classification you do not need the first segment.
For example, a car appears in the Weyerhauser yard, having been brought in by the Rice Lake Turn.

It picks up the car left at the dairy during the prior session and takes it to Minneapolis.
They are inserted in the car card pocket in front of the regular waybill so the routing code can still be seen.
It is equivalent to the car type on my waybills and is for filing and making sure that you have a waybill appropriate for the car.
Actually, I sometimes indicate the color or some other distinguishing characteristic on my car cards so the extra information can be useful even in HO scale. My layout represents a fairly low-density line in northern Wisconsin in 1953, so this feels reasonable. The operator will see when he works the industry that two cars should come our and the rest remain. This is obviously what would happen in real life – the receiving railroad would take all cars you delivered and they would have given you everything they had. Using 4-destination cards leads to a waybill-to-spot ratio of almost 5 – more than adequate for car distribution flexibility and randomness. I came up with the following spreadsheet format (figure 17) for Noel Baker when he started writing his waybills.
If you are not successful, you will have chaos and a good bit of frustration on the part of your operators. I will mention several such schemes and detail my own paperwork and that available from the NMRA Operations Special Interest Group (OpSIG). In addition, after each operating session, you (the owner) have to survey the entire layout to make sure cars ended up where the computer thought they would. Every piece of rolling stock on the layout except locomotives, cabooses, and cars captive in unit or passenger trains, needs a tack.
Some of the cars now at the Interchange, Greenville, or Staging will make it to their endpoints, others only to the yard, depending on the schedule of arrivals and departures. In this discussion I have used my home grown system and the system developed by the Operations Special Interest Group (OpSIG) to demonstrate the critter. Of course, you might be able to salvage a few sheets of film from your sales department t work. I make this even easier by using different colors of card stock: green for boxcars, bright yellow for reefers, a dark blue for tank cars, manure yellow for stock cars, and so on. During the next session, or more likely the one after that, the car will arrive at the Papermill. Remember that not only must the total number of cars be correct, but you must also have the right proportions based on your industry needs.
Peters in 2000, I stayed with that decision – but four or five per spot would have worked as well.
There are no waybills for coal hoppers or pulpwood gons because that traffic is exclusively between the PSL and the interchanges.
If a car goes back and forth between a coal mine and power plant, then just repeat the sequence twice on one card. Of course, you will make some train runs to prove you can switch 12 cars at eight industries in 15 minutes!
If not, you need to make corrections to the database or more the cars before the next list. If your passenger service adds or drops diners, mail cars, or express cars during a session, you will need tacks for these cars.
There is no perfect system for all layouts, so these are used only as examples of the methodology and paperwork involved. If you have designed your layout with these considerations in mind, you should not have a problem but at least I have warned you! I suggest that you start with four – you can always increase it later if you feel it would be useful. This doesn’t happen often with my 60 industries, but will be more common if your have fewer customers. Similarly, the Rhinelander Yardmaster can see that the car belongs in Rhinelander and it should be classified to the Tony Turn when he prepares that train for the road crew. I have a lot of waybills, typically twelve for each industry, so I preprint the information on Avery labels. Note that I have put the waybill number at the bottom because the operator doesn’t care about it.
This seems to be a fairly reasonable distribution for a furniture manufacturer in the mid-1950s. The idea is to have fun while providing some challenge to your operators, so don’t worry about re-billing a car to an industry. Note that if this hopper is assigned to a unit train from mine to power plant and back, you don’t need waybills (the train order suffices) unless the cars are to be spotted at different tipples at the mine. Only if you have some sort of three-step sequence, similar to my milk car situation, would you not use all four positions. Flatley Oil gets only tank cars, although it would be perfectly reasonable to have two or three boxcar waybills in the distribution.
When you are done, the grand total for each industry should add up to something near your expected ratio of waybills-to-spots. If I had to do it again, I would increase the width of the waybill to 2? so the label would fit! Fredericks Foundry is a new industry, and for some reason I did not make as many waybills as I should have. If you add more cars, your waybill-to-spots ratio will increase, but that is not a bad thing. If the railroad starts bogging down because you have too many cars, you remove some of them along with their car cards and waybills.

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