Saturday, February 02, 2013

Seventh Operations session on the Welztalbahn

Stefan and family came to visit today and we retired to the garage to run trains. Stefan managed Emsingen, while I took care of Talheim and ran trains into Emsingen station to get in his way.
This worked out to become a pretty good introduction to switching with car cards and waybills. Overall we ran a light schedule with 8 trains total, and plenty of switching moves in Emsingen and Talheim stations.

I really need to get LED feedback installed in both Emsingen and Talheim panels. That should help substantially with determining turnout positions as well as whether routes control signals, too.

I need to think harder about how to introduce new operators to the layout without overwhelming them with too many details.
  • Due to how the layout is built, it's difficult to map the actual track layout to logical directions. "Where is North, again?" - "As long as you don't turn around it's to the right", is only moderately helpful.
  • Maybe a custom design for car cards and way bills including a photo of the car on the pocket. I know what a Gbs-256 or a Gs-39 looks like. My operators don't.
  • Need a cheat-sheet for the color-coding on way bills
  • Finally, a quick intro to reading European style car numbers, and where to find them on the cars. This tends to throw off people used to American style car numbers, and completely confuses new-comers.
Before the session I connected occupancy feedback sensors in Talheim and updated the JMRI logic to reset signals to Hp0 (Red) when a train passes. The logic needs to be reworked somewhat, but this worked really well already, and substantially increases realism when working with signals.

Next up is connecting a feedback decoder in Emsingen and doing the same exercise there.

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