Sunday, August 30, 2015

Late August Update

The month of August is quickly coming to a close and so are my projects that I had planned out to accomplish. Let's walk through each of items that wrapped up this weekend and also get a sneak peak at Septembers projects. 

Car Cards & Labels
Changing up from switch lists to car cards required having a good railcar fleet inventory (Excel), Avery labels, and 3x4 plastic sports card holders (Inspired by Mike McNamara's NEK post). 155 cards are completed with another 25 cards to be compete on MOW, unit aggregate, and undec cars when brought into service.
We will dive deeper in a future post about my car card / blocking system which deserves a post of its own.

Fascia / Valiances Installed & Painting
This task goes a long way to help bring consistency and a finished professional look to any layout. Amazingly it took an entire 4x8 sheet of hardboard to complete this task. The results speak for themselves, and having a good color such as Valspar Kettle Black additionally helps bring it together. 

Car Card Holders
Since these 3x4 cards are larger than the tradtional car card, I found acrylic clear business cards holders at Staples to be the perfect fit. Each holder can hold 11 cards which fits into my average track car capacity.

Operational Aids
Before the fascia work began I did have DTC block cards and station diagrams mounted but their placement was temporary. With the fascia painted each of the different aids was installed using Velcro so an operator could pull off the station diagram to review closer and the put back. The DTC cards are meant to removable when the operator has authority to operate in that specifc or multiple blocks. Additionally using our label maker the blue point hand throws and staging power toggles received labeling.

Dispatcher Panel
I saw an article in Model Railroader some years back by Roger Kuwaja (AGW RR) about creating a dispatcher panel for your railroad. Very straight forward using printed linear diagram sandwiched between plexiglass so the dispatcher can use dry erase marrkers to indicate train authority. Well here is the completed MCIS St. Clair Sub (West end) and Port Belle Branch panel.

This wraps up August's project tasks, let's take a sneak peak at Septembers. For my regular followers, anyone have a guess from previous posts on the location of this sneak peak?


Stay Tuned for Septembers update getting more in depth on these two sneak peaks and another modern operational change being implemented. The upcoming month will sure to be busy as the layout will be getting cleaned / staged for the October 3rd operating day.



  1. Really love the improvements Greg! Simple but very necessary for op sessions. My favorite is the Dispatcher panel. Definitely adding that to the VMID.

  2. Hi,
    What do your waybills look like? I like your larger car cards, I plan on using them on my layout as well. I'm impressed with your layout.

    Best, Scott

  3. Here is a great link to photos back in October.

    They were created in word and printed on card stock.