We have started operating using computer generated Manifests and Switch Lists . The software that we use is JMRI OperationsPro. This is a no cost, open source package created by some dedicated and expert people who love model railroading and applying computer technology to make operating more realistic and fun!

We have a single track mainline running across Vermont, from Rutland in the West to Bellows Falls in the East. There are fairly large swiching yards in Rutland and Bellows Falls, plus a smaller interchange yard at Quarry junction, essentially dividing the railroad int East and West divisions. Although we use New England scenery, and try to capture the flavor of the Rutland wherever possible, we essentially have a free-lanced railroad.

There are 11 towns on the modeled layout, plus staging to represent Boston and New York. There are currently 40 industries that receive and/or ship on the railroad. Currently we have 13 trains defined, including 4 in and out of the two staging locations.

We have experimented with different approaches to distributing the work:

  1. Everyone is an engineer/conductor. Each person builds his or her train in a yard, then operates the train over its route, including switching at locations along the way (which may require the use of a local switcher) and and final switching at the terminating location.
  2. Yardmasters for Rutland and Bellows Falls. Trains are still operated by Engineer/conductors as in option 1. Lately the two yardmasters have been coming in early on operating days to start building the outgoing trains in each yard, so that the Engineer/conductors can start running as they arrive at 7:00PM.
  3. As option 2, except using two man teams on at least some trains; and engineer to run the road locomotive, and a conductor/brakeman to set switches and couple/uncouple cars. The conductor may also run the local switcher.

We have not yet added a dispatcher, although we believe that we need one.

More to come....