View Full Version : How To Dispatch (Ideas, Thoughts)

December 22nd, 2011, 10:45 PM
Let me start off, this thread is not meant to be a "This is how its to be done, if you do it any other way your WRONG!" thread. This is more of a way to discuss ideas, view points, and what on on the topic of dispatching.

Now I know each of us who takes up the roll of dispatcher will have our own way to do it, and that's my reasoning for this thread.

I belong to a few model railroad clubs, and I have operated on several railroads from HO scale all the way up to 7 1/2" gauge. By far though, South Oakland Model Railroad club has my favorite system in place. But I will touch on all the methods I have experienced.

At SOMRC they have a really nice HO scale model of the GTW Holly Sub from Durand MI to Detroit MI. The layout is fully signaled and runs under CTC (Centralized Traffic Control). Dispatch has control of all the mainline signals and mainline turnouts. Operators have to get permission from dispatcher to leave a yard and head on the main line. They also have to ask for "track and time" when they want to do any switch work in any town. Trains are run by train number, and not by locomotive number. But lets take a look at how train 400 would be run.

Train 400, the "Linden Gains job", leaves Pontiac and heads west to Linden and Gains, towards Durand. Before the train can leave the yard 400 must get permission from the yard master to leave. Yard master hands off paper work to dispatch stating train number and locomotive number. Dispatch then calls train 400 and gives him his orders. His orders are as follows, "This is TD2 to train 400. Train 400 out of Pontiac yard on the GTW Holly Sub. Follow signal indication to Linden. Over"

Train 400 the repeats orders, then the dispatcher lines up the turnouts and gives train 400 a green light out of the yard. That's the last time dispatch talks to train 400 unless he has to. For example if train 400 where to have a meet some where along the line with another train.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygm0-KQ4gNI here's a video I took showing trains running under operations. Not how little radio communication there is even though there are about 10 trains running.

Now this is not to say that radio communication is a bad thing and that we should do away with it. Lets take a look at how the Detroit Model Railroad Club in Holly MI operates their trains.

They use control points and a dispatcher. The control points are known locations on the railroad marked by non operational signals. Operators tell the dispatcher where they are, and where they are going. Dispatch then tells the train where he can do. Lets "follow" 731 a trip down the main line.

731 radios dispatch saying that hes is the town of Dorance looking to leave though Duncan Junction. Dispatch tells 731 that he can run down to Person Farms. That's clearance though 2 other control points. The other control points are Dorance signal bridge, Nickels crossing then to Person farms. Once there, 731 stops and tells dispatch that hes at Person farms. Dispatch will then clear him up to the next control point.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRa28Fulzcs in this video you can hear how much radio chatter there is just to run about 10 trains with this method.

Now as for me, if I where to dispatch a TRS session, which I would like to some time. I would use a combination of both methods. I would rely on the routes signaling system to protect the trains. But I would tell the operators where they can run to. Essentially telling them to go to a control point. Id have the operator notify me when getting close to that control point so I can issue them a new set of orders. I would use named locations, or mile posts, or turnouts as control points. But I would try to keep the radio chatter to a minimal that way if some one needed to say some thing they wouldn't have to wait for some one else to stop talking.

But these are just my ideas that I am putting out there.