The Hitop, train orders, and more….

One upon a time, there was a 4×8 layout that could accommodate two operators during several different sessions. A great track plan and fun to operate, using waybills and switch lists. Six years old now, it’s still fun to operate, even with one operator, a session lasting several hours.

I had dreams from day one to expand the Hitop off both front corners, as MR designed the layout to be expanded this way. With a gracious gift from our club president, and timely help from a club member, my dream is coming true. Never wanting to expand into a double deck 3,000 sq. ft. basement layout, I did want to fill up our garage with an expanded layout, and now this is happening. Still quite away to go, but layout expansion progress is coming along nicely.

Now with this expansion including a booster unit, one extra throttle so far, and what will be a total of five bus panels to plug throttles into, I’m looking when all is completed to have operating sessions hosting five or six operators. This plan includes one operator stationed at Allied Chemical, two in Dickinson yard, one working the mines on the back side of the layout, and one working the old Dickinson yard, or now the new Spring Street yard. With this, a locomotive would be stationed at Allied Chemical.

With different trains, one different yard, one new yard, I’m toying with the idea of placing a train order signal I already have on hand next to the new yard office in the new Dickinson yard, having outbound trains momentarily wait there for their clearance form and train orders, which I also already have on hand, these from Micro-Mark.

There have been numerous articles in almost all the railroad modeling magazines, and several books written on operations using train orders, too numerous to go into here. I’ve read most of these, but will definitely have to brush up on my research. As the prototype used train orders during NYC and PC days, this should add more realistic operations. I’m anxious to try these out! Below is a photo of both forms to be used, the train order a filled out copy from a previous session.

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