MRH Jan 2012 - Issue 12-01

Page 79


N Scale TJH Railroad Using a simple one-card-per-train system, Tom Driscoll and his operators get hours of operating pleasure out of his Thomasville, Joyce Junction, & Heatherton Railroad.


have devised a what I feel is a simple card system for my TJ&H Railroad that allows quick, easy operation and makes setup a snap. This system allows my crew and me more time running trains and less time looking for car numbers and doing paperwork. I also find this system to be easier on my 50-year-old eyes, which is a bonus when modeling in N scale. To keep this system simple, a boxcar is a boxcar. If we’re delivering a boxcar, then any boxcar will do. Again, in the interest of simplicity, we identify all cars by type and commodity. With my system, we refer to cars by their type plus their load such as coal hoppers, gondolas of steel, lumber flats, etc.

Page 79 • Jan 2012 MRH

Simple car card system, page 1

TJ&H Railro


“We Can Ca Train # 03 rry You” Local Sw itc Engines Pic hing k 1 or 2 CAB #1 Special Ord Caboose # ers NO Pick 1 Yard w ork NO 1) Sw itch C ars to desti nations as side of this noted on th card. e other


Special Ord e

rs –

We never need to be concerned with car numbers in this system. This simplicity does not prevent us from getting specific and indicating a Hy-Cube boxcar or a boxcar of lumber. In the special car type case like this, we identify the car by listing “extra tall markings” or by specifying a certain company logo that’s needed on the car so that it clearly identifies the contents. Examples of this might include a Boise Cascade box for lumber or Pacific Fruit Express reefer for fruit. For open top cars (gondola, hopper, flat), we specify them by the load that can be seen, for instance steel, pipe, scrap, gravel, or coal.

by Tom Driscoll Photos and illustrations by the author unless otherwise noted.

S1 – Card 5

Figure 1: Here’s an example of the front of a card in my system. The back of the card has the train consist specifics. One card does it all!

Reader Feedback (click here)

System Overview The system uses cards that are 4X6 card stock that can be run through a computer printer. I make the data on the cards using a combination of Microsoft Word and Excel. Each card

represents one train, with what cars are needed for the train on the front (figure 1), and where the cars are to be delivered/picked up on the back (figure 2).

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