KMR logo

Operations

Operating sessions take place on the KMR roughly once a month, by means of timetable and train orders. Each session lasts two and a half to three hours, and involves 8 to 10 operators. At right is shown the signup sheet for such a session, showing the call time for each train on the 6:1 fast clock we use. First class trains (designated by a single number, or one in the one hundred series) and second class trains (numbered in the 200 series) are scheduled (and appear on the time table.) All others are extras.  Sign-up sheet.
String diagram. The timetable for the KMR and the VW&YR was constructed, by means of the classic "string" diagram, shown at left. This shows a graph of the location of each train versus time, with meets between scheduled trains circled. The diagram also shows an approximate schedule for extra trains, to allow the anticipation of places and times where extra crowding would occur. (Note: RS is the telegraph code for Sicamous. The helix is between GR and RS.)
The timetable resulting from the string diagram is shown at right. Southbound trains are superior, and shown at left, with times reading down. Northbound trains are inferior, and shown at right with times reading up. Times of meets between scheduled trains are shown in bold. The timetable also shows the train times for places in the helix between Stewart River and Clearwater. Keeping to time on this part of the layout means paying attention to the helix occupancy display, described elsewhere.
Cover of train package. Each train operator has a lucite clipboard holding the paperwork package for his or her train. A laminated cover sheet (shown typically at left) identifies the train, and details what it does and where. Also included is a reminder of the whistle signals, and other sounds, and the DCC controls that activate them. A copy of thetimetable is fixed also face down to the front surface of the clipboard, and is visible when the clipboard is turned over.
In addition to the laminated cover sheet, the package for freight trains also includes a switchlist, as shown at right, produced by means of a purpose-written software package, with the output format modelled on Canadian prototypes. The switchlist shows the freight cars handled at each switching location, whether the car is picked up (with current location), set out (with destination) or respotted. Switch crews are encouraged to mark up the switchlist as the work proceeds, which helps avoid switching errors. The computer program also produces a listing of the locations of all freight cars at the beginning of the session, and this is checked against the actual locations ahead of time. Switchlist.
Brakemen. Greg Kennelly has recently experimented with placing brakeman figures on the ground during switching manoevers. This view is of KMR #6 switching at Grand Forks. The effect was to enhance realism, and slow down operations to a more realistic pace.

We now have a full-time position of dispatcher for the KMR/VW&YR. Communication from the train crews to the dispatcher is by party-line telephone. The dispatcher has an electronic equivalent of the classic magnetic train board to keep track of train locations, and a stack of preprinted train orders that require a minimum of blanks to be filled in. We will shortly implement a system of LED/train order signals, mounted on the layout fascia and set by the dispatcher, that will alert train crews to a train order waiting for them at that location.