Wednesday, December 14, 2016


A task on my “To-Do List” has been a more permanent Dispatcher’s Panel.  The basic desk, cardstock track schematic, and paper system used for the first dozen formal operating sessions served to point the way to more routine operations.  The “temporary” system and initial desk location beside the basement stairwell in the “back” room (staging yard room) outgrew both system and location.  With large crews of twenty or so operators for most sessions, the back room location could get noisy despite best intentions. 

The new Dispatcher’s panel is a steel sheet attached to a plywood back that, in turn, is attached to the desk.  The desk has now been mounted n caster wheels with brakes, so it can be moved easily to the desired operating location.  The steel panel supports using magnetic train markers which can be moved along the track schematic as block clearance is granted.  My first attempt with the markers features pointed plastic strips with the magnetic tape material on the back.  We will continue to use Post-Its™ to list train identity and other critical information.

New Dispatcher’s Panel.  Orange Post-Its are for Westbound trains, blue for Eastbound.

The track schematic includes the mainline and sidings and only a representation of secondary tracks.  I have additional thin vinyl tape on order to represent more of that track.  The block boundaries are indicated by the vertical blue stripes.  This system will develop over the next several operating sessions.

Meanwhile, here is a view of the old desk setup.

Old Dispatcher’s Desk occupying space needed for an operator’s platform for Crescent Lake.

A critical part of the new Dispatcher arrangements was to put the desk on wheels so it could be rolled into our Exercise Room.  Yes, people chuckle when they see that room function identified on the track plan, but in fact it serves exactly that exercise function every morning.  The Dispatcher’s Desk needs to be stored elsewhere between operating sessions.  I finally figured out how to guide a precise cut on the legs of the existing, assembled table, so the rest was a matter of getting materials and using them.

New Dispatcher’s Panel and desk located in our Exercise Room.

Now I need to run a long cable for the fast clock system for use in the Exercise Room and build an enclosure for the clock.


  1. What's the odds of the station names are the same as DTC blocks.

  2. The "odds" are 100 percent. The station names used for the towns and sidings also identify their blocks. Additional station names were used for several of the blocks between those stations. The new Dispatcher's Panel supports the operation, so those block names are a key piece of information on the panel.

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