Lou Sassi has a formal operation session on his Western Hoosic Division model railroad. His friend Ed Styles operates the layout with him biweekly. Lou operates with a short line attitude, a laid back local freight run. Sometimes they will have a new person come along and they will introduce some passenger trains. For time table or scheduling they use John Allen’s tab on card system. They set up a card showing the train movements which usually takes about an hour or an hour and a half to do. They put the little color tabs on top of the cars to show where they have to go.
Lou is a believer in fast clocks because to him it enhances the operation. They operate at a 12 to 1 ratio. When operating a model railroad the distances on the railroad, no matter how large, can never be the same as they are in the real world. Even on a short line the distances between stations are miles whereas on a model it is at most a few feet. When this is related in scale to the prototype, it ends up being a much shorter distance. Using a fast clock speeds up the time between locations and makes the distances seem longer.
In a 12 to 1 ratio, 1 hour of railroad time is equal to five minutes real time, so they have to get a lot done in five minutes. The control system Lou uses is based on an inexpensive two cab control. His friend Ed built them using some Radio Shack components turned into handheld memory throttles. This way they can walk around with the trains and simply plug them in the plugins around the layout.