Allen Keller sits down with Allen McClelland to discuss the operating system on his Virginian and Ohio model railroad. The Virginian and Ohio ties in with the rest of the United States network. The east ties in with the C&O to the west which connects with the Dayton area to interchange with other railroads. These are either models or prototypes like St Louis, Chicago, and Detroit. At Allenford Junction, it ties in for a connection to the Ohio Southern Railroad for the auto market and areas around Detroit. A branch line travels north to Mansfield and connects with the lakes for coal. Later McClelland brought in the Appalachian Line concept to his railroad.
A typical day or operating session on the Virginian and Ohio is 24 hours with fast clocks. Operation covers four hours on a 6 to 1 ratio. There is a rush in the middle of the night during operation, which can be troublesome for photographers or viewers. Bridge route traffic travels east to west and a few locals run, though these do not get as much attention during operation. McClelland believes there should be more emphasis to road traffic and through traffic. Helper service presents the issue of weighing down the cars. Cars at the rear that are pushing and too light have the tendency to buckle.
Preparation work for operating sessions take about one evening and include staging the trains in their proper areas. McClelland developed a procedures manual for smooth operation. A friend of his that worked on the New York Central noted that they used an operating manual and sent him a copy. It was the perfect solution. McClelland advises that for any problem on a model, look to the prototype. True railroads have already addressed any problem on the railroad and found a solution that can work for a model. McClelland also created the first prototypical centralized traffic control panel that was later computerized.