This section of the web site is still very much under construction. In the meantime, here is a link to the Pennsylvania Southern string diagram schedule. The PSRR employee timetable is bit more complicated. For printing, there are two files, Cover and Inside Pages. Both are PDF documents that, when printed, allow the pages to be folded into the booklet format. Unfortunately, this is not a very easy document to read on the screen. A more screen readable scanned version of the printed document is also available but it is about 10 MB.
Here are links to a presentation given at the NMRA MidCentral Region “South Wind” Convention April 12-15, 2007 in Louisville. These files are quite large. The PDF version, which should be viewable by anybody, is about 8 MB. If you can work with a PowerPoint Show, a 22 MB version is also available. Either can be downloaded to your computer by right clicking on the link then selecting “Save Link As” and following the prompt.
Also check the Listen link for audio recordings of the radio chatter from our operating sessions.
Dispatcher Log Program
In the July, 2007 issue of Scale Rails, the NMRA monthly magazine, I published a short article describing a database I developed to track operators’ progress toward meeting the operating requirements for the NMRA’s Chief Dispatcher certificate. As one might expect, there have been requests for a copy of the database. Rather than email it to every requester, I have chosen to post it here for download. The file is about 1.1 MB and should download quickly if you have a broadband connection.
There are a few things you should know before you start using the database.
This file is a Microsoft Excel document saved in a format that should work with versions 1997 to the present. It contains macros that are necessary to realize the full value of the database. If you security software raises a fuss when you try to download the file, that may be why. You have my word that these macros are not going to damage your computer or its contents. You may have to adjust settings in Excel in order to use the macros. I also assume that you have a working knowledge of the various sheets within an Excel workbook and how to manipulate them.
The file contains three sheets. The first, “Raw Data”, is where you can enter data. As downloaded, the file is fully populated with the operating data from our layouts. Feel free to delete the data to start over with your data. There is one major caution. There are four columns, F, H, I, and J, that contain calculations. Columns F, H, and I are hidden. If you delete all the contents of the sheet, these columns will be gone and you will have nothing. Delete with care and caution
On this sheet, enter the layout name, date, train description, NMRA job code, time on duty, time off duty, and operator. Column J calculates the time on duty in hours. The hidden columns just my way of dealing with the odd way in which Microsoft handles time manipulation. I welcome any better ways to do this! The button at the top of the sheet activates a macro that can be used to sort the data by time and date.
The second sheet, “NMRA Form”, contains selected fields from the Raw Data sheet. These fields (excluding the Crew field) are those used on the Chief Dispatcher Statement of Qualifications. The data are all copied from the Raw Data sheet. DO NOT DELETE, ENTER, OR SORT DATA ON THIS SHEET. If you do, the whole sheet will become all messed up and unusable. If you must sort the data, do it on the Raw Data sheet as the results will appear sorted on the NMRA Form sheet. This sheet is set up to allow the use of filters. To see what any one operator has done, select the drop down menu at the top of the Crew column and select the operator in question. The data can then be copied to a form of your own creation that you can use as part of the SOQ.
The third sheet, “Summary”, will present an operator by operator summary of how many hours each has in each operating category. Click the Update button (another macro) to update this list. I am not certain there is not a bug lurking somewhere in here so if you see something that does not look right you may not be doing anything wrong. Just let me know what is happening so I can try to fix it.
I am not a software engineer so this whole thing is probably not done as well as a professional might do it. I created this for my own use then was encouraged to write about it and share it. I welcome any suggestions for improvement.
There is one final note. As I stated in the magazine article, this database computes operating time from start to finish of each run. Except for yardmasters and dispatchers it does not credit time off between runs. Obviously, this makes record keeping easier. The NMRA Achievement Program Executive Assistant Manager, Frank Koch, is the gentleman who passes final judgment on every SOQ filed for approval. He has told me that he reads the rules to mean that an operator should be credited for the full time that the operator is in attendance at a session regardless of time spent at the throttle. Obviously, that is a bit more liberal than the way the database calculates time. For hard core operators, however, the difference quickly becomes moot. I’m sure Frank won’t reject your SOQ if it has too many conservatively measured hours.
If all the information above has not scared you away, right click here, select “Save Link As...” or something similar depending on your browser, and follow the prompts. I think you will find this database a handy way to keep track of activity on your layout.