2017-08.4: Timetable & Train Order: Ops Roadshow

26 Aug 2017

Average: 4.6 (14 votes)
20:04 - August 2017 Act IV - Crew Call: Operations Roadshow TT&TO (2017)

When it comes to mastering model railroad operations, there’s nothing quite like learning by doing.  The Operations Roadshow is a teaching tool that travels to train shows to introduce timetable and train order operation to others in the hobby. 


bart's picture

I really, truly enjoyed this video.  What a great job these guys are doing!  Thanks TMTV for providing this video!


Any information on that device that I think may have been a mechanical wheel cleaner in the scene where a locomotive was put on the track?

The motorized wheel cleaner that we use in the Fiddle Yard on the Operations Road Show layout is a "Radreinigungsanlage" manufactured by LUX Modellbau. One of our guys found it in a hobby shop when he was in Germany on business.

It is a pair of felt-topped brass bars that oscillate out of sync with each other while a locomotive spins its wheels on top of them. We use it in conjunction with a Trix wheel cleaning brush, since the combination gives us better results than either one alone.

The Lux wheel cleaner (note that the web site is currently only available in German, but Google Chrome does a good job of translation) is not inexpensive, at about €150 (roughly $180US as I write this), but for as often as we use it, it has been worth it to us. I'm not certain how much they get for replacement felt strips, but when ours have gotten too dirty to use, we peel the felt off, then use double-sided tape to mount another strip of felt (cut from a sheet from a fabric store) in place.

-Fritz Milhaupt
Operations Road Show



Thanks, Bart!

It has been a lot of fun (and a lot of work)!

-Fritz Milhaupt
Operations Road Show

Are the car boxes stacked on the tables an IKEA item or homemade? 

The car boxes are, indeed, from Ikea. They were sold as lingerie boxes. We added foamboard inserts to make them usable as car storage boxes.

We bought a bunch of them around 2001, but they've since discontinued them.

One issue with them is that the drawers don't have stops to keep you from pulling them out all the way-- dumping a pile of underwear on the floor doesn't have quite as drastic consequences as dumping seven or eight freight cars. But once you know that, it's easy enough to avoid pulling out the drawers too far.

-Fritz Milhaupt
Not actually hostile, just a bit surly.
Operations Road Show

Excellent presentation and completely non-combative. It's tough to learn TT&TO through online discussions in which every question generates a flood of contradictory answers. I hope you do more videos on learning about this system and how crews make their decisions.

Nicely done video. I took my camera car over the layout a couple of years ago, with Jeff from the Operations Road Show providing narration. That video is linked below. Great group of people!



Kansas City - The Final Road Trip for the Operations Road Show

The 2018 NMRA National Convention in Kansas City will be the last time we plan to take the Operations Road Show layout out to a Convention. The project just marked its twentieth anniversary (yesterday), and fifteen years since we first took the layout to a Convention.

Wear and tear are the big consideration behind this decision, chiefly with respect to the crew that built the layout and presents the operating sessions. We have greatly enjoyed being able to bring our take on timetable and train order operation to people who might otherwise not have a chance to try it, but after KC we need to set up the layout at its home base and continue to work just from there. The effort to move the layout several states either direction, set it up, run a rather intense (but enjoyable!) several days of operating sessions, take it down, then haul it home has now reached the limits of what our core group is physically capable of doing.

Going forward, we will have the layout open for operating sessions in conjunction with area NMRA Conventions, and regional operations weekends in southeast Michigan. We will continue to host visiting groups and have guests sit in on our regularly-scheduled operating sessions at home. We will decide after Kansas City just how we will go about publicizing this.

I know that I'm not alone in my group in my thinking about how I will very much miss meeting the large number of interested people we could reach at the National Conventions. But we've reached the point in the life of the project, and our own lives, where it is time to settle down and let people come to us.

This was not an easy decision to make, but at least it allows us to let people know when our last trip out will be before it actually happens, and we're able to end the "road" portion of the Operations Road Show on our own terms.

-Fritz Milhaupt
Operations Road Show - soon with considerably less "road"


tpmarshall's picture


Your group's decision makes perfect sense. And you've certainly done a lot to introduce people to TT&TO operations. Well done - an amazing run!

Thanks to you and everyone in the Operations Road Show for the education, for the encouragement, and for raising the bar for realistic operations in the hobby.

Happy modeling!

- Trevor