One of my primary interests in the hobby is prototypical operations, and this HO Scale version of the CPR Boundary Subdivision was designed very specifically with operations in mind. From the beginning of the construction in 2012, the focus was to complete an initial section of the layout so it could be operated - even at the expense of spending time building structures or working on scenery. If operating your layout is a key objective, I strongly recommend to folks that they commence even rudimentary operations as soon as possible on the layout. You learn an incredible amount from those early sessions.
Our approach matured during the 15 years of operating the previous Boundary Sub. Layout and is now based on a full timetable and train order system with a dispatcher, fast clock and most of the key prototype paperwork.
Regular operating sessions commenced with the inaugural Op session taking place on May 3, 2015. Much like the previous layout, it is intended to operate this version on a regular monthly basis with supplemental sessions for special events, such as VanRail, and the local 7th Division Op sessions that I coordinate.
Trains are controlled using a Lenz DCC base system complimented by a CVP wireless system and many diesel units have sound. The Dispatcher is stationed in a separate room adjacent to the train room, and operations are directed using TT & TO. Car movements are managed with Car Cards and 4 cycle way bills. A fast clock system is fully operational and sessions are currently based on 4:1 time. The communications methodology is presently being developed. Presently, a typical session lasts 3 hours and includes several scheduled trains and numerous extras based on the prototype CPR operations at the time.
Operating positions include; dispatcher, Nelson yard master, Proctor/east staging yard master, and several road crews.
We have developed an Operators Handbook which looks like this: