798.03 said:. . . It actually requires quite a bit of thought and dexterity to work it all through without getting cross hobbled anywhere, even though it's quite a short timetable! Ensuring the right stock is in the right place, and, as I don't run MTS/DCC, the appropriate combination of track power, battery power, and use of the LGB isolating switches is essential!
A long time ago I had a 'summer job' working for the Electric Traction Engineer and it was my job to record the distance travelled by 'our' trains, for maintenance such as tire changes. The method was simple: we got a list from Traffic of the units in operation the previous day and their allocation to a particular pattern of operation. Each pattern had a route length and I added that to the running total. Being young and enthusiastic, one day I went to the main terminus station and checked the actual units against what Traffic had told us. Admittedly there had been a major disruption due to a power failure, but there was no resemblance between practice and what was claimed! While I admired Traffic's ability to maintain any sort of timetable in the circumstances, it helped to convince me that a career in what was then British Railways was not what I desired!
However, coping with such a disruption on a model layout might be an interesting intellectual challenge, when there is a timetable to follow!
It was also the responsibility of the Electric Traction Engineer's staff to train the 'drivers'. It does not sound like there is a great deal to driving an EMU in suburban traffic. You accelerate as quickly as possible for the minimum period (to reduce electricity consumption) then coast (there are coasting boards to help you) until you brake hard (but not enough to upset the passengers) at the last possible moment (to reduce journey time) to stop at the designated point on the platform (depending on train length). And you have to balance the brake pressure when stopped so that you can release the brakes promptly when given permission to leave but without allowing the train to creep. For brevity, and because we were 'converting' experienced steam / diesel drivers, I have omitted all the normal stuff about signals, etc. I have yet to find a model control system that even starts to approach simulation of the real thing. With DCC I set 'braking time' to around the maximum and then try 'shunting' while trying to prevent huge collisions, but its not really close to having real brakes.
One thing I did enjoy was the Friday Q train. This was a slot in the timetable for a test run of an overhauled unit. Imagine getting paid to sit on a train for a trip to the seaside! Yes, I did that! The overhauled unit was coupled to reliable unit (to bring any defective unit back to the depot) and off we went. Now that really was a test of the driver. Some drove 'by the book' which was not really the point of the test run. What we needed was a 'Jeremy Clarkson' type approach to really test the power systems. And no stopping at stations to avoid confusing passengers.
In real life Q trains are fun, and I don't see why model layouts should not incorporate this feature. Its not a regular run, just when required.
Thanks for the extra description of how your timetable was derived. I hope my thoughts might enrich your operations, but then again some people get paid to suffer the stresses of this demanding job, so why do it for fun? Because you don't have to!
Please enjoy the fried dumplings! My last visit to Austria involved a discussion with the waiter about a dish I had not tried. He said 'you don't want that' which made me more determined. He was right!
So I have been wrong before, and expect to be now, and in future.