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Thread: Asigning jobs for an ops session

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    Default Asigning jobs for an ops session

    I have about 8 jobs per session.
    El Dorado yard job
    Winnfield Turn
    Haskell Turn
    Malvern Switcher
    The Razorback (W&OV interchange freight)
    ICG Interchange
    Multiple run through trains.
    Dispatcher

    I've been toying with this issue since I've started oping.
    I haven't had any fist fights between operators yet, but does anyone have a good way to assign crews to jobs?

    I've tried:
    First come first serve.
    Drawing jobs from a jar
    Letting everyone choose their own jobs

    The Yard job at El Dorado seems to be the longest and most difficult, however with the use of the Tab On Car its become easier, which means not everyone want to work it and winds up being worked by one or two of the crews.

    I'd love to find a way to have or make everyone rotate through the jobs.
    How do you assign jobs?
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    If you have regulars on your crew Allen, I'd ask them this question. You might find that a few of them have a similar idea. It will also make them feel like they had some input to this, rather that the "boss" telling them what to do. I always felt better when my boss at work asked my opinion. After all, I was the one doing the job.

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    I agree with Michael.

    This is a fun activity so the key is not to force anybody into something they do not want to be doing on spare time. I think for the first few ops sessions you might have to assign, but after a few go arounds its a good time for feedback. You may have nothing to change or find that some jobs just do not appeal to the group and its back to the drawling board. For myself I like working yards etc, making the brain work a little. Some in my group just want to go around and around as much as possible.

    Hmmm now that I think of it, just like the prototype.
    Be positive, Be polite, have fun with the hobby!

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    I've seen different methods at sessions I've been to. Some draw cards for "Seniority" and pick jobs in that order. One layout I run on lets people sign up for jobs (every job has to get filled). People will gravitate to certain tasks, some like through trains, some like switching and some like dispatching.

    Another layout I run on is a first come first serve. You grab a train and run it, no particular order is needed. My layout only takes 2 operators, so there aren't many options to pick from (nice and easy).
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    On most of the layouts that I operate on, the layout owners asks for job preferences when they send out the final crew lists. The week before the session they send out a list with assignments. If there are no preferences, they assign spots based on experience and previous preferences.
    Tim Rumph
    Modeling the Southern Railway in N-Scale

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Whiteman View Post
    If you have regulars on your crew Allen, I'd ask them this question. You might find that a few of them have a similar idea. It will also make them feel like they had some input to this, rather that the "boss" telling them what to do. I always felt better when my boss at work asked my opinion. After all, I was the one doing the job.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bessemer Bob View Post
    I agree with Michael.

    This is a fun activity so the key is not to force anybody into something they do not want to be doing on spare time. I think for the first few ops sessions you might have to assign, but after a few go arounds its a good time for feedback. You may have nothing to change or find that some jobs just do not appeal to the group and its back to the drawling board. For myself I like working yards etc, making the brain work a little. Some in my group just want to go around and around as much as possible.

    Hmmm now that I think of it, just like the prototype.
    LOL, thanks Michael and Bob.
    I have anywhere from 3-8 crew that vary from session to session.
    I have given them the opportunity for input and I usually get the same response......"I don't care, it's not my layout" or just plain "I don't care"

    That's why I'm posting here to see if there is a better way.

    Part of the problem is a small percentage of the crew really enjoy operating the layout, the rest it's just something to do or a social event.
    For instance, one of the crew can do any of the jobs with no issues, but he is one of the best for working the El Dorado yard. Not terribly hard, but it pretty much takes the whole session to work it. There are times that he wants to run one of the locals or other FUN jobs and because no one wants to run the yard, he usually get stuck with it.

    I will say just about everyone except the two newest crews have run the yard and with the use of the tab system it has become much easier.

    I would love to see some sort of a rotation system set in place, then a seniority can be somewhat implemented.

    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    I've seen different methods at sessions I've been to. Some draw cards for "Seniority" and pick jobs in that order. One layout I run on lets people sign up for jobs (every job has to get filled). People will gravitate to certain tasks, some like through trains, some like switching and some like dispatching.
    Karl could you elaborate on this method a bit?
    If I just let them choose, that's exactly what they do, they drift towards what they want to do and then others get stuck with the same old jobs and they don't get a chance to try other things.



    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    Another layout I run on is a first come first serve. You grab a train and run it, no particular order is needed.
    This is normally what happens in my sessions...


    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    My layout only takes 2 operators, so there aren't many options to pick from (nice and easy).
    That's not fair!
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim R View Post
    On most of the layouts that I operate on, the layout owners asks for job preferences when they send out the final crew lists. The week before the session they send out a list with assignments. If there are no preferences, they assign spots based on experience and previous preferences.
    This would work, except half the time when I send out a "crew call" email, only less than half respond. So most of the time, I have no idea who or how many are coming.

    I have found one thing, this is not anything like the saying "Build it and they will come"
    Had I know getting crew members assigned to play with ops session, I may have built a different style of layout.

    I didn't build it specifically for this, but over the years I always heard from our group that they wished there was or they had a layout to to play on. Most of my crew came from our modular group from the 90's and we always had a very good attendance from the group.

    Unfortunately there is not a huge base of modelers who wish to play. There are modelers in my town, but most seem to stick closely with a small closed group of friends. Hell I've got two guys from the KC who almost beg to come play trains....
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    This would work, except half the time when I send out a "crew call" email, only less than half respond. So most of the time, I have no idea who or how many are coming.
    The layouts I'm talking about are fairly large operations, and there is often a waiting list because more people want to come than there is room for. The typical process goes about like this:

    1- (about a month before the session) Announcement of the date and time of the session to the list of people who are interested.
    2- (about two weeks before the session) A list of who made the cut, and a request for job preferences. This is where seniority comes in, usually with a few spots for newcomers.
    3- (about a week before the session) A list of job assignments for those who are coming.

    Sometimes there are not enough people who respond to run the layout. In this case, the session will be cancelled.
    Tim Rumph
    Modeling the Southern Railway in N-Scale

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    The obvious answer is to make the least desirable job easier and/or more fun; one option is to break it up into two shifts so someone isn't stuck with it the whole night.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    Karl could you elaborate on this method a bit?
    If I just let them choose, that's exactly what they do, they drift towards what they want to do and then others get stuck with the same old jobs and they don't get a chance to try other things.
    Allen,
    Have some playing cards, one for each job (A-8). Everyone draws a card before the session. The cards determines their "Senority". Just like the real railroads the higher seniority picks first. 8 then 7 and so on. This still let's people pick jobs they like, but levels the odds for everyone.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Quote Originally Posted by railohio View Post
    The obvious answer is to make the least desirable job easier and/or more fun; one option is to break it up into two shifts so someone isn't stuck with it the whole night.


    The yard job is the hardest, or should I say the most intense job, which I have made easier with the use of the tabs.
    I also have a spreadsheet that I print out to help the yard crew with the blocking of each of the Turns.
    By breaking the El Dorado yard job in two shifts, this could work very easy!
    Thanks
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    Allen,
    Have some playing cards, one for each job (A-8). Everyone draws a card before the session. The cards determines their "Senority". Just like the real railroads the higher seniority picks first. 8 then 7 and so on. This still let's people pick jobs they like, but levels the odds for everyone.
    Karl, if I understand you correctly, that would be a simple solution!
    Basically every session the cards are drawn again, thus giving everyone has a chance to rotate through seniority for each session.
    Correct?
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    Karl, if I understand you correctly, that would be a simple solution!
    Basically every session the cards are drawn again, thus giving everyone has a chance to rotate through seniority for each session.
    Correct?
    You've got it! It is a fresh draw every time. Fair for everyone.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwisc View Post
    You've got it! It is a fresh draw every time. Fair for everyone.
    Excellent!
    One of my crew already suggested that no one can be low seniority two sessions in a row. For this we would keep track of things on a whiteboard.
    If this happens, then they switch with the second lowest crew.

    Will have to try this on the next session.
    Thanks again!
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    I keep a log of all regular operators and visitors to my layout. For each Op or Work session I add a point to the name of those attending. Each visitor session gets a half point.

    I try to give the operator with the highest number of points first choice of a job. I have 2 operators at each tower. Brown tower controls the yard and local city switching. Red Oak tower controls all local switching in the on-line towns. I act as a dispatcher and dictate what comes out of the staging yard(s). [Since it is simply sequential dispatching of the prototypes trains that leaves most of my time to harassing the operators (which I do well). I also break down and help throw a few of the turnouts that are out of reach of the Red Oak Tower operators.] The Brown and Red Oak tower operators also control the dispatching (“meets”) within their districts.

    The main Camden Pavonia yard is the toughest assignment (and dramatically effects the entire operating session) and I usually make sure that one of the 2 most experienced Brown Tower operators is there. I have 2 guys that seem to love that challenge and the other 2 operators seem to enjoy learning and helping there.

    Our main goal is to have fun and I am very fortunate in that we all seem to have a great time no matter what job we were doing.

    Crew 2012 2/5/13 5/12/13 7/13/13 5/8/14 6/28/14 7/25/14 9/27/14 5/16/15 9/19/15 x/xx/xx 10/24/15 3/5/16 5/21/16 9/17/16 11/19/17 1/21/17 5/6/17 7/8/17 Points
    Rick 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 0.5 1 1 1 0.5 1 1 1 1 0.5 0.5 1 13.5
    Bob 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 9.5
    Gene 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 1 1 1 1 0.5 7.0
    Tim P 0.5 0.5 1 1 1 1 1 1 7.0
    Mario 1 1 1 1 0.5 1 5.5
    Larry 0.5 1 1 2.5
    John 0.5 0.5 1 2.0
    Niel 1 0.5 1.5
    Tim S Sr 0.5 1 1.5
    Lt. Steve 0.5 0.5 1.0
    Phil 0.5 .5
    Bob (PA) 0.5 .5
    Alden (PA) 0.5 .5
    Gus 0.5 .5 Moylan
    Russ 0.5 .5 Moylan Wants to operate
    Tom 0.5 .5 Moylan Yard
    Jim 0.5 .5 Moylan
    Visit Visit Visit Tour Tour Op 1 Visit Op 2 Op 3 Op 4 Visit Op 5 Work Op 6 Op7 Tour Visit Op8 Visit





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    Quote Originally Posted by rick773 View Post
    I keep a log of all regular operators and visitors to my layout. For each Op or Work session I add a point to the name of those attending. Each visitor session gets a half point.
    Thanks Rick.
    That seems like a very fair way to assign as well.
    And it makes sense, the more work you do the more you get rewarded.
    The Little Rock Line blog


    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience." George Carlin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen H. View Post
    Thanks Rick.
    That seems like a very fair way to assign as well.
    And it makes sense, the more work you do the more you get rewarded.
    That was how jobs used to be assigned on the layout where I saw the seniority cars used. Real "Senority" based on points accumulated running certain jobs. The layout owner kept track of trains run, trains dispatched and so on. When you had successfully handled every job on the layout you got a pin and a certificate.

    The downside of that is that if you have a regular crew, they can block new operators from some of the "easier" or "fun" jobs. The layout owner saw that and switched to the cards to keep things fair.
    Karl

    CEO of the Skally Line, an Eastern MN Shortline

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    On most of the layouts I have operated on, most jobs were first come first served.

    The exceptions tend to be yardmasters and dispatchers. Putting an inexperienced operator in either of these positions can really make an operating session go bad.

    On one layout I operated on regularly, there were two types of road jobs, through trains and local trains.

    Any operator could run a through train. Very few of the through trains had any switching to do ( on this list, there were 3 jobs with ant switching. There was a passenger train that set out a sleeper and another that picked it up later. There was also a quarry run that operated as a turn with empty cars going out and loads coming back )

    Local trains on this layout operated with car cards and waybills. In order to operate one of these jobs, you had to be trained by a qualified operator. The training was so you could learn where the industries were on the layout.

    ( I never did qualify on the car cards on this layout... in 6 years... though I was one of 4 dispatchers... the layout had about 30 trains every session, 6 of which required qualified operators ).

    Paul

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    from my own experience, I worked a session as an engineer and got so bogged down that the yard had to stop building trains so I could catch up. I would have done better as a trainee with an op that had more experience/knowledge of the layout.
    don't know if this helps.

    see post #16 - I shouldn't have made a jump without reading all the posts! We had company (grand kids) and I had to sneak in time on the computer!
    Yours,

    Gene

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