Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Operator Aids - Station Plats

Positioned next to the fast clock and shelf, the plat can help visiting operators find the industries they want.
The Stockton & Copperopolis has been operating now for over four years with minimal on-layout help for operators. I had made up some tent cards and placed them at industrial sidings but the crews still had to search to find the right siding (Unfortunately, those cards will remain until the industry they represent is built). A couple of years ago, I printed out portions of my layout plan and placed them at switching locations to give operators a better view of things but blue masking tape holding up copy paper didn't really look that great. I wanted something that looked professional but could be easily changed if I added a siding or industry.While operating on Dave Acheson's layout last weekend, I noticed the signs he had and asked him about them. They looked good and met my requirements so I decided to incorporate them on the S&C.
Acrylic picture frames are the foundation of the S&C's station plats. The rear stand must be removed so that the frame can lay flat on the fascia.
   The basis of the station plats (so the prototype called these small maps) is a series of acrylic picture frames made by Green Tree Gallery. I bought mine at the local Hobby Lobby (www.hobbylobby.com). They come in several sizes and orientations. I used the 5 x 3-1/2, the 6 x 4 and the 7 x 5 frames. This one-piece frame has a built-in stand which is not need so I sawed it off using my table saw. This gave me a flat frame which was then attached to the layout fascia with double-sided tape. Using Adobe Illustrator, I drew up some better-looking plats sized to fit the frames and am quite pleased with the results. In my eyes anyway, they add to the railroad and, hopefully, the ease of its operation.
The finished plat gives the relative location of the industries at each switching location. 

1 comment:

  1. A club in Morgantown, WV did something very similar, but these station plat diagrams were positioned near the ends of the 13-foot long passing siding. These are paper print outs laminated to 0.040-inch sheet styrene and screwed into place. Some are just taped or pinned to benchwork as there is no fascia at the location yet. An application can be seen in the top photo at this link.

    These have been extremely useful for all operators. Even our club members consult the diagrams during an op session. - Eric