Looks like everyone had a good time. We also play trains some what like you do.
Thank you, Russell;Fred, My railway is now dismantled but I operated, with live steam, in a sort of prototypical fashion using simplified train orders and use my imagination to make the layout and it's one depot and tracks ( the main line is a kidney shaped oval) be three different ones. I start with train make up and switching from the train orders, then proceed with the train to next place on the line (in reality 5 laps of the circuit) where I consult train orders for what cars I need to place and pick then go on to final desitination (another 5 laps )to place cars as listed on the simplified train orders sheet.
With live steam locomotives it is challenging but extremely satisfying and a big change from the usual "round 'n around" running. I start with placing cars in a starting position on various places on the layout and use the car numbers on the train order sheet.
I have attached below a copy of a typical train order sheet and a 'schematic' track diagram of the 3 destinations that is really just the same depot and track as explained before and some imagination is needed.
This particular set of simple train orders takes quite while but seems only like minutes. As the trains can be long it pays to have a 'conductor/brakeman' person with you so two can play at this with hand signals for coupling and uncoupling by the brakeman to the driver as well as changing the switches and agreeing on switching moves.
Please you must have a look at a previous post of mine where I have an explanation and images of some switching so follow link Switching session with live steam.
I hope this all makes sense as explaining the operation is more difficult than doing it and I must mention having 'reverse entry' sidings and also starting by steaming from the engine depot make it even more interesting. Operating large scale trains even on a simple 'oval' layout in a more prototypical way is most satisfying.
I don't know about "modelling" the operation, but there are a bunch of guys in LSC who built layouts that are prototypical in scope and they run trains to an operating schedule, using manifests, etc.Does anyone actually MODEL the OPERATION of a railroad in Large Scale.