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Thread: Tab-on-Car Operating System

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
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    Thumbs up Tab-on-Car Operating System

    I recently saw reference made to "tab-on-car" operating system. Just what is that?

  2. #2
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    Oh! I thought you were going to tell us.
    CONVICTED SERIAL KIDDER

    I'm lost. I've gone to look for me. If I should return before I get back, please ask me to wait.

  3. Default

    I believe it's coloured tabs or dots that ride on top of the car to indicate wether the car is empty or loaded, it's destination, and designation in a train.
    At least that's how it was described to me some time back.
    Questions answered, Answers questionable.

  4. #4

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    I'm just planning switch lists for operators to pick up certain cars in a specific order. Of course other cars will be blocking the cars to be picked up to make it interesting for the operators. The cars located could be at various yards or spurs.

    The operator(s) will get their locomotive assignments and caboose numbers. All which require moves. Once the trains are assemble, a number of main line laps and then the delivery of the cars.

    Thanks.

    Greg
    THE MILWAUKEE NORTHERN

    Transporters of Wood, Coal, Ore and Anything Else

    Est. 1983

    HO Scale

    __________________________________________________ ___________

    Where the SOO, Milwaukee Road, C&NW and Wisconsin Central Meet


    Charter Member of the Fallen Flags Model Railroad Club

  5. #5

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    Rico called it. Its an older (pre-PC) method for routing cars for operation. Colored dots, tacks, etc. attached to the cars roof. Matching colors on industries. Pretty much abandoned.
    Kevin

    General Manager
    Red Oak and Western Railway Company

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg@mnrr View Post
    I'm just planning switch lists for operators to pick up certain cars in a specific order. Of course other cars will be blocking the cars to be picked up to make it interesting for the operators. The cars located could be at various yards or spurs.

    The operator(s) will get their locomotive assignments and caboose numbers. All which require moves. Once the trains are assemble, a number of main line laps and then the delivery of the cars.



    Thanks.

    Greg
    Greg,

    I think your reply took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in an unintended category.

  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by GNMT76 View Post
    I recently saw reference made to "tab-on-car" operating system. Just what is that?
    The color of the tab indicates the town the car is going to. The letter or number on the tab is the industry within that town. The tabs I used had a large color and a small color. If the large color part was the town the car was in, the car then moved to the town of the small portion. If the car was in a town of the small color the tab was flipped. So a single tab could cover 4 different car moves.

    So a local arrives at the red town. All the cars in the train with a large red tab color are then dropped off and positioned at the appropriate industry. All the cars that are currently at an industry that have a red tab (large or small) and have a color for a town in the direction the train is traveling are picked up and blocked into the train. Blocking is important at the time of pick up to know if the car is advancing to a large or small tab color town.

    This is a self healing system in that a misplaced car will find the next train going the right direction.

    The real issue with this system is that there are these junk looking tabs all over the cars. It makes it impossible for photography of an operating session to look anything close to realistic, and looks funny to visitors.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2014
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    Iron Horseman,

    Once again you're an encyclopedia of information! What an intriguing system.

  9. Default

    Look up Ed Ravenscroft in old MR's. He wrote several articles on tab on car back in the 60's and 70's. There are lots of ways to do them.. They can be a thumbtack which fits in a hole on the top of the car (removed with a magnet). Or there can be a discrete pin placed in the top of the car and a coded washer placed over the pin. Or they can be little I-beams with a move on each side and the car type on the edge. Or you can put a magnet in the car on the side of the car and stick a color coded square piece of steel or tin sheet on the side. Or you can glue a thin piece of sheet steel or tin to the side of the car (like a tack board) and then attach a coded magnet to the side of the car. In more modern times there are lower tack marker "dots" of many colors that can be attached to the top of the car.

    Lots of options.

    These methods are actually quite prototypical since it was common in the steam era days to "card" an inbound cut with the blocking codes on the tackboards. A clerk would get a switch list of the car and walk the track tacking the appropriate coded card to the tack board with a hammer stapler. These methods were used into the 1980's. For example the GH&H (Galveston, Houston & Henderson) was 50-50 owned by the MP and MKT. When a MP train arrived Galvez yard, a clerk would staple blue cards to the cars, when a MKT train arrived, they stapled tan cards. Then the cars were delivered to the Galveston Wharves RR. When they came back, they were switched MP or MKT by the color of the cards.

    The advantage of the tag on car systems are they are simple to build and are not car number specific, which makes them great for modular set ups and clubs where the cars (and maybe the industries) will vary from session to session. The down side is that the tags can be considered "unsightly" by some and the idea of physically modifying the cars (hole for a thumbtack or pin for a washer) is a non-starter for others.
    Dave H.

    Modeling the Philadelphia and Reading in 1900-1905
    Wooden cars and iron men

  10. #10
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    There's a small 6' switching puzzle at my club, with about 6 cars on it that have to be moved from where they're placed at the beginning of a session, to somewhere else. They have number tabs on the roofs to refer to as to which goes where. Never ever thought it could be a system based on reality.
    CONVICTED SERIAL KIDDER

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