Without ever…addendum

I noticed a few minor edits in my previous post and logged in this morning to address them. Re-reading the post itself I realised I should have added one more thought to it.

In my traditional approach to switching freight cars I viewed the operating session as a work day on the railroad with a defined start and end state – a typical full day on the railroad. In this scenario I retrieve cars that had been loaded or emptied by a customer of the railroad since the time when I left the car on their siding, at their industry.

In terms of that salt hopper on the Claremont-Concord Railroad the movement is more fluid:

  1. Hopper arrives at interchange yard;
  2. I move the load of salt to the unload point;
  3. Bay-by-bay I unload the car;
  4. With the car unloaded I return it to the origin.

In this way, the car is never really left anywhere online. The railroad at the end of the session looks pretty much as it did when I switched it on at the start. Unlike in the traditional model I do the complete process during one operating session. The length of that session isn’t defined by the number of cars to place with a fixed end point since I could conceivably adjust the number of salt hoppers to the length of session I’d like to have.

As I shared, initially I figured the “brilliant” moment was presented in the space utilization aspects of the design: One single hopper could represent the work of three more traditional car spots. By that same logic, if I actually had the room for three car spots I could still use them around the same single bay unloading point. Using that same 3:1 ratio the new car spots equals the equivalent of nine.

Obviously it’s not actually nine car spots. I’m not placing nine cars, but I am doing the work of doing that. Further, I feel like there’s potential here to extend the illusion of doing work in the eyes of the operator. When I arrive at the unload point, I could have a timer that represents the time to unload that bay. I have to wait for that bay to empty before advancing – doing so represents something real happening. To my imagination, this feels just a bit more tangible than pretending that while I was away tiny bags of imaginary whatever were stacked inside that boxcar.

It’s getting later in the morning. Today’s bread is done and the coffee is made. Time to head off to the office. Thanks for following along to here.





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