Dispatching

We have used a more informal system I call Verbal Train Orders up until recently. We use a sequence schedual and the dispatcher issues authority to occupy the mainline via FRS/GMRS radio. The crews doesn't write anything down and generally follows instruction. This system allows us to run 15-18 trains a session. The layout was initially intended to be dispatched by CTC but this is not a financial option any more. For many years the dispatcher used a metal board with magnets to keep track of trains. I have created an Excel sheet that we now use. Under this system there are no scheduled trains and no right by direction. All trains are extras.

This is a poor image of the left half of the panel. It will give you some idea of how it works or click the link to open a MS Excel file.
Dispatcher Board
The dispatcher can drag the train icons to where the trains are.

OCS
We have been trying OCS dispatching for 4 sessions. The Occupancy Control System was introduced in Canada with the 1990 Canadian Railway Operating Rules. OCS is very much like track warrants in the USA. You will notice this is long after our medelled 1976 time frame. There was a system in place in 1976 called Manual Block which evolved into OCS. Our prototype the BCR had full radio coverage in 1970 so we think this is a logical system to use on the Cariboo Western.
With OCS there is no superiority of trains and no prefered direction. Trains can be 1 of 3 types; an extra, a passenger extra or a work extra. Authority to occupy the main is given by the Railway Traffic Controller (dispatcher) using a document called a clearance (perhaps an unfortunate term for us modellers). Our initial experience was that the RTC job was too difficult and not many trains were run.
One of our group is a BNSF assistant chief dispatcher. His suggestion was to split the railway into 2 divisions with 2 RTC's. Since BCR called their's subdivisions so will we. We now have the Vancouver subdivision from Vancouver to south yard limits Squamish and the Cayoosh subdivision from north yard limits Squamish to Ashcroft. Vancouver sub uses FRS channel 8 as will Squamish Yard and Cayoosh Sub uses channel 9. Our experience on the June 21 session was much improved and I would like to use OCS from now on.

Here is a clearance with an explanation of how it works

CWR Dispatching