Starting operations on Phase I of my layout has pointed out to me the importance of having somewhere for trains to come from and go to. I have been trying to figure out how traffic would flow in and out of my mills. I'm working on setting up my car cards & waybills so that they work in a logical manner. It may just be that since my current layout is all one geographical location (Crossett, Arkansas) it seems very limited in what can be accomplished other than switching the mills. That is fun, in and of itself. Maybe I just can't visualize how it should work with cars being interchanged in and out, since they don't currently go anywhere. I do not want to wait until I am able to build the whole layout to actually start operations. Since the mill complex is the operational heart of the layout and is complete now, I want to start working out the kinks that I am sure that I have not foreseen. I've been having problems making everything work out like I think that it should. This is my plan of attack that I think will fix that. I wanted to run it past y'all and see what someone else thinks. Phase I represents the mill complex and has 25 spots for loading and unloading various types of cars. Phase II is supposed to be my mainline and also have my staging yard. Phase II is as yet unbuilt and it will be a little while before I can build it. This was the initial overall design that contained both Phase I and Phase II. Phase I is the loops on the left and has changed somewhat in the actual building. Phase II is the long loops on the top. There are four trains that ran in and out of Crossett, Arkansas on a daily basis. The AD&N "All Day & Night" local which runs to Monticello, Arkansas and back. The Missouri Pacific 785/786 which runs from Montrose, Arkansas and back. The Rock Island 777/778 which runs from Tinsman, Arkansas and back. The Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri "Gator" local which runs from Monroe, Louisiana and back. I have decided that to work out the operations for the mills I need to build a "temporary" four track stub-ended staging yard. I got the idea from Tony Koester's Operations book and his article in the last Model Railroader. I took stuff that I already had and started building it. I'm building it kind of like a module that can be put up for a session and connected with a 5" straight section. The yard can then be taken down and stowed when it is not in use. The tracks will each hold a train that consists of 2 engines, 10-12 cars, and a caboose. The staging yard will be attached to the layout at the right bottom corner of Phase I at the straight leg of the wye. (Whitlow Junction) One track will represent Monticello and will hold the AD&N local. It will be the first train on to the layout and will come in to the A/D track, drop the train and the power will head to the barn. AD&N switchers will break down the train. The MoPac 785 will come in and work the interchange and then leave as 786 and head back to Montrose/staging. The A&LM Gator will come in and work the interchange and head back to Monroe/staging. The Rock 777 will come in and work the interchange and then leave as 778 and head back to Monroe/staging. Meanwhile the switcher has been working the whole time and has built the next AD&N local to go to Monticello. The crew comes on, hooks to their train and exits to Monticello/staging. I plan on starting with no cars on the layout and each train in staging having 5-6 cars. I want to run a couple of sessions and then expand a few cars per session as I work out the procedures. I plan on each train having about maybe about 10 cars maximum, but this will be dependent on what actually works on the layout. With the "temp" yard being stub-ended, it will require restaging between sessions. When the yard needs to be taken down, the trains can be pulled onto the layout and parked. If you made it this far, feedback would be appreciated.