Large industries can be complex operations for railroad employees to sort out. From the ground, it can be difficult to figure out where cars are to be spotted, and the untrained may not be familiar with the fact that some moves cannot be made a certain times of the day. Employees learn on the job. They are trained by their peers on the idiosyncrasies of large industrial operations, and through repetition they learn how to make their side of the business work for the customer.
Operators on my layout won’t necessarily have the advantage of learning through frequent repetition, so I’ve drawn a schematic showing the layout of the various car spots and the buildings associated with them.
The diagram represents all of the track and buildings on my layout, and assigns names and/or numbers to specific car spots. The diagram will have to be accompanied by some basic information like instructions to check in with customer’s freight coordinator for intra-plant shuttling and time-restricted moves when the train arrives at the plant, the capacity of certain tracks, permissible places to leave cars that are off-spot, use of bell and horn, speed restrictions, etc. I have some clear plastic clipboards for operators to use, and I plan to laminate these instructions to the back of the diagram with the switch list on company stationary on top. This way, operators can flip the clipboard around to see the diagram.
Hopefully, I can find an example of a Penn Central or NYC diagram so I can make mine look like an official company document. Until then, this will have to suffice.