Build a Custom Bulletin Board

© 2021 MARK STEENWYK - Guest Author

To‌ ‌further‌ ‌the‌ ‌prototypical‌ ‌representation‌ ‌of‌ ‌railroads,‌ ‌some‌ ‌modelers‌ ‌also‌ ‌try‌ ‌to ‌recreate‌ ‌the‌ paperwork‌ ‌and‌ ‌communications‌ ‌that‌ ‌are‌ ‌used‌ ‌around‌ ‌the‌ ‌railroad.‌  ‌Whether‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌modeling‌ ‌a‌ specific‌ ‌prototype‌ ‌(Like‌ ‌I‌ ‌am),‌ ‌or‌ ‌creating‌ ‌your‌ ‌own‌ ‌Freelance‌ ‌Paradise,‌ ‌the‌ ‌paperwork‌ ‌could‌ ‌still‌ ‌be‌ represented‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌same‌ ‌way.‌ ‌Most‌ ‌model‌ ‌railroads‌ ‌use‌ ‌some‌ ‌sort‌ ‌of‌ ‌car‌ ‌forwarding‌ ‌system,‌ ‌color‌ coding‌, ‌or‌ ‌paper‌ ‌waybills; but‌, ‌not‌ ‌many‌ ‌try‌ ‌to‌ ‌recreate‌ ‌the‌ ‌idea‌ ‌of‌ ‌Superintendent‌ ‌Bulletins‌ ‌or‌ ‌General‌ Notices.‌

As‌ ‌a‌ ‌career‌ ‌railroader,‌ ‌these‌ ‌pieces‌ ‌of‌ ‌information‌ ‌are‌ ‌very‌ ‌vital‌ ‌to‌ ‌me.‌ ‌General‌ ‌Orders‌ ‌are‌ used‌ ‌to‌ ‌modify‌ ‌or‌ ‌change‌ ‌an‌ ‌operating‌ ‌rule‌ ‌or‌ ‌procedure,‌ ‌whereas‌ ‌General‌ ‌Notices‌ ‌are‌ ‌used‌ ‌to‌ ‌give‌ ‌out‌ specific‌ ‌information‌ ‌or‌ ‌directions‌ ‌to‌ ‌perform‌ ‌daily‌ ‌tasks.‌ ‌In‌ ‌previous‌ ‌times‌ ‌all‌ ‌of‌ ‌this‌ ‌information‌ ‌was‌ presented‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌crews‌ ‌on‌ bulletin ‌boards‌ ‌hanging‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌wall‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌on‌-duty‌ ‌location.‌  ‌

In‌ ‌more‌ ‌modern‌ ‌times‌ we‌ ‌have‌ ‌gone‌ ‌to‌ ‌having‌ the ‌ability‌ ‌to‌ ‌access‌ ‌this‌ ‌information‌ ‌via‌ ‌a‌ ‌computer,‌ ‌and‌ ‌now‌ ‌on‌ ‌a‌ ‌hand-held‌ railroad‌-issued‌ ‌iPad.‌ ‌I‌ ‌model‌ ‌1975 when ‌computers‌ ‌weren’t‌ ‌very‌ ‌widespread‌ ‌and‌ information‌ ‌would‌ ‌have‌ ‌still‌ have ‌been ‌posted‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌Bulletin‌ ‌Board.  Crews‌ ‌would‌ ‌have‌ ‌to‌ ‌check‌ ‌these‌ ‌every‌ time‌ ‌they‌ ‌showed‌ ‌up‌ ‌to‌ ‌work,‌ ‌and some‌ ‌railroads‌ ‌even‌ ‌required‌ ‌employees‌ ‌to‌ ‌initial‌ ‌or‌ ‌sign‌ ‌the‌ ‌paper‌ ‌to‌ ensure‌ ‌they‌ ‌reviewed‌ ‌it.‌ ‌ 

The bulletin board ‌I‌ ‌have put ‌together‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌my‌ ‌recreation‌ ‌of‌ ‌such‌ ‌a‌ ‌depot‌ ‌bulletin‌ ‌board.‌ ‌A‌ ‌nice‌ ‌sheet‌ ‌of‌ ‌½‌-inch Plywood‌ ‌(Purchased‌ ‌way‌ ‌before‌ ‌the‌ ‌prices‌ ‌went‌ ‌sky-high),‌ was the perfect starting point.  I‌ ‌cut‌ ‌it‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌size‌ ‌that‌ ‌looked‌ ‌about‌ ‌right‌ ‌to‌ hang‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌wall ‌and‌ ‌keep‌ ‌things‌ ‌spaced‌ ‌out.‌ ‌To‌ ‌add‌ ‌a‌ ‌little‌ ‌bit‌ ‌of‌ ‌class‌ ‌to‌ ‌it,‌ ‌I‌ ‌took‌ ‌a‌ ‌rounded‌ ‌router‌ ‌bit‌ around‌ ‌the‌ ‌edges,‌ ‌and‌ ‌then‌ ‌measured‌ ‌out‌ ‌the‌ ‌placement‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌clipboards.‌ ‌These‌ ‌are‌ ‌not‌ ‌your‌ ordinary‌ ‌clipboards,‌ ‌but‌ ‌some‌ ‌two-ring‌ ‌clipboards‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌find‌ ‌at‌ ‌the‌ ‌local‌ ‌office‌ ‌store/Amazon.‌  ‌

This‌ goes‌ ‌further‌ ‌to‌ ‌represent‌ ‌the‌ ‌railroad's‌ ‌bulletin‌ ‌board,‌ ‌as‌ ‌these‌ ‌could‌ ‌eventually‌ ‌hold‌ ‌quite‌ ‌a‌ ‌few‌ ‌pieces‌ of‌ ‌paper ‌that‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌flipped‌ ‌through.‌ ‌I‌ ‌chose‌ ‌to‌ ‌paint‌ ‌this‌ ‌board‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌style‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ historic‌ ‌MILW‌ ‌Rd.‌ ‌locomotives,‌ ‌using‌ ‌just‌ ‌sample‌ ‌size‌ ‌jars‌ ‌from‌ ‌the‌ ‌local‌ ‌big‌ ‌box‌ ‌store‌ ‌to‌ ‌keep‌ ‌the‌ ‌cost‌ down.‌ ‌Although‌ ‌anyone‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌CriCut,‌ ‌or‌ ‌similar‌ ‌type‌ ‌machine‌ ‌could‌ ‌easily‌ ‌cut‌ ‌out‌ ‌some‌ ‌vinyl‌ ‌letters,‌ ‌I‌ chose‌ ‌to‌ ‌order‌ ‌the‌ ‌words‌ ‌I‌ ‌needed‌ ‌from‌ ‌a‌ ‌website‌ ‌(WordsAnywhere).‌ ‌I am still debating‌ ‌if‌ ‌there‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌need‌ or‌ ‌desire‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌logo‌ ‌or‌ ‌name‌ ‌displayed‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌board.‌ ‌ 

I‌ ‌will‌ ‌use this bulletin board to display‌ ‌the‌ ‌Operating‌ ‌Bulletins‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌have‌ ‌created‌ ‌for‌ ‌my‌ ‌model‌ ‌railroad ‌along‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ ‌copy‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ Seniority‌ ‌Roster ‌and‌ ‌Special‌ ‌Instructions.‌ ‌The‌ ‌fourth‌ ‌clipboard‌ ‌will‌ ‌just‌ ‌be‌ ‌for‌ ‌fun,‌ ‌as‌ ‌it‌ ‌will‌ ‌contain‌ ‌other‌ random‌ ‌fun‌ ‌information ‌including‌ ‌Home‌ ‌Shops‌ LLC ‌General‌ ‌Shop‌ ‌Bulletins‌ ‌and ‌letters‌ ‌that‌ ‌have‌ ‌been‌ passed‌ ‌between‌ ‌other‌ ‌model‌ ‌railroaders‌ ‌over‌ ‌the‌ ‌time‌ ‌I‌ ‌have‌ ‌been‌ ‌operating.‌  ‌

To finish off my bulletin board, I‌ ‌also‌ displayed a ‌very‌ ‌nice‌ ‌Milwaukee‌ ‌Road‌ ‌Clock‌ ‌that‌ ‌I‌ ‌was‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌obtain‌ ‌from‌ ‌a‌ ‌recent‌ ‌internet‌ ‌purchase,‌ ‌and‌ a‌ ‌very‌ ‌complex‌ ‌story‌ ‌of‌ ‌transit‌ ‌from‌ ‌MN‌ ‌to‌ ‌KS.‌ 

Home Shops Editor's Note: 

Thank you to Mark Steenwyk for sharing this process!  For those of you who want to play along, Home Shops issues General Shop Bulletins.  The button below will take you to the General Shop Bulletin page where you can browse current bulletins and hit the .pdf button for each to print!  There will be bulletin board contests in the future with prizes and discounts awarded!  Have fun with this exciting aspect of the hobby!