When guest operators come over to operate on my layout I provide them with a list of operating rules. These rules describe the railroad operating procedures and help guide guests as to how I prefer to prototypically operate my model railroad. I developed a document that replicates one distributed by the prototype Georgia Northeastern Railroad as a Timetable for all employees. The Timetable describes special situations and updates to the standard GNRR Rule Book. I modified and combined the GNRR Rule Book and the Timetable into an Operating Rules handout that covers the most important prototype rules and procedures.
The goal of the Operating Rules document is not to provide so many rules and procedures that it becomes a deterrent to an enjoyable operations session, but that it gives operators a structure in which to experience a prototype based operating session.
Crews fill out the GNRR Track Authority Block sheet prior to operating their train. A block or multiple blocks can be assigned by the dispatcher. This replicates the Verbal Block Authority used by the prototype Georgia Northeastern Railroad. This document also allows me to keep track of operating sessions and who attended. I have found that these documents help guests better understand the prototype procedures and feel comfortable operating on my layout. The most important rule is for guests to relax, have fun and enjoy operating my layout.