More Lessons from Brio

The kids were restless this morning after painting our faces, and so we decided to build a Brio layout and play trains some more. This gave me a chance to try out some of the ideas I’ve been working through since the last session.

In particular, I tried out some ideas with different states for waybills. I used four piles representing the following states:

  • Shipment Ready
  • Loading
  • Ready for Pickup
  • In Train

I also developed a calendar for regular shipments.


Now, to play, we pulled a number of pre-filled (orange) waybills, and looked for appropriate empty cars. If there were any in town, we could use them, but if there were not, we pulled out a matching (blue) empty car order, and left the waybill in the Shipment Ready. Then, we put the empty car and its order into the train that was forming in staging. I tried filling in the car number (well description, Brio cars don’t have numbers for some reason), but with such a small selection of stock, it didn’t really matter.

When the empty car arrived, we shunted it to its destination and moved the waybill and the empty car order into the Loading pile. It stayed there for a cycle, and then moved into the Ready for Pickup (well, mostly, there is a difference of opinion about how long it takes to load a car).

Finally, once the car had been marshalled into the train, we put it into the In Train pile, and drove it out to staging. There, we returned the waybill into the draw stack; I suppose we could have another pile, representing the time it takes for the car to get to its destination, but then we just would have needed more cars. Overall, this scheme seems to work pretty well, and soon, it will be time to graduate from Brio.

The Boy had fun turning the engine, which as I wrote before, requires a run all the way out to Golden Lake. I have a feeling that once we’re really operating, I’m going to need a lot more stools!


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