1) The cycle is a full day of switching in the RTS system. The cycle will last as many days (cycle factor) as set by the admin that could be several days or weeks. More info on the current cycle factor and where we stand can be found on the cycle tab of the registry. This data is then used to automatically release some trains and call for the admin to release others (going into standby).
2) The cycle goes from top to bottom for each train in the train list. It also progresses down and across in the matrix at Barstow and West Colton.
3) Availability of trains depends on where we are in the cycle. If trains don't get moved many non-essentials are eventually canceled to keep the cycle moving forward.
4) The reason why we use a cycle is to keep balance in the system. Balance factors that we consider that may be unique to this server is car forwarding operations.
5) Not everyone has every route and California has 3 of them (other regions in the east are also expanding as well). Despite Mojave being the first route when getting into Run8, it is not the busiest. However because not everyone has every route there may be times when Mojave appears slow or dead.
6) At the same time these 3 routes all feed Barstow and create other trains. It's important for balance to make sure we have enough operators to feed Barstow, as well as getting freight out of Barstow.
7) This is why we hold back on releasing some trains. Holding back allows the current trend of operators to have time to ensure traffic keeps moving elsewhere. Again when trains become available is forecasted on every tab of the registry.
8) In addition to trains we also in some location enforce time limits. These limits are set to how much a switching crew could switch in an actual day. Keep in mind not all crews are available or scheduled at all times. In the cycle tab we have added typical crew times for various yard jobs that we monitor. Not all yards are monitored especially when they are not at full capacity. Places like Bakersfield, Mojave, and Barstow are at or near full capacity and are monitored. This includes decreasing some time for virtual meal breaks, as well as increasing some time when a spare crew is available in the area.
9) Finally it all comes back to demand. Generally we have users that run daily, and others not as much but on a regular basis. On the other side we have those who run every now and then. Then we have the new users, and the curious users. At times when membership or use spikes we will need to consider adjusting the cycle factor (however often by the time we adjust it many curious members may go elsewhere leaving us with too many trains to handle). Again new users tend to be busy on Mojave and Barstow so this tends to be where things will become slow at times. If you have any concerns, please post a message and we can explain more, or feel free to chat with any regular member or admin on the server.
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