As we move forward towards V 2.0 and AI, there is a great deal of discussion about how to dispatch when AI is used and running. My suggestion (if its possible) is to leave the board in anarchy mode (so everyone can see) but with the following policy:
"Users may operate in Yards and Sidings so long as that operation does not involve changing the position of any Main Line Switch, either hand thrown or CTC controlled."
To simplify and explain:
In Barstow for example, there are a maze of tracks and signals. Users may work anywhere in the Yard until they reach a switch that would let them out of the Yard and onto the Main. Interestingly enough, there are some exceptions in this Yard, but all this would require some good communications between the DS, the Yard crew and the Train Crew.
Quantico, down in Bakersfield is another prime example. If you are departing South (towards Mojave) with a train out of the BK Yard, you have to hand throw across two mains to get on the proper track heading out of town. Definite involvement between train crew and DS.
Mojave, when you are working certain locals, requires the same thing, hand throwing across two mains. Same situation.
There was an IM train in San Bernardino yesterday that required the use of a Main to complete its switching after arrival. Switch, track and time were given for the movements and given back to the DS after everything was completed. Simple and easy. Cooperation between the Crew and the DS made it all possible.
Easiest rule of thumb in this situation: If you come upon a switch and/or signal that you think might be under the control of the DS for the Mains, but are unsure, ask. We will never get offended by someone asking beforehand if that switch/signal is theirs or belongs to the DS.
Just my .02 cents worth, adjusted for inflation.
DS 55 out.