Does Your Train Operating Evolve The Same As Real Railroads?

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Does Your Train Operating Evolve The Same As Real Railroads?
Posted by robmcc on Sunday, August 20, 2017 7:40 AM

Hi All,

As I was opening up my new SD70ACe yesterday, I realized that almost everything I operate now is the same as what most railroads are using. I couldn't tell you the last time I even ran any "older" locomotives. I don't even know the last time I used a caboose with any consists. (and I love cabooses!!) Even for longer trains I tend to use modern DPU locomotive arrangements as opposed to traditional all front end power. So I'm curious, do you evolve the same way? Do you stick with a certain era or are you a true toy train operator where Mikados and ES44s can work in total harmony? Thanks for your thoughts.



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Posted by KRM on Sunday, August 20, 2017 9:12 AM

Rob, I just run whatever the grand-son wants at the time. Laugh

For me it is a mix of what I have, new, old and MPC.

Joined 1-21-2011    TCA 13-68614

Kev, From The North Bluff Above Marseilles IL. Whistling


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Posted by LittleTommy on Sunday, August 20, 2017 9:51 AM

Long ago I decided to detail my layout and limit my locomotives and rolling stock to what might be seen in October 1959 and I have lived happily with that.

Why?  Well, when I initally made the decision, I needed to find a way to not buy everything that struck my fancy, just as a practical matter.   It allowed me to limit how much I spend (and could afford at the time). The one exception is a model of the Back to the Future Delorean, which could possibly show up in 1959, I guess.



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Posted by Firelock76 on Sunday, August 20, 2017 11:33 AM

Depends on my mood.

I'm a steam freak from the get-go, so it's mostly steam doing the work.  Then when the mood strikes, I'll set up diesels from the North Jersey 'roads, Susquehanna, NJ Transit, and Jersey Central.  The inner trolley loop gets a vintage Public Service trolley, or a NJT PCC, or if I'm in a Virginia mood a VTC trolley to go with the N&W, ACL, or RF&P steamers.

I don't try to replicate real railroad operations, I just put 'em on the closed loops and watch 'em go 'round and 'round.  I'm easily amused.

I should add ALL my freight trains have cabooses!  A freight train just doesn't look right without a caboose.  Besides, with no caboose on it how are you supposed to know when the train's over?

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Posted by robmcc on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 2:38 PM

Thanks for your input, guys.

Fair enough, Firelock. I suppose I could have a "Throwback Thursday" and get a caboose or two off of the dead track. Smile

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Posted by Penny Trains on Tuesday, August 22, 2017 6:39 PM

I'm definitely moody.  Wink  I have a postwar mood, a diesel mood, a streamliner mood...Big Smile

A waking Lithium Flower just about to bloom

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Posted by fifedog on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 7:56 AM

NS 611

SP 4449

PM 1225

NKP 765

MILW 261

SOO 261

WMSR 734 (soon 1309)

UP 3985 & 844

(...and this is just a partial list)

Now, more than anytime over the past 4 decades, it is very possible to see modern SD70Ace's sharing the landscape with steam engines, Rob.


Psssst-ouch, burnt my forehead again...

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Posted by sir james I on Wednesday, August 23, 2017 8:47 AM

I enjoy all my trains, mix and match as the mood moves me. AND my freight trains always have a caboose..Always.

"IT's GOOD TO BE THE KING",by Mel Brooks 

  Charter Member- Tardis Train Crew (TTC) - TCA  - Detroit3railers-  Detroit Historical society Glancy Modular trains- Charter member BTTS

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Posted by arkady on Thursday, August 24, 2017 4:15 PM

My minature world exists in a time warp between 1935 and 1955.  No older or newer rolling stock (or automobiles) than that.  Plenty of room in there for both steam and transition-era diesels.


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Posted by artyoung on Thursday, August 24, 2017 5:57 PM

I have "de-volved" back to Postwar, MPC, Williams, and early MTH that all operate conventionaly and can be fixed by me. Any failures of electronic e-units are replaced by mechanical e-units with rectifiers, and any sound and smoke failures aren't replaced at all.

As to era, I run what pleases me: no Amtrak, no Conrail, the furthest I go is Chessie Systems, just because I like the paint job.

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Posted by Banks on Friday, August 25, 2017 5:24 PM

My trains go round and round. Except for the "varnish" always with a caboose, preferably lighted. I run what I like.

Banks, Proud member of the OTTS  TCA 12-67310

I may not have every thing I desire but the LORD has come through with what I need


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Posted by robmcc on Saturday, August 26, 2017 8:06 AM

Thanks for the responses. There seems to be good mix of answers, although I'm being certainly outnumbered over the cabooses!! For the record, I still wish cabooses were a part of modern railroading. (I know some railroads still maintain a few mainly for spotting while reversing onto some spur lines.)

Fife - It's awesome that there is so many restored steam locomotives these days. The 1225 "Polar Express" Berkshire is less than 60 miles from my home and I'm looking forward to a ride this fall. I guess my point in the original post was do you operate those locomotives like they would have been used back in their heyday, not as tourist operations, along side current locomotives.


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Posted by Firelock76 on Saturday, August 26, 2017 4:32 PM

Do I use them as in their heyday, and not as tourist trains?

Pretty much, it depends.  I usually run steam only, or diesel only, sometimes as a transition period piece i.e. a steamer with a GP-9 or F units, or an RS-3.  Can't tell you why but I keep what's running historically accurate to the time and place.

I guess that's the student of history in me that I have to fight to keep under control.

The diesel units are all 50's vintage with the exception of a Lionel GP-20 in Susquehanna markings, the Susie-Q's GP's were purchased around 1962 or so, and a Lionel GE U-36 in Jersey Transit markings that came with the set. I think NJT's GE's date from the 80's.  Present day diesels just don't interest me at all.

Sometimes just for grins I'll put a steamer on the head-end of my Jersey Transit set and call it an excursion!

PS: Just broke one of my own rules.  I scored a Lionel Bicentennial set at a train show yesterday, but I ain't running it with the U36 diesel, I've got my Lionel "President Washington"  B&O Pacific steamer on the head-end and an MTH B&O "bobber" caboose bringing up the rear instead of the set caboose.  Actually it makes sense, the original thirteen states with President Washington pulling them along, which is what the man did, when you come right down to it.  AND the B&O is the senior American railroad after all.

Oh, the U36 runs fine, needs traction tires.  Can't imagine why, they're only 43 years old!

Time to put up more shelves...

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Posted by phrankenstign on Thursday, September 14, 2017 11:39 AM

I'm like sir james I.  I run whatever, but nearly always with a caboose at the end.  I usually have Thomas and the Crayola diesel pull smaller cars while the bigger engines pull all the rest of the bigger cars.  I run the Coca-cola bears amd other motorized units anytime the mood hits me.  If they have couplers, they also get to pull the shorter cars.  TV, mint, Lionel Lines, operating gondola chase, Looney Tunes, alien, and missle and balloon target cars all get the nod on a whim.

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Posted by Postwar Paul on Sunday, September 17, 2017 10:42 AM

Hi Rob,

 sorry to reply so late. I tend to run my trains by a theme. For example, I will run all Marx one day. Another day will be pre-war. Next time, I am running American Flyer stuff. But the Postwar stuff seems to have it's turn come up more frequently !

And I like the modern high horsepower diesels, especially the GE 44 whatchamacallits. I just don't have any models of them.

In my world, no freight train is properly dressed, and will be denied admittance without a caboose. I have a very high caboose to freight car ratio in my collection,because I like cabooses.

Oh, and I scratch built a caboose for the G gauge track. It is 1:20.3, and it's huge ! In fact, people tend to look at me and say " there goes that dude with the big caboose ".

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