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Block markings on yard track

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Block markings on yard track
Posted by FRRYKid on Friday, July 27, 2018 2:43 PM

This is another slightly off the wall one for my Forum friends: On the yard that I'm building I have a track that I want to use to display and have engines to add to trains that are being built. As I am running DC, the track is in different blocks.  My question is this: Is there any sort of prototypical way to mark the limits of the blocks so that the engines don't accidentally "bridge" two blocks? As usual any help that can be provided would be most welcomed.

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Posted by dknelson on Friday, July 27, 2018 3:47 PM

I cannot think if a prototype purpose that would create a need for marking tracks in short lengths like this, if that is what you feel you need - but I can think of any number of features in a yard that could be used to mark these short blocks in a fairly obvious but realistic way.  

It is common in yards to park locomotives in the same places regularly and repeatedly and these places are often set off by sizable oil stains on the track, sometimes to the point of covering and obscuring the ties.  Those themselves could be in essence your block marks.   The recent trend has been to protect the ground water from oil with fairly elaborate lengths of a fabric or mat beneath the tracks that catches the oil - those mats are about the length of a locomotive.  So a few of those in a row, one for each block, could be plausible looking.  And either the oil blob or the mat would also help explain WHY your locomotives are parked there.

More subtle would be little yard details such as "yard air" hoses, verticle PVC pipes holding brooms to clear out switch points, and such.

A tried and true way to mark things such as hidden uncoupling magnets could also be used here, and that is some mark on the ties, or using a very different tie. In the BNSF yard in Galesburg from time to time one sees a steel tie, often isolated or just a few steel ties.  They are narrower than wood, smooth rather than grained, reddish brown rather than blackish gray, and the ends are curved downward.  Some work with a sanding stick or file could make regular ties look that way.

Another realistic way to mark off different areas - again in Galesburg one sees "golf carts" used by brakemen to fasten air hoses and even some minor RIP type repairs.  They have put in some gravel "crossings" throughout the yard so the carts can cross from track to track.

Finally, not so realistic maybe but effective and perhaps even useful: a between the rails Kadee coupler magnet.  

Dave Nelson 

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Posted by gmpullman on Friday, July 27, 2018 3:50 PM

Railroads have been using clearance markers in recent years to designate the point on a track that equipment must be stopped short of.

https://tinyurl.com/y7nykrar

If this is what you are looking for.

Sometimes simply a painted mark on the tie or rail or some more elaborate.

https://www.aldonco.com/store/c/112-Track-Clearance-Markers.aspx

 

I'll bet you could strip some yellow insulation off small gauge wire and drill a hole in the roadbed to accept it. Wire insulation would be flexible but stiff enough to withstand bumps.

Hope that helps, Ed

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Posted by RR_Mel on Friday, July 27, 2018 3:58 PM

I have “parking” blocks on my layout.  Each block has two sections, a long (anywhere between 8’ and 12’) and a short (18”) section.  They are on two different switches.  The short section is for the locomotive.  I turn off the power to the short section and run my “parked” train until is stops.  No need for markings, I have hidden sidings using the same type of control of parking. 
 
18” is enough for my longest locomotives either a steam articulated or a pair of diesels.
 
 
Mel
 
 
My Model Railroad   
 
Bakersfield, California
 
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Posted by j. c. on Friday, July 27, 2018 5:05 PM

for visable sidings i use a clump of weeds , a tree or bush  or some trash like steel banding that fell off a flat car and other trash that would come to be  in a yard over time.for hidden yards i use led's with a dark senser.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, July 27, 2018 5:34 PM

Signals? 

Henry

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Posted by FRRYKid on Friday, July 27, 2018 6:53 PM

What I've got is six sections that are 10.5" long all running together on the same track of the yard. The insulations and feeders are on the side of the track that one wouldn't see unless they were standing up. (Layout height is roughly 36".)

The idea of signals makes me wonder about getting some dwarf signals to put trackside.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Friday, July 27, 2018 7:20 PM

Sheldon (Atlantic Central) has a current signaling thread.  Well beyond my paygrade.  Lots of inexpensive dwarf signals on ebay and not that expensive from Shapeways. 

Henry

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Posted by FRRYKid on Friday, July 27, 2018 10:21 PM

BigDaddy

Lots of inexpensive dwarf signals on ebay

Already exploring that option.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Friday, July 27, 2018 10:59 PM

Another option would be to construct some blue flags that you could clip onto the rail as each locomotive is parked.  A dot of paint on the side of the near rail or tie-end could signify the installation point.

Wayne

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Posted by FRRYKid on Saturday, July 28, 2018 11:24 AM

Until I saw the options shown in the link, I always thought that blue flags only indicated that men were working. The one prototype question that I would have is this: Would a hosteler have the authority to move (and replace) the blue flags in order to move the engines as needed to build trains or as they come off trains?

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Posted by jjdamnit on Saturday, July 28, 2018 12:49 PM

Hello all,

This might sound like an overly simple answer but..

What about yard limit marking signs. Kadee makes them: https://kadee.com/htmbord/page426.htm

You could also make them from styrene or wood and either lettered or simply painted.

Just put them at the end of the blocks.

Hope this helps.

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Posted by gmpullman on Saturday, July 28, 2018 3:21 PM

FRRYKid
Would a hosteler have the authority to move (and replace) the blue flags in order to move the engines as needed to build trains or as they come off trains?

Absolutely not. Blue flag protection is the original "LOTO" of today. Only the individual that placed the sign or flag is authorized to remove it. If more than one class of employee was working on the equipment several flags may be placed for each department, i.e. car inspectors and electricians may both be working around equipment so each would place their own flag.

FRRYKid
I always thought that blue flags only indicated that men were working.

They can be used in cases like when camp cars are occupying a siding. Could be there for months. Other equipment can not be placed on the same track without authorization from each department that placed the flag.

 IMG_8730_fix by Edmund, on Flickr

Cheers! Ed

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Posted by doctorwayne on Saturday, July 28, 2018 5:54 PM

Well, if the track is to store locomotives, as on a ready-track, then I'd think that the hostler would spot them there and then put the blue flag in place, so he'd also be allowed to remove it when the loco is needed.
 
If that's too far-fetched, why not a simple post?  I place yellow posts (styrene rod painted yellow) to mark the position of uncoupling magnets.  These are mostly in the staging yards, but are also on some industrial sidings where the reach is a little long for manual uncoupling.
Mine have a single black stripe near the top to indicate a magnet on the track adjacent (just beyond the post), or a double stripe to signify that the next two tracks each have a magnet at that point...

Wayne

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Posted by gmpullman on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 3:46 AM

FRRYKid
Already exploring that option.

 

So —

What did you decide to go with?

 

Regards, Ed

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Posted by FRRYKid on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 10:44 AM

Actually it is still in process, but I think I am going to use the yellow pole idea that was suggested.

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Posted by FRRYKid on Tuesday, December 25, 2018 1:59 AM

To restart this post:

FRRYKid

yellow pole idea that was suggested.

 

I finally got the yellow poles installed. I used some skewers painted NP yellow. The next question I have is how tall to make them. As usual any suggestions would be most welcomed.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, December 25, 2018 3:50 PM

Mine range in height from about 4' to 6', depending on their location.  Because yours are all in the same area, I'd make them all the same height, whatever you choose.

Wayne

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Posted by dehusman on Tuesday, December 25, 2018 4:22 PM

They can be used in cases like when camp cars are occupying a siding.

Most of the rule books I've seen call for WHITE signs that read "Occupied Camp Cars" or equivalent, NOT blue flags.

The simplest solution to the original question is to paint a tie a different color.  I put a marker with the track number at theh clearance point.

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by NHTX on Tuesday, December 25, 2018 11:58 PM

      In my observation of places where locomotives stand for any length of time, one always sees piles of sand that has leaked from the sanders of the idling units.  Little spots of off-white paint or even tiny piles of painted plaster at the junction of the blocks could serve as inconspicuous block markers. 

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 6:14 AM

On my old  N Scale HCD layout of the 80s I parked my engines where they belonged in the engine service area until they were needed.

Even those marelous Atlas/Kato RS3s was parked there until needed..

I used my yard tracks for building trains.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by NVSRR on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 6:21 AM

You could always do line the prototypes.  Paint the block piont yellow on the rail side.      I see that a lot around here.      As for a painted sand pile,  just use a sand colored (nonsanded) grout

 

Wolfie

A pessimist sees a dark tunnel

An optimist sees the light at the end of the tunnel

A realist sees a frieght train

An engineer sees three idiots standing on the tracks stairing blankly in space

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