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operations

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  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
operations
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, April 15, 2002 8:57 PM
Hi,
I am a lifelong railroading fan, but I have limited opportunity to observe real railroad operations in order to apply them to my modeling. I am particularly interested in switching, yard operations, and branch lines. Where could I learn more about them. I read a posting in this forum by a retired railroader who described doing setouts and coupling and uncoupling freight cars. I was completely fascinated by it!
I am looking for the most basic knowledge. For instance, I don't know how they sort a train to get the locos to the front and the caboose to the rear... I really get baffled by how the locos and caboose always seem to be pointing in the correct direction!
I know that double headed trains usually have the locos pointing in opposite directions for this reason, but how do they get them to the right end of the train?
This post is probably silly, but I bet a lot of guys would love to know more about how trains are handled and switched.
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Tuesday, April 16, 2002 1:56 AM
Hi Raymond,

Two books that have been thrown around on this forum, which are of great importance to any model railroader are John Armstrong's THE RAILROAD, WHAT IT IS, and WHAT IT DOES, and HOW TO OPERATE YOUR MODEL RAILROAD by Bruce Chub. You can get both these books at Amazon.com or they might also be available through Model Railroader/Trains Shops at this site.

There are also several other reading sources I could suggest to you. They are:

Track Planning For Realistic Operation-John Armstrong

Freight Yards-Lynn M. Stone

Railroad Yard-Paul Ditzel

Also, for more information concerning yards, goto Yahoo.com, click on "Groups" search for and sign up with the following groups:

LDSIG
YARDMASTER
HUMPYARD

LDSIG also publishes a Journal that you can get back issues from them for various prices depending on the theme and size of the issue. Get this one, it is a must!

LDJ-7 6/92 (80 pgs. $9.00) -Freight Yard Design Theme. Benefits and opportunities of freight yards. John Armstrong 1955 MR Reprints-Prototype and Model Yards; 1992 Epilogue. Yard Throats. Five Rules. A Design Primer. Crossovers. Modeling SP, D&H, and BN Yards. Simulating Yard Jobs

LDN-1 11/87 (52 pgs. $4.00)
Emerging concepts about layout design, prototype modeling, railfan themes, yard themes. Design guidelines. Realistic right-of-way. Design
and construction for operation and realism. Urban modeling. Bridge selection. Prototype information sources. Staging. Waterways, roadways, big scenes, and space-savers


Also, when you join the LDSIG group, you can inquire about their on-line primer for layout design. It has a lot of good information about train yards, operations, and the rules to design them. I do not have the URL handy, or I would give it to you here.

Finally, check out the NMRA. TONS of information there, and when you become a member, their Kalmbach Memorial Library is completely available to you for any need you may have.

To answer one of your questions...

They sort trains in two types of yards-main yards anyhow. There are other types too, like industry switching. The main type of yard today is the humpyard. The humpyard contains a grade slope that from one end, arriving trains or car consists are cut off and sent down the hump. The cars travel down the hump on their own power. The speed is controlled by what they refer to as track retarders and there are several sets of these. The cars enter classification tracks depending on their load and where they are going. These classification tracks are really long, and sometimes number in the hundreds. From the classification tracks, the trains are built-up and moved out for other arriving cars. When the train first arrived the diesels and caboose (if any) were cut off the train, and these went their own way, bypassing the humpyard and down the yard into the caboose track-where the caboose is dropped off. Then the engines went to servicing, where they get fuel, water, a cleaning and any servicing/repair is also done here. When departing trains are ready, engines hookup to them, pull the trains from the classification tracks onto departure tracks, cabooses are then attached to the train rear (again if any-they use mostly FREDs nowdays), and then the train is off.

The other is the flat switching yard with classification tracks, but this yard does not contain a hump or grade. The yard operation works similarly to the humpyard though.

Both of these yards work in conjunction with smaller auxiliary yards, which do the servicing of cars and locomotives and provide the cleaning and care of such.

I thought I read somewhere that when a diesel is reversed and cabled to the front diesel, it is giving the front diesel more power. Someone will correct me if I am wrong though. Unit trains, which carry mostly one commodity, be it Intermodal cars or coal cars, have numerous diesels. I have seen coal unit trains attach other motive power at the end to help with the heavy load, and to provide more braking power to prevent derailments.

I hope that helps.

-Wolv33
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 302,230 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Friday, April 19, 2002 8:39 AM
First of all, your post isn't silly. And you are correct: there are a lot of modelers who know little or nothing about actual operations.

There's a good forum on Ops at Railroad-Line.com. The readers/posters range from the very inexperienced (like me) to professional railroaders (like "Brakie") who also happen to be modelers. You should try it sometime. I'm learning a lot just by reading the postings. And the experienced guys are really good about answering questions such as the ones you asked above.
  • Member since
    January 2001
  • From: Guelph, Ont.
  • 1,476 posts
Posted by BR60103 on Friday, April 19, 2002 9:39 AM
Most large yards have some device for turning locmotives -- used to be turntables, now I think they use wyes (triangular formations) or loops. Cabooses don't have fronts or backs -- they just move the markers from one end to the other.
At large yards, the road locomotives are put off to the side, probably fuelled and checked there. Cabooses are put on a caboose track. The actual switching of the train is done by lower geared locomotives that stay in the yard.

--David

--David

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