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Direction of travel on the MRT

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  • Member since
    December 2001
  • From: Quebec City, CA
  • 252 posts
Direction of travel on the MRT
Posted by Martin4 on Thursday, January 21, 2021 8:03 AM

In the (very interesting) special edition issue of MR about the Milwaukee, Racine & Troy I noted that in each version of the MRT the direction of travel places West to the right.

Is there a reason for that ?

To me it seems counterintuitive. When I look at any map North is up, East is to the right and West to the left.

Martin

  • Member since
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  • From: Canada, eh?
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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, January 21, 2021 11:41 AM

Martin4
...To me it seems counterintuitive. When I look at any map North is up, East is to the right and West to the left.

Not at all:  it seems obvious that it's meant to be viewed from the North. Smile, Wink & Grin

My around-the-room layout has a North/South line and an East/West one, too, with some of each sharing some of the same track. 
I doubt that it would make much sense to a visitor, but it seems perfectly clear and simple to me.

Wayne

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Posted by RR_Mel on Thursday, January 21, 2021 11:54 AM

Could it be if they’re facing the layout to the south, your right side would be on the West and you’re left side on the East?

 My layout is mounted on casters and I occasionally turn it.  The normal operation is looking east so my right would be South.

Mel


 
My Model Railroad   
http://melvineperry.blogspot.com/
 
Bakersfield, California
 
I'm beginning to realize that aging is not for wimps.

  • Member since
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  • From: Quebec City, CA
  • 252 posts
Posted by Martin4 on Friday, January 22, 2021 8:23 AM

Could we hear from the ones who built this ?

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Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, January 22, 2021 8:38 AM

Bear in mind that a North orientation is entirely arbitrary. One visit to the Southern Hemisphere is a startling lesson in this deeply ingrained presumption arising from learning navigation or map reading while the sun is to the South.  

Many among us, particularly women I have noticed, do not acquire this perception bias. Often a woman will orient a map to face the direction they wish to route. I have noted several urban  area neighbourhood maps (City of London springs to mind as does my own fair City), with their friendly "you are here" dots, are annoyingly oriented to the orientation of the sign, not standard North oriented. I suspect strongly these were designed by women who can read them readily.  Once you realize this you can easily correct the acquired bias. 

Chinese maps and charts presumed a South orientation despite being located in the Northern Hemisphere. A Chinese compass pointed South from their perspective. From the prominent Chinese ports trade travelled South and then West, primarily. 

Rutters and similar historical nautical charts were traditionally oriented in the direction of travel, not North oriented at all.  

Perspective can be disorienting if it differs from your acquired presumptions. I still routinely get lost while visiting NZ. Another disorienting space is reaching ground level from the London Underground.  My wife handles these situations  much better than I in part I think because she has no preconceived North orientation. For a woman direction is indeed all relative, commonly although certainly not universally. 

Alyth Yard

Canada

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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, January 22, 2021 10:42 AM

So, how would look at a railroad that has a N-S designation? Would you always be standing at the end, with NB trains going away from you?

Not getting your point. Confused

Mike.

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Posted by Outsailing86 on Sunday, January 24, 2021 12:06 PM

Better question... does that match the compass for your layout space? Westbound on your layout is westbound in real life

  • Member since
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  • From: 4610 Metre's North of the Fortyninth on the left coast of Canada
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Posted by BATMAN on Sunday, January 24, 2021 1:12 PM

Not sure what the question is. My tiny brain tells me that it is highly unlikely that a model RR will match real compass orientation as there are so many variables. I look North at my layout, yet it is an over the Rockies West/East layout where Alberta is to my left.Indifferent

When I railfan in the Rockies, the train coming from the west will be coming from my right or left depending what side of the tracks I am on.

I have my pilots license and some basic seamanship courses and an outward bound survival course under my belt and orientating the map to the direction you are travelling in is/was the norm.

 

I wonder how many space travellers approach the Earth with North on top?Laugh

My daughter takes a lot of Psyc courses towards her medical degree and in one of her books they suggest putting an upside-down photo of the Earth on your fridge and try and guess what visitors to the house will either comment on the fact that the photo is upside down because North isn't up or will just turn the photo around because it bothers them so much that it is "upside-down"Laugh. We had a lot of fun with that one and were spot on with who we thought would be bothered by it. Some people are easily programmable.Laugh

 This is a good conversation and reminds me of the ones that ask, do you run your trains clockwise or Counterclockwise.Big Smile

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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Posted by maxman on Sunday, January 24, 2021 4:10 PM

Lastspikemike
Many among us, particularly women I have noticed, do not acquire this perception bias. Often a woman will orient a map to face the direction they wish to route.

My wife does this.  I find that I occasionally also do the same thing.  The problem arises when I'm driving and she is reading the map upside down and giving directions.

Instead of saying you'll want to go East, she'll say you want to turn right.  All the road signs I've seen are marked to go north and south or east and west.  I've not seen one marked go left or go right.

  • Member since
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  • From: Shenandoah Valley
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Posted by BigDaddy on Sunday, January 24, 2021 4:20 PM

Not my first wife.  We could be on any Interstate at exit 10 and she couldn't find it on the map.

Henry

COB Potomac & Northern

Shenandoah Valley

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