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operational diversity ?

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operational diversity ?
Posted by gregc on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 7:59 PM

i actually operate (solo) ... several trains in staging.  I have a small passenger train that stops at the two stations before returning to staging, i have a coal train that swaps cars at a mine spur and a freight that switches freight cars at 5 industries.   i run the freight or coal after the passenger so that they have to work around one another (a la Ellison).

this is interesting, but repetitious.

I see Byron has a page discussing this: Fun Ops -- Small Layout

wondering what others do to vary operation?

(sorry, i'm not interested in waiting 5 mins after switching the siding turnout before leaving the siding).

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by PRR8259 on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 8:11 PM

To me, operational diversity = money for more rolling stock than I really need.

I like what I like, and run what I like, on a modest 81 lineal foot HO mainline.  I don't feel the need to change out entire trains when I can run one long train of all my favorite freight cars or rather of all cars that would fit within siding limits.

I like high end detailed rolling stock, including for example, the Intermountain autoracks, but just have less of it...enough for one big long train.

Mainly, the trains are run for me to relax after a long day of everything else.  I rotate engines as desired, but often keep a freight train consist the same for awhile.

John

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 8:33 PM

Here's a day on the SSRy. The crew fires up #60 a RS-1 and heads for the N&W interchange and picks up the inbound cars and returns to Slate Creek Industrial Park and does the required work the crew takes the outbound cars to the N&W Interchange and returns to SCIP and parks 61 near the office and secures the engine for the night...

After lunch the crew heads over to Lakeside Industrial Park in the company's pickup truck and fires up the S-4( #50) and heads for the CR interchange and returns with the inbound cars and after doing the required work they take the outbound cars to CR.

Upon their returned to LSIP they park #50 by the security office,they shut down and secured #50 for  the night and heads back to SCIP where they clock out and go home..

After finishing SCIP I will start the build on LSIP.

Larry

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Posted by mbinsewi on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 8:45 PM

I guess I'm not as structured and diciplined the way alot of operators are.  I switch cars when I want to.  I run main line trains when I want to.  I pick and drop off cars when I want to.

I never considered my model railroading as a job.  When I turn on the lights, power up the Digitrax, the work day begins, or maybe just an evening of watching a train on the continuous run.

When I turn off the power, the day is done, and everything is stood still in time, until I return.  Which with the summer weather I am experiencing, maybe a week or more, or even a month.

Mike.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 9:30 PM

mbinsewi
Which with the summer weather I am experiencing, maybe a week or more, or even a month. Mike.

Mike,When the temps reach into the 90s with high humidity I stay under the AC except in the cool of the mornings.

I don't see my operation as a job..I see it as  emulating a day of work on a terminal switching road.

I do follow the basic operation and safety rules. 

Larry

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 9:39 PM

gregc

i actually operate (solo) ... several trains in staging.  I have a small passenger train that stops at the two stations before returning to staging, i have a coal train that swaps cars at a mine spur and a freight that switches freight cars at 5 industries.   i run the freight or coal after the passenger so that they have to work around one another (a la Ellison).

this is interesting, but repetitious.

I see Byron has a page discussing this: Fun Ops -- Small Layout

wondering what others do to vary operation?

(sorry, i'm not interested in waiting 5 mins after switching the siding turnout before leaving the siding).

 

First consideration, are you familiar with the idea of a "fast clock"?

That five minute safety wait becomes 30 seconds.

Next, my layout plan (both the old layout I am dismantling, and the new one) keeps most industrial switching off the mainline.

So, if you understand the idea of an ISL, Industrial Switching Layout, imagine an ISL, or several of them, within a larger mainline focused layout.

The two operations can happen at the same time and without effecting each other.

I have mainline trains in staging, and cars in the yard that need to go to industries, and cars that need to be picked up from those industries.

So, operation, of all sorts, is ready to go all the time, with or without fellow operators.

The mainline is double track continious with hidden thru staging, but also has cutoffs that can turn it into for display loops. 

So I can put up to four trains on the mainline and just let them run while I switch the yard and industries, which can be done without fouling the mainlines.

So it is the best of both worlds, but not really a small layout.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 10:08 PM

PRR8259

To me, operational diversity = money for more rolling stock than I really need.

Ain't that the truth!

Well, maybe if you don't mind the cost of new equipment... maybe ad some MOW equipment to the layout? Bring out a highrailer and some tampers to work the line in-between the regular ran trains.

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Posted by Paul3 on Wednesday, May 02, 2018 10:21 PM

I'm the Operations Chairman of a large club layout, and I believe in being realistic in operations right up to the fun/work line.  At some point, model train operations can become work.  I keep it to my side of the fun line, but it can be considered work by others.

gregc,
Have you tried changing your passenger trains around?  Passenger trains are not necessarily constant.  In fact, in the pre-Amtrak era, passenger train consists changed by the day.  Not just the big named trains but locals, too.  For example, there was heavy business for weekly magazines that were delivered via mail or baggage cars.  They'd be added to locals to deliver them to local post offices or end points.  Then you had holiday service changes, seasonal changes, etc. 

Another change that happened is that Friday and Monday trains were more patronized vs. weekend trains or Wednesday trains.  They'd add or remove coaches as needed.

Take a look at this original New Haven RR document, Passenger Train Consists from 10/30/1955:

http://www.alphabetroute.com/nynhh/equipmentlists/NH%2010-1955%20PCNST.pdf

Start at Page 12 of the document (up to page 42) and look at the different passenger trains they had made up for each train for each day of the week.


mbinsewi,
To me, running trains and just picking up cars, dropping off cars, running random trains, etc., is like setting up a Monopoly board game and then ignoring the rules.  Just moving my race car or top hat piece to any property I want, in any direction I want, without using the dice or anything.  Sure, it can be fun, but I'd find it kind of boring.  I need the challenge of realism (the structure of it) to make it fun for me.

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Posted by Southgate on Thursday, May 03, 2018 1:38 AM

mbinsewi

I guess I'm not as structured and diciplined the way alot of operators are.  I switch cars when I want to.  I run main line trains when I want to.  I pick and drop off cars when I want to.

I never considered my model railroading as a job.  When I turn on the lights, power up the Digitrax, the work day begins, or maybe just an evening of watching a train on the continuous run.

When I turn off the power, the day is done, and everything is stood still in time, until I return.  Which with the summer weather I am experiencing, maybe a week or more, or even a month.

Mike.

 

Pretty much my approach, too.  I discovered I don't like complicated switch moves. So, after serious scrutiny, I have torn out four mighty hard earned spurs and a switchback, and am now in the process of adding three sidings that leave the branch line on one switch, run close and parallel to it, and return to the branchline on another, in one direction. Kinda like unit trains.

Easy stuff! But purposeful enough to be realistic. They LOOK better too! I still have some spurs though, to use when I am in the mood for backing trains in, which does happen. Dan

 

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Posted by NWP SWP on Thursday, May 03, 2018 10:27 AM

Sometimes at the club when a switch is not working, traffic is backing up, or you have to leave early, 0-5-0 switching is OK, or as the Club President says I'm not here!Laugh

Steven

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Posted by dknelson on Thursday, May 03, 2018 11:16 AM

PRR8259
To me, operational diversity = money for more rolling stock than I really need.

Yes but as a rule we already have the more rolling stock than we need.

That is why I suggest breaking up the monotony by getting cars on and off the layout.  No car goes into staging and comes out again.  It gets stored and another car with perhaps another purpose and load comes on.  A friend of mine simply put the car card of the removed car at the front of an index box and took a car card from the back.  So a boxcar with its possible customers and sidings might come off, and a tank car or flat or hopper (or yes, another boxcar) with perhaps an entirely different list if destinations comes on.  He had enough cars that sometimes it was months or a full year before we saw a given car come back on line.  It can be arbitrary and can result in certain customers being "over served" and vice versa, but perhaps a rule of reason can intervene.

It at least eliminated that feeling of "haven't I run this same train before?  Like, yesterday?"

Dave Nelson

 

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Posted by NWP SWP on Thursday, May 03, 2018 11:21 AM

Sadly that's the case with my club, their JMRI manifests have been around since 2007, after a while the work gets tedious. Hopefully with younger members joining some more innovative operation practices into play.

Steven

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, May 03, 2018 11:47 AM

I cant address everything, but the idea of ops being repetitive is a catch-22 situation, IMO.  The more I try to be realistic, the more repetitive it will be. 

Real railroads call repetition "efficiency".  Do the same moves over and over is the goal.  One-offs are less efficient and less desireable, generally.

When Ops get less interesting, go build models.

My new layout will be set in my favored era...present.  But the branch line will also go "back in history" to the extent possible.  Different equipment and different ops to a degree will occasionally run on the layout.

- Douglas

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Posted by trainnut1250 on Thursday, May 03, 2018 12:12 PM

 A couple of thoughts on improving interest in operations: one idea is to create car cards or switch lists for the layout. These create interest by generating a set of rules if you will, that govern car movement. When the same train makes the same run, with card card/switch lists the cars will be different and may go to different places., 

 

Another option is to add other operators. Similar to cards in that playing poker with other people might be more interesting and unpredictable than are playing solitaire. You might try operating on another layout with an established group of operators to see if you like it.

 

Personally I enjoy train order and timetable operations with others. In this scenario there are a series of rules and tasks. Sort of a “Chess with trains” situation. Operators have to apply the rules to the schedule/ orders and make decisions about how and when to do things. We use a fast clock and a dispatcher to make things more interesting. With this type of operations, no two sessions are exactly the same due to the human element.

 

Another note: It is easier to have a more fullfiling operations experience on a layout that is designed for that purpose. Whether it be a small ISL or a larger point to point design, having  a track plan and over all design that facilitates ops makes it more fun. One of the reasons that I tore down my last layout was that it didn’t’ support operations.

 

My two cents,

 

 

Guy

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Posted by Southgate on Thursday, May 03, 2018 2:48 PM

Doughless

 

Real railroads call repetition "efficiency".  Do the same moves over and over is the goal.  One-offs are less efficient and less desireable, generally.

When Ops get less interesting, go build models.

 

 

Couldn't have said it better myself!

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Posted by gregc on Thursday, May 03, 2018 3:00 PM

i think frank Ellison would disagree

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Southgate on Thursday, May 03, 2018 7:18 PM

gregc

i think frank Ellison would disagree

 

And he would be free to do so...

I copied and pasted this from a Wikepedia article on Frank Ellison:

. Ellison had worked for many years in theatre and this experience influenced his ideas about model railroad design in which he claimed that the layout was a stage on which the trains were the actors. The work of transporting people and hauling freight was the drama that the model railroader reenacted whenever he ran his trains. Buildings, bridges, roads, hills and rivers, townscapes and factories were for him no more than a stage set for the trains, which he generally modelled to a much higher standard than these ancillary items.

 

I take a different approach. I enjoy the building of the models themselves. What may be considered "these ancillary items" to some, are to others, or at least to me, not to simply support the operation of trains, but are mainly what draws me to the hobby as a whole. However, if my layout was a static 10x20 HO diorama it would certainly be lacking if it didn't have the motion, even the drama of the trains to give it a purpose and continuity.  

Real factories and industries aren't there to give real trains a place to go. Trains SERVE these facilities.

Don't get me wrong, either. When I'm in the mood for just a good relaxing op session, there's nothing else as satisfying. And I put great effort into making track and locomotives, all the operational equipment smooth and reliable. And they are models too, and get the attention I think they deserve. But operations are kind of like desert. I like it when people are wowed by the layout itself, before the trains start to move.

Different strokes, right?Smile  Dan

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Posted by gregc on Thursday, May 03, 2018 8:06 PM

yes, Ellison's background was in theatre and he described how a layout is like a stage.   But in this quote from The Art of Model Railroading (part 3), he explains that he didn't want to perform what real railroad do.

When a slow freight and a swift express are ready to leave a terminal at about the same time, standard railroad practive dictates that dispatech of the express first in order to avoid a meet with the slower freight at some point up the line.  But ith is a hundred times more fun in model railroading to start the slow freight first for the deliberate purpose of inventing a meet when the express overtakes it.

of course there are many things other than operating to do.   

greg - Philadelphia & Reading / Reading

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Posted by Doughless on Thursday, May 03, 2018 8:23 PM

gregc

yes, Ellison's background was in theatre and he described how a layout is like a stage.   But in this quote from The Art of Model Railroading (part 3), he explains that he didn't want to perform what real railroad do.

When a slow freight and a swift express are ready to leave a terminal at about the same time, standard railroad practive dictates that dispatech of the express first in order to avoid a meet with the slower freight at some point up the line.  But ith is a hundred times more fun in model railroading to start the slow freight first for the deliberate purpose of inventing a meet when the express overtakes it.

of course there are many things other than operating to do.   

 

I would not like that type of action if I did it a lot.  I want to represent the railroad as close to real as I can.  Deviation from it takes away the enjoyment for me.

I can deviate from prototype details, and prefer to invent my own freelanced world of equipment rosters, paint schemes, and history; but knowing that I purposely made the trains operate differently than what would be the most efficient way a real railroad would run them would bother me a lot.

And the bigger picture for me is the visual enjoyment of the entire representation; moving trains, realistic buildings, scenery, and proportions; so ops is actually a small part of the hobby for me.  But what there is of it, has to be as close to real, or as immensley plausible, as possible.  Its going to get repetitive.

- Douglas

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Posted by dehusman on Thursday, May 03, 2018 11:16 PM

Railroads do like to do the same thing all the time but the "time" doesn't have to be the on a daily basis.  The traffic varies by day of week, and by month of the year.  If you are modeling pre-1960's coal use will peak in the late fall and dwindle in the summer (why I model October).  Railroads don't run the same trains every day.  Some trains run only on certain days of the week, some trains are "consolidated" (combined) with other trains on different days of the week.  Look at an older railroad timetable, some passenger trains will be off on the weekends or have different schedules on different days.

Nothing says that you have to model every session as a Friday (one of the busiest days of the week).   Try modeling a weekend with differnt trains operating.

Then there are specials.  Passenger specials:  company picnics, excursions to parks, excursions to festivals, excursions to Boy Scout Jamborees, funeral trains, officer specials, customer inspection specials.  Freight specials : special switches, wide load specials, shut down car specials, detours (other railroads on your railroad), reroutes (your trains that normally run on another route,  running on the route you modeled).  Company mainteance specials : trains to pick up scrap, trains to set out company material for repair job, bridge gangs, ballast trains, spreader trains, wreckers to rerail or repair damaged cars, sending a steam engine to be an emergency boiler for a customer, sending a diesel to be an emergency generator or a customer, setting out an engine at a customer with a in plant switcher when their engine is down.

Don't switch every industry every time.   Build a random number generator spreadsheet to determine which industries get switched.  make more spots and do more detail switches.  Send more cars than an industry can spot and set the extra cars over someplace and spot them next session.

 

Dave H. Painted side goes up.

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Posted by NWP SWP on Thursday, May 03, 2018 11:47 PM

That's like the storage track in Slaughter, they haven't run a train in two weeks, guess they haven't the need for it.

Steven

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Posted by gregc on Friday, May 04, 2018 9:33 AM

dknelson
No car goes into staging and comes out again.  It gets stored and another car with perhaps another purpose and load comes on.

this sounds interesting!

i had considered having more rolling stock than can fit on the layout or in staging a waste.  But this idea suggests a use/justification for extra rolling stock and the need for storage shelves

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Posted by Doughless on Friday, May 04, 2018 10:04 AM

dehusman

Railroads do like to do the same thing all the time but the "time" doesn't have to be the on a daily basis.  The traffic varies by day of week, and by month of the year.  If you are modeling pre-1960's coal use will peak in the late fall and dwindle in the summer (why I model October).  Railroads don't run the same trains every day.  Some trains run only on certain days of the week, some trains are "consolidated" (combined) with other trains on different days of the week.  Look at an older railroad timetable, some passenger trains will be off on the weekends or have different schedules on different days.

Nothing says that you have to model every session as a Friday (one of the busiest days of the week).   Try modeling a weekend with differnt trains operating.

Then there are specials.  Passenger specials:  company picnics, excursions to parks, excursions to festivals, excursions to Boy Scout Jamborees, funeral trains, officer specials, customer inspection specials.  Freight specials : special switches, wide load specials, shut down car specials, detours (other railroads on your railroad), reroutes (your trains that normally run on another route,  running on the route you modeled).  Company mainteance specials : trains to pick up scrap, trains to set out company material for repair job, bridge gangs, ballast trains, spreader trains, wreckers to rerail or repair damaged cars, sending a steam engine to be an emergency boiler for a customer, sending a diesel to be an emergency generator or a customer, setting out an engine at a customer with a in plant switcher when their engine is down.

Don't switch every industry every time.   Build a random number generator spreadsheet to determine which industries get switched.  make more spots and do more detail switches.  Send more cars than an industry can spot and set the extra cars over someplace and spot them next session.

 

Good points.  I think much of what you're saying can be used in a layout that models branch line or local service, where railserved industries might get switched "on demand", meaning trains would run at different times with different composition.

I think larger layouts, Class 1 railroads, tend to have more uniformity to them where variety is discouraged.  Maybe not so much in past era's, but modern times the big 4 Class 1s want to get away from the inefficiencies of local switching.

There are ways to incorporate variety into any layout, my thinking seems to lead towards larger layouts with multiple large trains needing to conform to uniform schedules and what you're describing seems better modeled by layouts that focus on more local service.   Having both would allow for the most variety of course.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, May 04, 2018 10:43 AM

dehusman
Don't switch every industry every time. Build a random number generator spreadsheet to determine which industries get switched. make more spots and do more detail switches. Send more cars than an industry can spot and set the extra cars over someplace and spot them next session.

Dave,I couldn't agree more that's why the new Slate Creek Industrial Park ISL will feature a "overflow" track which will increase the operation value.

A scenic idea.. I thinking of making the overflow track weedy since it used as needed..

Larry

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Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, May 04, 2018 10:50 AM

Doughless
Maybe not so much in past era's, but modern times the big 4 Class 1s want to get away from the inefficiencies of local switching.

Doughless,This is why there is a rash of new switching roads.These roads saves jobs,saves the local economy and yes,keeps local politicians in office. 

My point? A modeler with a limited hobby budget  can easily model one of these switching roads on a shelf.

Larry

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Posted by wjstix on Friday, May 04, 2018 12:01 PM

To be honest, real railroading can be monotonous. I lived across the street from a stub-end branch line of a small railroad for many years. It ran pretty much the same train over and over - back-to-back EMD switchers trundling along at 10 MPH with 2-3 gondolas, 2-3 covered hoppers and a caboose. Sometimes the lumberyard got a boxcar or flatcar with lumber products on it.

For your layout, you could try not switching all 5 industries with the same train. My previous HO layout was basically a 6' by 16' twice around, with a couple of industries on the outside loop and a couple more on the inside. I could easily have served them with one train, but I used two - a "mainline" freight and a "city turn" (since the inside loop included a small town). If your industries are spread out, bunch them more together. Have 2 industries in city A and the other 3 in city B, and run separate trains to serve each city.

You could also change railroads or even time frames. Today run freight train with a BNSF engine and modern cars, next time a BN train with 1970's cars (and a caboose), next run it with steam and 1950's cars. Same with the passenger train.

Add more passenger trains. Run a milk train making brief stops to pick up milk. Doesn't have to be just at the stations; could just be a simple platform next to the mainline. Run a mail train. Have a sidetrack at a station to pick up or set out a Pullman, or a car of mail.

Create "trouble cards" (I forget if Ellison or John Armstrong first suggested the idea?) that you draw at the start of a session. "Shriner's convention tomorrow, run an extra passenger train." "Heavy rains overnight. Run a work train, stopping at each station, to check the mainline for washouts before running any trains". "NMRA convention in town, operate passenger special with steam engine and restored passenger cars for attendees outing."

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Posted by PRR8259 on Friday, May 04, 2018 3:49 PM

dknelson
 
PRR8259
To me, operational diversity = money for more rolling stock than I really need.

 

Yes but as a rule we already have the more rolling stock than we need.

That is why I suggest breaking up the monotony by getting cars on and off the layout.  No car goes into staging and comes out again.  It gets stored and another car with perhaps another purpose and load comes on.  A friend of mine simply put the car card of the removed car at the front of an index box and took a car card from the back.  So a boxcar with its possible customers and sidings might come off, and a tank car or flat or hopper (or yes, another boxcar) with perhaps an entirely different list if destinations comes on.  He had enough cars that sometimes it was months or a full year before we saw a given car come back on line.  It can be arbitrary and can result in certain customers being "over served" and vice versa, but perhaps a rule of reason can intervene.

It at least eliminated that feeling of "haven't I run this same train before?  Like, yesterday?"

Dave Nelson

 

Hello there--

I am actually one of the few people that does not have more rolling stock than I absolutely need to have.  That is how I'm able to afford high priced autoracks.  I got rid of everything I didn't think I needed to keep.  There is room on the layout sidings for every freight car that I own, with a little space to spare.

Best regards--

John

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, May 04, 2018 4:44 PM

PRR8259

 

 
dknelson
 
PRR8259
To me, operational diversity = money for more rolling stock than I really need.

 

Yes but as a rule we already have the more rolling stock than we need.

That is why I suggest breaking up the monotony by getting cars on and off the layout.  No car goes into staging and comes out again.  It gets stored and another car with perhaps another purpose and load comes on.  A friend of mine simply put the car card of the removed car at the front of an index box and took a car card from the back.  So a boxcar with its possible customers and sidings might come off, and a tank car or flat or hopper (or yes, another boxcar) with perhaps an entirely different list if destinations comes on.  He had enough cars that sometimes it was months or a full year before we saw a given car come back on line.  It can be arbitrary and can result in certain customers being "over served" and vice versa, but perhaps a rule of reason can intervene.

It at least eliminated that feeling of "haven't I run this same train before?  Like, yesterday?"

Dave Nelson

 

 

 

Hello there--

I am actually one of the few people that does not have more rolling stock than I absolutely need to have.  That is how I'm able to afford high priced autoracks.  I got rid of everything I didn't think I needed to keep.  There is room on the layout sidings for every freight car that I own, with a little space to spare.

Best regards--

John

 

I guess I'm unusual too. I don't have "extra" rolling stock or locos.

The layout plan will store 30 staged trains 20'-25' in length, or about 40 to 45 average freight cars (1954 freight cars).

24 of the trains are freight trains. 24 x 40 = 960 cars. The current fleet is right around 1000, we still need a few more for switching, etc.

9 of the trains are passenger trains (some are stored two trains in a single staging tack), average length 10 to 15 cars, 9 x 13 = 117 cars. The current passenger car fleet is a little heavy at about 175, but the old layout plan had staging for 15 passenger trains.

Locos, 33 trains, average power 3-4 diesels or two steamers, 33 x 3 = 99, plus back ups for power changes, yard switchers, etc. Current fleet, 130 powered units.

The remaining want list for locos or passenger cars is very small.

Freight cars could stand another 100 or so at least.

The wife is seriously on the hunt for the retirement house, who knows, if the retirement house basement is big enough we may get another 6 to 10 staging tracks in......

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January, 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 3,188 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 04, 2018 6:49 PM

It sounds to me like you are looking for added "play value" from your trains. So am I.

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I have all kinds of tricks in my bag to extract fun from the layout. Moveable scenery, car floats, turntables, way too many locomotives (just because it is fun to switch up motive power), interchange tracks, etc.

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I designed my layout for one operator, me! And it is all about having fun with it.

.

-Kevin

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Happily modeling the STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD located in a world of plausible nonsense set in August, 1954.

  • Member since
    January, 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 7,371 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, May 04, 2018 10:39 PM

SeeYou190

It sounds to me like you are looking for added "play value" from your trains. So am I.

.

I have all kinds of tricks in my bag to extract fun from the layout. Moveable scenery, car floats, turntables, way too many locomotives (just because it is fun to switch up motive power), interchange tracks, etc.

.

I designed my layout for one operator, me! And it is all about having fun with it.

.

-Kevin

.

 

Yes, the layout has a very specific set of goals:

Good multi train display running, in this case 4 trains on dedicated routes.

Good prototype operations for one operator or for a crew as large as 8-12.

The ablity to handle reasonably long trains, 40-50 cars is normal, longer trains can be handled.

Industrial switching operations that do not tie up the mainline, like seperate ISL (or two) tucked in around the main line. which is really how trains work in major and intermediate size cities.

The layout simulates one subdivision yard, and the trackage to and from for several miles in each direction, hidden staging simulates all the rest of the world.....

Specific scenic and operational features were also important.

Important rule - only model features once - one major yard, one engine terminal, one wye interchange/junction, one major passenger station, etc.

Some trains originate or terminate in the main visable yard, but many enter from staging and return to staging.

Double track mainline, typical here in the east, helps with "selective compression", and raises the action level.

CTC and signaling a must.

Sheldon

    

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