Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Thoughts, from the August Trains of Thought

3792 views
95 replies
1 rating 2 rating 3 rating 4 rating 5 rating
  • Member since
    February 2003
  • From: Georgia, USA
  • 581 posts
Posted by rayw46 on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 3:47 PM

So, after reading most of these posts I'm beginning to wonder; "Is it my railroad or isn't it?"

Ray  

Shoot for the stars; so you miss, you are only lost in space.
  • Member since
    February 2018
  • From: Great Plains
  • 1,829 posts
Posted by York1 on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 3:55 PM

 

I think everyone here probably agrees that the hobby has room for those who love to watch a train go in a circle, to those who like to watch trains go in loops but also like operations, to those who have a switching point-to-point layout that they use every six months, to those who build cars but don't have a layout.

 

York1 John       

  • Member since
    October 2011
  • 168 posts
Posted by MARTIN STATION on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 7:17 PM

Brakie,

  Just wanted to give a big "thanks" for the SBD Howell Yard video. Being from Evansville it made for a good hike down memory lane.

Ralph

  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,461 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 7:53 PM

Ray, Its not a discussion about the owner's layout as much as it is operation.

During the week of running trains during the county fair I was bored after the first few loops while other members seem to enjoy loop running. When a member came in and wanted to run his train I would park mine in a siding until the next morning.  I would then do what I enjoy the most shoot the breeze with other members or read MR or Trains magazine.

I'm the happiest  when I am running a local or working a yard..

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Make Safety Your First Thought.. Not  Your Last" 

  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,461 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 8:00 PM

MARTIN STATION

Brakie,

  Just wanted to give a big "thanks" for the SBD Howell Yard video. Being from Evansville it made for a good hike down memory lane.

Ralph

 

Ralph, You are welcome.. That's one of my favorite you tube switching videos..

When I was station at Ft. Knox in 74 I always wanted to railfan there but,never got around doing it. I spent more Saturdays railfaning and visiting hobby shops in Louisville.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Make Safety Your First Thought.. Not  Your Last" 

  • Member since
    April 2012
  • From: Huron, SD
  • 839 posts
Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 10:25 PM

Uphill slow and downhill fast,
Tonnage first and safety last.

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

  • Member since
    June 2003
  • From: Culpeper, Va
  • 8,027 posts
Posted by IRONROOSTER on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 3:55 AM

Personally, I just enjoy messing around with model trains on a layout.  Building models, building layouts, running trains, switching cars.  It's all fun.  I start running trains back and forth as soon as I have some track laid.

Paul

If you're having fun, you're doing it the right way.
  • Member since
    February 2002
  • From: Reading, PA
  • 28,214 posts
Posted by rrinker on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 7:43 AM

 Me, too, which is why it's hard to get into the scenery phase of building.

                                   --Randy

 


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

  • Member since
    June 2020
  • 56 posts
Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 7:56 AM

We're just six months into layout construction. We are track people and not so much scenery people. We started out with a $20 bundle of recycled flex track from the local train store. We now have well over 100 feet in our U shaped 20x10 HO layout. Two continuous running loops each incorporating one or two reversing loops, one loop uses twomreversing loops and two crossovers to create a long osssingbsuding,  plus a connector mainline with two long passing sidings, a six track yard and an engine maintenance and storage yard currently under construction. Oh yes, plus one Walthers grain elevator.....

Our practice since we began has been to commence running trains as soon as possible. We always run trains when we work on the layout. We try very hard to always have a workable continous running loop. Often we allow trains to run all the time we are working. Last time we were wiring Peco turnout motors and we ran a train right into the soldering unit power cord draped across the tunnel entrance. 

Woops. 

  • Member since
    January 2014
  • 1,146 posts
Posted by ROBERT PETRICK on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 9:16 AM

IRONROOSTER

Personally, I just enjoy messing around with model trains on a layout.  Building models, building layouts, running trains, switching cars.  It's all fun.  I start running trains back and forth as soon as I have some track laid.

Paul

I also noticed a definite drop-off in scenery work after driving the golden spike. And it was easy to justify the diversion: I had to test and retest the track work, and then test it some more to make sure; I had to tune and align the turnouts; I had to design, setup, and calibrate the signal system and work out the logic and electronics; I had to pull an entire roster of engines and rolling stock out of deep-storage retirement; and I had to continue trudging into the salt mines every day to get coin of the realm to pay for this stuff (and groceries and whatnot). Golden Spikes are two-edged swords.

Nevertheless, I am still making headway and still having a lot of fun. Highly recommended.

Robert

LINK to SNSR Blog


  • Member since
    November 2013
  • 561 posts
Posted by DAVID FORTNEY on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 6:04 PM

It seems we have too many people here worry way too much on how they enjoy the hobby. My god just build your layout, run your trains, build your scenery, anything just do something. This hobby is supposed to be fun but too many of you guys make it hard. I enjoy many facets of the hobby and there are some that I dont. Guess what I don't do them. I focus on what I like and that is to have fun. 

Dave

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 8,079 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 7:40 PM

DAVID FORTNEY
too many people here worry way too much on how they enjoy the hobby. My god just build your layout, run your trains,

Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   Thumbs Up   

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    June 2020
  • 56 posts
Posted by Lastspikemike on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 7:47 PM

Prototype builds track first, installs scenery later...after the forest fire. 

  • Member since
    December 2008
  • From: In the heart of Georgia
  • 3,598 posts
Posted by Doughless on Wednesday, July 1, 2020 8:28 PM

DAVID FORTNEY

It seems we have too many people here worry way too much on how they enjoy the hobby. My god just build your layout, run your trains, build your scenery, anything just do something. This hobby is supposed to be fun but too many of you guys make it hard. I enjoy many facets of the hobby and there are some that I dont. Guess what I don't do them. I focus on what I like and that is to have fun. 

Dave

 

Getting back to the OP, I think the point is that pundits like Koester and his circles worry way too much about how they run their trains, not us, but apparently think its an issue in the broader hobby, or else the article would not have been written.  And I usually like what Koester writes.  This one just seems off the mark to me.

I always thought that people who took their train running pretty seriously (the only way) were the vast minority of dollar spending members.  I would think that the audience for that article would be pretty small.

I remember a few years ago he wrote an article where he contemplated moving up the era of his NKP layout, partly, because he simply liked the sound of turbocharged diesels running over the layout. It indicated to me that he has always enjoyed running trains simply for the fun of it, and maybe different trains that don't "belong" on the layout.  I was hoping to follow the layout's migration but maybe he never got far into that thinking.

- Douglas

  • Member since
    August 2006
  • From: Nashville, TN area
  • 516 posts
Posted by hardcoalcase on Thursday, July 2, 2020 9:01 PM

rrinker

Well, the subject of the article was a feeling of regret a friend of Tony's had for not running trains on his layout more before he dismantled it and moved - he was a heavy duty operator like Tony and others. And Tony was quoting Allen McClelland whose response to running trains between operating sessions was "why would you?" ..... I think by the end of his musing, Tony was starting to come around to the idea that you can do both - entertain serious prototypical operations, AND just run trains on the layout.      --Randy

I agree, and note that Tony doesn't write that he was necessarily against casual running, but that, for whatever reason, his non-ops layout activity was preparing for the next session... and between re-staging and routine maintenance, there is no doubt that this is a very time-hungry task.

Recalling Tony's current and former track plans, they're very operations oriented designs.  So obviously, labor saving features such as loads-in emptys-out, and run-through staging gave way to his priorities.  As we all do considering our "givens & druthers".

Jim

 

 

  • Member since
    April 2012
  • From: Huron, SD
  • 839 posts
Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Friday, July 3, 2020 1:21 AM

People can overthink anything.

Disclaimer:  This post may contain humor, sarcasm, and/or flatulence.

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,461 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, July 3, 2020 4:44 AM

Bayfield Transfer Railway

People can overthink anything.

 

And that's how those some day "dream"  layouts never get built.   A simple  frown upon  4x8' layout can provide hours of train running and scenery work. 

A well planned switching layout can provide switching enjoyment as well as minute detailing like fences with barbed wire,security cameras, storage tank containment berms etc.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Make Safety Your First Thought.. Not  Your Last" 

  • Member since
    April 2018
  • From: 53° 33′ N, 10° 0′ E
  • 2,468 posts
Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Friday, July 3, 2020 4:55 AM

DAVID FORTNEY

It seems we have too many people here worry way too much on how they enjoy the hobby. My god just build your layout, run your trains, build your scenery, anything just do something. This hobby is supposed to be fun but too many of you guys make it hard. I enjoy many facets of the hobby and there are some that I dont. Guess what I don't do them. I focus on what I like and that is to have fun. 

Dave

 

I couldn´t have said it better. It´s one of those futile discussions, that lead nowhere, but show us the multitude of individual ways to enjoy our hobby.

But that we already knew before this thread was opened.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,461 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, July 3, 2020 5:29 AM

Tinplate Toddler
I couldn´t have said it better. It´s one of those futile discussions, that lead nowhere, but shows us the multitude of individual ways to enjoy our hobby.

One thing I have noticed on you tube..There's a lot of layouts built for operation and there's as many for plain old train running.

Another thing I've noticed on you tube is the growth of highly detailed industrial switching layouts.  

Perhaps MR should do a special issue on designing ISLs?

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Make Safety Your First Thought.. Not  Your Last" 

  • Member since
    June 2020
  • 56 posts
Posted by Lastspikemike on Friday, July 3, 2020 7:42 AM

Locomotives are powered and so is every layout (some now use power stored in each locomotive, sort of like the early clockwork locomotives) therefore all layouts are built to run trains. 

Why anyone runs trains is up to the owner(s) of the layouts and locomotives but we all want our trains to run. 

Also common to this hobby is a very strong interest in history, albeit with varying degrees of accuracy and reliability, memories and historical records being what they are. But historical accuracy in the modelling is not necessary.  There are plenty of layouts that are clearly intended to instil pure joy in the participants  There's one of those in Osoyoos BC which is a delight to visit with no pretensions of representing anything historically real. Just up the road in Penticton is an impressive layout I have yet to visit which strives to deliver the true historical impression of a real railroad. That's two opposites within an hours drive of each other  with equal claim on our time to visit them.

Most of us are in this hobby because of this interest in understanding how things were done, even if that was only yesterday. Some strive for historical accuracy which is exceptionally challenging to achieve and most of us really appreciate seeing or reading about the achievements of those modellers. Some of us are happy just recreating our memories of how things used to be or our understanding of events long before we were born, but with fairly loose standards of accuracy. Fond memories perhaps?

I love to watch the trains go around, as I did as a youngster. But I also really enjoy looking at or reading about historically accurate railway modelling including how prototype operations were conducted and, most important, why that was so at the time.  My interest in and ability to recreate this accuracy is limited which adds to the enjoyment of the experience when I see a really elaborate and accurate model being operated.

Static displays are of an entirely different  nature to model railroading, with their own entirely legitimate character. You can enjoy both and you probably do if you really like this hobby. Some of the "plastic" models you can buy now are simply amazing even if you just look at them. "My" layout is at someone else's house so the very first thing I built was a mini diorama with long enough track to display one diesel. It's a Rapido and pretty amazing to have on display in my living room. But then I bought one of their Royal Hudsons and those floodgates just opened.  My local hobby shop found a set of Rivarossi CPR heavyweights for me and I was on my way. I was lucky enough to ride the British Columbia Royal Hudson just after she was recommissioned. I deliberately bought a different road number, one that actually ran the Rockies route they were primarily built to serve. Now if Rapido would just build a Selkirk to "push" it with  I'll be a very happy modeller.  

At some point you just have to run the trains. To nowhere in particular, at a time past in no particular real place much less a real event but run they must. 

  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,461 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, July 3, 2020 8:54 AM

Lastspikemike
Static displays are of an entirely different nature to model railroading, with their own entirely legitimate character.

Indeed.. I once saw a static display at a train show that had a station with several people, a baggage cart with luggage,a freight house with team track with a boxcar of lumber being unloaded, taxi cabs,a road crossing and other scenery. IIRC there was a water tank 3 or 4 passengercar lenghts from the station. 

The display was called "Waiting for the train".

The reason I recall this is because that was back in 83/84 and the modeling  quality was beyond anything I've seen. 

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Make Safety Your First Thought.. Not  Your Last" 

  • Member since
    February 2008
  • 7,075 posts
Posted by maxman on Friday, July 3, 2020 2:27 PM

DAVID FORTNEY
It seems we have too many people here worry way too much on how they enjoy the hobby.

No, we have too many people here who worry way too much on how other people enjoy the hobby.

What happens in my basement stays in my basement.

  • Member since
    February 2005
  • From: Vancouver Island, BC
  • 22,105 posts
Posted by selector on Friday, July 3, 2020 3:23 PM

maxman

 

 
DAVID FORTNEY
It seems we have too many people here worry way too much on how they enjoy the hobby.

 

No, we have too many people here who worry way too much on how other people enjoy the hobby.

What happens in my basement stays in my basement.

 

Thumbs Up

  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,461 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Friday, July 3, 2020 6:32 PM

maxman
No, we have too many people here who worry way too much on how other people enjoy the hobby.

Actually I don't care if a modeler runs his trains at Mach 5 or even light speed while running loops on a four by eighter as long as they are enjoying the hobby.

OTOH don't drop by and expect to move cars around willy nilly on my ISL.. I will hand you my Tech 6 throttle and a switch list and  watch you work the industries.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Make Safety Your First Thought.. Not  Your Last" 

  • Member since
    January 2009
  • From: Maryland
  • 9,273 posts
Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, July 4, 2020 5:55 AM

I think the big point here, that many people on both sides of this are missing is that there is no reason you can't do both.

"Messing up" the opps session staging is an excuse, and as my examples above show, it is easy enough to design a layout to do both.

Tony's piece is about the possible regret of not choosing both. A reget his friend had, and one he may be experiancing as well.

As far back as I can remember, I have considered both operational approaches important to the hobby.

Sheldon

    

  • Member since
    January 2017
  • From: Southern Florida Gulf Coast
  • 8,079 posts
Posted by SeeYou190 on Saturday, July 4, 2020 7:07 AM

maxman
What happens in my basement stays in my basement

I don't have a basement.

Sad  Sad  Sad  Sad  Sad  

-Kevin

Wink Happily modeling my STRATTON & GILLETTE RAILROAD. A Class A line located in a personal fantasy world of semi-plausible nonsense on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954.

  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,461 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, July 4, 2020 8:08 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
maxman
What happens in my basement stays in my basement

 

I don't have a basement.

Sad  Sad  Sad  Sad  Sad  

-Kevin

 

Actually I never cared for creepy basements. I prefer a nice spare bedroom where I can let the early morning sunlight in by opening a blind..

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Make Safety Your First Thought.. Not  Your Last" 

  • Member since
    May 2002
  • From: Massachusetts
  • 2,694 posts
Posted by Paul3 on Saturday, July 4, 2020 10:24 AM

Sheldon,
And what some people seem to be missing is that there are folks that don't like to run trains just for the heck of it.

Two days ago I went to my club and met a fellow member (we were the only two there).  I worked on an engine of mine by replacing the broken gears in a P2K FB-1.  I put it on my 21' long TOFC train with the other units for an A-B-B-A set and ran around our large layout at 50% throttle.  I wasn't bored going around the first time because I was monitoring the fixed B-unit and making sure all mainline switches were set right, and that I had no derailments, etc.

As I neared making a full loop, the other guy started to run his Amtrak train around the layout.  Thinking he might like some company on the mainline, I continued on to make a 2nd loop.  Not even halfway through, I started thinking how boring this was.  To increase my interest, I throttled up to 100%...and it was still boring but at least the boredom was going to end sooner.

I realize that some folks won't do operations, and that some find just running trains to be calming or even fun.  But why is it that some folks get offended because I find that boring?

  • Member since
    February 2018
  • From: Great Plains
  • 1,829 posts
Posted by York1 on Saturday, July 4, 2020 11:39 AM

Paul3
I realize that some folks won't do operations, and that some find just running trains to be calming or even fun.  But why is it that some folks get offended because I find that boring?

 

I'm going to try to answer this without offending you or making it sound like criticism.  Please don't take this as a criticism:

 

Your original post was taken by many here, including me, as a criticism of watching trains run.

I know.  You meant it was boring to you.  But that's not how it sounded.

 

Paul3
Running trains without operation sessions is boring.  It is so incredibly dull.  There's no challenge, there's no reason, there's nothing to do but stare at the moving train.  It's no different from sitting on your front porch to watch the cars go by...only it's the same car, over and over and over again.  What's the fun in that?  You might as well play Monopoly solo.

 

When you write something worded like that, you are sure to step on the toes of those who don't find it boring, and who don't think it's dull.

York1 John       

  • Member since
    October 2001
  • From: OH
  • 17,461 posts
Posted by BRAKIE on Saturday, July 4, 2020 11:40 AM

Paul3
But why is it that some folks get offended because I find that boring?

Paul, I have asked that question every time a discussion comes up on operation. I never did like mindless loop running and would never gainsay those that do.  OTOH  there are those that thinks switching is boring.

I suspect there are those that doesn't fully understand operation can be simple or very complicated. I suspect some would think I was going to far with my operations following basic operation and safety rules as well as allowing time for the switchman to do his work.. There is none of that jumping ahead and lining a switch and a full stop must be made after each coupling-gotta release the hand brake.

That age old copout "Its my layout"  has nothing to do with a discussion of operation.. Nobody is forcing anybody to operate their layout in a prototyical manner.

Larry

Conductor.

Summerset Ry.


"Make Safety Your First Thought.. Not  Your Last" 

Subscriber & Member Login

Login, or register today to interact in our online community, comment on articles, receive our newsletter, manage your account online and more!

Search the Community

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Model Railroader Newsletter See all
Sign up for our FREE e-newsletter and get model railroad news in your inbox!