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Which way is east?

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Posted by FRRYKid on Friday, May 13, 2022 1:20 AM

BATMAN

With all our layouts being flat(ish) Maybe those flat Earthers are on to something. I did lose a tank car once when it fell off the edge of the Earth, I was able to find it though, and replace the broken coupler it suffered. It needed a Kadee upgrade anyway.Laugh

That reminds me of an incident on my old layout where a caboose got "downloaded" with only the ladder and the coupler getting knocked off. Easily fixed thankfully.

"The only stupid question is the unasked question."
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Posted by reasearchhound on Friday, May 13, 2022 10:31 AM

I always figured that one simply had to determine a central wall where a layout exists and look up (or just straight ahead). That should be north. Of course the owner can make it be any way they want.

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Posted by ndbprr on Friday, May 13, 2022 2:45 PM

I am surprised how many people who have rounds round layouts found fault with my initial question. Obviously if you are going around in a circle you don't have a directional issue.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, May 13, 2022 4:59 PM

ndbprr

I am surprised how many people who have rounds round layouts found fault with my initial question. Obviously if you are going around in a circle you don't have a directional issue.

 

So I have philosophical question for you - how big, and squiggly, does a continious track plan have to be before it is not a circle?

On a large layout like the one I am getting started on, you can't see the whole layout at once, you have no "eye in the sky" view of the whole thing. Half the circle is hidden staging.

The terms "clockwise" and "counter clockwise" only have relevance if you can view it like a clock.

Standing inside my large squiggly circle, clockwise is left to right. BUT if the layout was designed to be viewed completely from outside the circle, clockwise becomes right to left.

As explained above, my layout is completely viewed from inside the circle. But since you can't even begin to see the whole route at once, clockwise or counter clockwise has no relevance.

So using the terms clockwise and counter clockwise to ask you question was fundamentally flawed - that is why you got so many jokesters.

The question is, as I explained, do you have a set standard for left or right being a specific direction or is your layout designed so that sometimes you are looking from the south side of the tracks and sometimes the north side of the tracks?

Again, take a look at this track plan and consider that no matter where you are, you are on the south side of the tracks looking north, east is always to your right, west is always to your left.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by saronaterry on Friday, May 13, 2022 6:09 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
take a look at this track plan and consider that no matter where you are, you are on the south side of the tracks looking north, east is always to your right, west is always to your left.

Mine is a mirror image. Sort of. Facing the layout, you're always looking west. No matter what.

Around the walls, 3 penisulas , almost 400 feet of track.Hidden staging in the mechanical room for a continuous run.

Terry

Terry in NW Wisconsin

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Posted by dehusman on Friday, May 13, 2022 7:53 PM

saronaterry
Mine is a mirror image. Sort of. Facing the layout, you're always looking west. No matter what.

Same here, the operators face west and the trains run south (left) or north (right).*

*except on the three "branches" that are accessed by helixes so the direction is reversed 

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Posted by selector on Friday, May 13, 2022 8:08 PM

A train leaving a yard on a closed loop and entering the yard after negotiating the loop can be deemed to be moving steadfastly in one direction, even if the route meanders.  The Trans-Canada highway through the Coast Range, the Monashees, the Selkirks, and the Rockies is going east.  The desination after a day of travel from Vancouver Island is Calgary.  Calgary is east of Vancouver Island, but also east of Victoria, Vancouver, Chilliwack, Hope, Boston Bar, Ashcroft, Savona, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Golden, Field, Lake Louise, Banff, and Canmore, all potential stops along the Trans-Canada.

To me, you'd need at least another deck if not a whole nuther loop that could be considered a westerly direction, but if it's the same main line, you'd need two of every town.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, May 13, 2022 8:59 PM

selector

A train leaving a yard on a closed loop and entering the yard after negotiating the loop can be deemed to be moving steadfastly in one direction, even if the route meanders.  The Trans-Canada highway through the Coast Range, the Monashees, the Selkirks, and the Rockies is going east.  The desination after a day of travel from Vancouver Island is Calgary.  Calgary is east of Vancouver Island, but also east of Victoria, Vancouver, Chilliwack, Hope, Boston Bar, Ashcroft, Savona, Kamloops, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Golden, Field, Lake Louise, Banff, and Canmore, all potential stops along the Trans-Canada.

To me, you'd need at least another deck if not a whole nuther loop that could be considered a westerly direction, but if it's the same main line, you'd need two of every town.

 

I would like to understand your point, but I think I need a drawing. Maybe my limited knowledge of Canadian geography is making it harder to understand. 

On my new layout, trains ""leave the scene" and re-enter at the other end of the scene traveling in the same direction. But trains travel in both directions, east and west.

East and west is not literal, here where I live, US40 is "east-west", and Interstate 95 is "north-south", yet for some 50 miles thru northeast Maryland, these two roads parallel each other and the old B&O and PRR mainlines. All four actually travel northeast-southwest from Baltimore to Philadelphia.

Why would you need duplicates of modeled cities?

Confused

    

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Friday, May 13, 2022 10:22 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
US40 is "east-west", and Interstate 95 is "north-south", yet for some 50 miles thru northeast Maryland, these two roads parallel each other.

Interstate 4 is officially East-West, but through all of Orlando (its most travelled section), it is almost perfectly North-South. This has been credited with causing all kinds of confusion among tourists that know they need to go South, but do not know whether or not that is "East" or "West" on I-4.

I supposed GPS has fixed a lot of this.

-Kevin

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Friday, May 13, 2022 10:51 PM

SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
US40 is "east-west", and Interstate 95 is "north-south", yet for some 50 miles thru northeast Maryland, these two roads parallel each other.

 

Interstate 4 is officially East-West, but through all of Orlando (its most travelled section), it is almost perfectly North-South. This has been credited with causing all kinds of confusion among tourists that know they need to go South, but do not know whether or not that is "East" or "West" on I-4.

I supposed GPS has fixed a lot of this.

-Kevin

 

Yes, I have traveled Interstate 4. But I think my Florida days are really over now. We had move my mother back up here to Maryland and find her a nice assisted living situation.

My youngest sister and her hubby want to buy mothers place in Okeechobee - they are welcome to it.

Sheldon

    

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Posted by reasearchhound on Saturday, May 14, 2022 12:50 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL

 

 
SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
US40 is "east-west", and Interstate 95 is "north-south", yet for some 50 miles thru northeast Maryland, these two roads parallel each other.

 

Interstate 4 is officially East-West, but through all of Orlando (its most travelled section), it is almost perfectly North-South. This has been credited with causing all kinds of confusion among tourists that know they need to go South, but do not know whether or not that is "East" or "West" on I-4.

I supposed GPS has fixed a lot of this.

-Kevin

 

 

 

Yes, I have traveled Interstate 4. But I think my Florida days are really over now. We had move my mother back up here to Maryland and find her a nice assisted living situation.

My youngest sister and her hubby want to buy mothers place in Okeechobee - they are welcome to it.

Sheldon

 

Interesting that a map of that area should be posted. We were just out there two weeks ago visiting relatives in Winter Park and friends up in Ocala and were confused several times by the entire east/west designations on I-4.

That is a great place to visit, but like you, I wouldn't care to live there.

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Posted by dehusman on Saturday, May 14, 2022 12:51 AM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
East and west is not literal

And they are not on railroads.

A railroad runs either east-west or north-south by timetable direction.  That really has nothing to do with the compass directions.  It is purely a convenience for establishing the directions of the trains for superiority.  On some railroads entirely east-west in their timetable,  subdivisions may physically entirely run north-south.  Doesn't matter what the compass direction is.

At Pine Bluff, AR the MP came into town from the NW and exited to the SE, the SSW came in from the NE and exited SW.  The city had them combine their parallell mains.  On that piece of joint track, two trains, both headed from St Louis to New Orleans could have a head on collision.

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, May 14, 2022 7:49 AM

SeeYou190

 

 
ATLANTIC CENTRAL
US40 is "east-west", and Interstate 95 is "north-south", yet for some 50 miles thru northeast Maryland, these two roads parallel each other.

 

Interstate 4 is officially East-West, but through all of Orlando (its most travelled section), it is almost perfectly North-South. This has been credited with causing all kinds of confusion among tourists that know they need to go South, but do not know whether or not that is "East" or "West" on I-4.

I supposed GPS has fixed a lot of this.

-Kevin

 

For as much as Americans travel, they certainly are geography challenged.  The hiway system is set up like you are looking at a map of the US.  The southeast US is to the right and down.  The Northwest US is to the left and up.  The Hiway directional designations reflect that. 

A person should know that either N or W require the same directional turn, as do S or E.  If, say, a person thinks they want to go N, and they are presented only with an E or W choice, they should choose W.

I've said this here before.  With American race tracks, the finish line being the important part, the home stretch is right in front of the crowd, and the cars/horses progress intuitively like reading a book...from left to right.  Since the natural progression is to go from left to right, and the directional system is set up as I described; trains are going from W to E or N to S along the front track.  So a looping train on a small island type of layout, intuitively to me, should be running counterclockwise if they are supposed to be going E or S..but should run clockwise if you are standing in the center of an around the room layout.  

Especially if the lighting shines on the face of the trains and building, which casts a shadow on the backside...representing the high mid day sun that tends to be in the southern sky and over our back shoulders in North America.   Intuitively, since I'm looking at the bright side of the trains, and the high room lighting is over my back shoulder, the orientation makes me feel like I'm facing N, making E to the right. 

What's GPS needed for?  Do people actually buy that stuff? Wink

To answer OPs question simply:  On a layout, E, like S, is always to the right for the tracks that are right in front of you.  Intuitively to me.

 

- Douglas

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Posted by mbinsewi on Saturday, May 14, 2022 8:36 AM

ndbprr
Since all US railroads use east and west for train direction

The CN is N & S.

Mike.

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Posted by AEP528 on Saturday, May 14, 2022 11:48 AM

Doughless

To answer OPs question simply:  On a layout, E, like S, is always to the right for the tracks that are right in front of you.  Intuitively to me.

 

On my railroad a person is facing West with North to the right. The real railroad it's based on is aligned North and South, so it is an impossibility to stand at any of the locations I've modeled and have East to the right. Inutitive, no?

Model railroad lighting has very little to do with representing midday sun, and everything to do with evenness and eliminating shadows on the backdrop.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 14, 2022 12:34 PM

AEP528

 

 
Doughless

To answer OPs question simply:  On a layout, E, like S, is always to the right for the tracks that are right in front of you.  Intuitively to me.

 

 

 

On my railroad a person is facing West with North to the right. The real railroad it's based on is aligned North and South, so it is an impossibility to stand at any of the locations I've modeled and have East to the right. Inutitive, no?

Model railroad lighting has very little to do with representing midday sun, and everything to do with evenness and eliminating shadows on the backdrop.

 

Seems natural to me, East or North to the right.

Maybe it is my background as a draftsman, but when we put lettering on a drawing, vertical dimension lines are labeled as if the right side of the page is the bottom of the page.

So a map or site plan showing the top as North, would have vertical writing viewed as if you turned the drawing and are facing West with North to your right.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by jeffhergert on Saturday, May 14, 2022 1:28 PM

I remember reading many years ago in an article for beginner model railroaders that for picking a direction foe oval type track plans, that clockwise was generally used for a westward direction.  I don't recall any mention for north/south directions.  Noe do I recall any rationale for using clockwise.  Possibly since oval layouts were common, when facing the layout, clockwise motion to the left would correspond to looking at a standard map where left is west.  It could also just be an arbitrarily arrived at decision, or that's what the writer used on his layout.

When I had loop type layouts, even large one with a central staging yard that operated as point to point, I used clockwise for west.  My current setup is a point to point with no connection for continuous running.  If it had such connection, than it would be a large loop, but on this one clockwise would be eastward.  It just worked out that way for the space available when fitting in the stations of the line I model.

Whatever works best for the individual.

Jeff  

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Saturday, May 14, 2022 2:18 PM

jeffhergert

I remember reading many years ago in an article for beginner model railroaders that for picking a direction foe oval type track plans, that clockwise was generally used for a westward direction.  I don't recall any mention for north/south directions.  Noe do I recall any rationale for using clockwise.  Possibly since oval layouts were common, when facing the layout, clockwise motion to the left would correspond to looking at a standard map where left is west.  It could also just be an arbitrarily arrived at decision, or that's what the writer used on his layout.

When I had loop type layouts, even large one with a central staging yard that operated as point to point, I used clockwise for west.  My current setup is a point to point with no connection for continuous running.  If it had such connection, than it would be a large loop, but on this one clockwise would be eastward.  It just worked out that way for the space available when fitting in the stations of the line I model.

Whatever works best for the individual.

Jeff  

 

Jeff, clockwise (right to left viewing the part of the circle closest to you like looking at a map) for west, assumes you are outside the circle.

If you are inside the circle like my layout will be, and you assume you are still facing north like a map, clockwise becomes east, or left to right.

Again, this is why using clockwise and counterclockwise to describe this is problematic.

Sheldon 

    

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, May 14, 2022 4:54 PM

AEP528

 

 
Doughless

To answer OPs question simply:  On a layout, E, like S, is always to the right for the tracks that are right in front of you.  Intuitively to me.

 

 

 

On my railroad a person is facing West with North to the right. The real railroad it's based on is aligned North and South, so it is an impossibility to stand at any of the locations I've modeled and have East to the right. Inutitive, no?

Model railroad lighting has very little to do with representing midday sun, and everything to do with evenness and eliminating shadows on the backdrop.

 

Everything in your world perhaps. 

I keep my light source a few inches farther away from the wall than the train track.  If my track is 24 inches away from the wall. I want my strongest light source about 30 inches away from the wall, since I don't want to see shadows towards the side I'm looking at.  Everything casts a shadow, whether you notice it obviously or not.  If you have light all over the place, the strongest light needs to be on side of the trains you're looking at.

A short shadow on the back side of the trains, buildings, trees, etc, is what happens with the midday sun in North America.

A long shadow that's cast onto the backdrop, which I never do, would look like sunrise or sunset...or midday winter if you live in Canada and the sun is always low in the sky.

Since I live in the USA, short shadows being on the other side of the thing I'm looking at means that its midday, and I'm generally facing North..so East is to the right.  

I thought this was obvious, without much room for argument. 

Maybe I would have made a good Settler or Pioneer, like Davey Crockett.  LOL. 

- Douglas

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, May 14, 2022 6:02 PM

ATLANTIC CENTRAL
Maybe it is my background as a draftsman, but when we put lettering on a drawing, vertical dimension lines are labeled as if the right side of the page is the bottom of the page.

I'm not a draftsman, but when I read text on the internet, the sentences always makes more sense to me when I read them by starting at the upper left and move towards the bottom right.  The last words I read are on the lower right.

I think Artists generally sign paintings on the lower right.  IOW, the last thing they do ends up on the lower right.  Unless they're eccentric.

When we hang the flag, the stars are to the upper left, and we call it Stars and Stripes.  If we called it Stripes and Stars, it would hang backwards and upside down.

Maps are like a picture that you take from above, so you would orient it like most everything else.  

Oh well.  Makes sense to me.

Read with sarcasm, since I don't take this topic very seriously.

- Douglas

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Posted by Doughless on Saturday, May 14, 2022 7:04 PM

Picture is worth many words.  The orientation of the sun in North America. 

We are looking West.  If this was a layout and I had a choice as to how to select orientation of the places on the layout, I'd be standing under the high sun and facing North.

Best Lighting Practices – Back to the Roots

Valance lighting:  If the source of that light was 93,000,000 miles above the track instead of 24 inches, and was very big, it would be over my back shoulders.

 

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Posted by MisterBeasley on Sunday, May 15, 2022 12:22 PM

FRRYKid

That reminds me of an incident on my old layout where a caboose got "downloaded" with only the ladder and the coupler getting knocked off. Easily fixed thankfully.

This is how we know the earth is NOT flat.  If it were, the cats would have knocked everything off the edge long ago.

It takes an iron man to play with a toy iron horse. 

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Posted by NorthBrit on Sunday, May 15, 2022 1:26 PM

Now if you lived in the U.K.  things would be simple. 

Travel from London up to Scotland  you are on the down line.

Travel down to London from Scotland you are on the up line.

Travel west from London to Wales you are on the down line.

Travel east  from Wales to London you are on the up line.

 

On a 'thousand or so other routes ---

Travel York to Manchester you are on the up line (if it is a Lancashire Yorkshire Railway line)   down if it is mainly a  North Eastern line,

Vice versa  the other way.

 

Simples really.  Tongue Tied

 

David

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Posted by York1 on Sunday, May 15, 2022 1:46 PM

In New Orleans, from Canal Street, the French Quarter is northeast, but is downtown.  From Canal Street, uptown is southwest.

In all my years living there, I don't remember anyone ever using east, west, north, or south, except in street addresses.  Directions were always toward the river, toward the lake, uptown, or downtown.  I was told the up and down were based on the direction of the Mississippi River's flow.

Isn't Maine downeast?

York1 John       

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Posted by fwright on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 3:48 PM

The norm in orienting ourselves is North at the top, or in front of us.  Which puts East to the right, and West to the left, and South behind us.  We are so accustomed to this "standard" that orienting ourselves differently is not intuitive.

Having West at the top or in front is the 2nd most intuitive, but not nearly as much as intuitive as north at top.

An almost sure way to get discombulated is to turn on the GPS map in your car with the top being whatever direction your car is headed.  If you are headed south and the directions say turn on Hwy 1 West, you will initially want to turn left instead of turning right as shown on the display.  If the display is turned off, watch how disconcerting the cardinal directions are when you start from heading south or east.

The same initial discombabulation occurs when you are facing south or east on a layout.  The layout owner is used to the non-standard, but visitors are not.

If on the front side of an oval layout where you can see both sides, east and west kind of lose their meanings.  This is a great argument in favor of view blocks when viewing from the outside of an oval.  The view block restores the East is right paradigm, no matter which side you are on.

A long winded way to arrive at eastbound is counter-clockwise if standing on the outside of a continuous run, and eastbound is clockwise if standing on the inside of a continuous run.

Fred W

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Posted by FRRYKid on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 2:52 AM

To continue with the highway discussion, take a look at I-90 and 94 in Montana. They are both designated as east-west highways.

However, going east from Billings 94 goes north as well as east until it leaves Montana just east of Wibaux. (We-bow. French with a long e and a long o.)

I90 is another one that is more NE-SW than strictly east-west http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_90_in_Montana#/map/0

Ends up a long drive/ride going from one end of the state to the other.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 8:22 PM

The way you orient your layout may depend on your familiarity with the subject.  If you are modeling a prototype you are familiar with, one you railfanned or maybe even have rode, you might orient your model in the direction you viewed it, regardless of the compass direction.  If you boarded the train, your model may have the station platform near the outside of the layout, so you are looking at the train and background as you would have in real life.

Freelanced layouts might be based on actual geographic locations, such as the rail line that "should have been built"; or may be more imaginary generic locations such as a port city, mining district, etc.  For a line that follows the south side of an actual river, if your point of view is at river's edge, then you will be looking south, with the rail line perhaps in the foreground and the valley side rising in the background.  East will be to your left. 

For totally freelanced pikes which might have vague geographic reference, orienting north, with east to the right, might be a way to keep your bearings without familiar geographic landmarks.

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Posted by ATLANTIC CENTRAL on Wednesday, May 25, 2022 10:15 PM

MidlandMike

The way you orient your layout may depend on your familiarity with the subject.  If you are modeling a prototype you are familiar with, one you railfanned or maybe even have rode, you might orient your model in the direction you viewed it, regardless of the compass direction.  If you boarded the train, your model may have the station platform near the outside of the layout, so you are looking at the train and background as you would have in real life.

Freelanced layouts might be based on actual geographic locations, such as the rail line that "should have been built"; or may be more imaginary generic locations such as a port city, mining district, etc.  For a line that follows the south side of an actual river, if your point of view is at river's edge, then you will be looking south, with the rail line perhaps in the foreground and the valley side rising in the background.  East will be to your left. 

For totally freelanced pikes which might have vague geographic reference, orienting north, with east to the right, might be a way to keep your bearings without familiar geographic landmarks.

 

Completely agreed, all good reasons to do what works for your situation.

The one thing that is important to me is that it be the same everywhere on the layout - this is simply an operator convenience to make the layout easier to understand and operate.

So on my new layout all viewers and operators are "inside" the loop, always on the south side of the tracks, looking "more or less" north, with east to the right.

The "loop" is really a twice around with one trip hidden with staging. So there is a west end to the scene and an east end to the scene.

Sheldon 

    

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