Bridge Traffic

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by rockislandmike, Nov 19, 2002.

  1. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Not sure exactly what category this should be in, but I'm putting it in here for now.

    I'm wondering how some of you deal with bridge traffic. The inbounds / outbounds of industries on one's layout are easy enough to figure out. But I'm having trouble arriving at a good theorem on bridge traffic, which should make up a significant portion of my traffic since the major portion of my layout will be the MOPAC mainline from Wichita to Pueblo through Scott City.

    If it helps, here's what I'm modeling.

    Era: 1980
    Missouri Pacific: Wichita-Scott City-Pueblo (as noted above, all visible)
    Santa Fe: Wichita-Dodge City-Pueblo (all in staging except in these three points)
    Rock Island: Wichita-Oklahoma City (visible in the middle portions only - i.e., Enid OK Okeene OK Dodge City KS)

    I'm curious what the rest of you do. Thanks.
  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I'm not heavily into operation but hope to run the layout with more of that in mind in the future (after its more complete). Bridge traffic is one of those concepts I pretend to understand. Could you say a little more about it?
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Can I ask why you're asking? Are you thinking of programming it into a car routing program or something?
    The Utopia Northern (my Wed. night operating) programs bridge traffic (using ShipIt) by designating two yards (that don't exist) beyond the layout and designating various shipments from one to the other. Only problem is that we have to cart the empty cars over to the foreign yards before we transport them.
    We also find them useful for all those fancy cars that don't have an industry online -- pickle cars, aquarium cars, etc.
    Trick is to get them in a train that just transits the RR rather than doing loads of switching along the way.
  4. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    I guess my question would be; are we talking a single or multiple track bridge?

    When I saw your post the first thing that came to mind was based on a recent article in MR, I think, where a single track tunnel (bridge same difference) was fed from both ends by a double track system. This made for some interesting operations as the tunnel had to be factored in to all operation on that part of the line.

    Otherwise, I have two single track bridges that are just another piece of track as where the line goes double track is far enough away that the bridges are not a factor in scheduling operation, at least I don't think so as I just run them for fun at this point:D

  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    OK, based on David's post I think I get it. Loads and empties pass through the trackage of your railroad to farther destinations off line. Would that be represented by two sets of trains (one with loads or empties for say Eastbound, and one for Westbound) that travel from staging through your layout and then disappear? I can imagine that it would be fun to include trains like this in scheduled meets with local freights.
  6. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    There is more than one way to interchange. A train can come onto your layout from staging go to a yard drop what it has, pick-up what has been set out for it, turn around and return to where it came from. It can come in from one end of your layout, run thru the layout and go into staging on the other end. In doing so it can make setouts and pick-ups or not, whichever you wish. Probably some other ways also.
  7. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    David - How do you guy's like the Shipit program?
  8. rockislandmike

    rockislandmike Active Member

    Sorry, guys. What I meant by bridge traffic is that traffic in the region for which neither the client or supplier resides on the layout. For example, in my 1980 MOPAC/ROCK layout, I have a flatcar of buses from Iowa that is on its way to Las Vegas. It needs to be included in a train that goes through my region, but doesn't stop (i.e., hotshot, drag, express).

    I'm trying to add more of this type of traffic, because it should play a pretty important part in my layout, since I model a MOPAC mainline.

    I've got additional information since I posted the query, but I'm still working on additional non-unit-train bridge traffic (i.e., like the buses above, as opposed to the "Ford Fast" which travelled the route, carrying autos and auto parts back and forth across the region).
  9. Bob Collins

    Bob Collins Active Member

    Sorry Mike. I understand now what you are talking about, but initially I completely missed your point. I thought you we talking about where a single track "bridge" caused a choke point on your mainline. I see now where you are talking about transiting the area you are modeling.

    Do you get flat car loads of John Deere from Waterloo too?

  10. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Mike, I don't claim to know a lot about the subject of your question, but would think the following should be fairly accurate. Also, I know little about the prototype you are modeling. I am using the L&HR as an example of how I envision bridge traffic. The L&HR was a bridge line from the Lehigh Valley into New York state, connecting with New England. Basically you need a yard at each end. Not a classification yard. Just someplace where motive power and crews are changed. On a model the ideal situation would be a stub staging yardperhaps in an adjoining room which would enter the visable railroad at a yard, where power comes off and waits for a train going back. Some cars may be setout while others are added, these cars would be to/from local industries served from that yard. Primarily, the train would be expedited over the line to the other end, where a similar situation would exist. For the modeler, this allows you to model some connecting road power.

  11. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    The Delaware & Hudson's logo stated " The Bridge Line to and from New England and Canada". It crossed/ interchanged with:
    Canadian National;Canadian Pacific; Rutland; Boston and Maine; Boston and Albany; New York Central; New York, Ontario, and Western; Lehigh Valley; Erie; Delaware, Lackawana and Western; Central of New Jersey; and Pennsylvania.
    In the era you're referencing, I would suspect bridge traffic would consist of another railroad's train,(and power) proceding across your railroad's trackage, with only a crew change at each end. The "power" would come back through with another train. You would also see unit trains.
    The amount of rolling stock interchanging to your road, and from it would depend on the number of other rail lines you connected with.
  12. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    (I think it's ShipIt we use. It's Bill's layout and his computer so I don't see the program much, just the output.)
    We've spent maybe four years now getting the program in shape; including a couple of upgrades and lots of changes to the data/trains/siding organization. We finally got some movement out of the coal mine and most of the cars seem to be moving.
    I think you can model the bridge traffic two ways -- complete trains from staging to staging or cars from interchange yard to interchange. The complete trains may need a change of motive power or be run throughs.
  13. Drew Toner

    Drew Toner Member

    Pete, that is exactly what the Ottawa Valley Railway is, another railways train, and power, proceeding across your railroads trackage, with only a crew change at each end!! And they are making money doing it as well!!

  14. Railery

    Railery Member

    So your bridge traffic will come from a hidden staging yard at one point and out to another hidden staging yard at the other end of your layout. Or if u don't have a hidden staging yard than u use the old hand disappearing act.:D

    Thats what i got to do on my plan is add two hidden staging areas:cool:
  15. Gareth

    Gareth New Member


    I have been using Shipit for about 6 years now and I still don't fully understand some of the concepts. I pick up shipments of transformers from GE in Minneapolis (fictitious industries off the layout) at an interchange track in Moorhead, the load is moved to Fargo, then out on the line to an interchange at West Branch, destined to Hanford Washington (fictitious industries off the layout). Its kinda "load into the layout" and "load out of the layout". The empty heavyweight flat moves in reverse.

    I like Shipit, but it did take a relatively long time to get it to work for my layout. You can't get shipit to work without the balancer program also.

    I have close to 40 box cars "XM" type and the balancer says I need 99 to move the freight. Too much freight can be a problem also.

  16. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    All you need is a siding at either end of your main line. Before an operating session, you can make-up a train in one siding (or both if you've got a place to stage a meet) and sometime during the session, run the train, more or less non-stop, but at least without switching cars in or out of it, right to the siding at the other end. Unless you want to physically set up new trains during an operating session, that's it for the day's bridge traffic. You can have more bridge traffic by adding more sidings at each end. Whether it's one siding at each end of the main or twenty, this is basically a staging yard to staging yard operation, with certain yard tracks dedicated to only the bridge traffic trains.
    Motive power can be from the home road or run-through power from a connecting line. If the home road uses some form of cab signalling or ATC, you could create a little extra operation by requiring foreign-road power to pick up a pilot engine.
    Hope this is of some assistance.

  17. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Do you live near the area you are modeling? If so, can you look at traffic patterns on the mainline today? It will be a little different than 1980, but probably not much different. In 1980, did the U.P. own the MOPAC? You may need to try to find out how much freight the Rock Island moved over your modeled portion. BNSF may be similar today to what the Santa Fe did in 1980. Finally if you are modeling a busy main line, you might not be able to realistically model all of the traffic. The trick then is to keep things in proportion. If 25% of the traffic is Santa Fe, then 25% of the trains passing through should be Santa Fe. The prototype might have 30 trains run through in a day, but you may only be able to run 10. Taking our hypothetical 25% Santa Fe, 2 or 3 trains should be Santa Fe. You might also check with the appropriate historical societies for the railroads you are modeling to see if they have any information to help you with traffic patterns.

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