Industry Focused Operations

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by 2-8-2, Dec 11, 2006.

  1. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Absolutely! I was among the early followers of car card operation put forth by Dough Smith in the early 60s. Stagging yards isn't new either.
    You see a lot of us young modelers in the 60s knew there was a better way to run our trains rather then just making senseless loops.Of course a lot of the older club members would smile and just nod their heads thinking we youngster had lots to learn about the hobby and was suffering illusions thinking we could "operate" like a real railroad regardless of the articles in MR..
    So,a lot of us studied railroad operations some like me even worked on the railroad..
    Now you take somebody that has worked or has studied railroad operations for years we basically know when the "experts" are way off base in their thoughts and views but,because they may have author books or magazine articles everything they say is taken as the gospel and common sense prototypical operation flies out the window..
  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Brakie you are a passionate operator! :) Its interesting to see how operations styles evolve over time. I've always thought the dual sets of identically numbered cars trick was clever but I also see Brian's point that most modelers today might prefer staging and "simulate one leg of the train's journey". Ultimately a modeler decides what they find satisfying and what works for their layout size and space. For folks who wish to approximate the prototype as much as possible it sure is nice to have RR employees on the forum to provide the real world perspective!
  3. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Ralph,There is nothing more in this hobby I enjoy more the prototypical operations and working a local freight, yard or passenger terminal.I was also among the first to endorse stagging yards and the "theater stage" operation thoughts put forth by Frank Ellison.:thumb:
    To my mind there nothing greater then Doug Smith's way bill/car card and Frank's "theater " layout designs.Put their thoughts together and its unbeatable concept IMHO.

    The first time I heard about loads in/empties out was back in 1958/59 being discuss by some guys at Frank P.Hall's hobby shop in Columbus.Not loaded/empty hopper cars mine you but loaded/empty log cars! sign1
    Heady stuff for kid.:D

    BTW..From observing the prototype we can learn many things from track work to working a yard..Observation of the prototype still remains the best teacher.
    Also layout size has absolutely nothing to do with prototypical operation..Even a industrial switching layout can be operated like the prototype.That's the beauty of operations.:thumb:
  4. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Not necessarily. LI/EO isn't just used to represent whole-train loading/unloading. Probably more layout plans show setups designed to represent smaller-scale operations.
    That's one thing I don't like in this hobby - the idea there's such a thing as an outdated idea or style. Technology can get outdated quickly, but old ideas can still be used. Conversely, I sometimes don't like that modellers seem to imitate existing styles, modellers and layouts (old or new) so much that they're practically modelling models and not reality anymore.
    I know if I had a fairly large layout (or maybe even a medium-small one), I'd use LI/EO. It's still the easiest way to represent open-car traffic while keeping industries visible.

    I know there are some modellers who won't accept staging because they can't convince themselves that a train that's disappeared from view has actually gone somewhere else. I accept that completely, like LI/EO. It's what wrestlers call kayfabe and the rest of us call wiling suspension of disbelief.
  5. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member


    I'm almost at a loss for words. The operations forum is pretty inactive when compared to other sections of this site. But it seems like whenever I bring up a question, things can get active in a hurry, and sometimes even a little heated. It wasn't my intention to "poke a hornet's nest" in posting here, but I do feel like this forum is very under used.

    In my mind, operations is the frontrunner for what a layout should be. I would never tell someone else how or what they should do with their own, but for me, this is a big deal. I think when you "model" something, you're creating a smaller version of the real thing. I would never be happy with just running trains in a circle. If I'm going to invest some serious money and time into a hobby, I want things to be a certain way. I surely don't want to tack the last section of track into place, run my trains for a week, then be bored with the layout I've spent years developing. That just doesn't make sense to me.

    I haven't finalized a track plan in over a year because I know that unless I understand the how and they why of every single tie, it won't work properly. I'll go to switch out an industry and have to do something silly in order to make it work, because I didn't plan ahead enough. It's hard sometimes, because I have enough track and the equipment needed to get a layout up and running within a matter of days. Reading books, talking to modelers, and coming here to The Gauge have been very helpful to me. One day, my layout will be all that it can be, and I'll have you guys to thank for it. In th meantime, I'll continue to pester you fine folks here in the operations forum.

    That said...

    I've been studying the LI/EO concept, and truthfully, I don't like it. I don't like the idea of using scenery and line of sight as a way of running my railroad, and I surely won't be buying duplicate sets of cars. I do like the idea of live loads, and since doing it in N scale isn't popular, I may just do it.

    The next step for me is to participate in an operating session. Nothing would make me happier than to participate in something like that, and see everything in action. Then I think I could move forward with my track planning. But for now, I'll just continue to work "in theory" and go from there.
  6. doctorwayne

    doctorwayne Active Member

    Another thing to keep in mind with train-lot movements of cars, such as hoppers from a mine to a power plant, is that you may need more than one "train" of hoppers to have a realistic operation. I plan to run a coal train from staging (representing mine/originating railroad/car float operation/interchange partner) to staging (power plant), with nothing modelled but the connecting rail line. Due to passing siding length, trains will be limited to 12 hoppers, plus motive power and caboose. Planned train frequency is three times weekly, each way. I use live loads, and I hope to either manually load or unload cars, as required, between operating sessions, or return the full and empty trains to their proper places, also between operating sessions. The movement of the loaded or empty hoppers allows me to model a slice of the mine-to-powerplant industry, while using only a couple of staging tracks. (Which can also be used to represent other "industries", when not filled with hoppers.)
    The staging tracks at the two endpoints are only about 8" or 9" apart, but that separation is vertical: :cry: otherwise, I would run this operation as a loads-in empties-out, which would save me the trouble of loading/unloading or moving the hoppers between sessions. I wouldn't run duplicate-numbered cars though: as the cars are always moved as a block, only one car card is needed for each train. Besides, in the '50's, or 1930's as I'm modelling, the empties pulled from the power plant wouldn't be the same cars as the loads that were just spotted there, as unloading wasn't that fast. Having each car with its own, unique number is also useful for keeping track of car maintenance records and for those times when a car may end up in a different service, such as a single car deliverable to a local coal dealer.


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