MRR February 2005

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by 2-8-2, Jan 12, 2005.

  1. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    The February issue of Model Railroader magazine has an interesting article in its "Step by Step" section about operations. I was just curious as to what anyone thought about this article.

    Step One
    Mapping your railroad. The author suggests making a system map for your railroad. He says it's especially important if your layout doesn't model a specific place because a system map will give reference to your railroad's connections with other lines.

    Step Two
    Industrial Analysis. Make a chart and figure out the shipping/receiving requirements for the industries on your layout. Town, industry name, inbound/outbound, car type, material, and frequency are listed categories. The author notes the importance of considering waste. A furniture factory for example, would have to get rid of carloads of scrap wood and sawdust from time to time.

    Step Three
    Switch lists. They work particularly well with small layouts and allow you to track which cars are going where, and when. By consulting your industrial analysis, you can determine which cars from your inventory will be making the trip as you walk around your layout.

    Step Four
    Car cards and waybills. Filling out switch lists can get old after awhile, and this is an alternate system. You make the cards once and you're done. The cards follow the car and are cycled (flipped over) when it reaches its destination. This is repeated until the car ends up at its starting point.
  2. Tad

    Tad Member

    I thought it was a pretty good intro to the basics of how to figure our operations for your layout

    I model a fallen flag shortline, so Step 1 was done. I did do quite a bit of research on my prototype. I still am for that matter.

    You can get way down in the weeds and get lost in Step 2 if you want. Some folks believe more detail is better, some find it unecessarily distracting.

    I skipped Step 3.

    I went straight to Step 4 and using Car Cards & Waybills. It's kind of neat after you run a few sessions to watch how the trafiic patterns evolve. The waybills will require some tweaking once you put them into play or mine did anyway.

    I think operations adds a whole 'nother aspect to model railroading and could even be considered a form of modeling itself. When you start ops, now you're making your model railroad work like a railroad.
  3. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Again not all cars need to be taken to the yard..Say your local picks up a empty PRR boxcar at town A..Now in town A there is a PRR interchange..All the crew would do is drop that PRR car on the interchange track.This would save needless handling and switching at the yard..
  4. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    I have done at least a little with 1 and 2, my layout is small enough (and only operated by me) that I don't really need to do switchlists or card systems - hey, if there are two hopper cars filled with coal in the train, they must be going to the coal dealer !! But I have been thinking more about where my free-lance line is located, I think I should have more freight cars from connecting railroads.

    For example, my "St.Paul Route" runs from Mpls-St.Paul MN north to Duluth then to what's now called Thunder Bay ONT. Mpls-St.Paul is the southernmost terminal on my layout, but it would be the northernmost point for the Minneapolis & St.Louis, Rock Island, Chicago Great Western, and Burlington. Now Burlington stuff going north would be going on the Great Northern most likely (since GN half-owned CB&Q) but my RR would be getting a lot of interchange from M-St.L, Rock, and CGW, so I should have more cars for them than I the other way around, more Canadian cars from Thunder Bay going south - CP and CN.

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