Need help with operations

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by foulrift, May 30, 2008.

  1. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    My railroad is going to be a switching layout (no time saver) There will be cars already spotted and cars in the small yard.Cars are brought in from the connecting railroads main line.Outbound cars are then set out and returned to the main for pick up. My problem is this-coming up with some sort of system for switching the inbound cars to the proper location and then making up an outbound train.Two of the industries are no problem-they get only tank cars and coal hoppers.The industries in question are a team track,pallet manufacturer and a clean out track for box cars.I don't want to get stuck in a situation of switching cars 1 for 1, That would get boring. Inbound cars and those in the yard would be the ones that I am concerned about so any help would be appreciated.Bob:confused:
  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    This could be complicated and time-consuming or quick and dirty.
    First, you need to have empty space in the yard; if it's full you'll be pulling a car out for every one you spot. The next step would be to list what cars each industry/siding gets and how many/how often and how long they stay. This should be matched up to the cars on the main line.
    Then you can make up some waybills. Either by industry or by car type. You pull out a few waybills, find the car, move it to the industry. On a paper system you might have a few blank lines for the car to stay while it's loaded/unloaded, then a move to someplace else. You can choose waybills by some random method, but you need to keep the in-use waybill separate from the main pack, usually in a box near where the car is located. Wen the move is complete, the waybill goes back into the pack.
    You can also get computer programs that do this for you. (I don't know what's currently available, but there was one in Basic in the NMRA Bulletin about 1981.)
  3. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    David-thanks for the reply.The information you supplied will be very helpful.Bob
  4. kutler

    kutler Member

    Don't forget a staging area.

    Very few layouts can make do without some form of staging.

    If the same cars are being transferred back and forth from the yard, it could quickly become very dry indeed.

    Are you basing your layout on a prototype or do you have creative license? I ask because adding something like a foreign road interchange can spice up a regular routine.


  5. foulrift

    foulrift Bob

    C-I loosely based my layout on Progressive Rails Air Lake Park.With the prototype the CP drops inbound cars on the main-a switcher from the park picks up the cars.The park has no yard or runaround track.Cars are put where ever there is room.They actually use two switchers to work the park and a variety of unloading methods are used.MR ran an article on the operation some years ago.
    This is a diagram of my track plan.I put in two switchbacks.One in the upper left and one in the lower right.The yard tracks will hold 3 cars each.I also have for added variety a clean out track in the upper left.this is for steam cleaning the insides of box cars prior to re loading.The idea behind this plan is cars come in on the main-empties are removed and loaded cars are spotted. With XTrak I ran trains on the plan and it works well,I just need some sort of way bill system to determine what goes where.
    Thanks again-Bob
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

  7. kutler

    kutler Member

    Planning for expansion

    If you ever felt the desire to expand your layout, how would you do it?

    Will it be it oriented correctly, where it's constructed to allow expansion?
  8. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    i did a switching layout becuase of a lack os space. I created it so when i have the space to expand, i pull one section of track up and remove the block from the end of the track and connect the main line and take it out the other side of the L shape. right now the one spot is dead line for storing equipment close to the roundhouse and the other end is just a siding.

    if you plan the smaller yard well and look for ways to expand it in the future you can usually fit in i find.

    small switching layouts are fun and a lot of work to design and great mental exercises i think.
    enjoy the switching yard, share your plans
    Canadian Locomotive Leasers
  9. acsoosub

    acsoosub Member

    There are several ways you could set up a simple waybill system for your layout.

    Make a car card for each car you have, noting it's type, roadname or reporting marks and number. Make a pocket on the car card that you can slip a waybill into.

    Then make a bunch of waybills for your industries/car types. (If you have only the one industry that takes tank cars, all those waybills will be the same).

    When you want to operate, you could grab for example up to 5 waybills (less or more depending on how big your layout is) at random and assign them to appropriate cars in your staging or interchange track. These can become your "inbounds".

    Then you visit each industry setting off the inbounds and pulling the outbounds.

    To make it so that you don't always pull all the cars that are already sitting at the industry, you could add a note to that "side" of the waybill along the lines of "Hold 2 days (sessions) for loading/unloading".
    When you start a switching session, go through the waybills for the cars at each industry and either turn them to the next step, or add some sort of marker (like a paperclip) to indicate that it's been sitting there for one session already (if you want it to stay). Then select your inbounds and have fun. :)

    If you have that one track designated as a clean-out track, that can make things interesting for boxcar operation. You could have the first move on the waybill as empty to the cleanout track, and then empty to the team track or pallet factory for loading, then outbound loaded. Or a loaded boxcar could come directly to the team track for unloading, and then outbound empty. Or even, inbound to team track loaded; to cleanout track, to pallet factory, outbound loaded. This could really add quite a bit of variety to your switching operations.

    If you end up having more cars to spot at an industry than will fit in the proper track, the extra car can be parked on a runaround or empty track nearby to be placed the next time the town is switched, when room opens up for it. This is referred to as being "off-spot" and the car can be switched next session. (The real railroad term I believe is "constructively placed")

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