One of the basic fun operations....

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Ralph, Dec 10, 2004.

  1. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    I've seen some threads recently asking about train operations that go beyond simply running freights around the layout in circles. I'm no expert on realistic operations but one that I especially like is "train meets" when one train waits for another to go by before proceeding. This can be accomplished easily with DCC of course, or by wiring a siding as a seperate block from the main line so a train can sit there ("in the hole" as the popular RR phrase describes it) while the mainline is busy.

    On my layout (pictured below) I have a siding near a cement plant that a local train can take before the through train headed by a piar of SD9s rolls by. After it passes, the local can continue the work of pulling covered hoppers onto the main and on to their next destination.

    Anyone care to describe a favorite operation of their's?

    Attached Files:

  2. 77railer

    77railer Member

    Would you care to share drawings/pics/tips and materials on how you built the concrete plant?

  3. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    First off Ralph, very nice cement plant. :thumb:

    Anyway, "train meetings" are always fun. This task is made so simple with DCC, which is what I have. It's a great operation, just to have one train sit while one passes by. Even mistifying sometimes. *rolls eyes*

    Believe it or not, my favorite operation is switching. Not frieghts, but rather, passenger cars. I have a "coach yard" and a GP7 that takes anywhere from 10 minutes to a half-hour to organize a train fresh from the yard, they don't just come onto the tracks via the 0-5-0.;)

    It's amazing how much thought goes into the arrangement of a passenger train. Not to mention adding a few express cars in their for fun... hehehe.

    So yes, I get some odd looks when I say "passenger switching" but even some railroaders don't realize passenger cars have to be set off, become added to a consist, make up a train, and refill its tanks, etc...

    If you couldn't tell, I'm a passenger modeler. :D

    (I love frieght cars too, but passenger yard work allows me to combine passenger cars and switching - two of my favorite aspects of the hobby.)
  4. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    That's great stuff! I've read a couple of articles about modellers who run passenger operations and they all admit that it isn't as popular as moving freight but I see the complexity and interest of it. I recall years ago traveling on the Empire Builder from the Hudson Valley to Chicago. We stopped in Albany so some cars could be switched out for Montreal, I think so they needed to be on the right part of the train. Do you follow some sort of passenger car switchlist to assemble trains?

    77railer-I scratchbuild things on the cheap. The large structure at the left of the second photo is made out of white shelf material with plastic yarn knitting grids for windows. I use an assortment of plastic bottles and cylindars found at a liquidator store for the cilos and other containers. The loading hopper area in the first pic is cardboard covered with corrugated craft paper. Add some commercially made ladders, stairs, railings and other details and that's it!
  5. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Nice plant Ralph! Even more amazing when you realize it's all scratched!
  6. trainwhiz20

    trainwhiz20 Member

    Thanks Ralph!

    Yeah, it's great. I actually stuck up a conversation with an Amtrak conductor on what cars were set out and so forth. Really got interesting...

    Granted, it's not as complicated as frieght, but it is fun.

    When I put a consist together, I either use general knowledge and/or a "passenger car switchlist".

    For example, let's say I'm creating Amtrak's fictional passenger train, The Mountain Majesty, an all-coach train, which will pass through the layout. An example consist, depending on "daily ridership" (i.e. how many people are "riding" the train... usually made up - if it was based on the real Amtrak ridership... well, ya know, there'd be no cars on the train :rolleyes: ...Just kidding!) is as follows:

    Motive Power:
    1 Dash 8-32BHW

    1 Baggage/Mail
    1 Superliner II Transition Coach
    1 Superliner II Diner
    1 Superliner II Sightseeing Lounge
    2 Superliner II Coach/Baggage

    Now, these cars would have to be extracted from the yard in this order, which can be tricky depending on how the cars came in. The locomotives come from the engine facility right off the yard spur.

    This train greatly differs from a local train, which might consist of a ATSF 2-8-0, Baggage, and 2 Coaches. (Heavyweight)

    A great article on passenger train consists is in the May 2003 Model Railroader.

    Now, Amtrak places sleepers first, but theoretically, coaches are put before the diner. Most Class 1 and smaller railroads did this in the golden age of railroading. But yes, cars are usually in a specific order, and it can get hectic when you have to pull a diner from the middle of the train!

    It like irritates me when people have like a diner, sleeper, coach, baggage, and observation, in that order. It seems like a little noise goes off in my head... hehehe.

    There's a list of the order of how cars *should* go in a passenger train, but I think I've said too much already! :D

    Let me know if you have any more questions.

    And for those wondering why I'm talking about Amtrak and heavyweights in the same post, is that I model ATSF circa late 1940s. However, just for fun, I occasionally have my small Amtrak train come through or my American Orient Express. Stirs things up when you have an ATSF engineer looking out his window to find an engine 50 years ahead of its time! :p
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    There is also the fun operation when the first train to the siding is too big for the siding! And then the major tie-up when both are too big.
    Passenger train operation is always intriguing. When we took the Canadian west in 78, operation was co-ordinated with the Super Continental. We ran from Toronto to Winnipeg on CNR, with mainly ex-CNR stock. The other train ran from Montreal with mostly CPR stock. At Winnipeg the trains were pulled apart and re-joined -- mainly, sleepers were taken from the back of one train and put onto the other one. I think that coach passengers had to walk. Because of the dome-observation car, the sleepers had to be switched ahead of it. (We hadn't been able to book a through sleeper, and we walked acreoss to the new car and missed all the switching.)
    The two trains then continued west and met up again in Vancouver.
  8. jetrock

    jetrock Member

    Both trains being too big for the siding is a good excuse for the old "double saw":

    First, Train A enters the siding, dropping off the excess length behind it.

    Second, Train B passes Train A, pushing Train A's rear section ahead of it and leaving its own excess length behind it outside the siding.

    Third, Train A's forward section leaves the siding in the other direction, pushing Train B's rear section ahead of it.

    Fourth, Train B backs through the siding, dropping off Train A's rear section in the siding, and then advances forward out of the siding.

    Fifth, Train A backs up and couples on its rear section, and continues backing through, dropping off Train B's rear section in the siding.

    Sixth, Train A passes Train B's rear section.

    Finally, Train B backs up, picks up its rear section, and continues on its way.

    Of course, if both trains are more than twice as long as the siding, things get complex!
  9. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    For me it would be West Day(West Dayton) at the club..You see this is where the Newark Sub joins the Cincinnati/Toledo main line.So its not uncommon to have 3 or 4 way meets seeing that any train going to Newark must cross over the number 2 main and then head up the Newark Sub..All of this is done by the magic of old fashion DC. :thumb: Now every now and then one of the passenger trains or TV/Mail trains will over take and past those trains waiting to head up the branch or opposing trains waiting for the Newark trains to clear making it a 4 way meet.So it looks like this
    1.A Train coming off the Newark Sub holds till the Newark train enters the Sub.You have another train heading for Toledo waiting for the branch line trains to clear.Then a passenger train,TV train or mail train could run around this "flock" of freights waiting at West Day.The DS must mind his business at West Day least he/she loses control of the junction and bogs down the whole layout because of backed up trains in both directions beyond West Day waiting for clearance though the juction..Yes..West Day is a real bottle neck.It was PLANNED that way. :D
  10. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Sounds like the man with the fox, the goose and the bag of grain trying to cross the river. :D :D

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