Rules for switching / operations?

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by BrianK, May 7, 2006.

  1. BrianK

    BrianK Member

    I've been searching through this forum trying to get some information but being a newbie, I'm swamped with a lot of stuff I don't quite understand.

    I'm just not quite sure what the rules of the rail are and I'm having a hard time finding information about it. Rather than attempt to post what I think I know, I'm going to try and not look too much like a retard and ask if anyone knows of any good websites or other sources of information that will explain the basic rules of the rail. How a train on a main line will drop off and pick up cars at different industries and such.

    Like, will a train on a main line switch to a branch line, stop, drop off some cars and leave... then a switcher (small loco?) comes and takes those cars, and puts them in the correct location to load up or empty? If there are two main lines, with trains running in opposing directions, are there any rules or right of way for the cars to be dropped on a branch line and picked up by the switcher?

    Wow... I hope I don't look like a moron sign1 be nice please :D
  2. BrianK

    BrianK Member

    After some more searching I found what looks to be a good resource. I'm going to read through it and see if it answers my questions. Here's the link in case anyone else is interested:


    Yup... I found a very good resource. Here is the full source, the link above is just a sub section.

    There is a LOT of information here so hopefully someone else will find it useful.

    Edit again:

    Here is another link with more good information for newbies like me:
  3. 2-8-2

    2-8-2 Member

    Nice find, Brian...I was going to post that link to aid you in your search, but you found it yourself! :thumb:

    About a year ago, I was the same place you were. Just starting out and not really understanding all the lingo, or knowing what to research, much less where to look. The layout design primer is a very good start. If you're planning to build a layout, follow the guidelines suggested on that site, it's been a big help to me. Be sure to put your goals down on paper, that alone has been invaluable. Here's a few other useful links:

    NMRA - Isn't always the greatest source of info, but you can often find what you're looking for.
    Wikipedia - A GREAT online encyclopedia. You'd be suprised how many entries they have on train related stuff.
    Fallen Flags - Awesome source for old pics and prototype info.
    Google - The best search engine out there.

    Railroad historical societies are also great sources of info, as are current websites for today's railroad companies.
  4. isboris4449

    isboris4449 Member

  5. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Terrific links guys! Thanks!
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    If you are aiming to be prototypical - remember, there's a prototype for everything...! ;)

    For example, I was surprised to find out that the CPR yard in my hometown did not have a dedicated switcher. It is/was a good sized yard, and in the steam days had a 5 stall roundhouse, turntable, huge coaling and water tower, a whole MOW train, but no switcher. All locos coming in did their own classifying, and switching of the local industries (most of which were centred on the yard anyway). I would have thought that there was a dedicated 0-6-0, or 0-8-0 to shuffle cars around, but the road engines did it all (in the mid- to late-1950's it was still mainly 4-6-0's plying the rails).

    So check what your preferred road did in the time and locale you choose to model. If you are freelancing, look upon the references linked above as "guidelines". :D

  7. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Hi BrianK. If you click on the Model Railroading Links in my signature you will find links to all aspects of model railroading. I try to keep it up to date, adding links whenever I find them. Hope this helps. :wave:
  8. BrianK

    BrianK Member

    Hey Pitchwife. I actually found your website before and it came in very handy.
  9. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Glad it helped. I'm not enough of a programmer to put a counter on it so I don't really know how many people use it. It's always nice to get some feedback. Makes it all worthwhile. :thumb: :thumb:
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Brian: I think a branch line would have its own loco, and pick up cars left by the mainline freight, but sometimes it would have trains run out from a yard on the mainline. Depends on the length of the branch.
    I lived in a small town on a CPR main line. Freight trains would stop on a passing siding and then the road loco would switch the yard. I was impressed once to see a Royal Hudson doing the duty. Usually it would be one of CP's pacifics or ten-wheelers.
    Things also depend on how the branch line started, whether it was built by the main line road or was a short line they purchased. A short line would often continue the same operations with the same locos until they wore out or became too small.

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