Running trains versus scenery

Discussion in 'The Caboose' started by CSXect, Apr 17, 2008.


Running/operations versus Setting/scenery

Poll closed May 2, 2008.
  1. Running/operations

    18 vote(s)
  2. Scenery setting

    14 vote(s)
  1. nkp174

    nkp174 Active Member

    KCS, in the On3 world, that is known as "less is more".

    I prefer to plan the layout out...including the scenery. I then like to build a smoothly operating mainline. Next I put in the scenery...and then it is time for sidings and such. Scenery cannot be compromised for the track plan as it will look bad...but compromising the track plan for the scenery looks great.
  2. RobertInOntario

    RobertInOntario Active Member

    This topic is actually a theme (or recurring topic) of the March issue of the British Hornby Magazine.

    The issue says that 50 years ago, MRR was focused more on operating trains prototypically. Scenery was either very basic or non-existent and the detail on the locos varied a lot too. But there was much more an emphasis on operating trains correctly. Most MRR folks operated trains as a group.

    Nowadays, (the articles go on to say), the emphasis seems to be on building very "pretty" layouts but they're only built to look good -- while operating them is either very basic or not that interesting. There is also more of a "solitary" trend now where individuals will build layouts on their own, again with more of a scenery emphasis than an operating one.

    This issue is trying to correct this imbalance by encouraging readers to focus more on building layouts for correct operation and simply running trains (or "playing trains").

    At any rate, it's kind of interesting that this issue came out just now, focussing so much on operation, at the same time this question was asked here.

  3. kokoracer

    kokoracer Member

    For me the real run is running trains! Without the ability to run, I would quickly lose interest, especially when the $$ gets tight, like it is right now.
    Even though, at 14x25, my layout is not small, it is realitively simple. I run on a DC upgraded pack, no blocks and manual use of switches. Thank God for roadbed track. It got me back into the hobby. John
  4. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Run first..Then scenery.
    Its easier to add scenery to a change in your track plan, then to tear apart scenery and re-do.
  5. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    OK, being a professional nit-pick and journeyman curmudgeon, I'll point out that the option "Running/operating" is an oxymoron.

    Running trains around in a circle, chasing their tails is about as far from operating to a timetable or switchlist as you can get. Opposite ends of the spectrum.

    I like operating realistic looking trains in a prototypical fashion through realistic scenery. Sometimes I'll just run my realistic looking trains through realistic scenery.

    Realistic operation without scenery makes up for the lack of scenery, and scenery makes up for the lack of operation... yin and yang.

    But just running trains with no scenery? Blech. Might as well set up a circle of track on the carpet and watch 'em go round and round. :p ;)
  6. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    I read that as running (or) operating :) He's only asking a question as to the presence or absence of "Moving trains" or the presence or absence of scenery :D :D :D :D
  7. riverotter

    riverotter Midwest Alliance Rail Sys

    While I don't disagree with this POV, I'd like to leave a lot of latitude regarding the 'quantity' of scenery. David Barrow's recent work comes immediately to mind. I can't even say that I intend for my layout to be "developed" at least one step removed from bare plywood -- on more than 50% of the benchwork I've used hardboard which has a textured dark brown surface that can pass for "dirt". The rest of it is modular hollow-core doors to which I've judiciously affixed cut-up WS grass mats, and cork for some track roadbed. And I do have buildings, especially trackside industries to give my railroad something to "do". Definitely not Model Railroader centerfold material, but on the other hand operations is what I'm interested in, and these methods are getting me there effectively and efficiently. I'm sure I'll add some details going forward, but for now, hand me that switch list, please!
  8. e-paw

    e-paw Member

    How about a 50%50% choice.
  9. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    I've certainly noticed this. Most people requesting trackplans on forums expect to run alone most of the time. Few layouts seem designed for the formal operating session.
  10. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Here's something I don't quite understand, can one of you explain this to a non-model railroader?

    As a card modeler, I can readily understand those who are drawn to MRRing by the aspect of building a functioning world in miniature. But the operations-oriented MRRers are more mysterious to me.

    Wouldn't those of you who most enjoy "running operations" be much better off using a PC-based sim? Then you could operate real-world scale operations of unlimited size and complexity with a massive variety of inter-connected mutually-supporting industries. Doesn't "Trainz" or "MS Train Simulator" allow for this?

    I'm thinking for you operations-types, aren't the physical and space limitations of moving plastic replicas around the biggest constraint on what you really want to do? On a PC, those physical restraints are gone.

    I mean, if the "scenery" isn't all that important to begin with, why not dispense with it completely, as a bonus you could more easily (and much more cheaply) "operate" in any period, geographic area, industry, etc.

    Thanks for any illumination! :)
  11. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic


    rather than fiddling around with cards, wouldn't it be simpler to do your modelling on the computer? There's lots of 3D rendering software out there that can make a better-looking model than you can with cardstock... :p

    Same thing for MRR's who like operation. There's more to it than just the operations, it's the physical "doing" of it that adds to the enjoyment.
  12. Chief Eagles

    Chief Eagles Active Member

    I will get to scenery one day. A few buildings scattered around right now will do. I love playing with trains.

    BTW: us Eagles soar and are smart enough to stay away from jets. Weasel go get in your hole in the ground before we swoop you up. sign1
  13. Squidbait

    Squidbait Recovering ALCO-holic

    ... but apparently not Hercules transports :p

  14. Art Decko

    Art Decko Member

    Actually, that's what I do! That's why I asked this question. I design architectural card models. If I want to do the equivalent of "running operations" on architecture, I forget about cardstock, and play Sim City on a pc! I could never hope to "manage" (or even build) an entire city in card. :)

    I do see your point. It sounds like guys who run trains on a bare board may not care much about the physical scenery, but actually do care about the physical trains. That makes sense. Thanks! :thumb:
  15. MadHatter

    MadHatter Charging at full tilt.

    I vote both.

    It's like a Chi, or ying yang- one completes the other.

    :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

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