Should it have its own runaround track?

Discussion in 'Track Planning' started by hubba90bubba, Apr 1, 2007.

  1. hubba90bubba

    hubba90bubba New Member

    I’m planning a model railroad with an SP mainline and an industrial railroad serving a chemical plant. For more about the plan:

    What I’m thinking about now is whether the industrial railroad should have its own runaround track, or if it could use SP:s siding. See the two alternatives in the pictures below. The red track is the industrial railroad and the rest is SP track.


    The reason for using a runaround track at all is that I want to be able to run engine first when taking cars to the rest of the chemical plant. At first I thought that I could get away with the industrial switcher using the SP siding, keeping down the number of tracks. Then I begun thinking that that maybe wasn’t prototypical, that it should have its own runaround. After all the SP main and siding will be used from time to time by through trains and a local switching the rock crusher, warehouse and interchange.

    What do you think? Also any comments to the rest of the plan are much appreciated.

  2. Kanawha

    Kanawha Member

    I think whether or not a prototype would create a seperate runaround track would depend on the traffic amounts. If the industrial trackage is attached to a passing siding on the main, then having a seperate runaround wouldn't really be needed unless there is constantly traffic on either one. But if the industrial trackage is attached to the mainline directly and the passing siding is on the opposite side, then you might want to put in a seperate industrial runaround regardless of the traffic amount. Hope that helps.
  3. hubba90bubba

    hubba90bubba New Member

    Thanks for the information Kanawha.

    The chemical plant’s track is connected to the siding, so the plant switcher could use it. On the other hand, that switcher is going to be an all day job with much of its work to be performed next to the siding, sorting cars before spotting them at the different loading tracks, making it a bit of a hassle to need to wait to get clearance from the SP to enter the siding. Another thing, would the chemical plant need to pay the SP for using the SP’s siding? That might “convince” the chemical plant that it’s better to build the runaround...

  4. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    In your operating scheme the plant would have a run around track. When the railroad works an industry off of a mainline, they will put the run around off the main. If the mainline has heavy traffic patterns, they may double track it with a third track for the run around so that they can work the industry without fouling the main. When an industry has their own switch engine to work their tracks, trying to coordinate things with the railroad so that the mainline is not fould when the railroad is sending a train through becomes way too complicated. Heck I found that coordinating things with the U.P. when their was a shift change in the middle of my job was impossible!

    Professional railroaders will know more about this than I do, but I think the rule of thumb is that only the railroad is allowed to foul the mainline because the dispatcher doing the fouling is the one who schedules the trains. The Santa Fe did an experiment once to show how hard it is to stop a train and did an emergency stop while going up the Cajon pass. It took 1 mile to stop a slow moving train that was climbing the mountain!
  5. hubba90bubba

    hubba90bubba New Member

    Thanks Russ. Then it’s as I begun to suspect. That it would be too much of a disturbance for the chemical plant’s switch crew to coordinate with SP for the use of their track, and that they need their own runaround track.

  6. IandOFan71

    IandOFan71 Member

    Either plan would work fine, but IMO it would be a lot more interesting to have to use the SP siding for runaround moves. In this case the industrial railroad would contact the SP dispatcher and the dispatcher would give the industrial railroad a block of time to occupy the main. The switcher would have perhaps a 45 minute block to perform all runaround moves and get back to home rails.
    I would like to offer you a couple of things to consider on your track layout. The left hand crossover from the industrial railroad to the siding near the rock crusher I would change to a right hand crossover. That way when you make a runaround the locomotive would only be on the SP siding and not have to foul the main. The second thing I would suggest is to use the second plan except without the short runaround. If you eliminate the runaround you can add capacity to those two spur tracks. Sorry to muddy the waters but I hope this helps.

  7. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    a thought..

    A shortline uses our #1 main track to runaround it's train on Sundays. It is protected by absolute signals on the east end. If you wanna get prototypical, make a small milepost far enough on the SP main (or insulated rail joiners if using DC), and allow industry switcher to occupy main for runaround move under the condition that the SP has a DO NOT PASS MILEPOST WITHOUT PERMISSION OF DISPATCHER. Milepost only needs to be a few car lengths away from switch. Switch must be restored to mainline movement and switcher must report IN THE CLEAR to the SP Dispatcher. Go with plan #1 and use the extra room for scenery.
  8. hubba90bubba

    hubba90bubba New Member

    Thanks for the input guys. That surely would ad some interest to operation.

    About the crossover, it has to do with SP bringing in empties for the chemical plant and picking up outgoing cars. After picking up loaded cars from throughout the chemical plant the plant switcher will put them on the industry track nearest SP’s siding to the right of the crossover. Then a SP turn coming from the left side on the main, only bringing with it empties for the plant, would go in to the siding and leave the empties between the two crossovers. The engines would then runaround the cars using the main, back in to the siding from the left and trough the crossover to couple to the loaded cars. [​IMG]
    After given clearens by the dispatcher the SP turn would just roll out through the crossover, the siding and on to the main, going back the same it the came. The plant switcher would then pull the empties through the crossover at the right side and shove them in to the two spur tracks for inspection and, for some cars, cleaning. I agree that it would be easier for the switcher not having to foul the main, but I haven’t been able to come up with an easy way for the SP turn to drop the empties and pick up the loads with a right hand crossover installed. Maybe you guys have some ideas?

    The thing on lengthening the spurs I might use. That could make a little extra room for assembling the outgoing cars as well.

    Csxengineer you said that the shortline use your main on Sundays, how do they do it the rest of the week, or do they only run train on Sundays?

    You’ve certainly given me some things to think about. :)

  9. csxengineer

    csxengineer Member

    our main...

    They only do a Sunday pick up.

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