Smallest Yard?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Mountain Man, Aug 9, 2008.

  1. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Out of curiousity, and because space in a mountain layout is limited at best, what is the smallest configuration that qualifies as a "yard"?
  2. seanm

    seanm Member

    I am not a proto expert, but I would expect a yard would be anyplace you could store one or more cars that is not generally used as a passing track or siding associated with a business.I have seen locations with what looks like two passing sidings stacked on eachother called a your miliage may vary.
  3. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    From a model railroad point of view, IMHO an Inglenook (3 spurs) with a 3-2-2 capacity is the smallest practical yard that would still give some operating fun. Note that a runaround setup and a single spur can also be used as an Inglenook - just ignore the turnout and runaround tail on the far end. For lots more information, see

    In my soon-to-finally start version of the Gum Stump & Snowshoe, I have calibrated the length of the lower terminal tracks to also serve as a 5:3:3 Inglenook. The 2 shorter tracks will end at a turntable to give a runaround capability (or not), depending on my operating whims on a given evening.

    my thoughts, your choices
  4. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Much appreciated - now, what differentiates such small "yards" from "team tracks"?
  5. pgandw

    pgandw Active Member

    The use. A team track(s) is used by railroad customers to load/unload cars. In the days before trucks and autos, a teamster with wagons and teams of horses would come to load/unload the railroad cars. Hence the name "team track".

    A conventional yard is used by the railroad to organize and store cars - hopefully more of the former and less of the latter! Stored cars, although often necessary for traffic surges, are not earning revenue. If railroads could manage without yards, they would. In these days of unit and block trains and point-to-point trains, yards aren't as necessary as they once were. From what I can see of the Denver-Pueblo line, there are many unit coal trains that go directly to a power plant, unload, and go directly back north.

    On many model railroads, the role of the yard is typically reversed. First use is to store cars; secondary use (if it's not too full from car storage) is to make up trains for transport of empties and loads to destinations.

    my thoughts, your choices
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    The definition of a "yard" varies from railroad to railroad.
    A yard can be one side track just as long as its designated as a yard on in the employee time table.

    A team track can be part of the freight house track lead.
  7. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Probably more information than you want to know, but when the UP bought the SP, they thought that SP had way too many small yards scattered around Southern Cal. They immediately closed all of what they considered yards too small to function and consolidated all of their yard work to a few large yards. Just a few months later, when those large yards were choked and they couldn't move freight, they reopened all of the yards they had closed. Out here in the Southwest, and perhaps in other parts of the country as well, the railroad will often use abandoned industrial sidings to store cars. In Anaheim, for instance, the Southern Pacific used to have a branch line that served industries near the 5 freeway. For those not familiar with So Cal, the location would be about 5 miles or so North of Disneyland. The industries that the Anaheim branch served either moved, closed, or quit using rail service. The UP pulled up or otherwise discontinued use and maintenance of the spurs, but they have a mile or so of branchline track with a double ended siding. They still use that track to store either loaded freight cars waiting for delivery to other parts of Orange County, or empties that they have no call for at the time. Both the BNSF & the UP will store unneeded cars up in the high desert around Victorville, Barstow, or Mojave. If they need extra brakes on a train coming down Cajon Pass, or if they need some of the cars for load out in the LA area, they will pick up these stored cars and bring them down.
  8. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    FOund something like this... Bunch of industries in a small area

    N 33° 52.201W 118° 01.202

    put that into Google... or Google earth.... 3 engines sitting just west (Left) of the map center...

    If you follow the tracks, this could be a really great switching problem! :eek::eek:

    LOL Never did find the 2 storage tracks.. go to involved here :D :D :D
  9. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    I would say 2 tracks.

    Most people have never heard of PRR's Jersey Yard. It is in Washington, D.C. near New Jersey Avenue and still exists today as one or two stub end tracks. It was never very big anyway, maybe 4 or 5 tracks.

    When I quit CSXT in 2002 it was still noted in the TT as Jersey Yard.
  10. Biased turkey

    Biased turkey Active Member

    pgandw, I hope you'll be kind enough to post some info and pictures when you start your Gum Stump & Snowshoe layout . I like switching layouts.

  11. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    I'm familiar with this kind of thing. The UP did the same tihng at the Royal Gorge - the unused portion of the Royal Gorge route west of the point owned and operated by the Royal Gorge Excursion Train is now used to store unused rolling stock.

    Thanks to everyone for the information; it cleared things up nicely.
  12. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Active Member

    Big buildings and a lot of spaghetti! Is that in SoCal or Mexico?
  13. MCL_RDG

    MCL_RDG Member

    On my RR a...

    ...single track yard is a yard.

  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Railways have all kinds of official definitions for things... So brakie's right. It's a yard if the railway says it is...! ;) :D


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