Time Scale

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Pitchwife, Jul 5, 2004.

  1. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I have been reading through magazines as well as searching the threads and posts and there is one aspect of operations that I have found nothing definitive on. In many discussions about operating sessions they talk about scale time where an operation that would take X# of minutes or hours on a prototype is allowed a shorter time on the model.
    My question is, is there a formula for determining this ratio or is it just an arbitrary approximation? Also, are there different ratios for different scales (N vs HO)? :confused:
    If it is arbitrary, is there some way to make up a workable schedule? :confused:
    No wonder we can't get those LPBs to do any work. :D :D :D
  2. DougF

    DougF New Member

    Fast clocks


    What you are referring to is called fast clock operation.

    Time is compressed, commonly 4:1 or 6:1 ratio, so that the time between stations represent a greater period and distance. A 4:1 ratio would compress a 24 hour day to 6 hours and a 6:1 ratio would compress a day into four hours.

    On most(all?) model railroads the distance between towns is much less than on the prototype so the fast clock gives the illusion of a greater distance between towns.

    The problem with a fast clock is that switching operations take closer to prototype operating time:cry:. If a switching operation takes 15 minutes of real time this would equal an hour of 4:1 time or 1 and a half hours at 6:1 time.

    There is no standard for fast clocks on model railroads. It will depend on the layout what works out as most appropriate for that layout. Fast clocks are not dependent on the scale being used. It is totally arbitrary as time does not scale.

    Now that you're totally confused I'll leave it to others to straighten it all out :D .

  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Doug covered it pretty well. "Scale" time was intended to give the illusion that the trip between towns took longer than thirty seconds. And then it bumped into the time that yard switching took.
    There was another concept called "smiles" from 'scale miles" where the distance between stations was measured in "smiles" of about 6 feet (in HO) instead of 66 feet.
    The only time you might worry about scaling time would be if you're working in a movie studio and a 120' fall needs to take 4 seconds instead of a sixteenth of a second.
  4. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Thanks guys. I kinda figured that it was something like that. Was just curious if there was a standard. The only alternative would be to stop the trains between destinations to give the switchers time to complete their tasks or to incorporate some sort of time warp. :D :D
    60103, the only smiles I can think of is taking 4 seconds to fall instead of a sixteenth. That way you might have chance of catching that prize winning engine before it hits the floor. :D :D :D :D
  5. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    There are commercially available digital flast clocks that you can set to the time ratio you want. I've also seen inexpensive devices made of old analog clocks. Some people remove the hour hand and alter the clock face so the movement of the mintute hand represents hours of time passed. I imagine you could create a clock face tailor made for your needs! :thumb:
  6. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I have asked some of the more experienced operators at the various clubs, and in switching operations they most often use a "sequential" approach, more like the prototypes. It is simply a list of things to do, and they take as long as they take. Even running the passenger trains is done on a "here first, there second" type schedule, as opposed to an actual time.

  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Food for thought..I use a 15-1 time ratio on my industrial switching layouts.
    Why 15 -1? Easy..I use my wrist watch and every 15 real minutes equals one hour scale time..One guy I know uses a old alarm clock with the small hand removed..He removed the face of the clock and replace that with a disc that shows a scale hour in every real 15 minutes..
  8. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    I remember an article in MR or RMC many years back with instructions how to accelerate a (mechanical) alarm-clock. The principle was to file off some teeth of the crown-wheel.

    Together with the anchor and the balance-wheel the crown-wheel stabilizes the speed of the clock hands. With every forth and back rotation of the balance-wheel the anchor allows the crown wheel to advance one tooth. Then the hand makes a very small jump forward - every 60 seconds one minute on the clock face.

    Now if you file off three of every four teeth on the crown wheel (which looks like a very coarse gear wheel), with every movement of the anchor it jumps FOUR teeth ahead. Therefore the hand moves four times as fast as before - and you have a clock which advances one hour every 15 minutes. (Same effect like Brakies watch.)

    Now this would be a challenge for the real tinkerers among us! Get out the watchmaker-screwdrivers and hack away at these old alarm clocks! :D

  9. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Don't know if I'm smart enough to take a watch apart to file the teeth off of gears. I do know I'm not smart enough to put it back together. :D :D Ralph, yours and brakie's ideas are probably the easiest method. A digital clock is another possability, altering the clock pulse that drives the counter.
    Still doesn't resolve the conflict between mainline times and switch yard time. Maybe just let the train run around the mainline till the switch yard is ready to handle the traffic.
    I can see that this isn't a cut and dried subject and I'm enjoying all of the input. :thumb: :thumb:
  10. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    If you make a proper scale model of a railroad, scale time isn't a problem.
    But if you don't have the entire state of Rhode Island to build in, you make compromises.
    Maybe you let the train stand between stations for a while.
    I always thought scale clocks were for clubs who ran trains but didn't switch much.
  11. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    You may be right David. It was just a term that I kept hearing and was curious about other peoples ideas on the subject.
  12. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    David said:I always thought scale clocks were for clubs who ran trains but didn't switch much..
    We tried 10-1 fast clocks at the club that I am a member of..Our layout is point to point which requires a lot of yard switching...We found that a fast clock was to much of a hassle and not worth it..So now we use random train selection..Whatever the yardmaster decides to run or what ever is due out of the staging yard-usually one train out of stagging every 7th train.Plus the passenger terminal operator adds passenger trains roughly every 12th train..The YM coordinates with the PT operator when a passenger train is needed as well as the roundhouse foreman(hostler at the engine terminal) on what type of locomotives is needed.

    Getting back to topic at hand..We are now thinking of using a 15 or 20 to 1 fast clock to see if that type of fast clock timing will work-of course this will only be for passenger trains,reefer blocks and hot pig/stack trains and not general freight trains as all general freights will be ran as extras..

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