What Shall we Do?

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by brakie, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    This is your forum..What would you like to see a topic on?
    I have some ideas but,I don't want to dominate the topics..:oops:
    Any ideas?
  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    We had this forum going pretty good for awhile, but not much lately. For me, I have been doing technical things like building the electromagnets and some turn-out controllers... getting ready to put down track, so I figure I better have the under-the-track stuff ready for installation. So, I guess my attention has been diverted from "operations" at the moment.

    Same thing for the "Industries" forum. Kinda slow lately. I need to take some pics of the BNSF intermodal operations down the street. Only thing is, it is kind of far back behind its fences, may not get any good photos.

    One thing I am wondering about: It seems that most model railroaders are more interested in doing scenery and such, instead of actual railroad operations. Not complaining though... it is grand to have a hobby that has such a wide variety of interests. Electronics, mechanics, artistry, architecture, geology, just all sorts of stuff to be interested in.
  3. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    I've often heard people say, "I've built my model railroad...now what?!" A lot of modelers are attracted to the hobby by the look of the equipment or by visits to shows or clubs that have a continuous running operation to keep things moving. For example, when the very fine Twin Cities Model Railroad club is open to visitors you'll see several O scale trains roaming the large layout and all of that action is fun to watch, but you won't see switching moves at industries. Most modelers, unless they've done some reading in advance about operations or have been forunate to obserive an operations themed layout in action, probably don't think about this phase of the hobby right away.
  4. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    I know any layout I build would be worthless without operational capibility, how would any of the things get to market otherwise?! :eek: I'm building a point-to-point layout, with alot of operational interest. I've researched my prototype, and intend to operate it the way it's intended. Like any modelrailroader, I will take some modeler's license. I've replaces a wye with a turntable, and added a building here and there to enhance the operations along the sleepy San Jacinto Branch of the Real AT&SF. I've also decided to take the liberty of PLAUSIBLY (and carefully) looking through each town's history to see where I could change it a smidge to my liking. I've also, like many here, taken the liberty of creating my own railroad, the Mission Valley and Pacific, which would interchange with the real branch, and add some more traffic to the otherwise dead-end branch, that actually was built to go all the way to san diego, and it did for awhile, until rockslides permanently closed that line. Through twisting history, say the MV&P bought the Real California Southern, and re-opened the pass...now that sleepy backwater branch would be a hotshot mountain pass rivaling Raton, or Cajon! :) This careful research lead to many plausible opportunities that make this hobby more fun for me! :)
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

    No offense intended to anyone, but I have seen a lot of track plans where someone would draw a mainline, stick on a bunch of sidings, and think they can operate such a layout. Once the track is layed they find out it is hard to operate, and they either tear it up and start over, or give up completly. My suggestion would be, how to design a layout for operations. Somewhere down the line, almost everyone wants to try operating, and if they have the knowledge to design the layout for that to begin with, so much the better.

  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Loren,I fully agree that any layout calls for good solid LDEs...Without a solid design a modeler can lose interest in running the layout and this applies to the industrial switching layout to basement size empire. However,we must not overlook the new modeler that builds a 4 x 8 foot layout adds 3 or more industrial sidings and enjoys running his layout making laps and dropping off cars.Oddly he/she does this without operation books,layout design books and I dare say input from forums yet he/she has found operation in its simplest form on a simple basic loop layout.
    As far as industrial switching layout planning that is more complicated then the average basement empire..Switching puzzles like the time saver is to be avoided in designing industrial switching layouts after all you want to enjoy switching your industries.
    Ralph,I have seen that question ask on other forums and seen some down right ridiculous answers such as "Tear it down and start over".:eek: After designing and building the layout one should enjoy the fruits of his labor by operating his/her layout after no doubt they have thousands of dollars in locomotive and rolling stock plus thousands more in the layout.

    As far as continuous running at train shows and open houses try this..Switch the yard and see where the crowd gathers.Now add trains entering and leaving that yard you have a crowd pleaser..We see this time and again at out clubs open house..Of course we have a point to point layout with a single track main with passing sidings.
    Listen.We have a engine working the yard another engine working the passenger terminal,locomotives moving from engine terminal to outbound trains,engines going to the engine terminal and some times a outbound train passes a inbound train before hitting the single main..Guess where most visitors stand? Yup where the action is the yard area..The hump yard is a crowd pleaser as well.We even run a local and folks enjoy that to.
    BTW All of this is done by the magic of DC...
    Another thing the visitors likes is looking at our CTC board.They ask loads of questions especially about how we know where each train is and how we decide where they pass?
    And IMHO that is the way a open house should be..
    On the down side..Why does some modular clubs insist on running 3 trains in the same direction..Don't they know that looks more like racing then anything else?
    Gary,I have notice that to..I can not help but wonder if they ever run their trains? I have visited layouts that had more scenery material sitting on the tracks then engines and cars.
    Miles,I will not design a layout without prototypical operation as the main goal.After all I want to use my locomotives and cars in that manner.
    Even my industrial switching layouts is designed for the best operation possible..
  7. Torpedo

    Torpedo Member

    You might discuss where the pickups go. I have read several pieces on how a train is blocked so that the cars are arranged in proper order to minimize the moves needed for setouts, but I can't recall ever reading anything on how the conductor arranges the position of the pickups in his train.
  8. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    To paraphrase Ian Wilson (and undoubtedly others) "It is the difference between a model railroad and a railroad model."

    A model railroad should do all the things a real railroad does, just in scale. A railroad model is a nicely detailed/painted/etc miniature, that happens to be a locomotive, rolling stock, or other related item.

    As for suggestions, I agree with Torpedo that a bit more about blocking would be good to know.

  9. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Brakie, I have found your topics to be quite enlightening. I would not be adverse to you "hogging all the topics".

    I am working on my new plan, and I am sure as I go along, I'll have questions about operations for you and the gang.
  10. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Whatever you gents decide to discuss is fine with me. I'm a sponge.
  11. Seaboard

    Seaboard Member

    Anything and everything that spikes my interest. I like to look at stuff people get or have. Also railfanning and peoples layout progress. So it doesn't matter to me what we talk about.:thumb:
  12. CAS

    CAS Member

    For me, I don't mind if brakie dominates the topics here. It seems like brakie has alot of hands on experience, and knowledge of RR's. For me, i just read every post that i can. I will even go back to the beginnings of each section of topics to read, and enjoy.

    For me, with no RR's knowledge, i enjoy searching, enjoy the work everyone produces on their layouts.

    When i finaly do decide what scale to go with, (go back and forth between HO and N scale). I will be asking alot of operational questions. I have been reading Bruce Chubbs book How to operate your model railroad. There are a few sections there that really confuse me. But i go back and read it again, just to get more confused.:cry: It is on the waybill and car card systems. And industry to industry drop offs of empties, and loads.

  13. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    Larry, how about pulling some trackplans from old threads here and explaining how to operate them or make modifications for operations?
  14. Collyn

    Collyn Member

    I agree something about designing a layout with operations. I would love one but I have NO clue How they work, how to design them, the way bills? or whatever they are called, have no clue about those.
  15. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I would also like to see something on building the train for the most efficient setting out of cars at the industries.
  16. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    It seems alot of people are just starting out or even they play with trains, they want to learn MORE. We shouldn't solely rely on one entity for our hobby. MR, RMC, and other magazines are a great start. I highly suggest you retrieve some back copies, espically MR's best period, 1990-1999. Why? Because it seems alot of people on this forum don't get enough to read, as far as your hobbies are concerned.

    You should at least know:
    -How a steam locomotive operates, from tender to smokestack.
    -How a diesel-electric locomotive operates
    -Why different cars carry what they do
    -What specific time periods certian railroad inventions were introduced, and put into widespread use:
    E.G.- The Janey "knuckle" coupler was just ONE of the many inventions demanded by the goverment's Railway Appliance and Safety act of 1895 to improve saftey on the railroad.

    Another example would by the invention of the Diesel Engine (not the locomotive)

    (E.G.: Even though the Diesel Engine was invented by Rudolf Diesel in 1895, It wasn't in WIDESPREAD use until the arrival of EMD's FT in 1939. ((Yes, there were OTHER expiremental, or small production Diesel locomotives before that, boxcabs on the Tex-Mex as an example (((doodlebugs were primarily gasoline or "sprit" alcohol/kerosene engines))) were not seen until the 1920's, and only in limited use.))

    The point I'm trying to make, is that we all should look up "train" on wikipedia, and click on all the links you're interested in reading, there's over 1,000 railway related articles, with limitless unwritten topics.

    RESEARCH: Ignorance is worthless.
  17. railohio

    railohio Active Member

    w00t! n00b is finally learning something! I'm so proud of myself! :D
  18. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

    :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: Well, I'm getting there!:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
  19. 91rioja

    91rioja Member

    Brakie, I liked Railohio's idea to critique some trackplans from an opeartional perspective. I'll volunteer mine as first victim. . .
  20. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

    I also like the idea of critiquing a track plan. That seems very instructional. Someone post the plan, then Brakie and whoever else can comment on what is good and what is not so good. I think we could learn alot from that.

Share This Page