What would the prototype do?

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Gary Pfeil, Jul 26, 2005.

  1. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    This post relates to one I have in general talk "soliciting suggestions" Some of those questions can be answered according to what I find out here.

    In the case of a steam era class1 railroad, if a city had a large volume of industrial switching and an active interchange, and was located about 50 miles fro the nearest yard, and most if not all of the work could be done between 6am and 6 pm, is it more likely that a switcher would be dispatched from that distant yard daily or would they leave a loco there, having it just return for routine maintenance on some set schedule?

    Thanks for any input, Gary
  2. zedob

    zedob Member

    50 miles seems a little long to be running a switcher back and forth every day.

    Slap up a tin shed or one of the single stall brick enginehouses and dig an ash pit. The mailline would have the coal and watering facilities,so your switcher could eat and drink.

    You're right about the maintenance. They'd run the loco in to the main shop for re-tubing, replacing journals and cylinder work, etc. Minor repairs could be handled on the scene.
  3. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I think it's possible that there would be a weekly engine exchange with the depot in the big city. Then the engine would have a boiler washout or whatever and be moved on to somewhere else. Or it might go off Friday night and come back Monday morning.
  4. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    A similar (but sort of reversed...) situation existed in Orangeville, ON at the CPR division point. There was a sizable yard, but no dedicated yard switcher. All trains coming had their own locos switch the consists.

    In your situation, it is possible that the local that originates in the (distant) yard handles all the switching itself, rather than dropping a cut of cars to be handled by a dedicated switcher.

    EDIT - I forgot to add that there were numerous industries surrounding the yard, so industrial switching had to be done as well as disassembling/assembling trains for other destinations.

  5. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Andrew, I have to admit that is a possibility which hadn't occured to me, and I'm sure is quite common. When I designed my track plan, I envisioned a dedicated switcher here, with both east and westbound freights simply pulling into the passing siding and having cuts of cars swapped out, then continuing. I'll need to mull over your suggestion. My first thought is I could do it either way, on a given session. What I'm trying to get to is a scenic treatment, which will be dependant on what used to be done here (in the steam era, as I model 1950 and will use diesels) A photo of the area and more discussion is at the other thread in general talk.

    Zedob, I hadn't considered the fact that at the very least water plugs ought to be available on the mainline. So, a question about their typical placement. There will be a substantial passenger station on the main. Would water plugs be placed at each end in such a way as to allow passenger locos to get water while standing at the station? If so I could then model remnants of the coaling and ash facilities where the new bridge was built, and perhaps use the old bridge approach for spotting a tank car of fuel oil.

    Thanks to all for their input, please don't stop now!

  6. zedob

    zedob Member

    Good question. I've always wondered that too, but assumed that they would for a major passenger stop. If the train were to stay in the station for some time I guess the crew would uncouple and run to the nearest water column. I'm sure most class 1 railroads did install two columns, but I have yet to see any pics or plats that indicate that.

    I was born a little too late to see regular steam operations, drat.
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    Here is an extremely accurate representation of the Orangeville yard (and in fact much of the CPR Bruce Sub) in the 1950s:


    Richard Wakefield has done a lot of fantastic research on this ca1950 layout of the Bruce Sub, down to train movements and so on. The Orangeville part is the yard I mentioned above, operating at its height.

    The one thing I cannot see is whether there were water columns as zedob/you suggested...

  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    First it could take hours to travel that 50 miles..So,that's not likely..
    Here is what the prototype would do.They would have a outlaying yards with a engine or two assigned to that yard..These engines would be rotated to the main shops on a monthly bases while minor and RIP repairs would be none at the engine house located at the outlaying yard..
    Now,through trains would drop cars for the local industries and interchange and would be switched into industry/train order by the local crew.
    Like this:
    Say EB 137 arrives at the outlaying yard and will leave the cars for those local industries...137 will pickup the EB bound cars (these cars was put in a EB block of cars by the local crew.Same applies for WB cars) and will forward these EB cars to the division point yard to the east..Now WB 138 arrives and leaves cars and proceeds to pickup the WB cars for forwarding to the next division point yard to the west.When the local crew goes to work they will assemble their train per the switch list and then proceed to deliver the cars to the local industries...
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I lived in Perth, Ont the station west of Smiths Falls (maybe 15 miles).SF was a major junction. Perth had a water tank (big container on a round stone foundation) at the end of one platform (where the loco would stop) and a water column at the far end of the other platform.
    Just past the water tank were passing sidings (one each side) and the yard came off one of them. I never made it out to the end of the passing sidings.
    The yard was switched by the engine of the passing freight. I remember once it was a Royal Hudson.
  10. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Thanks David for giving an example of placement of water columns. And Brakie, that is the type operation I had envisioned so good to know it was at least a likely option. Tho I don't want an enginehouse of any type. I am squarely in the transistion era and many of my mainline freights and passenger trains will still be powered by steam, but the switchers will be diesel. I'll add water columns at each end of the stattion platforms, and indicate through foundations where coaling and an ash pit were at the small (very small) yard. I think I'll spot a tank car with a pump and hose such as Zedob suggested on a length of track not ripped up on the old bridge approach.

    Andrew, that is a really impressive layout Richard has, thanks for the link.

  11. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I am really impressed with that layout too... Richard unfortunately has taken in apart for a move to his new house, but hopes to be back up again within a few years.

    If you are in the middle of the transition era, it may be premature for your road to remove the steam servicing facilities. Early (road) diesels used the turntables and service buildings as well.

    The Orangeville yard was quite far from other desitinations (~50 miles from originating yards in Toronto, and about as far again to Owen Sound - Georgian Bay port and end of the line). Yet Orangeville did not have a dedicated switcher. Just goes to show that there is a prototype for everything... ;)

  12. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Andrew, My calling the area I'm discussing a yard is a bit misleading. I don't want to offer a lot of boring information but owe a bit of an explanation of the "big picture" My freelance line runs from Philly to Boston, and the modelled portion is in North Jersey and southern NY. A division point yard is located in New York, just across the NJ border. It is similar in nature to the New Havens Maybrook yard. North of this point my railroad is dieselized. South of here, steam still runs. This yard has (will have) an engine terminal quite large compared to its yard, it is not a classification yard. Crews and loco changes will occur here, only interchanges and cars for local industries will be switched. Because I will model engine facilities here, I do not want to do so in the scene we're discussing. This scene is not so much a yard as three short tracks to sort cars for delivery. Nothing at all as large as Orangeville, even my main yard is a bit smaller than that! In theory, this scene is somewhere between Philly and the yard in NY. Trains in both directions will have cars for this scene blocked so that it will be straightforward to remove them. Then the dedicated switcher will move the cars as needed. So I hope that all I need to do is feed the locos. All service will be at the division point yard. I think this is a situation where steam would be replaced with diesel quickly. And since the bridge needed replacing, converting to diesel at
    the same time might make sense. (?)

    When I saw the turntable and roundhouse in the Orangeville yard I was surprised that no switcher was stationed there. But as you said, there's a prototype for everything (well, almost).


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