Which way?

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by tetters, Dec 21, 2007.

  1. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Here's a question of which I'm sure there probably is no real easy answer to although, maybe there is...

    Which direction do RR's require the locomotives to pull into a maintenance facility? Does it matter whether they back in or drive in cab first? Is there any such rule in the first place?

    This question leads up to another question I have. On my switching layout I have the engine facility at the far east end of the layout. The lead is at the west end of the yard. Most of the switching will be done using the lead (obviously) by the engine pulling and pushing the cars through the yard from the west end. A second loco could work from the east end though moving two or three cars at at a time to help break up and sort out cars.

    To me it makes sense for the loco's cab to be as close to the "action" as possible in order to give the engineer the best line of sight possible. So the cab would be facing east which means the engine would leave the engine facility tracks by backing out.

    I'm using Geeps and I know they are supposed to be bi-directional. So could I have between the four of them one or two with the cabs facing the opposite direction? Or would this look odd, because one could always ask, "How did they get turned around?"

    I'm probably over thinking this, heck its what I do. :oops:
  2. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    Well, from what I know, it could be either way, although including a turnaround or wye might be the way to go. Or maybe make your engine facility double ended, so that way engines could enter or leave either way, thus eliminating the problem.
  3. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    There is no option for additional trackwork. I'm guessing this is more of a personal choice question in the end. However I thought I'd put it out there and see what kind of answers I get.
  4. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    The only engine facility I was really familiar with was the CNR/VIA one at Toronto. This was the old steam roundhouse with turntable. I think that cab-unit diesels were out in with the cab to the daylight. Not sure about the ones left in the open, but they may have been set up in the direction they were intended to depart in, unless they were left in the direction they came in.
    Steam engines in roundhouses were stored with the front end at the outside wall because that gave more room to work on the serious mechanical bits (tenders didn't require as much attention). Diesels were probably uniform in the attention required. The classic appearance with the steam loco fronts showing through the roundhouse doors was probably set up for the photo, and produced much complaint from the staff.
  5. CNWman

    CNWman CNW Fan

    I thought the steam engines were facing away from the turntable so if they overshot the tacks they would plunge through the wall and not fall into the turntable pit?
  6. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    Run 'em any way you want. The RF&P in the deisel era was known for having odd numbered engines facing south and even ones facing north. Or was it the other way around? Diesels can be run however you want and most roads don't have any rules except that the short hood be forward when pulling a mainline run whenever possible. I myself have operated SD80MACs in switching duty and long hood forward on a mainline run. We did, of course, turn the big MAC as soon as we could, those desktop controls do not lend well to LHF running. They also can face any way in an engine house, unlike steam engines which were almost always nosed into the shop.

  7. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Eureka! Now that you mention it, I remember hearing about RR's doing this.

    I think that is what was on my mind when I asked the question. It was there I just couldn't put my finger on it. Like something tugging at my brain in the dark void of a space I call a mind. sign1
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Oh boy a not so simple question..
    As for the engine house it doesn't matter with diesels..Steam locos went in engine first and was spotted under the smoke vent chimney.

    Now for the switcher..The way the switcher is poiinted will depend if the yard is a "forward" yard or a "reverse"..What the hay are those? Glad you ask.
    It was common to place the engineer on the same side that the switch stands are on so he could see the switchmen's signals.Savvy so far? Great!
    Now if the switch stands was on the right hand side the switch engine would be facing forward so the engineer can see the switchman's signals making this the common "forward" style yard.
    However,if the switch stands was on the left side then the switcher would be turn so the engineer would be on the same side as the switch stands.This was commoly called a "reverse" yard because the switcher was operating tender first or cab first for diesel switchers..
    Now if the switchers was mu'd with another switcher they could be set up cab to cab or long hood to long hood depending on the railroad.

    Cab to cab operation

    RailPictures.Net Photo » Pacific Harbor Line EMD SW1200

    Hood to hood operation

    RailPictures.Net Photo » New Brunswick Southern Railway EMD SW1200

    Now "cow and calf" sets would see the mother unit operating with the engineer on the switch stand side.

    Of course as with all things railroad..With the wide use of radios for yard switching the engineer could be on either side as this picture teaches us.

    RailPictures.Net Photo » Untitled EMD SW1200

    Of course there were exceptions to the rules.
  9. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    Outstanding reply brakie.:thumb:

  10. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Canadian National used to run long-hood forward on their (earlier) diesels. Even had the cabs set up that way on purpose...!

  11. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    Thanks for the great response Brakie!

    Just 'cause I'm an MS Paint idiot savant as an example I whipped up this little sketch...this is way I'm running my engines now. Behind the loco is the yard lead.


    Now based on my limited knowledge as a layman, I'm thinking as a driver from a motor vehicle perspective. The driver or engineer sits on the left side and can look down the yard ladder and as you put it can see the switch stands (except for the top one). I assume that the shorter hood would give the engineer a little bit better visibility when approaching cars to couple up to them since its closer to where the action is. Which is mainly why I'm running them this way.
  12. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    Many roads ran their first diesels long hood first, a carry over from steam days. The Southern and Norfolk & Western ran LHF for their whole existance. But even their successor Norfolk Southern had joined the short hood forward crowd.

  13. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    I understand your logic, but the engineer on a locomotive sits on the right side of the cab, the opposite of an American automobile.

  14. tetters

    tetters Rail Spiking Fool!

    See I just knew someone was going to say something like that!

    I got it all backwards!sign1
  15. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    I would still run 'em any way you want. Did CP run any GP7 or GP9s long hood first? That would put the engineer on the other side of the cab.

  16. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    N&W stopped ordering highnose power around '73. And, unlike long-hood-forward Southern, N&W diesels (high or low nose) had bidirectional controls.
  17. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    That explains the bi-directional nature of the NW owned E-L SDP45s.

    Learn something new every day, thanks!

  18. Triplex

    Triplex Active Member

    Engines ordered after the NS merger appear to have followed N&W practice.
  19. puddlejumper

    puddlejumper Member

    All but the wide-bodys, no bi-directional stands on those. I did like the old-style control stand on the NS CW44-9 I got to run once.
  20. acsoosub

    acsoosub Member

    Keep in mind that any engine can run in any direction, regardless of what is actually the front end. I've seen several examples of modern diesel power running long hood forward when that's the rear of the engine. In most cases it was the only power on the train, so they probably couldn't, or didn't bother to, turn the engine at the train's starting yard.

    Diesels parking in a maintenance facility, doesn't matter what direction. You wouldn't bother turning anything unless you were preparing it to run a train and you wanted facing in the other way. On arrival and parking, it doesn't matter. Diesels could fuel and take on sand or water from either side.

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