I am sooooooooo confused.

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Nomad, May 7, 2007.

  1. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Glad to get you going again...! ;)

    A team track is basically a siding for any industry that would not warrant a dedicated siding. Perhaps the local farm implement dealer (although you have a co-op in your case) wold receive tractors here once or twice a season. Or a coal dealer without his own siding would receive bulk shipments here - dumped at the side of the track to be hauled away later. As for shipping - as Triplex said, just about anything could be sent from here, from a special one time shipment to weekly or monthly output of some local business (maybe a local woodlot owner sells sawlogs to a mill down the line).

    The stockyard in your case can be seen as simply a receiving pen for the slaughterhouse, but it could also be used for layover (by law, cattle had to be rested, fed and watered on long trips), or could be used to hold locally grown stock for shipment out.

    As for the exact use of the car cards - they operate as before (i.e. one card for each car with a description, reporting marks, etc.). The way bills would be done up to include the nature of the load, the destination, and possibly any specific instructions (like which track or door to spot the car at, or that the reefer is to be iced before departure, or whatever). Once the car arrives at its destination, the way bill is pulled out (or turned or whatever) to show where it is going next.

    Another option for you is the switch list, although these can be more labour intensive to create. But it has the advantage of all the orders, lifts, and spots on one piece of paper. You can even include "railroad-wide" rules like speed limits at certain mileposts or what-have-you.

    Andrew
  2. Gary S.

    Gary S. Senior Member

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    Yes, my inventory is divided essentially in half. I am doing this based on a railroad map of the U.S. in the 1970s. Roughly, cars with roadnames that would come in from the western U.S. go to one interchange, cars coming from the east go to the other interchange.

    You could also have some "run-through" trains from one interchange to the other, run them several times around the loop to simulate distance. And then, these cars would eventually return to their home roads by the same path. These may be empty or loaded. And the empties could be grabbed for use of your industries if the load was headed back in the direction of the home road. this would definitely add some complications. May be best to get your system running in a simple and straightforward manner first, then add this in.

    go back and look at your thread on waybills from awhile back, in the Operations forum. It may give you jog your memory:-D
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Loren,

    Another thought... ;)

    If you add a passenger station (or two) you can also add a couple of passenger trains, or mixed trains (freight with passenger tacked on the end) to your list of jobs.

    I have also redrawn your schematic so it appears more as a branch line, with the interchange intersecting it. I think this is conceptually closer to what you have. If you wanted to modify track, you could even go as far as to put in a diamond to show that the intersecting road crosses your railway.

    You can theoretically connect the interchange wherever you want by imagining the junction/turnout too the interchange to be further west (or east). This can be put into operation by requiring those extra laps around the loop before the train can take the turnout to the interchange.

    One other thought about the interchange, based on Gary's description of his line. If you want, you can designate tracks on the interchange to be eastbound and westbound (or north/south, or whatever) to further add to the switching.

    Andrew

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  4. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Andrew, I really like your idea of having "jobs" during the day. One thing I am confused with. My yard would basically be a holding yard for the interchange, correct? Because my empty car cards now say return to yard when empty. So, I would put a hold box for the yard and change the car cards to say return to interchange when empty? Am I even close to what I need? Man, I think I picked the right title for this thread !

    Loren
  5. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    I see your interchange as part staging (holding trains ready to come on to the part of the world you are modelling - i.e. your layout); part industry (you set out and lift cars there like any other industrial trackage); and part fiddle yard (you can lift things of and change them around to represent the workings of the rest of the world that you do not model).

    So if you look at it like any other industry - there are things to deliver there, and things to pick up, just like the freight depot, for example.

    Or you can think of it as staging - a train from "Elsewhere" comes to your little branch via the interchange, and once everything is switched according to the orders, it is sent back there.

    For your operations, try to think of the yard as the start and end of every job.

    I am glad you like the concept of "jobs" during the operating day - I just made them up off the top of my head. This type of service - frequent, short trains - is more typical of 1950s/transition railroading than today - but I find it helps to add fun to op sessions.

    I have encountered many "named" trains like this - both prototypical and model. My favourites include the real CPR "Moonlight" that ran through Orangeville, ON (my hometown), and the model trains "Oil Can" (serves refinery and LPG facilities at Welcome to the HOTRAK website, and "The Fruit Loop" (serves produce and fruit packers as well as stopping at the ice house to top up the reefers).

    Andrew
  6. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Andrew, I also like the fiddle yard idea for my interchange. When cars from the yard arrive at the interchange, I would take them off, draw new car cards and way bills, and be all set for a new session. Also gives me a reason to tell the wife I need more cars.:-D Thanks a lot for your help and advice.

    Loren
  7. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Sorry - I failed to see this question... Your suggestion is one way to look at it, but with the way bill, you already have the capacity to "ship" cars to the interchange. It is simply another "industry", so a waybill showing the interchange (eastbound or westbound if so desired) can be inserted.

    In fact, just about everything "returns to interchange" not only when empty, but also full loads. Your industries undoubtedly ship beyond your branch line? Use the yard as a place to marshall the cars (and possibly block them if you've gotten organized enough to decide what lays beyond your layout). Then a string of cars can be taken over and left for the (non-modelled) passing freight at the interchange. Often, an interchange is simply a passing siding, or a "wye" that leads to the connecting road - not often it is a full yard (so no real switching/blocking takes place there).

    There are lots of variations on how to put car cards and waybills into action. The trick is to decide what works for you... ;) :D

    :thumb: :thumb: sign1

    Andrew
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Ok then, Here is what I am going to try. Say I get a box car load of lumber at the interchange going to the lumber yard. After it is unloaded, it will be reloaded with lumber and sent to the furniture factory. After that it goes to the yard, and then back to the interchange. The car will go off layout, the car card will be put away, and a new car card will be pulled at the next operating session.
    Does that sound half way feasible?

    Loren
  9. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Loren,

    That is a more sophisticated move than what we typically run at HOTrak. We do not have "inter-industry" shipping. All switching jobs are one-for-one, and start & end at the yard.

    But your proposal sounds reasonable -

    • Lumber at interchange goes to yard.
    • "The Splinter" is assembled, and the lumber goes to the lumber dealer.
    • It is unloaded, and a different load is put in (e.g. "dressed" lumber for the furniture factory, instead of the rough sawn lumber received).
    • The lumber dealer calls the railroad, and at some point, the local switcher trundles over and takes the car over to the furniture factory (maybe as an "extra", or maybe the next scheduled run of "The Splinter").
    • After the car is unloaded at the furniture factory, yet another day's Splinter picks up the car and brings it back to the yard.
    • The empty car is added to the next interchange run.

    Lots of great (prototypical) action - all from just one car! :thumb:

    Andrew
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    That's what I was hoping. Just going from interchange to industry and back was pretty boring. Thanks for all your great help and advice !

    Loren
  11. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    So much to talk about and so little time.

    I see a couple key points that have been overlooked by previous posters that are worth discussion. First, railroads are in the service business. Simple enough. They move customers' products from "A" to "B" and on to "C" (and sometimes even further. To do this there is a hub-and-spoke system of car distribution. Local freights gather cars which go to the yards. From there road trains carry them on to the next yard where they are redistributed again with local freights. Sometimes it's as simple as a yard-to-yard hop and sometimes it requires many more railroads and yards to get the job done.

    Seconds, shortline railroads have subverted this notion somewhat. Generally they are able to haul cars right from an interchange point to the customers that desire them. That is just one microcosm of the industry, however. The cars probably jumped through many more hoops before that shortline got a hold of them. Even on a shortline the job of classifying cars is still done, just not on the scale that it is on larger roads.

    If you imagine your layout as a railroad with three separate places you can better see how the system works. I've called the interchange yard "Akron," the classification yard "Barberton," and the industrial zone "Canton." Like I said, "from A to B and on to C." For our purposes here Barberton is the base of operations. Crews go on duty there and that's where equipment is kept when it's not in use. It's from there that you'll dispatch the trains needed to move the cars.

    In its simplest form you'll want to operate with three trains. Yes, you could use one to do all the work but you've already said that wasn't much fun. The first job in the morning goes on duty in Barberton and takes outbound interchange cars to Akron where it swaps them for inbound cars and then returns to its origin. Once the inbound train has arrive a yard crew goes to work sorting. Cars bound for Canton are separated from those that stay in Barberton. When the inbound cars are ready to go a third crew comes on duty to take a train to Canton, switching the industries there and returning with whatever is outbound. The yard crew handles whatever cars are bound for destinations in Barberton. Once all the industrial switching has been done the yard crew assembles an outbound train for the road crew to take to Akron and the cycle starts over again. On a busy railroad this cycle might be completed once each shift three times a day. On a lesser used shortline it might only be done once a day or even less frequently.

    There are other considerations that come into play here, too. You've got a packing plan on there and livestock and perishables were many times handled in dedicated movements. You could then have an inbound load of livestock that gets moved directly to the slaughterhouse for quicker processing. Similarly, empty reefers might come in with a regular cut of cars for spotting at the ice house, but once they're serviced, moved to the slaughterhouse, and loaded, they'll need to be expedited back to the interchange in a dedicated train. Once that happens the crew can either pull whatever inbound cars are destined for Barberton back with them or return as a caboose hop back to the yard.

    In this fashion the railroad would be operated point-to-point, ignoring the continuous run option. This diminished the toy-like nature gives a greater sense of purpose. Beyond this basic operating scheme one would also need to develop more specific track designations, which is used for inbound cars or outbound cars. At the interchange that's usually fixed as both railroads have to agree upon it but in the yard that's more flexible and usually left up to the crew doing the work.

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  12. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Thanks Railohio, That is exactly how I want to set up my carcard system.

    Loren
  13. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    I've gone ahead and drawn some more detailed yard plans with track designations. The Akron yard is set up very well for interchange, allowing a train to arrive, the power to run around, and set out the cars. Similarly, inbound cars can be pulled back after an inspection of the train and the setout of bad-ordered cars for attention by the car department.

    Barberton is a bit more of a stretch to make into a working yard, however. To be more effective it needs another switching lead to avoid fouling the main while the yard crew is working. It could also stand to have another classification track added; if there are any cars bound for Canton setting in the yard when another train pulls in the inbound train's power will not be able to cut off. The switching lead to the slaughterhouse could be used as a classification track just as well, but that would preclude access to those sidings if any outbound cars are waiting in the yard on it. Solving problems like this are what make operations fun, but if the same problem occurs repeatedly that's a sign a design change may be in order.

    Another issue I have with the yard is the inclusion of the turntable. It seem the act of turning engines is rather pointless as it can only be accomplished at one end of the train's journey. I suppose it looks "railroady" but it doesn't really add to operations any. I'd would suggest adding another track parallel to the turntable lead to allow for inbound engines to be serviced and then sent back out in an orderly fashion. Otherwise you'll constantly be digging through the power setting on the track to get the right engine for the train or to access the "facilities." Another addition I'd suggest is a small stub track near the turntable for company service cars. You could spot a car of diesel fuel or coal at each operating session. It'll provide another "industry" to switch and help expand that "railroady" theme that was started with the turntable.

    ~BS

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  14. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Railohio, you have some very sound ideas, sir. Thank you for the advice.

    You are right about the turntable. I put it in because I always wanted one, but it is worthless on this layout. I can put it away and save it for another layout. No problem.

    I had thought about putting in a switching lead, but I will be the only one operating the layout, and it is supposed to be a small branch line, so I did not see the need for one.

    I agree I need another class track and an engine service track. I will see what I can come up with. And the way I have it set up now with the turntable and the runaround seems very cumbersome, so your right, it's time for a design change. Thanks again.

    Loren
  15. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    Loren,

    Remind me of your timeframe? The turntable is not completely out of place even into the 1970s or even later.

    If you are running steam or transition-era, then it's an essential. Plus the (steam) engine service area can be a whole job on it's own. Adding a service track (or having two tracks to the turntable - i.e. inbound and outbound) is a good idea. If a service track, and you're running steam, there's coal or oil to be delivered, ash pit to clean out (coal only... ;)), and so on.

    Even if you are running exclusively diesels, you still need fuel and sand, and supplies like lubricants and parts for repairs that would be done locally. (Brian's Bad Order cars are a great example). Another track here (service track) would still be useful.

    Brian - you have labelled the second track from the "top" in Barberton as "switch lead", but suggest another is needed. Since the yard comes off a run-around track, there is a bit of space available. Trains on the main can pass on the inside even while a switching job is occupying the "outside" main.


    Andrew
  16. railohio

    railohio Active Member

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    I didn't say it was out of place, I said it was useless. If he's operating his railroad in a prototypical fashion then it would be pointless to have only one terminal equipped with a turntable. As it stands now he can turn power in Barberton. Fantastic. What about when it reaches the other end of it's run and reverses back, though? To say that it's "vital" would imply he needs one at every terminal to turn the power for ever reversal.


    The one that I have labeled as a switch lead is to access the industry that branches off the yard ladder to the left. Another would be needed to allow continuous operation of the mainline while a yard crew is working. Running every train through the siding to avoid such congestion would just be a work-around that wouldn't get at the root of the problem. The original plan posted is ambiguous and I read it to have the passing siding on the inside of the main whereas you saw it being on the outside. Since he stated he'd be the only operator, though, such a consideration really isn't needed anymore.
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Railohio, Andrew, Thanks for the help again. I have redrawn the yard and removed the tt. The icing platform has been moved, and the slaughterhouse is gone. I was going to remove it anyhow because I can not find a kit house and I am not up to scratch building. In its place I put Interstate fuel and Ole King Cole coal trestle, both Walthers cornerstone series. The stockyard went over to the co-op.
    The yard now has a diesel service track and one for steam.
    I am not to happy about the facing point turnouts, any ideas would be welcome.
    Oh yeah, I am thinking I could use the ice house track as a pocket for the switcher, so the train would pull in from the interchange, the road power would cut off and go to service, then the switcher would pull straight out, back the cars up and pull into the yard.
    The ghost ice house is a mistake.
    Loren

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  18. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    One more try at the turntable (being a dedicated steam guy, I can't let it go...! ;)). If the interchange is also staging and fiddle yard, then there is another place to reverse an engine - i.e. pretend there is a wye there, or a turntable. If the yard and it's turntable is at the opposite end of the branch, then problem solved.

    And I completely overlooked the fact that the slaughterhouse and cattle pen (or coal/oil dealer) needs a switch lead - sorry about that... hamr

    As for the yard lead, what if the run around was reconfigured so that the main line is the inside track (i.e. the diverging route goes to the outside) and both the yard and the engine service area come off the run around?

    Lastly, Loren - I don't think you need to change all the facing points to trailing points - that would be boring. I think the mix is good the way it is, but that's just my opinion... :D

    Andrew
  19. Nomad

    Nomad Active Member

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    Andrew,
    I am sorry. I must hve gotten my terminolgy wrong. By facing point I meant the new switch I put in on the mainline. You will notice that the points face each other. To me that is a derailment waiting to happen.
    As far as the mainline goes, I can see no way to move the yard lead to the outside track ( closest to the table edge ) without shortning the yard way down.
    The one steamer I have is way to big for the turntable anyhow, so I must agree with Railohio, it is useless on my layout. Someday when I build the ultimate layout I will have two of them, but for now I think it needs to be removed. Sorry.

    Loren
  20. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

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    You obviously need more steamers...! ;) Seriously - don't be sorry - it's your layout! ;)

    Facing Points = point rails facing each other...! I understand. That should not really pose a problem - although you'll want to be doubly sure that they work well. I preferred it when the engine service (turntable or not) track came off the yard, not the mainline.

    Speaking of the mainline, I suggest that the track that you designate as the main be the one closest to the operating pit, and that you adjust the turnouts accordingly (i.e. make the straight route the main, and the diverging route the siding). That requires that you exchange the left-hand turnout for a right, and the right for a left (I have circled the two turnouts in blue, below). Moving the turnout to the service area up a bit doesn't hurt either.

    Andrew

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