Railroading Basics Title
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Many new model railroaders don't stop to consider what they want
to do with the layout once it is built. As noted elsewhere, just
watching trains run is a reasonable operating scenario. But
sometimes this gets old after a while. Two types of operations
are worth considering: switching and mainline.
Switching operations (see
L4, Reddy River & Piedras or
L26, Penn & Potomac)
consist of moving cars between
making up and breaking down trains. The simplest switching the
operator can do is to move the cars about in a ad hoc manner making
sure that reasonable car types are at appropriate industries.
There are several switching schemes that generate realistic switching
moves, some manual and some via computer programs.
Passenger train switching operations are usually neglected by even
advanced model railroaders. Today, with a few exceptions,
passenger trains typically run from origin to destination without
changing the consist. But 50 years ago, many passenger stations
beehive of switching activity. Consider Harrisburg, PA on the
Railroad. In the evening trains arriving from New York,
Philadelphia and Washington, DC all arrived with in a few hours.
Before leaving Harrisburg massive changes were made in the consists
with through cars from East Coast cities to Midwestern cities such as
Chicago, St. Louis and Texas destinations. Also baggage, mail
storage and Railway Post Office (RPO) cars were added and subtracted en
route. Diners were added and subtracted to serve mealtimes.
In many cities with inconvenient train arrival and departure times,
sleeping cars were set out so passengers could board and leave at
Mainline operations can also be very interesting. Consider a
layout with continuous running and single and double track
sections. Now try running two trains in opposite directions and
see what happens (TrainPlayer
Penn & Potomac)
have to be selected for trains to meet with minimum delay. A lot
can happen in a short amount of time. Or try leaving a train
running on the mainline and then do some switching operations without
delaying the mainline train.
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