An RPM layout


I can't help but echo the comments by Andy Harman..."I define prototype
modeling as a desire to model after the prototype", Ray Breyer..."One thing
to keep in mind is that being a "prototype modeler" does not mean being a
GOOD modeler", Jack Burgess... "I think we compromise when
we don't have the space needed to accurate model a prototype, whether a
building or length of a siding and need to reduce the size of it to allow it
to fit the space we have available. We also compromise when we don't have
all of the information needed to accurately model a particular prototype" and
others. It seems quite simple to me. If you choose to
model the real thing...a real RR and/or its are a
prototype modeler. No one says how good you have to be...just what your goal
is...modeling a real RR object or bunches of them. Of course, one gets more credit if one mnodels some important place like Sherman Hill rather than an obscure RR somewhere in northern New England [ wherever that is ] <G>.

Now, if you will permit [ actually since I'm the only one in the game that's armed, I don't really care if you permit or not <G> ], I'm going to use my own layout and the real UP it
attemts to model to demonstrate some views. First, I would note that no one least I don't...that you have to model the whole thing. Yes, that
gets a bit tricky. If I build a model of a UP HK-70-1 hopper car, model
every rivet on the sides but not do the ends, does that qualify? Of course.
Is it a great model? Maybe not. If you build a model of a roundhouse but
choose to view it from the structure's rear...leaving it open [ no roof ] so
the fully modeled interior shows...does it qualify? Certainly. Is it a great
model? If the fidelity of the details is high, probably so...given the
modeler's criteria...the objective to model only part of the structure. By
the same token, modeling real scenes often requires compression [ as Jack Burgess notes ]. My Dale Jct scene is compressed to about 1/4th actual size [ regretfully, the term "Big
Wyoming" means big scenes ]. However, the smaller parts of the scene [ in
particular, a rocky hillock adjacent to the turnouts ] and man made structures are built to the real size [ well...close since the ^&%#$ hillock is long gone and I didn't measure it. Fortunately I'm reasonably certain that no one else did either ]. Every structure in my model of the Laramie engine facility is built to
scale except the roundhouse which, while accurate in most dimensions has
been reduced from 28 stalls to 12. All the structures, however, are not
placed where they actually existed...since I prefer to not step on my
scratchbuilt water tank etc.

Compression can be found in many places. While an individual rolling stock
is a model of a real car, I compress trains to about 30% for frt
trains...perhaps 80% for passenger trains. But the frt cars are models of
real frt cars as are passenger cars and locomotives. Some...Armand Premo for example... model only those cars that actually ran on the prototype they model. I figure that by following the modified Gilbert Nelson frt car population theory [ modified to increase the number of large, important connecting RRs like SP, Milw and C&NW in my UP case ] I can produce a reasonable frt car match to the historical data.

Joel Holmes notes: "To be totally prototype, you need to pick a day and
model for that day."

Well...I tell others I do May 14, 1953. This actually was forced on me
because the photos we used for the photo backdrops were taken on May 14 [
man, this guy must really be a nut ]. Not really, It had been a wet spring
on Sherman Hill and the high country was quite green. Actually any day
within a 3 month period would probably work.

"Lets say traffic on the line included a lot of coal movements of 80 to 100
cars. How many model railroads can do that? Can you get even 50 cars that
are equal to the mix
that the real railroad ran. I doubt that also."

I once ran a test and found that one of my Big Boys could haul 55 frt cars
up my 1.5% max grade. However, I generally confine frt train lengths to 35
cars and then only for two that have access to sufficient staging for that.
Otherwise, I'm running from 20-25 car frt trains.

"However, a model train of
25 coal cars using similar to or models of the actual cars will look very

If train lengths are long enough to exceed scene sizes, the compression of
prototype length trains works pretty well.

"Medium and large stations facilities cannot be modeled exactly as
the prototype."

For sure, I chose to model Laramie as opposed to, say,
Cheyenne, due to the smaller, doable Laramie yard and station [ and special
thanks to Armand Premo for building the station ]. Oddly, when you venture
inside you find that there is no rear side...and the roof only extends
halfway...sorta like those old buildings out west that had only a
front...the rest being a tent. No, Armand didn't forget to do the other
half...compression rules again.

Speaking of operating a prototype modeled RR...Noooo problem. Looking
through various UPHS mags I note that in Ernie Peyton's article about firing
UP steam back in '50 that it was not uncommon for a freight run from Laramie
to Cheyenne to take 4 hrs. Hmmm. That's about 60 miles...mile post 566 to
510. average speed of about 15 mph. Why so slow? Because
freights...particularly drags...had to take sidings frequently to let
passenger trains by. And, UP used mainline frts to do set outs and pickups
on the Hill at Hermosa, Buford, Bruceford [ where IS that place? ], and Granite. Switching with a Big Boy? Yep. And in later yrs with turbines. Efficiency? Mark Armfahr has written an
excellent article on train movements on the Wyoming Div in '49 in which he
describes the effect of a hot box and subsequent axle failure on a coal drag
heading east from Rawlins to Laramie. This resulted in much delay because,
although the offending cars were left on a center siding of the double tracked mainline, the stopped train could not make it up grade from where it had stopped. During the 24 hrs of
his article, UP ran 22 passenger and 29 frt trains over the Wyoming Div. The number of frts might be a bit lower than usual due to a recession. As
it turns out, my op session covers the period from about 8 AM until noon,
During that time, there were about 7 passenger trains scheduled. I do 5. At
4 PM in 1949 there were 6 frt trains running between Rawlins and Laramie.
During my 4 hr period I have 8 frt trains "scheduled". It is interesting to
note that frt train reconstruction in Laramie took about 1.5 hrs. Some high
priority trains..."fast forwarders"...often containing foreign road
cars...rolled through Laramie bypassing the yard. It is also worth noting
that UP did not always expedite perishable trains. If such trains were
sufficiently ahead of scheduled connections at Kansas City or Council
Bluffs, they might have other cars added at Laramie. Laramie had a huge ice
house and icing capacity west of the yard. Eastbound perishable trains would
roll directly onto ice tracks prior to entering the laramie yard. A
perishable train might require 2 hrs of icing operation. Apparently UP would
use unoccupied ice house tracks to hold frt trains waiting for a track to
open in the yard...letting passenger traffic pass by. I am pleased to note that I do the same thing...and, yes, frequently there ain't an open track in Laramie.

So, I would say that ops does fit well with a layout designed to model a real RR. I'm just curious as to why some of my operators shout "short" when they actually mean "hot box".

Mike Brock

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