Freight TRAIN Consists


Tim O'Connor
 

Armand, I'm not sure how to respond, but for insurance purposes I would
think you'd need a minimum of a good photo (or photos) of the car, the box
it came in (or at least a very good description of the value of the car) and
all this would be stored on a CD-ROM in a safe deposit box.... But we may
be getting off topic for this list.

Tim O'Connor


armprem
 

Tim,This topic needs greater discussion.The railroads that I model had
large amounts of "Bridge Traffic".As a result many trains would not switch
local industries.
Every car on my roster has TWO cards.One remains in the box with the
car.This card contains the following information:Road,road number,type.On
the reverse side:source,date built,cost,weight,matching
color,trucks,couplers,weights and any other data such as repairs or added
parts and lastly current value.Rather than just more paper the cards are a
source of information for insurance purposesThe other car card has a pocket
and follows the car until it reaches its destination or is returned to
storage.I do have some blank consist forms but rarely use them.Much of the
paper work would be in place prior to an ops session.
I would be interested in your comments.Armand Premo--- Original
Message -----
From: <timboconnor@comcast.net>
To: <STMFC@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 4:32 PM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Freight TRAIN Consists


Tony Thompson wrote

There is a simple way to do this, by creating some "random" draws
of car cards, along with a pattern in most industry deliveries and
shipments. I used to do a clinic on "realistic operation" which covered
how I did this. It was not particularly complicated to devise nor at
all labor intensive to implement.
Tony, EVERYTHING at a club with 600-700 freight cars is labor intensive
and difficult to implement (and especially to repeat month in/month out).
Randomness can be more sublime when it is coupled with rules. I don't
want a 2 bay PS2 assigned to the wheat elevator for example. But that
means that club members must be able to distinguish a 2 bay PS2 from
a single door box car. For you a piece of cake, for some some members
of the club, quite a challenge! :-)

You think I'm kidding, right? I'm not.

On the other hand, rules for oddball cars should ensure that they do
not show up all the time. Some may only be seen once a year.
I worked up some of these "oddball" appearances, though none so
rarely as "once a year!" Now that's a rare car, but of course realistic
in a sense.
If you only operate 20-24 times a year like the North Shore club, once
a year is not as infrequent as it seems. In a year we might get through
6 to 7 "days" of railroad operation.

An infrequent visitor might be a depressed center flat car, or a Southern
Pacific stock car (this is West Virginia after all)... Not the kind of
cars you
want to see frequently, but they're nice to see occasionally :-)

Tim O.




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Tony Thompson
 

Tony, EVERYTHING at a club with 600-700 freight cars is labor intensive
and difficult to implement (and especially to repeat month in/month out).
Randomness can be more sublime when it is coupled with rules. I don't
want a 2 bay PS2 assigned to the wheat elevator for example. But that
means that club members must be able to distinguish a 2 bay PS2 from
a single door box car. For you a piece of cake, for some some members
of the club, quite a challenge! :-)
I didn't make myself clear. NONE of the randomness could wrongly assign car types: it was random as to destination but linked with car type and lading.

If you only operate 20-24 times a year like the North Shore club, once
a year is not as infrequent as it seems. In a year we might get through
6 to 7 "days" of railroad operation.
Ah. I thought you meant 365 days of OPERATION. Whew.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


Tim O'Connor
 

Tony Thompson wrote

There is a simple way to do this, by creating some "random" draws
of car cards, along with a pattern in most industry deliveries and
shipments. I used to do a clinic on "realistic operation" which covered
how I did this. It was not particularly complicated to devise nor at
all labor intensive to implement.
Tony, EVERYTHING at a club with 600-700 freight cars is labor intensive
and difficult to implement (and especially to repeat month in/month out).
Randomness can be more sublime when it is coupled with rules. I don't
want a 2 bay PS2 assigned to the wheat elevator for example. But that
means that club members must be able to distinguish a 2 bay PS2 from
a single door box car. For you a piece of cake, for some some members
of the club, quite a challenge! :-)

You think I'm kidding, right? I'm not.

On the other hand, rules for oddball cars should ensure that they do
not show up all the time. Some may only be seen once a year.
I worked up some of these "oddball" appearances, though none so
rarely as "once a year!" Now that's a rare car, but of course realistic
in a sense.
If you only operate 20-24 times a year like the North Shore club, once
a year is not as infrequent as it seems. In a year we might get through
6 to 7 "days" of railroad operation.

An infrequent visitor might be a depressed center flat car, or a Southern
Pacific stock car (this is West Virginia after all)... Not the kind of cars you
want to see frequently, but they're nice to see occasionally :-)

Tim O.


Shawn Beckert
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:

I would like to inject the idea that MODELING freight train consists
on layouts is not precisely the same thing as understanding what a
particular prototype may have done at a particular point in time...
In my opinion, if your layout represents a mainline railroad, you are
going to have a particular mix of model cars on your layout and you will
need staging and you will need to have train consists that
(1) represent 'possible' or reasonably realistic consists given your
location and time period and scenarios
(2) are variable, so that trains do not all look exactly alike and may
even cause an occasional incredulous 'Wow, I didn't expect that' but
on reflection you may agree surprises are part of the real world
experience of train watching.

I would agree that, given time, space and budget constraints, most of us
can only approximate in 1:87 (or whatever) what the real thing did in terms
of what industries were served and how specific trains might have looked.
Still, the more research and information you have, the more you can at least
recreate the feel or look of your particular railroad in a given time frame.

Ten years ago or so I fooled around with software that combined an
amount of randomness coupled with a number of 'rules' and I ran thousands
of train consists simulating dozens of years of operations at the North
Shore RR club.
Every now and then I would get really interesting results, but generally
train consists were highly consistent with their purpose and types of cars
and the road names and destinations of cars.
Sounds like "Ship It" or other such programs. Maybe you should have packaged
your version and marketed it to the rest of us?

On a private layout, you can control the exact mix of equipment according
to the fleet statistics carefully compiled by Tim Gilbert and other folks
that have made studies of conductors' books and interchange records. But
personally I think a layout that completely lacks the occasional oddball car
is diminished if you operate it a lot, because it starts to seem very
predictable and routine. On the other hand, rules for oddball cars should
ensure that they do not show up all the time. Some may only be seen once a
year.
I have no problem with the occasional unusual car or block of cars running
across the railroad, but with enough detective work on what kind of industry
might have needed that "oddball" car and when, you can at least narrow down
what that car might have looked like and how often to run it.

Shawn Beckert


Tony Thompson
 

Tim O'Connor wrote:
Ten years ago or so I fooled around with software that combined an amount
of randomness coupled with a number of 'rules' and I ran thousands of train
consists . . .
Unfortunately, layouts that use car cards are not amenable to this approach,
unless you want to deal with printing new waybills all the time. Car cards are
very labor intensive if you want to operate realistic and variable consists for
hundreds of cars. Also, variability means you have to have extra storage or
staging to handle all those 'occasional' cars.
There is a simple way to do this, by creating some "random" draws of car cards, along with a pattern in most industry deliveries and shipments. I used to do a clinic on "realistic operation" which covered how I did this. It was not particularly complicated to devise nor at all labor intensive to implement.

On the other hand, rules for oddball cars should ensure that they do not show
up all the time. Some may only be seen once a year.
I worked up some of these "oddball" appearances, though none so rarely as "once a year!" Now that's a rare car, but of course realistic in a sense.

Tony Thompson Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, thompson@signaturepress.com
Publishers of books on railroad history


Tim O'Connor
 

Shawn,

I would like to inject the idea that MODELING freight train consists on layouts
is not precisely the same thing as understanding what a particular prototype
may have done at a particular point in time...

In my opinion, if your layout represents a mainline railroad, you are going to
have a particular mix of model cars on your layout and you will need staging
and you will need to have train consists that

(1) represent 'possible' or reasonably realistic consists given your location and
time period and scenarios

(2) are variable, so that trains do not all look exactly alike and may even cause
an occasional incredulous 'Wow, I didn't expect that' but on reflection you
may agree surprises are part of the real world experience of train watching

Ten years ago or so I fooled around with software that combined an amount
of randomness coupled with a number of 'rules' and I ran thousands of train
consists simulating dozens of years of operations at the North Shore RR club.

Every now and then I would get really interesting results, but generally train
consists were highly consistent with their purpose and types of cars and the
road names and destinations of cars.

Unfortunately, layouts that use car cards are not amenable to this approach,
unless you want to deal with printing new waybills all the time. Car cards are
very labor intensive if you want to operate realistic and variable consists for
hundreds of cars. Also, variability means you have to have extra storage or
staging to handle all those 'occasional' cars.

On a private layout, you can control the exact mix of equipment according to
the fleet statistics carefully compiled by Tim Gilbert and other folks that have
made studies of conductors' books and interchange records. But personally I
think a layout that completely lacks the occasional oddball car is diminished if
you operate it a lot, because it starts to seem very predictable and routine.
On the other hand, rules for oddball cars should ensure that they do not show
up all the time. Some may only be seen once a year.

Tim O'Connor


SD9E@...
 

Tim is right on the point about the difficulty of setting up for op sessions
at large clubs. Some form of automation involving automatic car
identification is needed.

The idea of using bar codes has been tried in a few places and the report is
that it is labor intensive to maintain and gives more false reads that it
should.

RFID technology is the present great hope: many applications inthe civilian
and military fields are being implemented. Hopefully something of an "open
architecture" similar to what IBM published for the personal computer might
evolve among users. If that happens then costs will plummet and a club might be
able to put a tag in cach piece of rolling stock and afford a useful number of
scanners as well.

I am watching a particular RFID scanner that costs under $100 and has a read
range of less than three inches. It comes bundled with software for a PC and
connects via a USB cable. Sounds great but the most likely tag available
costs around $2.30 each in a buy of over 2000 pieces. If the open architecture
hope comes true the tags should come down in price a lot as manufacturing
capacity grows.

I am part of a working group in my club that is watching the RFID technology
and market as well as considering what form of software to develop and how
to make use of the system once it is installed. We hope that developments in
the next couple of years will allow us to field a system for our club.

Jeff Pape