Rolling stock as scenery

Armand Premo

A major problem to consider is how we go about reducing actual time to scale.There are too many factors to consider as we try to shrink time and function into an acceptable compromise or just play with trains.Armand Premo

----- Original Message -----
From: Tim O'Connor
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 9:41 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Re: Rolling stock as scenery


Methods like that work ok on private layouts where one person
usually has strict control over the layout and its operations.
All car card methods tend to fall apart on large club layouts
if the "velocity" of cars falls below a critical threshold as
I described yesterday. It's extremely common on the operation
I'm familiar with for cars never to actually be delivered to
a customer, although they often do arrive in the final yard
(from which they would go into a local or switch job for final
delivery). Because there are real breaks in the operation and
personnel (many weeks or months of time, and two or three or
more people involved) the flow is lost unless there is some
incredibly complicated way of handling car cards that "stores"
the sense of sequence of operations for each individual car.

In other words if a car's waybill from origin to destination
assumes that steps 1,2,3,...,10 are all executed without error
then over the 2 or 3 months these steps actually take, there
is the random factor of mishandling and quite often, the car
never gets to step 10... or maybe just repeats a step. I've
seen plenty of both.

Tim O'Connor

>I recall the article by Douglas Smith on card operation [The latest word
>from Doug on card operations, Model Railroader, December 1961
>page 52] that the sequence was to leave a car stay in place at the
>customer's spot for at least one sequence of the local freight passing
>through a town with the sequence being drop-off, load or unload, and
>then pick-up. No doubt methods to operate layouts are more complex
>today, but this simple step to allow time for a car to be either loaded
>or unloaded should be incorporated into any operating scheme.
>Bob Witt
>Indianapolis, Indiana


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Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

Jim Betz wrote:
. . . We are "programmed" to work every car in every siding at every industry in town.
Jim, waybills can help <g>.

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

Anthony Thompson <thompson@...>

Tom Madden wrote:
In a late-night bull session many years ago, the late Terry Metcalfe got to musing about PFE's reefer fleet in the mid- to late-1950s. Many wood reefers were still on the roster, but few ever showed up in contemporary photos. Terry decided they were all stored on sidings in California's Central Valley, waiting for the call that never came.
Must have been quite late at night. Certainly the PFE statistics on cars in use in the peak harvest months do NOT support the idea of any significant number of cars in storage prior to 1960. Whether or why contemporary photos in Terry's possession may not have shown what he expected, I can't address.

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

Monk Alan <Alan.Monk@...>

Well Tom, I saw just this (well... a very close version thereof) modelled at a UK show last weekend.

Although the layout was a 1970s diesel depot (could easily have been a 1950s freight yard), it had a simple, plain pale blue/grey backscene in front of which were 2 long sidings on which stood 2 full rakes of coaching stock - the perfect backdrop to the layout and very reminiscent of what I remember from visiting depots in the 70s. The coaching stock rakes did not move all weekend - their sole purpose was to act as the scenic break at the back of the layout.

I don't see why we shouldn't do the same - other than this obsession we seem to have about every track must have a purpose and every piece of rolling stock must be used <bg> And don't worry... most Brit layout builders think the same, I can't think of a single other layout where I've seen this done - I guess people baulk at the thought of 'wasting' the car's value by just using it as scenery.

Another (1970s run-down freight yard) layout had a couple of lifted roads, ties still in place but no rails - again very realisting and prototypical, but so rarely modelled (again... folk want to maximise 'playability' of their trainset by making all roads usable)

If I had the space, I'd certainly build in one or 2 roads at the rear of the layout, unconnected (though not obviously so) to the operation part and filled with an assortment of cars, probably from my 'reserve' fleet of old blue-boxers and the like - good enough to appear as scenery, but not in a moving train. Fit them with plastic wheels, dummy couplers and just basic details (depending on how closely viewed they might be) and weathered, they'd look the part.

Alan Monk
London, UK

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