Running the railroad….

In this installment I’ll discuss simply the joy of running the railroad and the feeling of running the prototype. Especially with now an expanded layout. I’m sure some modelers with huge layouts like the feel of simply watching long trains running through sweeping curves, while others like layouts with lots of switching. I fall into the latter category.

With an expanded layout it certainly gave me more opportunities to add more industries to switch, and quite accidentally, a somewhat complex area to switch. When finished, I’ll have sixteen different industries to switch, many of these industries being interconnected, as I’ve posted previously.and therein lies the joy and prototypical feel.

As I’ve been running trains switching these industries in between working on the layout, and testing my operating plan, I’ve come to enjoy these individual sessions more and more. I can now run, thanks to this expansion, trains and operations that match the prototype. No wonder these sessions last three to four hours!

Unbelievable some might respond, but nevertheless true, and every bit as enjoyable as watching that one hundred car train sweeping across the layout from end to end. Some examples of what I mean follow.

Yesterday for example I put together with a designated yard engine a turn from Dickinson yard going to Spring Street yard with cars destined for Nitro. I then tied on the caboose and single geep for road power and departed Dickinson yard. I arrived at Spring Street yard shortly after. After dropping the inbound train for the Spring Street yard job to sort, I ran my road power over to the service track and allowed time for the unit to be serviced and refueled. I then coupled up to my outbound loads headed back to Dickinson yard, gave myself time for an air test, then departed eastbound.

The Spring Street job then sorted the Nitro cars and cleared up, awaiting the Alco switcher assigned to the Nitro job to arrive. When the Nitro turn arrived, it dropped any loads/empties it had, ran around it’s outbound train, and departed for Nitro where it proceeded to switch its cars, then tied up at the Nitro yard office.

In the meantime, the Spring Street turn was headed back to Dickinson yard, and when it arrived, it cut the road power off which got in the clear while the yard engine proceeded to break down its train, finally spotting the caboose on the caboose track.

All of this activity took three hours of real time to accomplish. At the end of this period, after sorting the waybills and completing my other paperwork, it made me feel as if I had actually moved freight, accomplished something, and actually made me feel like I was back in that left hand seat on the prototype running on the railroad……

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