How does staging work?


Fun Lover
I got this question via PM and I got permission to share it.

I know you mention staging is important, I read your website but it's still unclear to me at this point. Could you elaborate a little more maybe some pictures, because it seems everyone else on this site understands it except me. Thanks

By reading the website, I'm assuming your read "What is Staging and Why do I need it?"

In that case consider the layout I am in the process of building. (Okay, I just put in the track lighting). Here's the plan.


Like this if I connect the loop, my layout is point-to-point with a non-prototypical loop. That means I can send a train from Train City to Rock Ridge and back over and over and maybe switch a few cars. Here and there.

But if I add staging like so--connecting the loop with staging tracks....


....I have created a situation where the Rock Ridge and Train City is is part of a much larger railroad that extends both east and west beyond it. Like the drawing in the article:


So how does it work. There are four staging tracks and a through track in staging. Since 1885 trains are small and I am running only 6 car trains, I can fit 10 trains in staging, 5 facing clock-wise and 5 facing counter-clockwise. The counter-clockwise trains will be coming via Sacramento. The clockwise trains will be coming via Virginia City.

The first train to leave staging is a through train from Sacramento to Salt Lake City carrying vegetables in refers. It stops in Train City to top off its ice before climbing over Donner Pass to Virginia City. It continues without stopping through Rock Ridge and "stage off" into the tail end of the track it just left.

A second train comes in to Train City from Virginia City. It has 3 box cars to be switched locally so it drops them off and picks up a refer full of beer and a boxcar of machine parts for Sacramento. It no sooner arrives to staging when a way freight from Sacramento drops a carload of hops and a gondola of charcoal. It picks up beer and cattle headed for Virginia City.

A local passenger car from VC to Sacramento Stops at Rock Ridge and Train City.

The switcher now has 5 cars to be switched locally and does so picking up cars to be shipped both east and west.

This continues until 10 trains have run through both Rock Ridge and Train City receiving products from east and west and shipping out both east and west.

Instead of a circle layout that runs loops and has a few cars that can be switched here and there. My layout with staging has plenty of action for 1-4 people. And I can still run laps if I want to.

But you don't need a lot of room or a lot of track. Here 8 inches by 8 feet is added to a 4 x 8 layout to give three stub-ended staging tracks.

Chip, thanks for the super article, and thanks also to the person who asked the question. I'm a long way from needing this information, but I sure know where to look when I'm ready!