Proper Yard modeling

ModelRailroadForums.com is a free Model Railroad Discussion Forum and photo gallery. We cover all scales and sizes of model railroads. Whether you're a master model railroader or just getting started, you'll find something of interest here.


Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
That's a great track plan. You'll have to post some pictures when you get it done. I would have liked a little larger yard, but with the space available, I wouldn't have to room for a detailed town.

Just click the link in my sig. The yard is finished.
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
I added a 4th question regarding whether a yard is even required on a model railroad.
I had another thought on this after my long post. How can one say it is a requirement for a model railroad when it is not a requirement for a real railroad? Would that mean if someone duplicated one of those real railroads in HO, N, or Z scale that it would not be a model railroad?
 

railfan

junk collector
When normal folks think model trains.....they mostly imagine a single oval of track with an engine and 4-6 cars. Maybe a couple simple buildings.

If they happen to visit YOUR layout....and YOU have a full blown switchyard....signals and a nice control panel.....and a huge roster of engines and cars.....then they are like...."OMG!!! I never knew you were a total train maniac!".

This is the meaning of a yard. :)
 

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
When normal folks think model trains.....they mostly imagine a single oval of track with an engine and 4-6 cars. Maybe a couple simple buildings.

If they happen to visit YOUR layout....and YOU have a full blown switchyard....signals and a nice control panel.....and a huge roster of engines and cars.....then they are like...."OMG!!! I never knew you were a total train maniac!".

This is the meaning of a yard. :)
:) That is an interesting way to look at it. Of course that is what tore our last club apart too. There was the operations crowd and there was the crowd that wanted public approval with oohs and ahs for their work.

It always amazes me what people are amazed with. Several years ago my children inherited a 8x15 or so layout. Basically a triple loop with the center loop figure-8ing up a mountain on the one side. The other side has some industries, a loco service facility, and a couple station tracks. Marginal work and quality all the way around, but people see it and start raving about how realistic and fantastic it is. So, I guess, thinking about this as I write it, when they are used to and expecting the "train set" they once got for Christmas ast Railfan described above, it isn't that hard to expect this kind of reaction to anything beyond that.

Have we lost steam on our interesting yard conversation?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
IHM,

I don't know about anyone else, I'm just waiting for more comments. I'm trying, and not without much success to "over" comment. To me yards are one of the more interesting aspects of a model railroad, that if done well, whether its a 2 tracker or a monster 30 tracker, can contribute to the overall operations on a MR larger than its size.
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
... To me yards are one of the more interesting aspects of a model railroad, that if done well, whether its a 2 tracker or a monster 30 tracker, can contribute to the overall operations on a MR larger than its size.

I'm so glad that I read Craig Bisgeir's yard design blog page [in spite of its tacky title LOL!] before I rebuilt to what is now my current layout. It seems like just the right size to keep the yardmaster occupied - but NOT stressed - for ~2 hours, the typical 'scheduled' time of one of my op sessions.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
The way I have mine designed, it will allow the Yardmaster to also be the Hostler, if there isn't a full crew there. The traffic will be lighter, the pace less busy. However, if there is a full crew, the Hostler can be run as a separate job and someone gets to have the fun of pulling the appropriate power from the roundhouse, make sure it's fuel water and sand is full, then place the engine on the ready track.

Road crews have the responsibility of pulling their locos from the train, and placing it on the approach track to the roundhouse, then the Hostler can take over, dump the ashes and put the loco into the roundhouse or one of the outside service tracks, till its needed again.

Ken, I'm familiar with Craig's design page, and I'm happy to say the name has changed to 10 Tips for yard design. That states much better what they are. When taken as a "Tip", it definitely sounds much less arrogant than ,"Commandment". Commandment, as I see it, implies, "You MUST do this or you're not doing it right". With my experience in the hobby, I know that the way I do something is "correct" only for me, and me alone. The techniques I use may be perfect for me, but I know that they may be incomprehensible or even "feel" wrong for someone else.

My layout will be run as a relaxing play time, rather than as a "gotta run all trains, no matter what" or a layout whose action is dictated not just by a formal schedule but also with a fast clock. These 2 things seems to me to cause more stress in an op session than anything else. The hobby is supposed to be relaxing, not something that causes one to become stressed out.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Iron Horseman

Well-Known Member
It seems like just the right size to keep the yardmaster occupied - but NOT stressed - for ~2 hours, the typical 'scheduled' time of one of my op sessions.
Wouldn't the "business" of a yard depend on the traffic and complexity of the work and not necessarily the size of the yard? Assuming we are talking about a classification yard, I wonder if one could put together a formula for such a thing. What would the variables be...
1. Number of trains arriving in a given time period.
2. Size of arrival train.
3. Number of trains departing in a given time period.
4. Size of departing trains.
5. number destinations being served.
6. number of yard tracks.
7. length of yard tracks.
8. number of yard leads & number of locos working the yard.
9. and I guess length of leads
10. timing (spacing) of the arriving and departing trains.
11. yard speed limit
12. size of caboose track (assuming caboose are in use).
and ummmmmm . . . . . . what am I forgetting?
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
I will bring up an additional item, which I almost forgot. I had my yard and engine terminal all laid out (including a caboose track) until it dawned on me that I forgot a service track to deliver coal and diesel fuel to the engine facility. Oops. It will have one as soon as I can fine a few more pieces of code 70 flex track.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Iron Horseman, how can a well designed yard, that does what the owner wants, not be a properly designed yard?

If the yard does what the owner wants it to, and functions as the owner wants it to function, it has to be properly designed for that owner. Plus it depends on the situation of the layout what the yard represents. Branchline yard, Classification yard, a midpoint yard?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

otiscnj

Well-Known Member
A few thoughts:

When I got into the hobby in the 70's I wanted a yard, shortly after I built my first layout(with my Dad's support). Why? To show off my collection of equipment, + because a 'yard,' was a prototypical 'layout design element,' at that time. Bruce Chubb's first book on Operation came out about that time. Shortly after that was the RMC V&O article series, which focused my attention on more 'prototypical' aspects of railroad operations.

With later layouts, I had basically storage, or staging yards, to feed trains onto the layout, + a small classification yard, to swap blocks, and do light classificaiton.

Today, I still plan on including a staging yard, but also looking at how the yard will be used, in terms of classifying freight for local industries, and blocking outgoing trains for beyond the basement destinations. Today, I'm concerned about having the right number of tracks, to do all this, plus keep the yard fluid. Won't know for a while whether I've succeeded or not.

In terms of whether I think every layout needs a yard, my answer is it depends. If the owner is interested in mainline traffic, then they'll probably need a decently designed staging yard, that directs trains into and off of the proper track. As for classification or sorting of cars for local delivery or pick up, depending on a layout, it might just be an extra siding in a team track, or station area.

As for having a properly designed yard, and a properly designed yard for a given layout, they aren't the same thing to me. May be semantics to some, but a properly designed yard has sufficient infrastructure to support fluid operations. A model railroader if he or she doesn't have sufficent space, but wants or needs to include a certain location on his/her layout, may elimiate portions of a prototype yard, due to space or scenic considerations, say if scenery is more important to him/her.
 

montanan

Whiskey Merchant
"If the yard does what the owner wants it to, and functions as the owner wants it to function, it has to be properly designed for that owner. Plus it depends on the situation of the layout what the yard represents. Branchline yard, Classification yard, a midpoint yard?"

Well put. It would all depend on what the modeler needs. Some layouts may just need staging yards where a long train can be stored when not in use. Other yards could be used to transfer cars at a junction, or as in my case, I have a yard at each end of my main line which are used to either make up outbound trains, or break down freight cars for delivery to industries along my mainline.

For some layouts, a yard may not be a critical part of operation whereas in my case, operation is dependent on the yards. Not having the room for a long mainline, switching is my interest. A yard will have inbound trains that may have freight delivering to industries in the towns that my road serves, or through freight to other roads "offstage" at the other end. After a local train switches local industries, and freight cars are then brought into either yard and made up into trains again going to other "offstage" railroads.

The need for a yard, and what kind of yard will differ from model railroad to model railroad depending on the operating scheme of the railroad.
 

cv_acr

Active Member
Iron Horseman, how can a well designed yard, that does what the owner wants, not be a properly designed yard?

It could be a well designed yard for one purpose, but then the layout owner copies this yard design he saw somewhere, but uses it in a different way, for which it was not designed for.

For example, that "10 Commandments" link is a good list of guidelines to consider when designing a yard, but there's a lot of real-world yards that might only score a 2/10 compared to those requirements. If one were to blindly follow that list exactly and not understand HOW they're going to operate the yard, it is not properly designed.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
It could be a well designed yard for one purpose, but then the layout owner copies this yard design he saw somewhere, but uses it in a different way, for which it was not designed for.

For example, that "10 Commandments" link is a good list of guidelines to consider when designing a yard, but there's a lot of real-world yards that might only score a 2/10 compared to those requirements. If one were to blindly follow that list exactly and not understand HOW they're going to operate the yard, it is not properly designed.

Well now see, what my point is, if the yard works for that owner, whether he operate it the same way as the guy who originally designed it, it can still be considered a properly designed yard.

Now, if he copies it, and its doesn't work the way he wants it to, then its not designed properly.
 

L&N Castle

Active Member
Carey,would it be safe to say that one yard is perfect for one layout,but may not work for another layout? Even if it is or isn't modified? William
 




Affiliate Disclosure: We may receive a commision from some of the links and ads shown on this website (Learn More Here)


ModelRailroadForums.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com

RailroadBookstore.com - An online railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used railroad books. Railroad pictorials, railroad history, steam locomotives, passenger trains, modern railroading. Hundreds of titles available, most at discount prices! We also have a video and children's book section.

ModelRailroadBookstore.com - An online model railroad bookstore featuring a curated selection of new and used books. Layout design, track plans, scenery and structure building, wiring, DCC, Tinplate, Toy Trains, Price Guides and more.

Top