The illusion of distance--do I need it or what?

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Steve B

Firefighter
Fred the Flashlight or is it Flasher Fred

As for the illusion of distance, i don't have space for hidden staging as almost everything will be visible, i'v seen HO scale layouts with a loop of N around the back behind all the structures and it looked very good, you could even use Z scale to give the illusion of distance, you could have a small loop behind an industrial area or in a valley, you'd only have to have a few feet showing to grab the viewers attention
 

Lady_Railfan

House Mother, Cheerleader
Aha. Great minds think alike, Steve. :) I guess my speculation back on page 1 of this thread about using HO on a G layout wasn't so wacky after all.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Based on old, books, mags, pictures, and in some cases films, that I have seen, it seems that the only changes/advancements that has occured in recent years have been on the technical side and not the theoretical side.
In the beginning of MR, they wanted to model/duplicate the operations of a real railroad. The problem was how to take 100's of miles of prototype track and operating devices and duplicate it on a 4x8 bench and have a realistic operation. This is now virgin territory so ideas were plentiful and easy to come by. Through trail and error, various methods were accepted as a preferred way of accomplishing certain tasks. Now, to think of these pioneers as wondermen is quite an exageration when many of these methods naturally evolved in the conversion of prototype to model. No different than me using Velcro to hold my Tortoise in place 1.5 years ahead of the MR mag article. No great feat from thought...just needed a better way.

How many times can you invent the wheel or a figure 8? Only once, but you can improve it.
Now, if we say a staging yard (topic subject) is the wheel then lets think of how that has been improved through the years:design? electronic detection/control? What about Waybills/car cards/train orders (as mentioned) that can be randomly generated by a computer with print outs and inventory control. Yes, some of this could be considered technical development, but is it not improving and developing for more realistic operations? I believe both of the terms you used go hand-in-hand and that there have been many advances in all facets of MR. Some just have a more technical dependency than others...the same as prototype railroads

Brakie, I was around in MR in the late 60's and 70's. When I recently returned to the hobby a few years ago, the advances since that time were staggering. I agree with you in that stagging is not an absolute, but I also don't believe there are but a few absolutes in this hobby. Perhaps a lot of druthers.:D

Carey: Would you mind writing what you believe is an area of operations that still needs developing or even improvement. This is not being sarcastic, but instead a way I can help better understand your position.
 
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Brakie

Member
Rex said:I also don't believe there are but a few absolutes in this hobby. Perhaps a lot of druthers.
=========================================================
Absolutely! I fully agree this hobby is based on a modelers druthers and he/she can go for all the Christmas tree ornaments and other whimsy or the modeler can enjoy the very basics of model railroading without the ornaments and whimsy that's found in the hobby.:D
And thats the pure beauty of this hobby.:D
 

Brunton

Wyoming native
I originally posted this in Spacemouse's thread on staging, but it seemes it fits here at least as well----

Here is my own staging:

The three tracks in the reversing loop at the top left corner is Lusk staging, representing the C&NW eastbound from Wendover (Orin on the layout) through Lusk and on to points east.


This shows the big staging yards. It represents primarily the NP transcontinental, but also the continuation of the CB&Q line from Orin Junction to points east. The heavier-line trackage at Laurel is all that is (or all that will be, maybe I should say) visible on the layout. Trains will come into Laurel from east and west staging areas. Most will simply pass through Laurel without stopping, but some will drop cars bound down into Wyoming and points east through Nebraska (out through CB&Q East from Orin Junction - meaning around the Wyoming Main and back out the Frannie cutoff through Laurel, at this point representing Scottsbluff Nebraska), and other trains will come off the Frannie Cutoff, with cars bound for east and west destinations.

This staging arrangement is key to the functioning of the entire layout. Over half the projected traffic on the layout will come from or go to staging, most from the two NP yards. Without staging, my planned operating scheme would not have nearly the flexibility it has, nor be nearly as realistic as I think it will be. For example, the Husky refinery in Cody made mostly asphalt, and some heavy oils. On the layout, it gets its incoming commodities (mostly chemicals used in the refining processes) exclusively from staging. Likewise, all of its heavy oils, and nearly all of its asphalt goes to staging, with just a little bit of asphalt going to Greybull Roads. This allows the refinery to produce a relatively large number of tank car loads, while the only on-layout user, Greybull Roads, can use only a few loads at a time. Realistic, and it generates interesting traffic patterns. The excess tank cars (complete trains, actually) will go mostly to Frannie/Orin and down to Laurel, where they will await pickup by an NP freight. But some trains must go to Casper to be reclassified into new trains, as some cars will go east through Orin/Frannie to Scottsbluff, (though the physical destination on the layout is the same as for the cars heading to Laurel and the NP - the big staging yards, the route over the layout is different), some cars will go east on the C&NW to its three-track staging loop at Lusk, and a few will be sorted into local trains that will drop the cars at Greybull Roads. This sort of operational flexibility would be impossible without staging, and it's found for several of the industries on my layout.

The biggest advantage of all this staging is that operating sessions will vary greatly from one to the next. Greybull Roads may get a delivery in one session and no deliveries for three more. Some sessions may see the main classification yard at Casper frantic with activity, while others will see it just moderately busy. Every local through Greybull won't switch the same industries every time. Some sessions may see several bulk trains arrive in Casper for re-sorting and dispatching, and others may see only one or two. There will be a very prototypical ebb and flow to the traffic, and repetitious patterns will be avoided.

Staging, at least on my own layout, is the only way it will be an operational success.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
RexHea said:
Carey: Would you mind writing what you believe is an area of operations that still needs developing or even improvement. This is not being sarcastic, but instead a way I can help better understand your position.

Rex;

I agree with what you've said thru out your post. As to an area of operations where things can be in need advancement, change, or improvement, how about all. Can I name some of these improvements? Not for anyone's layout but mine. No matter who developed what system, because my layout is different from the developer's, I don't expect an already developed method to work flawlessly with my layout, this is where the improvements come in. This is why even if there is a sytem that we may already use, we are always looking for something better. I don't think the "ultimate" operations method that can fit all situations has been, or, ever will be developed for this reason.

Some background. IMHO I do believe that that operation boils down to two basic types, and all methods come from these. Some methods are one or the other, while some are a combination of both. These basic methods are TRAIN oriented and CAR oriented.

TRAIN oriented would be where the movement of the train is more important. These are the layouts that uses schedules, timetables, fast clocks etc. The cars are dealt with on SOME of these layouts almost as an afterthought.

CAR oriented ops are centered on the individual cars. The final destination of the cars becomes most important. These layouts would be the "all trains are extras" type. No real schedule, timetable or clocks. The train actually becomes secondary except to get the car to its destination.

The "pioneers/innovators" all came up with different methods but they were based still on one of these basic forms of ops. The trick is to find what is the better fit, for each situation, and then improve it, thus making it the best fit.

As I see it, this could be a threefold process.
1. Use one method of what has come before.
2. Use a combo of two or more developed methods. This is what some of the newer computer programs try. Some programs being better than others.
3. Use a totally new method of your own design. (Publish it and be considered an innovator).:D
 
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RexHea

RAIL BENDER
CJ: I understand your point of view and believe that the meaning of our posts are similar, but we approach it differently. I guess:confused: :D .

Quick summary:
Referring back to the subject of this topic, my opinion is that if a person wants a staging yard or needs it for his operation...then he should have it. However, no one should ever feel like this or any other thing is a have to for his layout just because someone today or 50 years ago said so. If you will pardon my name dropping (I hate it:p .), even in John Armstrong's book, " Track Planning for Realistic Operations" that so many rely on, plainly offers optionsthat you may use for different scenerios. Never does it say that a particular design is required for an operation or layout.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
RexHea said:
CJ: I understand your point of view and believe that the meaning of our posts are similar, but we approach it differently. I guess:confused: :D .

Quick summary:
Referring back to the subject of this topic, my opinion is that if a person wants a staging yard or needs it for his operation...then he should have it. However, no one should ever feel like this or any other thing is a have to for his layout just because someone today or 50 years ago said so. If you will pardon my name dropping (I hate it:p .), even in John Armstrong's book, " Track Planning for Realistic Operations" that so many rely on, plainly offers optionsthat you may use for different scenerios. Never does it say that a particular design is required for an operation or layout.
Exactly!:p Staging is an option, only an option. Its one of many. Way back when this started, and it was mentioned that someone didn't use staging yards, but he still used staging by "hiding" his trains in places not easily seen.

That is one reason why I don't like some of the "modern" concepts of trackplanning as put forth by some of the groups on the web/in mags. One group even has theirs labled "commandments" which implies this is the only way. IT IS NOT. Ya know, to this day I have never seen a prototype that does what they say you have to do to have a smooth running "prototypical" yard. And that includes the big yard for the NS here. I'm not saying its not done, I'm just saying I've never seen it. Because there are exceptions, and enough of them, on several prototypes, this negates the "commandment" statements.

Too many new modelers read stuff like this, and then decide that because they can't do what someone says, the modeler leaves the hobby, or he never builds a layout because someone said he had to do this. They don't realize that this is just an option.

That is what its all about. Options. Anyone who implies/says/infers there is only one way to do something, is giving bad advice.
 
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Brakie

Member
I am a member of a local Layout Design Sig which meets one a month..We had a guest speaker that proceeded to teach us poor illiterate layout designers the pros of the 10 "commandments" of layout planning and yard design,the evil "S" curves,yards built on curves etc and how one must never design a layout without using these layout and yard design "commandments" . A lenghtly debate ensued and I am sure he did not like what was said about his ""commandments".. His defense was "These are modern layout concepts put forth by experts in designing layouts."
As a group we strongly believe in good LDEs BASED solely on a modelers layout druthers and not those of others because everybody's LDEs differ due to their personal layout druthers.
As far as yards having curves I know of several prototype examples.

As far as hidden stagging I am a supporter of that LDE but not as a absolute must have..However..There are layouts that doesn't need stagging at all such as size,type of layout such as a out and back branch line,a urban industrial branch line, a short line and other similar layouts.
 
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Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Brakie said:
...We had a guest speaker that proceeded to teach us poor illiterate layout designers the pros of the 10 "commandments" of layout planning and yard design,the evil "S" curves,yards built on curves etc and how one must never design a layout without using these layout and yard design "commandments" .His defense was "These are modern layout concepts put forth by experts in designing layouts."
I would love to see what these "experts" would say upon their seeing;
Siebert Yards in Mobile, has a curve in it. Apparently a no-no
Norris Yards here. West end has NO yard leads and the switchers block the mainlines constantly.:eek: Another no-no
Selma, Al. NS yard. The mainline is the A/D track and the yard lead. :eek:
Mobile, AL. NS yard. Same situation as Selma.
Mobile, Al. BNSF yard. This yard is truely individual. :rolleyes:The yard is oriented, north to south like the NS, in fact a street separates the two, but whereas the NS lead/main runs from the north end, the BNSF runs from the south end. Trouble is the old GM&O passenger terminal and engine terminal and yard, cuts NW to SE at the "bottom" of the NS & BNSF. Result is the BNSF's single lead/main is located on a TIGHT curve, almost a full 180` that also contains the interchange track between ALL the RRs in Mobile and the Terminal RR of Alabama. Better known as the Alabama State Docks RR. And to top it all off, all of the yard tracks kick off of the main/lead and as a result there is not an engine escape track at the end. NO-NO:eek:

Commandments indeed!
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Cjcrescent said:
I would love to see what these "experts" would say upon their seeing;
Siebert Yards in Mobile, has a curve in it. Apparently a no-no
Norris Yards here. West end has NO yard leads and the switchers block the mainlines constantly.:eek: Another no-no
Selma, Al. NS yard. The mainline is the A/D track and the yard lead. :eek:
Mobile, AL. NS yard. Same situation as Selma.
Mobile, Al. BNSF yard...and as a result there is not an engine escape track at the end.
ROTFLMAO!:p :D :p
 
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Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
Just remembered another one;

L&N yards-Selma, Al. Shutdown now. main is yard lead. Also to get to the engine service facilities, (which until 1976, had a small working TT), the engines had to cross the mainline of the SRR, now NS, via a switchback. To top it off, it was a double ended yard on a curve, no straight track at all and the north end of the main/lead crossed the same SRR as the engine terminal tracks. This crossing was controlled by the SRR dispatcher in B'ham and anytime they needed to switch that end of the yard, they either had to move only one or two cars at a time to keep the crossing clear, or move the entire string, pull it totally across the diamond, and sort the string using the first part of the switchback and the L&N/SRR interchange. Then put the string back together and move it back onto the same track, run around to the south end, pull it back out the south end, and put the cars onto the appropriate tracks/trains. To make matters even "worse" Selma had an ordiance prohibiting the blocking of a road crossing for more than ten minutes, and it was enforced.

Another nn shot down.
 

jbaakko

Diesel Detail Freak
I think what we're mistaking here, is all the "experts" were giving these "rules" not for prototypical operation all the time, but in some ways, ease of & smooth operation of our model RR's. Adding a yard lead, avoiding 'S' curves, staging, ect. were all thought up to help model rr's avoid being frustrated by somthing that will snag, or derail freight cars...

But as with EVERYTHING and ANYTHING we/they say, its all a suggestion, and you're more then welcome to build it any way you want. Just remember that some things can cause headaches later.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Very good, Carey, Brakie, and all.
When I was ready to return to the hobby, I was so intimidated by all of the have-to's and should-have's that I almost never started...particularly when I sharpened the pencil and added the cost:eek: .

I do hope that those that are ready to start their layouts understand that what they read in books/mags/forums are merely options or present the methods used by individuals for their own layout and not intended to be absolute requirements for all. I believe those that offer advice by saying "...you have-to because it was published in..." are either trying to impress their own ideas on an individual using a published name for support or lack the ability to be creative enough to think for themselves.

Josh, I don't think anyone is saying that there is not a need for teaching proper installation of track, yards, staging, leads, and etc. nor are we saying that these will not help your operation. However, we are trying to point out that you do have a choice to use these designs or not and that they may not be an individual's best option.
 
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Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
This has been one fine discussion. We have heard from many sides with many differing opinions, but there has been one thing I don't know if anyone noticed or not.

No namecalling, flaming, sarcasm, complaining at/about each other, just no contention whatsoever. :D Just a very good discussion.

This is what I always thought a forum should be like.:D

I don't think it would have happened at the "mall".:rolleyes:

I'm proud of yall! :) (That's youse guys for those from NJ)

GOOD JOB!


Whose ready for round 2???:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:;););):p:p


 

Brunton

Wyoming native
When discussing how things are done in the real world vs. how they are done by modelers, we need to keep a few things in mind -

1. Real railroads connect to the rest of the world. "Staging" is a purely modeling concept with no real-life counterpart (except "the rest of the world").

2. The model layout is at best a grossly condensed version of the real world. Take the ubiqitous 4X8 HO layout. Some of these small layouts are very nice model railroads, and some manage decent operations for one or two people. In real life, that 32 square feet would scale up to just over 5.5 acres. Maybe there a few industrial areas in real life that size, but any sort of mainline operation? No way! Even my own double deck 30X29 layout only scales up to about 300 acres, and that size includes non-layout areas like aisleways. That's a large layout, but it's under 1/2 a square mile.

3. Traffic densities are quite often greatly exaggerated on model railroads vs. the prototype. How many operations-oriented layouts do you know that run only one or two trains over the mainline in a 24 hour operating period? But a LOT of prototype secondary mailines see densities near that number. Instead, you may see eight or ten or more trains on the model in that time period.

So what's all that mean? For a realistic way to simulate connections to the outside world, staging is one of the best. You may just be stopping a train in a tunnel for a few minutes or leaving one sit at the station, but in effect it's still staging.

Because of 2 and 3 above, not including a yard lead, for example, can severly impact model layout operations, whereas on a real railroad it might be a minor inconvenience or no inconvenience at all, if the traffic density is low enough (conversely, on the real railroad even a minor inconvenience is looked at in terms of MONEY, whereas on a layout it's merely ease of use).

One of the things that drives me nuts about the layout design "experts" is their general statement of what one might call "preferred practices" or maybe "design guidelines" as "commandments." Maybe it's generally better to not put a yard on a curve, but it's not a rule. Tell me your reasons for recommending against it, but DON'T tell me I'm wrong if I do it (the reason it's not a good idea goes back, I think, to my number 2 above - the curves are so condensed, i.e., tighter than prototype, that coupling becomes an issues at times). Likewise yard lead or no, S-curve issues, etc. Tell me about "commandments" and I'll just ask who annointed you an "expert" and made you God of layout design?

But tell me about your preferred practices and the rationale behind each of them and I'll listen carefully, weigh your practices against my needs, incorporate the ones that make sense to me and ignore the ones that seem inapplicable to my situation.

Wow. Long-winded, huh?
 
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