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

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Brakie

Member
Mark,Nice observations!:D
For discussion.
1.Real railroads stage trains that are awaiting crews.Of course I believe their staging tracks are called outbound ready tracks.:D

2.Absolutely! Of course there are exceptions such as a switching road that serves one industrial park such as Progressive Rail before it expanded its operation.

3.I always thought one could model real traffic density by modeling a short line or branch line..It is MY thoughts one could duplicate operations based on a given day or several days to include a engine leaving the yard light to pick up cars that are loaded or empty at industries or perhaps a short run to the interchange track.I fully believe this *might* be among the best realistic operation themes.

Now one can always run X many loops between industries to lengthen the run as well as stopping in a tunnel.Of course one could "turn" his train after switching the last industry by running around his train and then head back for the yard making X many loops or stopping in the tunnel before "arriving" at the yard.:D
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
I think the prototype probably wouldn't want to have those no-nos if they could help it. Or, it just wasn't an issue for them at the location where the no-no occurs. Or, like the curve, that was what the geography gave them, and the fact that perhaps the curve wasn't great (like, a #22 turnout vs our #8s), wasn't a big deal.

If you want to put that stuff in there, you can. But, there are pitfalls, and if you want to learn the hard way...... I don't consider them commandments, but you do violate them at your own peril. And, that's usually after you've built and scenicked it all.

Kennedy
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
Brakie said:
3.I always thought one could model real traffic density by modeling a short line or branch line..It is MY thoughts one could duplicate operations based on a given day or several days to include a engine leaving the yard light to pick up cars that are loaded or empty at industries or perhaps a short run to the interchange track.I fully believe this *might* be among the best realistic operation themes.

Now one can always run X many loops between industries to lengthen the run as well as stopping in a tunnel.Of course one could "turn" his train after switching the last industry by running around his train and then head back for the yard making X many loops or stopping in the tunnel before "arriving" at the yard.:D
I do both of these. One part is the switching layout; there's a daily 'job' that services every industry there. Up to 9 cars in, up to 9 cars out. Another local picks up and sets out cars destined for this area.

The other part is 'on line' industries, which are served by a different local/turn. A number of loops gets you from the interchange to the end, service whatever industries on the way, run around the train, head back the other way. Same # of 'laps'.

Seems to work OK, but it does get old if you do it too often.

Kennedy
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
I agree with what has been said about using the word 'commandment' instead of 'recommended practice.' I'm guessing that the guys who coined the term probably thought their messages were so "critically important" [for trouble-free operation] that they could get more people to read their articles - probably never realized the push-back reaction they'd provoke.

I must say though, I've picked up some great ideas from this thread. One of them is, for the way-freight switching my lineside industries on the main, I can do a complete 'lap' around the layout between each industry in separate towns to make the run appear longer.

I don't have group op sessions on my layout, and since the time available to me [for mrr operation] is precious and scarce, I don't think boredom and repetition will be a problem for me.:D
 
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OldGettysk

Running the MC & Buffalo
I think the fun of running trains and switching up your industries should be left up to the individual model railroader. Is that not why we have gotten into this Hobby. For the fun of owning your own little railroad empire. And whatever rules you make on it sholud be your right to enjoy it. OLDGETTYSK
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
...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.
Mark, I believe the wisdom your words have in this paragraph says it all. This is how I have tried to build my layout after realizing that not all shoes will fit my foot nor do I always like the style. But, I will listen...I will learn...I will build.

I agree with Carey;this is one heck of a good run of posts. Thanks guys, I really enjoy your views and hope we have more.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
OldGettysk said:
I think the fun of running trains and switching up your industries should be left up to the individual model railroader. Is that not why we have gotten into this Hobby. For the fun of owning your own little railroad empire. And whatever rules you make on it sholud be your right to enjoy it. OLDGETTYSK
Well said, well said. This is almost what my Dad said to me many, many times.
"Its my RR and I'll run it anyway I D*** well please!":D

I'm not saying that the "commandments" aren't good advice, in many ways it is. But I believe that it was John Armstrong (name dropped! Someone pick it up!:)) , who said; "If you observe and follow what the prototype did, you can't go wrong." , was more correct than these guys will ever be.
 
Cjcrescent said:
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.
And even better than that. It was unique to this forum, not just rehash from trains.com like so many other threads here are.....
 

Brakie

Member
OldGettysk said:
I think the fun of running trains and switching up your industries should be left up to the individual model railroader. Is that not why we have gotten into this Hobby. For the fun of owning your own little railroad empire. And whatever rules you make on it should be your right to enjoy it. OLDGETTYSK

Absolutely! One always has that choice..:D
You see one guy/gal can operate his layout based on his "customer" needs on a "daily" bases or operate his/her layout with their personal whims based on their operation mood such as switching industries,just doing yard work or just letting a train run while they are relaxing from a day's work.. :D
That's the beauty of operation in its truest form based on your person whims and rules and not that of others.:D
 

cuyama

Member
Cjcrescent said:
But I believe that it was John Armstrong (name dropped! Someone pick it up!:)) , who said; "If you observe and follow what the prototype did, you can't go wrong." , was more correct than these guys will ever be.
John Armstrong was a long-time member of the Layout Design SIG, so he was "one of those guys".

I've been part of the Layout Design SIG for many years, been to many meetings, even know the guys some of you seem to be complaining about, and the criticism is way overblown. I was on a LDSIG layout tour some time ago and one of the layouts offered was Snap-Track wired with Atlas DC Selectors and Controllers -- somewhat more basic than the group usually sees on their tours.

The group of LDSIG'ers were unfailingly polite and helpful in their comments to the owner.

Everyone seems to want to take offense, but it's a bit over-the-top here. Yes, I wish Craig had used something other than the word "commandments" in his discussion of yard concepts. But that's the only place I've ever seen the word used by any LDSIG member. Knowing Craig reasonably well, I believe he used the term somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

regards,

Byron
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
cuyama said:
John Armstrong was a long-time member of the Layout Design SIG, so he was "one of those guys".

The group of LDSIG'ers were unfailingly polite and helpful in their comments to the owner.

Everyone seems to want to take offense, but it's a bit over-the-top here. Yes, I wish Craig had used something other than the word "commandments" in his discussion of yard concepts. But that's the only place I've ever seen the word used by any LDSIG member. Knowing Craig reasonably well, I believe he used the term somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

regards,

Byron
Byron;

Its not that I'm/we are taking offense to the concepts, ideas and to the people, especially the people, but the WAY the concepts were presented is what gripes me personally. I don't think that anyone would have taken offense if the "commandments" were worded something else than "Thall shalt not..." tongue in cheek notwithstanding. It makes the whole thing reek of arrogance. Plus we both know that there are enough exceptions to what was said to belie the title. If he had said, "This is what I have found that works well, based on the XYZ's RR practices, I don't think this topic would have gone in the direction it did. I really think that he should give serious consideration to rewriting his ideas into a "softer" form.

I have followed alot of the concepts of the SIG myself and have found that overall there is a ton of good advice that comes from the SIG. I was a member myself when it first started, but I let my membership lapse when a friend of mine. who was also a member, and I lost contact.

I knew John was a member. I met him at a NMRA convention back over twenty years ago. During the conventions we would meet for lunch and just talk. He told me personally that if you're modelling a prototype, or freelancing your own, follow what the prototype had to do in the area, or if you're freelancing, find out what the nearest prototypes did in the same area, and you'll never go wrong.
 

cuyama

Member
Cjcrescent said:
I knew John was a member. I met him at a NMRA convention back over twenty years ago. During the conventions we would meet for lunch and just talk. He told me personally that if you're modelling a prototype, or freelancing your own, follow what the prototype had to do in the area, or if you're freelancing, find out what the nearest prototypes did in the same area, and you'll never go wrong.
And of course, the real genius of John Armstrong was knowing the prototype well enough to know when to deviate from it or add to it to deal with the shorter distances and excessive traffic volumes of most model railroads.

Irate posters chafe under advice from so-called "experts", but my own feeling is that if more newbies to design would just adapt the John Armstrong suggested yard layouts from Track Planning for Realistic Operations (recently reprinted in MR magazine), there would be a lot fewer cockamamie yard designs being paraded around on the Internet. By the way, John's suggestions include yard leads, A/D tracks, etc. No, they aren't found in every prototype yard, but they help our too-busy model yards work more smoothly.

Regards,

Byron
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
cuyama said:
Irate posters chafe under advice from so-called "experts", but my own feeling is that if more newbies to design would just adapt the John Armstrong suggested yard layouts from Track Planning for Realistic Operations (recently reprinted in MR magazine), there would be a lot fewer cockamamie yard designs being paraded around on the Internet. By the way, John's suggestions include yard leads, A/D tracks, etc. No, they aren't found in every prototype yard, but they help our too-busy model yards work more smoothly.

Regards,

Byron
The book is generally the first piece of advice I give people about track planning, and I couldn't agree with you more about yard design. :D As I said before, the LDSIG has imparted alot of good suggestions and advice over the years and it is up to the individual to decide to follow or not.:)

But it goes back to what I and others have stated. Its the way the advice is presented.:( Someone once said when publishing on a technical subject, "Never bring politics or religion into the article. All you do is piss your target audience off." :rolleyes:
 
Cjcrescent said:
This is almost what my Dad said to me many, many times.
"Its my RR and I'll run it anyway I D*** well please!"
That is an often stated philosophy, not only for layout design but for every aspect of model railroading. It is good to the point where it keeps someone from trying something new, or considering another facette of the hobby that perhaps they haven't explored before. I don't know where I would be today if I would have thrown out that phrase the first time someone suggested I try something more prototypical.
 

RexHea

RAIL BENDER
Irate posters chafe under advice from so-called "experts", but my own feeling is that if more newbies to design would just adapt the John Armstrong suggested yard layouts from Track Planning for Realistic Operations
I don't think anyone here has a "raw spot" because of suggestions or the work of pioneers in MR design, but do have a problem with others misquoting them and by using their names to support non-existing absolutes in this hobby.

I have just finished going back through John Armstrong's books "Track Planning for Realistic Operation" and "Creative Layout Design" to see if there were any mention of have-to-do designs. Nowhere did I find this. Instead, I see a lot of good information of prototype operations and how you can model these with creative modifications. While he gives examples of his designs and recommendations, he still stresses the use of the individual's creativity to match an operation to the space available and to design this by, "... not violating too many principles of practical model railroading..."

"Now that we no longer need to spend precious hours researching, scratchbuilding, inventing, developing, and procuring in piecemeal the locomotives, cars, trackwork, and structures that are essential ingredients of the model railroad, we can become more creative railroad modelers. Here's your invitation to take an imaginative, thoughtful look at the big picture, the final layout--a layout whose personality will set it apart from every other pike in the country and one that you'll never find on the hobby shop shelf."....John Armstrong

I believe there are two emphasized meanings here: Individualism and Creativity
 
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Brunton

Wyoming native
Many of the pioneers of model railroading became experts by general assent of the modeling public. For the most part, they were anything but arrogant (there were a few exceptions). Maybe it's my imagination, but the "experts" in many facets of model railroading today are not generally proclaimed by the modeling public, but instead by a modeling press that itself seems increasingly arrogant, by the NMRA (though probably not intentionally), or by themselves.

While not universal by any means, surprisingly often these "experts" come across with the attitude "If you're not doing it the way I tell you to, you don't know what you're doing, you fool." It isn't a matter of helping out modelers for the sake of helping them out as much as it's now a matter of helping them out for the sake of the accompanying ego rush. All too often it isn't a dialogue anymore; it's a pendantic lecture.

That's how it seems to me.

Or maybe I'm just old and cranky.
 

cuyama

Member
RexHea said:
I believe there are two emphasized meanings here: Individualism and Creativity
All well and good. But the simple fact remains that too much creativity and individualism without enough background knowledge leads to unworkable designs.

One sees these every day posted on the Internet. My specific point was that many of these newbies to design would have had a better result by adapting Armstrong's "best-practice" designs instead of creating their own, filled with unworkable s-curves and yard tracks 6 inches long. I'll stand by that point.
 
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cuyama

Member
Brunton said:
While not universal by any means, surprisingly often these "experts" come across with the attitude "If you're not doing it the way I tell you to, you don't know what you're doing, you fool." .
Since the "offending" web page on yard design includes this direct quote (emphasis mine):

"These 'Commandments' should serve to drive and inspire the design process, rather than enforce blind obedience to an arbitrary list of commandments. In other words: Read these rules, understand the reasons why things work the way they do, then apply the knowledge to your specific needs. Then apply them as you see fit, based on what you need done on your layout."

... it would seem to me that there is a lot less dogma than is being protrayed in postings to this thread.

Again, I personally wish Craig had chosen different terminology than the word "commandments". But based on the excerpt above, I'll submit that his heart is in the right place.

My last post to this thread and topic. In trying to set a record straight I appear to have only incited additional recitations of perceived offenses.

Regards,

Byron
 
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Brakie

Member
Byron and Guys,I am not sure how to put this so please bear with me.
I have notice the influx of "self appointed experts" that uses terms like layout s"Commandments',"operation comments" etc that brow beats the new modeler in designing his/her first layout believing he/she must follow the "expert layout design commandments" which as we know is far from the truth and as I said many times before a layout is a PERSONAL thing solely based on a modelers druthers..
I think its funny that John Armstrong Tony Koester,David Barrow and other layout planing greats never had to stoop to such terms.The term Layout Design Elements or LDEs for short just gives you food for thought in designing a layout which IMHO everybody is free to use or reject and sounds more user friendly then the term "layout or yard commandments"..:eek:
I hope this came out the way I intended it to..:D
 




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