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


Registered Member
Staff member
mean, even if I am sticking to a fast clock, I still know I am parked in a tunnel. What's up with that?

Does this fire anyone's rockets?
Yep I think a lot of rockets were fired.
Chip my thought on it is if that's what you want to do then do it. Now while it's doing time in the tunnel you need a distraction to pass the time, a small yard and a shunter would fill that time gap nicely. When the time has passed shunter goes to a siding and the passenger train comes on stage.
Basically this is the same scenario I plan to use. I have 6 loops, one will hold the passenger the rest will be freights. Lets say for each day theres one passenger run to the east and later in the day the passenger train returns going west. in between there will be five freights run. To make it a bit realistic for a short line the switchers will be at work delivering and picking up to make up consists for the freights. This would be difficult on a small layout but along with one or two freights from a staging area, yes it's possible. Use your ingenuity.
Cheers Willis


New Member
I understand what you mean by the illusion of distance thing. It probably would be better to have fewer locations and a larger spacing between them then the parking a hidden train. That's one of the big challenges that I have had since I'm modeling passenger service as much as freight (actually, more initially but for this layout with only two towns the freight will take up more operational time).

In fact, I've noticed that the trend nowadays is towards less hidden track on the layout, whereas looking at older layouts there is a lot more.

I am planning on using the concept, though not just for distance. Because of my limited space I only have two towns represented, with a loop at either end. One loop will be hidden under a hill, with some staging, but also trains going under the hill will stop for a period of time. They may return, or they may be replaced by a waiting train.

However, if I had the space to model the next stop on the line, the same thing would happen since it's the end of the line. The trains would go the 10 miles or so to Springfield Union Station, be turned, and come back the other direction. It would take a fair amount of time, so I'm not opposed to hiding it in the tunnel. In fact, the tunnel itself will be hidden, it just looks like the train is going behind a ridge to block the operator's view when they're working the town.

The other loop is in the open and will also serve as staging as well as a yard. It won't function entirely prototypically, but the intent is to keep it within the realm of believability and to allow some yard-switching fun as well as modeling opportunities.

In the future, when I have space to model the Springfield station I mentioned, it will also have offline staging. There are two other railroads that share the station, and they will come out of staging and go back in on their way 'elsewhere.'


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