The Rad Roster Challenge #1

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.


We have seen lots of “what is your roster”, and what is the most “xxxx” locomotive, so I want to try something a bit different that requires a bit of thinking. So here it is, The Rad Roster Challenge.

The mission, if one decides to accept it, is to develop a roster for the railroad described. One can consider power needs, manufacturer, past history, aesthetics, economy, economics, marketing appeal, and even preference of the General Manager or President. The answer is a simple list of the era appropriate locomotives, quantity, and their assignments. The list is then followed by a brief description of why these locomotives were chosen.

Railroad -
The date is 1934. Geography is plains, max grade .04% and never more than 1/4 mile at a time. The railroad after struggling through hard times, makes a connection with a second class one. It is a trunk line which now happens to be the only connection between two Class 1 railroads for 200 miles in either direction. It is in the enviable position opposite of most railroads during the great depression, business is booming. It is getting enough interchange pass-through traffic for two through trains a day in each direction. The pass-through traffic is mostly merchandise with a few regional drag thrown in. No through coal or unit. Occasionally it will get a "hot" block of produce reefers, that get priority treatment so they don't have to be iced on-line.

The railroad now has its own interchange yard at each end of the system. There is locomotive servicing and storage at each end but there is only one locomotive shop. Likewise there are two connecting passenger trains in each direction each day (morning & evening).

The railroad is the sole provider of services in six small towns between the two large roads. There are the normal 1930s industries in almost each of these towns (pass station, freight house, team track, feed/seed store, cold storage, elevator, general merchandise row, and the less common fuel supply, warehouse, implement dealership, etc.). With the depressed economy these industries generate enough traffic for a tri-weekly local in each direction. There is one major industry (a textile mill) nearly dead center on the line that generates enough traffic for one train a day in each direction. This Textile mill is off the main far enough to almost be considered a branch.

Name that roster.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
hyrail5 said:
That is a big challenge because I am not real familiar with the era. Other details that will really make a difference is location. If you're on flat midwest terrain, you'll need smaller locos than if you had mountain passes.
Yeah, I had thought to include that the entire time I was writing. But got so busy word smithing it got lost in the final version. It is in there now. The terrain is basically flat.

I have my roster made up, and I'll post it after everyone else to compare.
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
This sounds like fun. One question, though. As a bridge line between two Class Is, what kind of bridge traffic are we talking about? I'm thinking train size and type; coal drags need different power than general merchandise.

I have a few possibilities in mind, depending on answer.

Kennedy
 
HaggisKennedy said:
One question, though. As a bridge line between two Class Is, what kind of bridge traffic are we talking about? I'm thinking train size and type; coal drags need different power than general merchandise.
Good question. No coal drags, the class 1s keep that for themselves. Only general merchandise and some regional coal/limestone deliveries passing through. Occasionally there will be a cut of fast freight produce reefers.
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
Well, I haven't had as much time as I thought I would have to come up with something that's well-thought out, so I'll just toss some stuff out right now, to get things going again. But, I will say that I've thought about two rosters, one is the cheapskate way, and the second presuming the line is reasonably well-off.

Starting with the Cheapskate;

3ea Modernized 4-4-0 Americans for Passenger power. It's a branch, so all you really need is lightweight power to pull 2-3 HW cars. One will be protection. Modernized means piston valves, superheater, and cross-compound air pumps.

6-8ea 4-6-0 Ten-wheelers for the routine local freights as well as your longer, end to end runs. Some will run from end to end, others will be locals to service industries. I presume the division point is in the middle, so you have two 100mi runs.

2-3ea 2-8-2 USRA Light Mikes. Mostly for the heavier, Class I run through stuff.

3-4ea 0-6-0 switchers. These are probably overkill for the yards, but they're plentiful (hence, cheap).

Kennedy
 

BNSF dude

BNSF foamer
My roster:
Kato HO scale BNSF AC4400CW #5608 (sound equipped)
Athearn BN 4 bay ACF center flow Grain hopper
Athearn CB&Q tank car
Atheran PA/PB set (very good condition) *note* PA has newer Athearn drive PB has an older drive
Athearn/Roundhouse HO scale UP 50 ft. boxcar. *kit* not finished yet.
Athearn BNSF HO scale Wide vision caboose.
Planned stuff to get:
55 HO scale coal hoppers BNSF new logoed
Undec Athearn CF7 (I plan to paint it in my fictional rail road MNT)
Kato F40PH Amtrak. (Put digitrax sound in it)
 
Last edited by a moderator:
HaggisKennedy said:
Starting with the Cheapskate;
3ea Modernized 4-4-0 Americans for Passenger power.
6-8ea 4-6-0 Ten-wheelers for the routine local freights
2-3ea 2-8-2 USRA Light Mikes. Mostly for the heavier, Class I run through stuff.
3-4ea 0-6-0 switchers. These are probably overkill for the yards, but they're plentiful (hence, cheap).
Excellent reasoning. And by this measure the roster I came up with was also a cheapskate philosophy.

I did see one assumption that isn't true. This short line is not 200 miles long, it is the only connection for 200 miles between the class 1s. It is only 50 or so miles long. So it has no division point.
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
HaggisKennedy said:
Starting with the Cheapskate;
3ea Modernized 4-4-0 Americans for Passenger power.
6-8ea 4-6-0 Ten-wheelers for the routine local freights
2-3ea 2-8-2 USRA Light Mikes. Mostly for the heavier, Class I run through stuff.
3-4ea 0-6-0 switchers. These are probably overkill for the yards, but they're plentiful (hence, cheap).
GandyDancer said:
Excellent reasoning. And by this measure the roster I came up with was also a cheapskate philosophy.

I did see one assumption that isn't true. This short line is not 200 miles long, it is the only connection for 200 miles between the class 1s. It is only 50 or so miles long. So it has no division point.
Haggis does have excellent thoughts on this but since this is the only connection between the two majors for 200 miles, I would think the bridge traffic including passenger could be a little heavier so they would need bigger power for most of the trains. So these are my thoughts;

4-6ea: High Drivered 4-6-0's for passenger. Surely this line would also have to pull some Pullmans between the two, as well as its own cars. I do not think a 4-4-0 has power to pull many along with local RR cars. 2ea Light 4-6-2's could be subbed for trains with Pullmans, which would bring down the 4-6-0's by 2.
6-8ea: 2-8-0's Locals, routine "milk runs" and regular interchange between the two and along its own line. These can also double as switchers when needed.
6-8ea: 2-8-2's probably heavy USRA's, or even like the Interstate RR did, by secondhand mikes from the PRR, l1s(?) to provide for high priroity thru freights.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

dingoix

Certified CGW expert
GandyDancer said:
Good question. No coal drags, the class 1s keep that for themselves. Only general merchandise and some regional coal/limestone deliveries passing through. Occasionally there will be a cut of fast freight produce reefers.
How long might the trains be?
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
Well, that's why I said it was Cheapskate!

But, for the RR that was better off, I would drop the 4-4-0s for 4-6-2s. Some 10-wheelers would still remain, but the main freight power would be the 2-8-0s that CJ mentioned. The 2-8-2s would remain.

I don't disagree with CJ's roster one bit; I surmise he's looking at a bit heavier traffic than I was basing my roster on.

Kennedy
 

Cjcrescent

Master Mechanic
HaggisKennedy said:
Well, that's why I said it was Cheapskate!

I don't disagree with CJ's roster one bit; I surmise he's looking at a bit heavier traffic than I was basing my roster on.

Kennedy
I based mine on exactly that HK. I originally missed the only connection for 200 miles and as such I really would think that the traffic would be a little heavier than orginally surmised. So I beefed my roster up a bit based on that reasoning. But there is nothing wrong with yours.

There was a good example of the prototype for your roster, except that it never left the prototype lines. That was Selma, my home town. Its located on the Birmingham to Mobile mainlne of the SRR. Back in steam days, the SRR would send trains toward Mobile out of B'ham pulled with articulated 2-8-8-2's 2-8-2's and passengers pulled by medium sized pacifics.

Unfortunately, due to bridge restrictions south of Selma, esp the bridge over the Tombigbee River at Jackson, Al. They had to break those trains into a lot smaller set of cars, and put them behind other engines. These engines consisted of 4-4-0's, 4-6-0's and 2-8-0's. In fact until the bridges were rebuilt these trains from B'ham would be broken down into 7-8 smaller trains and moved down to Mobile behind these small engines. Most built in the 1870's-1890's.
 

dingoix

Certified CGW expert
Then I propose-
2-8-2s for the thru trains, as they should handle 60 cars on those grades and still maintain decent speed.

4-6-2s for passenger service and I'm sure they could haul a short (20-30 car) thru train and stay on time.

For local freight and yard switching, I suggest 2-6-0s and / or 2-6-2s. It really depends how long the locals will be, if they're only about 20 cars or less, the 2-6-0s would be fine. But 2-6-2s are good for about 30 cars.
 
I've let this run for 10 days now and I appreciate the thought that the participants have put into it. Below is the roster I made up before I posted the original. As you can see we were all thinking along the same lines.
I figured only 2 main passenger locos as they could make the morning run, then turn around and make the evening run.

-----------------------------------------------
Despite the booming conditions the railroad management is still frugal with their power. They have been picking up equipment in good condition second hand from other railroads that are really feeling the pinch of the depression.

Roster
0-6-0
0-8-0 recent purchase
2-6-0
2-6-2
2-8-0
2-8-0 recent purchase
2-8-0 recent purchase
2-8-2 recent purchase
2-8-2 recent purchase
2-8-2 recent purchase
4-4-0
4-4-0
4-6-0
4-6-0
4-6-2 recent purchase
4-6-2 recent purchase

Daily Assignments:
Daily through passengers two Pacifics
Daily Milk Run 4-4-0, 4-6-0
Yard Duty 0-6-0, 0-8-0
Daily through freights 2-8-2, 2-8-2, 2-8-2, 2-8-0
Textile train 2-8-0
Local freight 2-8-0, 2-6-2
Backup & reserve 4-4-0, 4-6-0, 2-6-0

To effectively service the textile mill instead of running one short train to each exchange yard, the train takes all the loads to one yard. There the cars for the opposite end of the line get put into the next through train. Occasionally, if the textile train meets one of the tri-weekly locals the cars will be transferred. This assumes the power on the local is sufficient for the load. They are considering building a new track to allow the cars just to be spotted in block in the middle town for pick up buy the next through.

Even with the new power they are still a bit power hungry. They are considering purchasing an additional switcher, a 2-8-2, and a 4-6-2 too allow better coverage in the event of a failure and more time for maintenance before returning to the pool.
 

HaggisKennedy

Coal Shoveler
The 2-6-2 must have been a bargain, because I've heard that Prairies tend to ride rough at speed. Heard this from a couple of railroads.

I've always liked Moguls, and had considered putting them into my roster as well. I don't know if the Mogul would be a better choice than the 2-6-2, but it is a local.....

I like the roster, since it's a cheapie based one with a number of oddball locos (the Prairie and Mogul). I'd wonder if management wouldn't consider getting rid of one or the other or both and going to another, more flexible loco for current requirements keeping in mind future growth.

This was a lot of fun.....

Kennedy
 
REPOST to get it at the bottom of the thread ------>

I've let this run for 10 days now and I appreciate the thought that the participants have put into it. Below is the roster I made up before I posted the original. As you can see we were all thinking along the same lines.
I figured only 2 main passenger locos as they could make the morning run, then turn around and make the evening run.

-----------------------------------------------
Despite the booming conditions the railroad management is still frugal with their power. They have been picking up equipment in good condition second hand from other railroads that are really feeling the pinch of the depression.

Roster
0-6-0
0-8-0 recent purchase
2-6-0
2-6-2
2-8-0
2-8-0 recent purchase
2-8-0 recent purchase
2-8-2 recent purchase
2-8-2 recent purchase
2-8-2 recent purchase
4-4-0
4-4-0
4-6-0
4-6-0
4-6-2 recent purchase
4-6-2 recent purchase

Daily Assignments:
Daily through passengers two Pacifics
Daily Milk Run 4-4-0, 4-6-0
Yard Duty 0-6-0, 0-8-0
Daily through freights 2-8-2, 2-8-2, 2-8-2, 2-8-0
Textile train 2-8-0
Local freight 2-8-0, 2-6-2
Backup & reserve 4-4-0, 4-6-0, 2-6-0

To effectively service the textile mill instead of running one short train to each exchange yard, the train takes all the loads to one yard. There the cars for the opposite end of the line get put into the next through train. Occasionally, if the textile train meets one of the tri-weekly locals the cars will be transferred. This assumes the power on the local is sufficient for the load. They are considering building a new track to allow the cars just to be spotted in block in the middle town for pick up buy the next through.

Even with the new power they are still a bit power hungry. They are considering purchasing an additional switcher, a 2-8-2, and a 4-6-2 too allow better coverage in the event of a failure and more time for maintenance before returning to the pool.
 




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