Wow, Writing a Train Schedule is Harder Than I Thought

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grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
I've got brainlock (not uncommon:D ). Here's the scenario. We've got 12 staging tracks and currently can scrape up 10 trains (some are kind skimpy, we're still adding rolling stock/cabeese). Max we could run realistically would be three trains at a time, two would be better. We'd like to have scheduled trains come thru town (to and from staging) so we can railfan and run the Sedalia local. I'm trying to come up with a scedule to run on a 4:1 fast clock. We have a couple of schedules the Colorado RR Museum was kind enough to send us, They include departing stations, times, and train numbers between Denver and Pueblo, we have the fictional Platte Canyon Spur to consider.

Some things I know for sure:

1/ I'm lost in all this
2/ Real enroute times get confusing when you try to consider them for a model RR
3/ Most of the real Denver-Pueblo trains were at night or late in the afternoon.

I'm thinking of just departing a staged train from consecutive yards every 15 minutes at this point. :(

We'd love to have a schedule to work with. Something based on an 8 hour work day maybe. Ya'll have any ideas?
 

grande man

Bonafied Grande Nut
Guys, I meant to include in the opening post, LGM told me that he knew writing the schedule would be bad, that's why he let me do it. :D
 

cuyama

Member
The difficulty may lie in trying to get everything "right" all at once. I've done ops plans and schedules for a number of model railraods and almost always, there is some logical place to start ... not at the "beginning" of the session, usually.

Try to pick out an interaction between two or more trains that seems interesting. This could be a passenger train blasting through town while a coal drag simmers in a siding, a block swap between a through freight and a local, etc.

Begin with that reference point, then unfold the schedule in each direction (earlier and later) from that point. The historical schedules may be helpful, but usually they prove a little impractical for absolute duplication on most model railroads -- unless the layout was designed specifically to support the historicla schedule with porportional spacing between sidings, the same number of sidings, etc. And even in that case, the historical schedule may not make for an interesting model railroad. The real railroads sometimes set schedules up to minimize interaction between trains (by "fleeting" easts and west at different times, for example) and, as you've noticed, they might be running at inconvenient times of the day.

By contrast, we generally want more interaction between trains and crews on the layout and we generally run many more trains in a limited amount of time than did the prototype.

One other important thing is that the schedule need not be permanent. Pick something, try it out, change it. Sometimes a sequence schedule ("extra 2345 East starts after the Pioneer reaches Amboy") can be a very good way to start. Then it's easy to add timing after you've put the trains through their paces a few times.

Good luck,

Byron
 

IronBeltKen

Lazy Daydreamer
Guys, you're confusing me... I think for now, I'll just concentrate on finishing up my layout and getting the trains back onto it. By that time I can start picking your brains!;)
 




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