Warner Swarner's Bearspaw Southern is G gauge, both outdoor and indoor. There are many similarities and some distinct differences as well as compromises with large scale. Operating sessions use a crew of about 10 with 6 road crews, 3 terminal operators and a dispatcher. Rather than modeling a specific prototype, the Bearspaw Southern is a fictional prototype itself. The railroad has evolved to connect two geographic regions of former layouts (both HO and G) from Glacier in the north (GN and NP) with two routes via New Rotic (SP and ATSF) then extending through Bearspaw farther south and east (UP, WP and Colorado). The line has developed connections and industries as the line has grown. The railroad continues to evolve and is currently over 2000’ with 50 industries (24 on the outdoor Glacier Division). All trains are on-board, battery power (dead rail) with radio control and linked sound. The outdoor mainline is single tack with seven dual ended passing sidings (16’ each) and wyes located at the two division points. Turnouts at five regions can be remotely controlled by panels or locally manually operated. Operating sessions focus the time frame on mid-century diesel (50-60’s) era. Full operating sessions are held about four times during the summer months and take about 4 hours with timetable through trains and assigned local switching coordinated using radios with dispatcher. Car cards have been developed but switch-lists are preferred by operators. Modified sessions for public viewing and holidays such as tours and Halloween, take place about three times per year and concentrate on through train operation. New operators enjoy “just run trains” sessions.
We had an open Q&A forum during this virtual meetup.
Mat Thompson has converted his based-sized Oregon Coast Railroad from a TT&TO layout to a switching layout. He will explain what he did, the changes needed to the layout and the operations documents and the pros and cons of this new configuration.
His railroad was featured in the 2014 Great Model Railroads special issue from Kalmbach Publishing.
Rich Gibson presented his Maine Central Rockland Branch railroad. From Rich:
My current HO scale layout is a circa-1951 representation of the Maine Central (MEC) Rockland branch, located in coastal Maine northeast of Portland. The aim of constructing this layout is to (1) model key portions of this scenic line so that they are recognizable and (2) to reproduce the operational experience of the prototype. Construction began during 2015 in Billings, MT and the layout was moved to Denver area after ~16 months, where it was re-assembled and expanded to occupy a roughly 1000 sq ft space.
In this presentation, I will briefly outline the prototype setting and my criteria for layout design. Then, we will take a photographic tour of both the prototype and the model as a basis for discussing the research, uncertainties, and compromises inherent in prototype layout design and construction. Finally, I will cover operational aspects, including train control, scheduling, and car forwarding.
Thomas Stephens will be talking about the operations scheme at the Texas Northern Club in Dallas, Texas. The presentation includes how to use car cards with waybills, how the layout is laid out, and includes information on how they manage their car cards and waybills. It ends with a video following a train from engines picking up a train through dropping off cars to classifying returned cars for next session.
If you'd like a copy of the spreadsheets Thomas showed, download them here.
Joel Morse will be talking about how he developed a prototype-based rolling stock fleet for his proto-freelanced N scale New York, Ontario and Western Railway, and describes the considerations he used to create a fleet appropriate for his railroad. The presentation will cover the kind of information you may want to have to create a believable prototype-based fleet, where you can find that information and how that information can be used and interpreted for your railroad.
John Parker's BNSF Fall River Division is a modern-era prototype-based freelance model railroad of the BNSF Railway in 2017. The presentation provides an overview of the layout design (specifically for operations), management of the operating session itself, and unique operational aspects during each session.
Cal Sexsmith presented "The Three Way Freight Solution" and how to get initial operations set up on your railroad.
This month's session was an open forum. These were the topics we discussed:
00:00 Passenger train operations - the recording did not start right away
26:01 JMRI fast clock - using a decimal amount for the ratio
28:45 Uncouplers in passenger terminals
39:56 Designing operations on a looped layout
49:58 Running steam engines on model railroad layouts
55:00 Dealing with an aging car fleet
Mike Roque presented a clinic on operations called "Operations on the Sierra Central" (Sacramento Model Railroad Historical Society's HO scale railroad) that included Layout Overview (Overall design, era/locale, staging and classification yards, and towns/areas), Goals & Challenges (Fun, accuracy, and efficiency vs. operators, the layout, and traffic flow), Job Aids (Callboard/lineup, yard train departures, signal rules, job cards, car cards/waybills, and more), Train Types (Yard switcher, local, hauler/manifest, passenger, and special), and Jobs Tour (Understand what every job/train on the railroad does).