Operations

The club ran for many years without any formal train operation plan. At shows we would simply ask the children to do something simple such as put all the green cars together and then the blue to form a train, but for the adults or at the club we were left with unrealistic operations which did not contribute significantly to the fun or to layout planning

Consequently, we've developed switch lists that emulate freight traffic on a real railway. We've designed them so they can be used at shows by either one person or a team consisting of a young engineer and an experienced switchman, as well as providing some challenging switching puzzles. Switch lists also contributes to layout planning: why do we need a track here, what industries are to be served, what will the freight cars carry, and where will the individual freight cars go to/from? We don't, for example, carry steel scrap to a bakery, or flour to a steel mill. These sorts of mismatched loads or routes can be avoided when designing a switch list.

When operating trains on both the clubhouse layout and exhibition layout we like to ensure that every freight car gets delivered for loading and/or unloading in one cycle and then moved to a different, but related industry elsewhere on the layout in the next cycle. For example, an oil tank car will transport oil from Westville Oil to Smarts Oil during cycle 'A', and, during cycle 'B', from Smart Oil to, say, the mine, where there is a large storage tank. In another scenario, a stock car will be picked up at an interchange yard (I/C) and delivered to the abattoir at Smarts. These cars are transported either back from whence they came or on to another destination, but not until the next cycle. Keeping every car at its delivery location until the next cycle emulates the time needed to load/unload them.

We have four switching cycles and they are shown below. Note that the 'Deliver to' locations and freight cars on the Cycle 'A' switch lists are exactly the same as the 'Pick-up' locations and freight cars on Cycle 'B'. Likewise, the 'Deliver to' locations and freight cars in Cycle 'B' are exactly the same as the 'Pick-up' locations and freight cars in Cycle 'C', and so on.

The cycles must be run in alphabetical order but a session doesn't have to start with Cycle 'A' - it can start, for example, with Cycle 'C'. Cycle 'A' follows Cycle 'D'. Also, any train can be operated within a cycle; they do not have to be run in numerical order but all four trains in the cycle must be run before moving to the next cycle.

Switchlist A Switchlist A Switchlist A Switchlist A