Monday, October 15, 2012

Model Railroading 106

Now that the weather has calmed a bit, here are the final two installments in some of the basics of model railroading.  
Union Pacific 8321 is stopped by a red block signal at east Walong siding.
You can see the green signals aligned for a higher priority freight on
the main line.
While I recommend starting with a simple layout, I do suggest you be thinking about what you wish to do if you enjoy the hobby and want your layout to grow. There are three primary types of layouts:

  • Those that are primarily meant to display the trains. At least in recent years, trains have tended to gain value if they are in good condition. Lots of people design their layouts for simple running (if they run them at all) and design the layout to showcase the trains themselves.
  • People who like to just run trains around the layout.
  • People who like to simulate actual railroad operations. 
I tend to fall in the latter category, so I have signals (see photo) and various industries on the layout. I give my trains names like The Carbon Footprint which brings coal and oil from the fields and refineries to distribution points. The passenger trains have the same names as their namesakes (i.e., a Santa Fe Super Chief). 

This may seem complicated and it used to be. Now, it is relatively simple. Signaling? Click here for one company that sells realistic yet easy to install signaling. Want to run two trains on one track at the same time? That used to be very complicated. Now, it is very easy with Lionel's Legacy and MTH's Digital Command System .  

Always sit down with a piece of paper and write out what you would like in the way of a layout to start (like the simple one at the red link above) and how you would expand it in the future. I'll offer a few more thoughts in the final installment tomorrow. 

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