Author Topic: representative train lengths  (Read 3075 times)

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asciibaron

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representative train lengths
« on: October 15, 2007, 09:47:22 AM »
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i'm in the process of planning the next layout - the PRR's Panhandle in 1967.  knowing the typical train length for the layout will really help things run smoothly when planning out crossovers, sidings, and staging needs.  a completely uneducated guess puts the typical train length at about 60 cars - what would be a good representation of a 60 car train - 20 cars? 

a 20 car train might look like this: 2 locos, 7 boxcars, 4 auto racks, 3 trailers, 3 tankers, 2 gons, 1 hopper, a cabin car.

would a 12 car Trailer train with 2 modern high horsepower units up front be representative of the TT/TV trains?  how long should a coal train be to capture the feeling of moving mountains?

-steve
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Bob Bufkin

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2007, 10:17:03 AM »
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I would think a 30 car coal train would be about right is your using 50/55 ton hoppers of this era.
bob

asciibaron

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2007, 10:33:58 AM »
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I would think a 30 car coal train would be about right is your using 50/55 ton hoppers of this era.
bob

mostly H39 and H43 hoppers (70 and 100 ton).  the long cars will be F39 trailer flats (75'), auto racks (80'), and auto parts cars (86').

-steve
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2007, 10:55:14 AM »
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You need to get the continuous running going on your current layout, so you can see how these things look in person, and you can play with them.

Optimum train length is a multi-dimensional problem.

You've got to manage realistic space, for example, how long are your shortest and longest staging tracks going to be? Do you have the luxury of planning them around your train length, or must it be the opposite way?

You've got to manage appearances. Did the blocks of Trailvan cars seem to go on forever? A block of 10 proto cars "feels" a lot differently than 2 of them. I'd say there's not a lot of difference between 30 ore jennies and 25 ore jennies, but there's a big difference between 5 and 10.

Then there's the practicality of the thing. If you've got an industry that eats 5 cars each day, will that 5 car block (which may not overwhelm a local) push the through train over the staging yard limit?

You've not got an easy job in front of you.

Mark5

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2007, 10:56:29 AM »
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Lucky you, typical train length in the sixties on the area I'm modeling was pushing 200 cars.

I hope to represent on the current layout with somewhere between 20 to 40 cars or so.

I need to learn more about mine runs though.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2007, 11:22:38 AM by NandW »

wm3798

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2007, 11:15:51 AM »
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I'm restricted somewhat by the length of my staging tracks.  2 of the 8 can handle up to 19 50' cars (plus two engines and a caboose) while the others are limited to 15 cars.

Fortunately, only two train sets (each representing two trains - east and westbound Alpha Jets) need to be that long. 

Other factors that may help you determine train length are train speed and the size of your scenic vignettes and how they're divided.

A 20 car train rolling moderately through a small scene has the appearance of a much longer train.  A high speed main line with fast freights rolling over a longer scene requires longer trains to achieve a reasonable appearance.  If you're scenic dividers are 6' apart, a 5' long train (about 20 cars) will look fine.

Lee
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3rdrail

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2007, 11:45:17 AM »
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The typical train length on the PRR's Panhandle Route in 1967 was around 100 cars, varying between 80 and 120. I am of course referring to the through freights such as SW6 from St. Louis to Enola, or DJ2 from Cincinnati to Enola and Westbound counterparts SW9 and DJ3. Through freights outnumbered locals by at least four to one at most points.

In 1967 in was a Sales Rep. for the PRR in New Orleans and much of my traffic was routed over the Panhandle.

Bob Bufkin

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2007, 12:01:51 PM »
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Are you going to run any passenger trains.  PRR still had several trains running then. 
Bob

wcfn100

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2007, 12:49:03 PM »
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I too have to deal with protypical train lengths of 100 cars or so.  I'm still unsure how much I need to scale them down.  The town I model would typically recieve 10-12 cars as set outs.  But that number could be as high as 20 or so.  With that alone I may need to go with 60 cars per train.  Also, modeling one of the first stations in a district mean that you need to represent not just through traffic but all the set outs along the way.  Besides, who would believe a set of A-B-B-B-B-A F-units with less than 50 cars?

(I do get one extra car since I have no cabooses  :'()

Jason

asciibaron

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2007, 02:58:48 PM »
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my goal is to plan the layout around the trains - the staging will be as large as required for the train lengths i'm looking to run.  i'm cheating very much by not having a yard - the layout will begin in the east at the west portal of Gould Tunnel and end at Newark where the PRR and B&O shared track into Columbus.  the plan is to have a double deck layout so the spaces between towns will be somewhat "spacious." 

sure it's a race track, but there were locals and coal extras as well.  if i do it right, i can have an operator working the Cadiz Branch mines, an operator working the local, all the while 2 TrucTrains head east and west on the main controlled by a 3rd operator.  in solo mode, i could set the TT3 to make endless loops while i work the branch.  i am intending to run the "passenger" trains, but they are a low priority in my modeling of the line...  just like on the prototype.

the space for the layout does not exist, but i'm working on what kind of space i would need so i know when we are looking at houses in teh future whether the basement is large enough ;)

-steve
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GonzoCRFan

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2007, 10:13:57 PM »
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I think you might have to approach this problem from a practical standpoint, ie: how many cars will 2 units be able to wrestle up the helix between the two decks?
Sean

gunner

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2007, 12:37:21 AM »
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I run an 11'x3' el that is 44" wide.  40 cars look great, 60 cars look rediculous.  The el used to be a helix that gave me 4" rise over 3 decreasing radius revolutions.  with anything over 40 cars, I had problems with string lining cars and doing alot of car pickup.  I am in the process of building a wye in place of the helix.

Without knowing the space you are going to have, a guestimate of consist length is pretty much out of the question and vice versa.  You really need to come up with a train length or a set of layout dimensions.  Pick one to answer and the other problem will solve itself.

Unless you are shopping for a basement with house overlay, judge the space that you already have for the layout, and the train length shouldn't be more than about 2/3 the max overall length of the layout or longer than the staging (which you have decided to go without).

Bob

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2007, 01:02:40 AM »
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On my N scale Pittsburgh Line layout I was using 25-30 car trains and it looked "right" to me.
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cuyama

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #13 on: October 17, 2007, 11:24:51 AM »
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As others have pointed out, a couple of things are in play here. One is how long the train "looks". I'll suggest what is most important here is that a "long" train has enough cars so that you cannot see the locos and the cabin car at once. This is not just a factor of sheer number of cars, but also of viewing distance from the aisle, any vertical "tormentors" between the viewer and the tracks, curves, hills, etc.

The second is the obvious performance trade-off of grade and curve vs. train length.

And then the balance between staging track length, siding (or distance between crossovers) length, and the distance between "towns" on the layout (trying to minimize the "locos in one town, cabin car in the last town" issues).

Byron

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Re: representative train lengths
« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2007, 11:53:44 AM »
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From an operational standpoint, I would think that train length would be determined by passing siding length.  You would probably not want to run trains longer than your longest passing siding.  Then again, an occasional "saw by meet" can be a fun operational challenge, just to spice things up.

Eric