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1 hour ago, F-UnitMad said:

Yeah, I thought that!!! :yes:

 

I think a lot of Basement Empire owners don't understand how anything smaller can have satisfying operating potential. There's an article in the latest MRH about 'Light Ops' sessions - it goes on for page after page, and lost me after a while. If that's what Light Ops are, I dread to think how difficult Heavy Ops must be. 

It is said that Americans take having fun very seriously. MRH articles often confirm that, to my mind.

you need to try more IPA's there heavy hops!!!

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2 hours ago, F-UnitMad said:

MRH articles often confirm that, to my mind.

I am amused by the TOMA* (“The One Module Approach”) bandwagon which lots of people have jumped on because Joe Fugate promotes it.
We have understood the operational potential of a single station/yard/facility/customer for years: read any British railway modelling magazine, ever...
 

* Of course, we didn’t (feel the need to) create an acronym for it, so I suppose it was ripe for plagiarism.

 

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52 minutes ago, long island jack said:

I think a lot of Basement Empire owners don't understand how anything smaller can have satisfying operating potential.

OK, so I am definitely one of those that prefer building to operating but my "smaller than 4x1, 3-2-2 inglenook" can keep me amused for hours. I'd love to have the room to build an empire just so that I would have a seemingly never ending list of construction jobs to do but I don't think that I would ever be able to get my head around operating such a thing. Basically if I won the lottery I would end up building a diorama that filled an entire room, although I would like the ability to just sit back and watch a longish train tootle round and round every now and then.

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I think a lot of Basement Empire owners don't understand how anything smaller can have satisfying operating potential.

 

I also think that US layout owners have a different perspective on operation because US roads have a different operation and a different scale.  So we have a different focus.

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There's an article in the latest MRH about 'Light Ops' sessions - it goes on for page after page, and lost me after a while. If that's what Light Ops are, I dread to think how difficult Heavy Ops must be. 

It is said that Americans take having fun very seriously. MRH articles often confirm that, to my mind.

 

 

The sad thing about that article was that if you cut out 37 pages, there was "light operations" in there.  The car card system the author used is very easy to use and works great for small layouts.  It's just it was buried so deep in the immensity of the overall article it was lost.  The main track authority system he used was very low key, but once again, lost in the size of the layout and the article.

 

It was an article about a HUGE layout, that used some simple operations methods that were scaled up to match the layout size.  From what I can figure, Joe Fugate was looking for something that would meet his concept of "lightweight" operations (he likes catch phrases) and since at its heart, the ops on the Wyoming Div. was simple, he used that article.  The problem was it was really an article about a really BIG layout (that, oh by the way, used a simple  system) and not an article about a simple system, and here's how it was scaled up for a big layout.

 

He's done that before with operations articles.  Several years back he billed an article on TT&TO operations as being for a beginner, but really it was more of a graduate level.  The article was correct as far as the train orders go, but I wouldn't suggest anybody worry about what it suggested doing (using time orders to relieve local crews from having to flag) until everybody was well up to speed on the real basics of operations.

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I am amused by the TOMA* (“The One Module Approach”) bandwagon which lots of people have jumped on because Joe Fugate promotes it.
We have understood the operational potential of a single station/yard/facility/customer for years: read any British railway modelling magazine, ever...

 

Actually, that's not what the "TOMA" concept is (and nobody, not even Fugate actually follows it.)

 

The TOMA concept as Fugate has described it is you build your layout in sections (they aren't actually modules), you work on one section at a time and complete it fully to scenery before starting another.  The sections have to be removeable from the layout so that if you have to do maintenance, you pull the section out of the layout and work on it at the work bench.  You attach the a staging yard to each end so you can operate it.  The TOMA's are part of a larger layout and you keep adding new "modules" to the ones you have completed.  There are sacrificial sections between the critical modules and if the layout is moved the critical sections can be retained and new sacrificial filler sections added. 

 

It is not per se intended to be a "one module" layout.  the "one module" refers not to the layout size, but the construction method.  It's not necessarily advocating a one module layout, it's advocating building a room sized layout one module at a time.  Of course, nobody actually follows the concept of TOMA, even Fugate.  Because the layout being built is typically a footprint much larger than one module, having coherent operations with just one module is usually pretty sketchy.  Joe tore down his old layout and is building his new TOMA layout, he is actually building not one, but at least three modules and even though he has been working on them for years, I don't think he has actually completed one module. 

 

There have been numerous other layouts built using somewhat of a similar approach, David Barrow's original Cat Mountain and Santa Fe, Bruce Chubb's Sunset Valley Lines, both of those were published in MR decades before TOMA was ever conceived.
 

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* Of course, we didn’t (feel the need to) create an acronym for it, so I suppose it was ripe for plagiarism.

 

You can relax, he hasn't appropriated your techniques, he has actually borrowed something closer to Bruce Chubb's construction method.  I am also  not a fan of very non-specific, ill defined processes that have a sexy name that are loosely followed in actual practice.  Tony Koester's LDE (layout design element), David Barrow's Domino, and Fugate's TOMA all evolved into that category.

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OK, so I am definitely one of those that prefer building to operating but my "smaller than 4x1, 3-2-2 inglenook" can keep me amused for hours. I'd love to have the room to build an empire just so that I would have a seemingly never ending list of construction jobs to do but I don't think that I would ever be able to get my head around operating such a thing.

 

This is not a criticism, Its just that this statement confuses me.  If you can figure out one station, why can't you figure out 2 or 3 or 10 stations?  The only real complication of a bigger layout over a smaller layout is keeping multiple trains from running into each other.

 

Why would connecting 2 inglnooks together confuse you?  I don't understand why having two places to switch is barrier over one place to switch.

 

I also get confused by the its "too much to build" argument.  From what I've seen it is very common in the UK to build a small switching layout, keep it for a couple years, then strip it down to a board, and then rebuild a different layout with a different theme on the same board.  How is rebuilding the same "board" multiple times over a period of ten years, different than building one larger layout over a period of ten years?  In both cases, you are doing track, wiring and scenery over the same decade.  Why is it considered so different?

 

I'm seeing more similarities than differences.

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7 hours ago, F-UnitMad said:

Yeah, I thought that!!! :yes:

 

I think a lot of Basement Empire owners don't understand how anything smaller can have satisfying operating potential. There's an article in the latest MRH about 'Light Ops' sessions - it goes on for page after page, and lost me after a while. If that's what Light Ops are, I dread to think how difficult Heavy Ops must be. 

It is said that Americans take having fun very seriously. MRH articles often confirm that, to my mind.

SonofMike not my quote, F-UnitMad said it!

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The problem here (I say here - but I'm not as I'm in France), in the UK, is that unless you have an old property there will probably be no basement and the only other place is in the roof space. If your home is recent, then that is usually no-go due to the roof supports - it can be overcome but usually involves building control. The next option is the garden (sorry - yard) but old town houses and modern properties - unless in the sticks - means a postage stamp in which to build a man-shed. The garage? Sometimes it can be used but with on-street parking become an ever-increasing problem, the garage is now used for the car - who'd have thought it?

 

We end up with the minimalist approach - usually with one station. Rare is the large layout unless you're very fortunate (or very well-off). I think what has been alluded to above on the operation side is here we tend to operate fairly intensive services and with many stations crammed in a small area, the operational side would not be for single person. I would find it unsatisfactory. Whereas, in the US (and this is only my impression), services are widespread but involve trains of huuuuuge lengths - you can keep control on two or three trains on a big layout.

 

From a personal perspective, I don't do blogs as I see little point, and I don't follow US practice other to drop by and have a look from time to time. There was a discussion on another thread 'Where has everyone gone?' I think was the title - I confess I was a little provocative but it did get some discussion going :P - which was a US-based one.

 

US operations are impressive from the sheer size of everything - but isn't just a bit samey - locos that look the same pulling box-cars or containers that look all the same for miles and miles and miles ................... ?

 

Out of interest - in US modelling is it the train in the scenery or the scenery with a train in it?

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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52 minutes ago, Philou said:

but isn't just a bit samey - locos that look the same pulling box-cars or containers that look all the same for miles and miles and miles ................... ?

No different to the modern UK scene, except for train lengths? Block freights hauled by Class 66s in various colours, and gee-whizz glorified DMUs & EMUs for passengers, again in a lot of (usually garish) colours.....

Edited by F-UnitMad
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Out of interest - in US modelling is it the train in the scenery or the scenery with a train in it?

 

I don't really conceive of it that way, but if I had to choose I would choose train in the scenery.  You can have operation with a train and no scenery, but you can't have operation scenery and no train.

 

I get that if all you have is space for a 1x4 plank, that's all the room you have.  So you will build to that size.  I have a 24x24 layout room but I assume at some point in my life I will be in some sort of apartment arrangement where I will only have a 1x4 or 2x4 space.

 

I also think that part of the issue is focus.  I think that UK layout are, for what ever reason, more station agent/operator focused and US layouts are more train crew oriented.  Probably 95% (or more) of US train crews do not stay at one station.  Plus US trains are bigger.  So our concept of what a train is involves movement between locations (as opposed to at a location) and more than two or three cars.  We just visualize something different on how trains are supposed to work.  There are those people who can amuse themselves for hours with a one switch spur, but that's no most people.

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but isn't just a bit samey - locos that look the same pulling box-cars or containers that look all the same for miles 

 

Granted there are places where they all look the same, such as the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, where all they handle are coal trains.  And certain trains can look the "same" (and APL stack train or a unit train).  As railroads consolidate there are fewer paint schemes on locomotives and as older engines are retired railroads tend to reduce the number of engine models.  But that's only if you model the modern era. 

 

Even if you model the modern era, if you think the engines and cars all look the same, then you really aren't looking at them.  The UP has probably one of the most boring fleets around, but still in this photo there are a half dozen different engine models, at least 3 different variations of paint scheme, both 4 and 6 axles engines, and probably over 2-3 dozen different variations of freight cars.

 

Its as "samey" as you want it to be.

 

spacer.png

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29 minutes ago, dave1905 said:

I also think that part of the issue is focus.  I think that UK layout are, for what ever reason, more station agent/operator focused and US layouts are more train crew oriented. 

Nail & head = hit!!

The 'focus' is almost entirely different on the real US & UK railways, too - the UK is an intensive passenger network; the US is mostly freight focused.

So in the UK modelling one station depicting a lot of trains arriving & departing mimics reality and recreates for many modellers their younger years as trainspotters. It also suits the space we have.

We have absolutely nothing like American Short Lines here, hence the fascination of many of us with that area of US outline - it's easier to assimilate into the small space constraints we have, and can involve short freight trains, not needing space for the multi-loco, mile-long freights of the main line. It also doesn't require the knowledge or crews needed for in-depth 'Heavy Ops' sessions!!

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3 hours ago, dave1905 said:

If you can figure out one station, why can't you figure out 2 or 3 or 10 stations?

 

I was being slightly tongue in cheek really and certainly not criticising large layouts or the way they can be operated. I'm certain I could easily figure out 2 or 3 or 10 stations; the point I was trying to make (badly) isn't that I wouldn't be able to operate it, more that I probably wouldn't get a thrill from it. I would LOVE the space and funds to build a really large layout but the fun for me would be in the construction rather than the operation. I know that I would enjoy running a long train and just watching it go by but other than that I don't think that I would run an operating session that was any longer than I can manage with my inglenook. Everyone has a different reason for modelling. Mine is to build a scene and the fact that things can move on it give it an extra dimension. It's the different preferences, skills and viewpoints of people that make this a fascinating and diverse hobby.

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2 hours ago, long island jack said:

SonofMike not my quote, F-UnitMad said it!

 

Sorry, yes I realised that when I had made my post after accidentally highlighting the statement within your own quote of F-UnitMad's post instead of the original.

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5 hours ago, dave1905 said:

 

Actually, that's not what the "TOMA" concept is (and nobody, not even Fugate actually follows it.)

 

The TOMA concept as Fugate has described it is you build your layout in sections (they aren't actually modules), you work on one section at a time and complete it fully to scenery before starting another.  The sections have to be removeable from the layout so that if you have to do maintenance, you pull the section out of the layout and work on it at the work bench.  You attach the a staging yard to each end so you can operate it.  The TOMA's are part of a larger layout and you keep adding new "modules" to the ones you have completed.  There are sacrificial sections between the critical modules and if the layout is moved the critical sections can be retained and new sacrificial filler sections added. 

 

It is not per se intended to be a "one module" layout.  the "one module" refers not to the layout size, but the construction method.  It's not necessarily advocating a one module layout, it's advocating building a room sized layout one module at a time.  Of course, nobody actually follows the concept of TOMA, even Fugate.  Because the layout being built is typically a footprint much larger than one module, having coherent operations with just one module is usually pretty sketchy.  Joe tore down his old layout and is building his new TOMA layout, he is actually building not one, but at least three modules and even though he has been working on them for years, I don't think he has actually completed one module. 

 

There have been numerous other layouts built using somewhat of a similar approach, David Barrow's original Cat Mountain and Santa Fe, Bruce Chubb's Sunset Valley Lines, both of those were published in MR decades before TOMA was ever conceived.
 

 

You can relax, he hasn't appropriated your techniques, he has actually borrowed something closer to Bruce Chubb's construction method.  I am also  not a fan of very non-specific, ill defined processes that have a sexy name that are loosely followed in actual practice.  Tony Koester's LDE (layout design element), David Barrow's Domino, and Fugate's TOMA all evolved into that category.

Isn't Fugates TOMA more of the old Domino layout rather than the Chubb design?

What actually differs them?

I think I agree that conceptual designs like those mentioned are not for everyone.

I actually thought of the TOMA when starting on my layout, but the drawbacks with sizes and joints were kind of prohibitive to me.

 

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8 hours ago, Philou said:

US operations are impressive from the sheer size of everything - but isn't just a bit samey - locos that look the same pulling box-cars or containers that look all the same for miles and miles and miles ................... ?

 

While Dave is certainly correct, that when you know the prototype you can see the differences, there is also a truth to what you are saying.

 

There is a reason why the transition era remains popular, even though demographics indicated it should be dead, and why the once hated Penn Central and Conrail are now fondly remembered and modeled - variety.

 

There was a larger variety of motive power, and with more than 10 major railroads there was a variety in the freight cars that you don't get today.

 

And if you are more of a passenger person you either had pooled consists on shared trains, or come Amtrak a real mixture of possibilities - it is just a shame that so few people model passenger operations that the RTR market can't viably provide the variety of rolling stock that was around pre-1980.

 

 

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I know I was being a tad naughty further up above - what @mdvle says above is quite true regarding transition. My current stock reflects this period as for me it offers the greatest choice in rolling stock.

 

And don't get me wrong - when I was younger I was mightily impressed by US steam that was available through  Rivarossi. The limiting factor was that they were so darned expensive. In 1977 I bought a 'Delaware & Hudson' Challenger for the princely sum of £77 - which was a fortune then. Excellent loco, finely detailed and still goes like stink - but it was the cost that put me off. Who knows - eh?

 

And here it is ...................

 

DSCF0051.JPG.8af48dc88d190a38ff5c61a399f319c0.JPG

 

Cheers,

 

Philip

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8 hours ago, mdvle said:

There is a reason why the transition era remains popular, even though demographics indicated it should be dead, and why the once hated Penn Central and Conrail are now fondly remembered and modeled - variety.

 

There was a larger variety of motive power,

Similar to the UK, although our Transition was a decade later. Also the BR Blue Era - deemed by some to be dead boring as everything was one colour (generally) - the interest was in the variety of motive power, which was Regional in scope, too. You had to travel around the Country to see the different classes.

 

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I am still puzzled by the need to have forums and blogs. Surely you are creating 2 separate areas  each will therefore only get half the available traffic and content. Seems that people prefer to use one or the other formats, and rarely visit the "other side". By offering a choice, the forum management have divided the population and rendered half the content "lost" to most people.

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I think blogs are perceived to allow the blogger to exercise greater editorial control over content, thus avoiding the wilder excesses of off-track excursions common in threads 'drifting'. 

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Isn't Fugates TOMA more of the old Domino layout rather than the Chubb design?

 

They both have elements in there.  The Sunset Valley was built as sections and completed to a larger degree before installation.  The original "domino" concept had standard sized layout sections that were supported on riser above a standard benchwork framing, almost like two levels of benchwork.  The later domino concept involved into something closer to "N-Trak modules" but without the standard track arrangements at the ends.

 

What is different about TOMA is the idea that each "module" is to be completed to full scenery before the next one is started and that they are supposed to be removeable from the layout to do maintenance and wiring.

Quote

 

I think I agree that conceptual designs like those mentioned are not for everyone.

I actually thought of the TOMA when starting on my layout, but the drawbacks with sizes and joints were kind of prohibitive to me.

 

 

One of the other main tenants of TOMA is that if you move you can retain and rearrange the sections more easily.  While that is true in theory, its much harder in practice, especially in a smaller areas.  Since TOMA is a way of designing and building a larger layout, not a "one module" layout, the whole move and reconfigure thing is more problematic than people realize.  For example, take any layout designed to fit in a spare bedroom.  Divide it up into "sections".  Then say you have moved and the new space is exactly the same footprint, but the mirror image of the floor plan.  Original room the door is east corner of the south wall, the closet is in the east wall and the window is west wall, new bedroom, the door is west corner of  the south wall, the closet is in the west wall and the window is in the east wall.  Now try and make as much of the old layout as possible fit into the new room.   Its going to be tough.  I've tried doing that and its not easy.

 

In addition there is the problem of changing interests.  Every time I have built a layout, moved and then gone back to rebuild the old layout, my interests/era has changed or I realize the deficiencies in construction, materials or design of the old layout and want to improve it with the new layout.  So even if I could recycle it, would I want to?  Plus I think that removing a layout section from the layout to work on it is way more hassle and will involve way more work and risk of damage to the layout than any time or effort saved by better access.  YMMV

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You:  Is there really a point to continue making updates here?

Or should I stay with my blog only?

 

...

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Me: You rarely ask any questions or start a discussion. 

....

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You: I may be silly, but I kind of thought that others were interested in that, and might have an interest to discuss these?

 

Just to bring it back to the original post, you asked a question, you got a discussion and a larger post count by other people than a dozen layout update post.  It went off the subject a bit, but isn't that what discussions do?

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