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Modelling the ATSF in 1970 in HO


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On 23/11/2020 at 23:28, GP9u said:

I think this will be a lot of fun to operate!   Might a diamond be an alternative to the switchback?  I think you could keep it all to the right of the "B" section joint.  Diamonds can impart a bit of a North American Railroad-y feel imho.    ;)

 

Pete 

diamond.jpg


I’ve had a play with this alternative this evening.  It would just fit with Peco Code 100 Short Points and the SL-93 Short Crossing, so could be done.  I think the Peco short switches have a nominal 24” radius.  Personally I prefer longer switches with a 36” (Medium) or 48” (Long) radius, which is what I have.  I’m not sure I want to be spending on more Code 100 track for this project (obvious reasons) so I may have to pass on this idea - but it is a good suggestion for anyone looking at ideas.

 

I’ve also laid out the track I have a bit more carefully and double checked my capacity calculations - the good news is that where I thought things would only just fit, I had been suitably cautious and everything definitely does fit.

 

I’ll keep thinking about the Switchback, as it is the weakness in the schematic, but will give some more thought to possible locations of industries / car spots, to see what an operating pattern might start to look like before committing myself.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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Dear Keith,

 

One of the things about ATSF is that they did document and standardise a lot of stuff. It may be more "Texas-centric", but IIRC Dave Barrow  (Cat Mountain and Santa Fe, et al) did writeup some early articles which did a good "101 primer" job of explaining the common/typical western-plains-region ATSF station trackage layout, what spurs and industries went where, etc etc.

 

To look at these "typical" track arrays, they look quite simple,
(it's rare to find a switchback, esp in "wide open space" states like Texas and Kansas,
where land is plentiful, cheaply available, and thus there's little-incentive to "get creative" track-array-wise on the basis of "having to squeeze things in"...

 

much like how you're more likely to find a "space eating" Wye/triangle loco-turning track array on a Central Australian railroad, than an expensive, mechanically complex, but space-saving turntable...
...they have the land available in the Aussie Outback,
so deployed the cheapest/simplest "turn the loco end-for-end" solution available...)

 

but the ATSF station track arrays do tend to pack a lot of operation into a relatively simple array.
IIRC, the "common config" was:
- Straight-shot mainline
- Passing loop (for mainline opposing-train meets)
- Depot on the opposite site of the Main to the Pass
- "House track" (serving local freighthouse) leaving the main and running behind the depot
(IE the depot is in between the Main and the House Track)
- and spur(s) coming off either end of the House Track as local requirements dictate.

 

Assuming you're modelling "end of a rural branch", what you have drawn is essentially as Dave B describes,
Minus the "passing loop" (which would not be required at the End of the branch, as there's no trains coming "from further down the branch" to create an "opposing meet" situation... ;-)  ),

 

and with an excess "switchback" spur...
(nice, feels model-railroady, and maybe gets a pass again based on the presumed "end of the branch" location, but it does feel a little OOP...)

 

FWIW...

 

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr

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27 minutes ago, Prof Klyzlr said:

Minus the "passing loop" (which would not be required at the End of the branch, as there's no trains coming "from further down the branch" to create an "opposing meet" situation... ;-)  ),

 

Au contraire.  At the end of the line you still need a siding because the engine needs to run around the train to get to the other end of the trains to go back to the other end of the run.

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10 hours ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:

I’ve been trying to find out when Mixed Trains last ran on Santa Fe Branches?
 

 I’ve seen an out of print book: “Coach, Cabbage and Caboose”* that is subtitled “A 100 year history of Santa Fe Mixed Train Service from 1869 - 1971” but I’m now wondering if the end date just refers to the start of the Amtrak era?

 

I’ve found references to mixed trains up to the 1960s, but most internet leads take me to the demise of trains from Williams to The Grand Canyon (really a tourist branch) after the 1968 season.

 

(*I believe Cabbage was possibly used to refer to the passenger cars used in mixed trains, but I’m not sure if it meant the combines, some of which I believe were a dark shade of red rather than green).

 

I've got a February 1971 copy of the "Official Guide" and the only passenger services shown for the Santa Fe are the remaining mid to long distance ones - no mention of "Mixed" service on any branches in there for them, though they are still shown being operated by several other Companies right across North America at that date.  The previous OG that I own to that dates from 1963 and that does list a number of ATSF branches with "mixed" services.

That isn't to say that there were some "local" operations being carried out in 1971 which they weren't publicising.....

Riding such trains was actively discouraged by several lines towards the end and I've seen mention of passengers being put in a taxi rather than a caboose!

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6 hours ago, dave1905 said:

 

Au contraire.  At the end of the line you still need a siding because the engine needs to run around the train to get to the other end of the trains to go back to the other end of the run.

 

They might not need the loop if they could run round using what Prof Klyzir calls the "House Track". But that might be obstructed by wagons.

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6 hours ago, dave1905 said:

 

Au contraire.  At the end of the line you still need a siding because the engine needs to run around the train to get to the other end of the trains to go back to the other end of the run.


Hi Dave - I think we’re all talking about the same thing, just using the terminology differently.  As you say, some form of double ended siding is needed for the engine to change ends at the end of a branch line.

 

As I read it, the Prof is just clarifying that opposing train meets using the siding for Passing - as described for a standard Santa Fe ‘through’ station - wouldn’t be expected at the end of a branch line.

 

I can think of UK Branch Lines where the Terminus was designated as a Passing place - a Freight or Goods Train could arrive while the Branch Passenger Train waited to depart, but that was to fit a timetable where there might be seven or eight Passenger Services a day.

 

I’m only expecting to switch one Freight train a day (which might be a mixed train).  If it’s not a mixed train there might be a solitary passenger local as well, but that would be stretching things and would have to assume a connection to a mainline passenger at the junction end of the branch to justify it I think.

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A rather basic question.

 

All the photos that I have seen of mixed trains in the US have the passenger accommodation at the rear of the train. From this, I draw the conclusion that freight stock in the US has always been fully braked. Is this correct?

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I saw a rather nice US layout on YouTube the other day (should have bookmarked it) which portrayed some exchange sidings leading to an industrial zone with four industries to switch. It was about 12' x 8' with the possibility of some roundy-roundy running.

 

No opportunity for passenger working of course but one could change the mainline railroad delivering cars at will. Seems like a good option and could easily be configured for one end of the oval to be Fremo compatible.

Edited by Joseph_Pestell
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8 hours ago, Prof Klyzlr said:

Dear Keith,

 

One of the things about ATSF is that they did document and standardise a lot of stuff. It may be more "Texas-centric", but IIRC Dave Barrow  (Cat Mountain and Santa Fe, et al) did writeup some early articles which did a good "101 primer" job of explaining the common/typical western-plains-region ATSF station trackage layout, what spurs and industries went where, etc etc.

 

To look at these "typical" track arrays, they look quite simple,
(it's rare to find a switchback, esp in "wide open space" states like Texas and Kansas,
where land is plentiful, cheaply available, and thus there's little-incentive to "get creative" track-array-wise on the basis of "having to squeeze things in"...

 

much like how you're more likely to find a "space eating" Wye/triangle loco-turning track array on a Central Australian railroad, than an expensive, mechanically complex, but space-saving turntable...
...they have the land available in the Aussie Outback,
so deployed the cheapest/simplest "turn the loco end-for-end" solution available...)

 

but the ATSF station track arrays do tend to pack a lot of operation into a relatively simple array.
IIRC, the "common config" was:
- Straight-shot mainline
- Passing loop (for mainline opposing-train meets)
- Depot on the opposite site of the Main to the Pass
- "House track" (serving local freighthouse) leaving the main and running behind the depot
(IE the depot is in between the Main and the House Track)
- and spur(s) coming off either end of the House Track as local requirements dictate.

 

Assuming you're modelling "end of a rural branch", what you have drawn is essentially as Dave B describes,
Minus the "passing loop" (which would not be required at the End of the branch, as there's no trains coming "from further down the branch" to create an "opposing meet" situation... ;-)  ),

 

and with an excess "switchback" spur...
(nice, feels model-railroady, and maybe gets a pass again based on the presumed "end of the branch" location, but it does feel a little OOP...)

 

FWIW...

 

Happy Modelling,
Aim to Improve,
Prof Klyzlr


Thank you - this is really helpful.  It is just the sort of info I was looking for but struggling to find.  I’ve tried a few Sanborn Fire Insurance maps but they can be a bit ‘hit or miss’ as to whether they covered the railroad part of a town. 

 

In the space I have at the moment I may have to make more compromises than ideal (this is very much a compact ‘practice layout’).  For me personally however, I find if I make an intentional compromise that’s fine - I’ve chosen to live with it.  I’d rather do that than find out later I did something very unprototypical without realising, but am stuck with it.

 

Some of Dave Barrow’s minimalist ideas on scenery were a bit ‘love it or hate it’ but his prototype knowledge wasn’t in question.  I’d be in no position to comment anyway: my layouts so far have only ever looked like the “Plywood Pacific.”

 

Thanks again, Keith.

Edited by Keith Addenbrooke
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2 hours ago, Johann Marsbar said:

 

I've got a February 1971 copy of the "Official Guide" and the only passenger services shown for the Santa Fe are the remaining mid to long distance ones - no mention of "Mixed" service on any branches in there for them, though they are still shown being operated by several other Companies right across North America at that date.  The previous OG that I own to that dates from 1963 and that does list a number of ATSF branches with "mixed" services.

That isn't to say that there were some "local" operations being carried out in 1971 which they weren't publicising.....

Riding such trains was actively discouraged by several lines towards the end and I've seen mention of passengers being put in a taxi rather than a caboose!


Thanks - I guess modelling a mixed train where any passengers had a caboose ride would only require me to pause the train with the caboose at the depot?  
I don’t know to what extent the Santa Fe may have used this practice.  
I suppose I only need to find one example of a mixed train still running in 1970 - I had the feeling most of those still running at the start of the 60s didn’t have long left - thank you for confirming this,

 

Ideally I’d like to find a train still running with a Combine rather than a Caboose, though the passengers didn’t get a choice :) .

 

 

 

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1 minute ago, Johann Marsbar said:

Just found the 3 ATSF passenger timetable booklets that I have and that is similar to what I posted regarding the 1971 "Official Guide".

The 1961 t/t has a large number of "mixed" services, whilst those for 1966 and 1967 show none.


Our posts just crossed - I think this rules out the Mixed train idea: I wouldn’t want to ‘stretch’ my time frame back much further than 1966.

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20 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

A rather basic question.

 

All the photos that I have seen of mixed trains in the US have the passenger accommodation at the rear of the train. From this, I draw the conclusion that freight stock in the US has always been fully braked. Is this correct?

Almost correct!

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Railway_air_brake

In the US, the air brake was pretty well adopted by around 1880 or so, having first been demonstrated in 1869.

It’s things like this that show how antiquated British railways were.

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12 minutes ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

I saw a rather nice US layout on YouTube the other day (should have bookmarked it) which portrayed some exchange sidings leading to an industrial zone with four industries to switch. It was about 12' x 8' with the possibility of some roundy-roundy running.

 

No opportunity for passenger working of course but one could change the mainline road locomotive delivering cars at will. Seems like a good option and could easily be configured for one end of the oval to be Fremo compatible.


I have a track plan by Bernard Kempinski for just such a layout I quite like - it has a variation with a Mainline passing outside the Industrial park that could showcase an occasional passing passenger train.  Moving to an Industrial Switching Layout concept could do away with the run-round track too - it could operate on the basis of a ‘shove’.  I don’t know when that became commonplace, but track plans with short stub ended branches do date back to Linn Westcott’s 101 Track Plans (1956).

 

My current available space isn’t as big as 12’ x 8’ but long-term it’s a realistic possibility.

 

If you come across that layout again I’d be interested in a link.

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6 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:


Our posts just crossed - I think this rules out the Mixed train idea: I wouldn’t want to ‘stretch’ my time frame back much further than 1966.

 

Not neccesarily..!

 

Out of curiosity I did a quick internet search and came up with this...

https://www.streamlinerschedules.com/concourse/track12/atsf7172196806.html

That is out of a 1968 "Official Guide" and it is not shown in either the 1966 or 1967 ATSF timetable booklets I have - ie they weren't publicising any mixed trains.

There is even a description of where the passenger accomodation was on the train.

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1 hour ago, long island jack said:

An idea, do away with the switch back and add a long spur with two industries.

 

ATSF597c.jpg.c39e676fc3dc8ae8e8163b760607ae5a.jpg.4f224fb190c07df77a584f60617a0c70.jpg


Hi Jack - thanks for this.  I wondered about this simpler arrangement but it raises another question for me:

 

One of the problems with a switchback is needing to move cars spotted on the switchback to access the second spur.

 

Presumably the same can still apply for any single ended spur with more than one destination: sooner or later a car will be needed that is behind one being unloaded?  So a car still has to be moved?  I’m wondering how the prototype manages this, although I recognise it would only happen once a day most likely (at most).

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3 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:


Hi Jack - thanks for this.  I wondered about this simpler arrangement but it raises another question for me:

 

One of the problems with a switchback is needing to move cars spotted on the switchback to access the second spur.

 

Presumably the same can still apply for any single ended spur with more than one destination: sooner or later a car will be needed that is behind one being unloaded?  So a car still has to be moved?  I’m wondering how the prototype manages this, although I recognise it would only happen once a day most likely (at most).

if you make it one industry with more spots, you still have the same problem getting the last car out, would think it happened all the time

 

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6 minutes ago, Keith Addenbrooke said:


Hi Jack - thanks for this.  I wondered about this simpler arrangement but it raises another question for me:

 

One of the problems with a switchback is needing to move cars spotted on the switchback to access the second spur.

 

Presumably the same can still apply for any single ended spur with more than one destination: sooner or later a car will be needed that is behind one being unloaded?  So a car still has to be moved?  I’m wondering how the prototype manages this, although I recognise it would only happen once a day most likely (at most).

 

Perhaps one could justify a switchback if it was serving two parts of the same business (goods in / goods out)?

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3 hours ago, Johann Marsbar said:

 

Not neccesarily..!

 

Out of curiosity I did a quick internet search and came up with this...

https://www.streamlinerschedules.com/concourse/track12/atsf7172196806.html

That is out of a 1968 "Official Guide" and it is not shown in either the 1966 or 1967 ATSF timetable booklets I have - ie they weren't publicising any mixed trains.

There is even a description of where the passenger accomodation was on the train.


Thanks Johann - good point about the passenger car at the rear: my understanding is that it would keep it clear from getting in the way of switching moves, and meant the passenger(s) would be less impacted by the routine bumps and taking up the slack on coupling / uncoupling moves.

In the UK mixed trains had to have a Guards Van as well for help with braking, but my understanding is that Cabooses didn’t fulfil this function so the Conductor would ride in the Combine.

As has been mentioned already, in later years this was sometimes reversed and the Caboose also served as the passenger accommodation.

Interesting that this anecdote tells of chilled refreshments - in winter months heating would be the concern instead, so I believe that’s one reason older passenger cars were retained, as they might have their own heating boilers.  Elsewhere, passenger cars might be put next to the locomotive if that was the source of heating (I’m thinking steam era), in an exception to the more common rear end of the train.  I think that’s how it worked, Keith.

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5 hours ago, Joseph_Pestell said:

 

They might not need the loop if they could run round using what Prof Klyzir calls the "House Track". But that might be obstructed by wagons.


I’m inclined to think that would be less likely - simply for the reason you give.  I could of course be wrong.

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