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Input / Ideas on Planning a Timetable and Creating a Location?


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Evening all, I was just wondering if there was a specific sub-forum where I could garner some knowledge on planning a timetable for my layout?

I'm quite happy with my own little potterings, but I thought it would be nice to have some outside input. 

My idea would be to list my rolling stock, era and location - and see what other people would do with it?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

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I don't believe there is such a sub forum but I believe there should be more attention to operating and by extension timetabling. Model railways are 4 dimensional modelling, length, width, height and time.  My experience is model railways look most realistic when being operated in a prototypical manner.  Whether its the sleeping car train not meeting the "Mid Day Scot" or an express side tracked to let a slow freight overtake, or light engines or ECS scuttling home at the end of a turn.   Maybe you could suggest it to the Moderators?

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I like it DCB.

 

In the mean time, have you looked at the 'Berrow' thread? That contains a copy of a truly classic article from The Railway Modeller in 1963, about creating a timetable for the layout.

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51 minutes ago, Ray Von said:

My idea would be to list my rolling stock, era and location - and see what other people would do with it?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

 

Last time I wrote a time table for a layout (fictional location) I started by getting a track plan then uniquely labelling all the sidings, platforms, locations that a train could stand on the visible part of the layout. I then did the same for the hidden parts. This gave me the locations that I could find a train. From this point I then started to consider what services should be seen and how frequently. These starting points allowed me to create a timetable showing all movements. I.e. train 1 (class 56 + 10 HAA's) start at siding 2a. Cross to up main and proceed to fiddle yard fyd4. 

 

It quickly turned into a monster that whilst detailed was hard to read at speed. 

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I'd agree that Excel is suitable for creating a timetable.  The last layout that I planned, but didn't build, was going to be a fictional post-privatisation era passenger terminus in central Scotland, but with some off-scene freight facilities.  I started by listing destinations for passenger trains and desired frequencies to each and likely journey and layover times.  That then meant I could calculate the number of unit that I would require to operate each service.  Due to the assumed constraint of a single track branch line, I then arranged the services as arrival, arrival, departure, departure as that would have allowed the single line to be worked more intensively and I then looked at gaps to fit in assumed freight services.  I don't think that there is a right or wrong way to go about it, but I'd probably start with the most frequent service and then keep adding services until you run out of fiddle yard space.

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Something that can help immensely in all this is to forget the railway for a minute, and think about the place. Where is it; how many people live there; what is the date; what sort of industry or business is the place into; is it some sort of regional centre, market-town etc.

 

All this helps give a "back story" in terms of what traffic the railway might be carrying, and to/from wherever else.

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And after considering the economic environment, think about the railway outside your layout. Line speeds, signalling headways, lengths of block sections and position of loops all have a bearing on what trains can appear and when.

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48 minutes ago, Nearholmer said:

Something that can help immensely in all this is to forget the railway for a minute, and think about the place. Where is it; how many people live there; what is the date; what sort of industry or business is the place into; is it some sort of regional centre, market-town etc.

 

All this helps give a "back story" in terms of what traffic the railway might be carrying, and to/from wherever else.

There are two ways, maybe more to consider timetabling. As you suggest, something compatible with the railway as imagined in its surroundings, assuming it was placed intentionally in a prototypical milieu. And then there is the actual capability of the layout to support train and loco movements regardless of its imagined surroundings. In modern operating conditions in fact lines do operate near to capacity so the two possibilities converge, but they could be a long way apart. Further, per David, there is a tendency expressed amongst some people working on automation, to compress the time dimension to avoid long gaps in operations, which is the same thing.  

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The inclusion of fictitious “unforeseen operational circumstances” in an operating session, whether trying to adhere to a strict WTT, sequential timetable or a simple random service can provide additional authenticity and variety in terms of motive power/rolling stock utilisation. 

Examples:

  • Poor availability of rostered stock and/or locos can result in the purloining of whatever’s available. This could be the “borrowing” of a “foreign” engine which had previously worked in on a Special or substitution with a far less appropriate class/unit.
  • In service failures from overheated axle boxes (hot boxes) resulting in delay and removal of offending vehicle before resumption of journey.
  • Poor steaming - SOS due to possibly: poor coal/lack of smokebox vacuum/dirty fire/poor firing any of which might result in stopping for a “blow up”. This could entail the signalman putting the train “inside”, if possible until matters have improved on the engine.
  • Inability to maintain vacuum prior to start of journey (scaled up ejector cones/faulty exhauster) resulting in substitution of loco.
  • Mechanical/electrical failures on diesel or electrical locos/multiple units. These can be generally “out of the blue” and disabling whereas many steam loco problems were not always sufficiently bad to bring things to a permanent standstill.
  • Traction current failure, OHLE or conductor rail supply. Train “rescued” by locomotive (DCC layouts only).
  • Permanent way issues. Temporary speed restrictions, wrong line working; even those pesky leaves.
  • Line obstructed - derailed vehicles of train on adjacent track. Animals/persons on line.
  • Signalling failures. Delay whilst consulting with signalman. “Pass next signal at Danger, obey all others”.
  • Derailment (we’ve all had one) Call out the Breakdown Gang. Possibly emergency services

The examples above would just be “in the mind” but would give an excuse to add a little unusual variety to an operating session without resorting to Rule 1.

 

The options are endless - ask any of the old Control boys.

 

 

Edited by Right Away
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2 hours ago, Right Away said:

The inclusion of fictitious “unforeseen operational circumstances” in an operating session, whether trying to adhere to a strict WTT, sequential timetable or a simple random service can provide additional authenticity and variety in terms of motive power/rolling stock utilisation. 

Examples:

  • Poor availability of rostered stock and/or locos can result in the purloining of whatever’s available. This could be the “borrowing” of a “foreign” engine which had previously worked in on a Special or substitution with a far less appropriate class/unit.
  • In service failures from overheated axle boxes (hot boxes) resulting in delay and removal of offending vehicle before resumption of journey.
  • Poor steaming - SOS due to possibly: poor coal/lack of smokebox vacuum/dirty fire/poor firing any of which might result in stopping for a “blow up”. This could entail the signalman putting the train “inside”, if possible until matters have improved on the engine.
  • Inability to maintain vacuum prior to start of journey (scaled up ejector cones/faulty exhauster) resulting in substitution of loco.
  • Mechanical/electrical failures on diesel or electrical locos/multiple units. These can be generally “out of the blue” and disabling whereas many steam loco problems were not always sufficiently bad to bring things to a permanent standstill.
  • Traction current failure, OHLE or conductor rail supply. Train “rescued” by locomotive (DCC layouts only).
  • Permanent way issues. Temporary speed restrictions, wrong line working; even those pesky leaves.
  • Line obstructed - derailed vehicles of train on adjacent track. Animals/persons on line.
  • Signalling failures. Delay whilst consulting with signalman. “Pass next signal at Danger, obey all others”.
  • Derailment (we’ve all had one) Call out the Breakdown Gang. Possibly emergency services

The examples above would just be “in the mind” but would give an excuse to add a little unusual variety to an operating session without resorting to Rule 1.

 

The options are endless - ask any of the old Control boys.

 

 

I've considered 2 rolls of a dice to give 36 permutations of service disruption to add spice to WTT ops... 

A further roll could decided time lost/gained etc... 

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I can only concur with what has been written previously - and would like to mention Nearholmer in dispatches for his kindness with a few Private Messages last year containing ideas for me - and look forward to reading what stock you have for what sort of layout, and where it is set.  With my layout, I have been composing endless lists of suitable freight (if bending rules to make it busier than would have been), and then searching for lorries to deliver/collect it and wagons to carry it.  I am obsessed currently with wool 'sheets' (un-graded bales) and pallet sizes (why are there three?!?)...  I look forward to seeing what you have in mind.

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10 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

 

List away. There are keen amateur timetable-istas  waiting.

Ok, here goes:

 

Location - Fictional, north coast of Kent, somewhere ranging between Dover and Whitstable.

 

Era - Late Seventies, early Eighties.

 

Infrastructure - Passenger / Commuter, large Railfreight depot, scrap yard- partly served by rail (waste oil and general metal removal and delivery) private dispatch business occupying original BR goods shed.

 

Layout:

 

919041318_IMG_20210210_1450337032.jpg.d55e52743c67299d419876432dc5e016.jpg

1521998040_IMG_20210210_1453088792.jpg.0309b70dc0e4962ef31cb9f0c1f7c494.jpg

Top track from traverser - traffic from Fictional Location "A" - serving platform one (Railfreight and "Suder's Worldwide Dispatch" no third rail) and platform two (mainly passenger - this section has third rail.)

 

Bottom track from traverser - traffic from Fictional Location "B" - serving (top to bottom) holding siding, platform three and platform four, commuter and passengers mainly.

Plus access for shunting / holding / siding for Scrap Merchant directly opposite these platforms. All Third Rail.

 

Platforms are four coach lengths (loco plus three standard coaches.)

 

Rolling Stock:

Mk1 corridor brake comp x 3

Mk1 corridor second x 2

Mk1 corridor first x 1

Mk1 second open x 2

Mk1 mini buffet 

Mk1 pullman bar

Mk1 first sleeping car

Mk1 brake gangway coach

57ft newspaper packing van blue

57ft express parcels blue grey x 2

Single vent van brown

Railfreight van x 8

BP oil tanker wagon

 

Loco's:

Class 20

Class 40

Class 47

Class 25

Class 411 four car emu x 2

(I have a class 08, but it's due to be retired.)

 

I think that's all, apologies if I've omitted any vital info!  

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

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19 hours ago, Nearholmer said:

I like it DCB.

 

In the mean time, have you looked at the 'Berrow' thread? That contains a copy of a truly classic article from The Railway Modeller in 1963, about creating a timetable for the layout.

There used to be 10 or 11 copies of RM from the early 60s available as scans, in an archive website. But it looks like the website owner has deleted them for breaching T&C for the web site, i.e. breaking copyright.

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I made a sequence for a friend's exhibition layout. It was about 15' long with a fiddle yard at each end & we ended up with everyone shouting instructions to each other (which looked poor to the viewers & breaking a conversation with a viewer prompted them to move on to the next layout) & the frequent occasion where a fiddle yard was totally full with a train approaching. It baffled me to think that someone at the other end could feel that it was a good idea to send something more from a nearly empty yard.

 

I decided that something had to be done.

 

I started with what stock was available.  We had a branch line which took a coal train so this had to be included. The layout had local & semi-fast trains so these needed to be included.

I made up small cards for each train & placed these on diagrams of each fiddle yard, recording where they all were (because they needed to be in the same place at the end of the sequence).

I tried to make the local trains regular.

We had a freight loop in one direction, so a freight could be looped to let a fast train through.

The coal train made one return trip per sequence. Passenger trains made 2 returns each. We had 2 fast trains & 4 locals. This left the parcels & mixed freight. It worked to have these make 1 return each.

I wrote the initial setup on a set of cards for each fiddle yard & another for the operator.

The whole sequence took between 25 to 45 minutes to complete, depending on how slick we wanted to run trains. This often depended on how much we were chatting to viewers.

There was no more shouting (especially "this yard is full") & I even found myself talking to viewers about what was I was doing & which trains would be coming next.

It also made the time pass way more quickly. I previously found time dragged a little just after lunch, but now we just focussed on getting through x number of sequences until the end of the day.

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21 minutes ago, moore43grm said:

if I remember correctly wasn't there something called "wagon flow" a few years back ?

 

could be a good starting point if still available

It appears to have disappeared. There was a suggestion that there was to be a version for Windows, but I don't believe anything came of it.

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Hmmm .........

 

For the basic passenger service, I suggest that we assume it to be a short spur from the Faversham-Margate Line, served by an hourly 4-CEP, detached at the junction from the Down train from London, and attaching to the Up train to London ........ which is a bit dull, but very realistic! You could add variety, and make things even more realistic, by buying a 2-HAP, which could shuttle back and forth to the junction all day, with the CEP only forming morning peak Up, and evening peak Down London services.

 

Possibly one unit out-stabled here overnight, to permit the earliest departure to London.

 

Sometime very early in the morning, a Down Newspapers, which has detached at the junction from the main Down train. Your fleet lacks the essential ED or Crompton for this, so the 25 will have to pretend to be one of those, and the lack of run-round is a problem, but it can set-back into the stabling sidings after unloading. The vans will need to go back empty at some point, probably late afternoon, so I guess will need to be pulled out from the siding by the 08 in pilot mode.

 

Your two freight customers can probably be served together by one train each day, running as required, most likely a couple of times each week. Again a Crompton or an ED would be most plausible, probably running as a trip from Hoo Junction Yard or Dover, so maybe the 20 with a false beard and glasses. This train I envisage as only half a dozen vehicles at maximum.

 

The 47 and hauled stock looks to me like a summer Saturdays only regular from somewhere in the Midlands - lets say Wolverhampton - to serve the customers of a really grim holiday camp out on the coast nearby.

 

The Pullman and the Sleeper, I don't know quite what to do with. Maybe a preservation society bought them, and they are stabled here temporarily.

 

The 40 is a big question, so that had better alternate with the 47 on the Saturday train, and if you can persuade a friend to swap you an ED and a Crompton for the 25 and 20, happy days, because they were rare/unknown in Kent at this period, I think.

 

I can think of ways of further complicating matters, but how is that for starters?

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I would start with the passenger services, which being Southern would be likely to be regular 'clock face', supplemented with loco-hauled extras (e.g., Uckfield and East Grinstead branches on the Central Div.).  I would think a service would certainly serve London, so depending on how your terminus relates to other lines, either have loco-hauled peak 'through' services, with a shuttle off-peak (2-3 an hour, varying in speed?) connecting to a junction station, or have your station serve 'through to London'.  Please correct me if I sound out of turn, but the Southern is rather 'London focussed'.

 

Then 'bolt on' the extras: parcels, newspapers, a Kensington Olympia inter-regional 'portion' that is joined to another portion from a larger terminus, ditto a 'Sleeper' car if you want to be exotic.  You could stretch it, perhaps, to serve a boat-train if you want your station near the sea.  The last two would be early in the morning and late at night.

 

As for freight, I think the scrap train would call daily (I stand to be corrected), with a 'Q' (as required) addition of the tank for the waste oil.  I think freight was served outside peak hours, simply owing to pathing constraints on a busy commuter network.  The despatch shed could have a daily trip service, perhaps late in the evening to allow over-night delivery, or in the morning (09.00-10.00) for 'next day delivery': anything needing to go quicker could be sent by Parcels (departing late after-noon).

 

So, if I have not got quite the wrong end of the stick, I think it would be a case of 'inter-lacing' the regular passenger workings with the daily 'irregulars'.  You could put these on flip-cards, or type up an hourly schedule and work from this.    Errr... does this help? 

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May I just compliment Nearholmer for getting in before me!  Hope my ideas do not sound quite daft compared to his wise words.

 

Sorry: idiot that I am you would not need a loco-hauled peak-time service when the lines have 3d Rail.  Doh.

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The simplest possible complication (if that isn't illogical), is to make the junction a triangular one, and have the hourly service call in and out in each direction. detach 4-CEP on Down journey from London, which then comes to your terminus, reverses and continues to Margate/Ramsgate using the other chord of the triangle. Converse in the other direction, with the Up and Down trains passing at you terminus, and confused passengers getting on the wrong one. 

 

IIRC, Littlehampton was served by "in and out" trains from Brighton to Portsmouth like this.

 

Loco-hauled peak-time trains were really only an Uckfield/Grinstead thing (and one Reading-Tonbridge) - Kent was all EMUs by this date except odd inter-regionals, The Night Ferry, most newspaper trains (which had limited passenger accomodation), and the TPO. The only diesel passenger services in Kent were bits of Ashford-Hastings, Tonbridge-Hastings, and Redhill-Tonbridge. 

 

The basic "recipe" within Kent was CEP-BEP-CEP for faster longer distance services, and HAP in multiple for stopping services and branches, although there were also a few express-geared EPBs as peak-strengtheners. MLV were used on boat trains, and on their own or with a van for some Newspaper/Parcels services.

 

Off-region 47 and Peak appeared on a few block freights, but anything within the region was an ED or a Crompton. I never saw a single 20, 25, or 40 deep in Kent, although I'm sure somebody will know of the very odd times they did turn-up.

 

I think there may have been a "car sleeper" from Dover to Scotland at some dates, but I don't think it lasted until your dateline (I'll see if I can find out). [Well, this says it was still running in 1981 https://andygibbs.zenfolio.com/p234657234/h6A7D870F#h6a7d870f  and here is a very short RMWeb thread about it https://www.rmweb.co.uk/community/index.php?/topic/62367-dover-stirling-motorail/ ]

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I had a sudden idea about using the '40' on an over-night Company block-train to the private shed, like the Kelloggs service to Crawley New Yard from the north via Willesden.  However, this would be very much 'artistic license', I think, to have a Speedlink in addition, and the '40' might have been changed to a '47' at Willesden.  See Michael Rhodes's photo in Dr Paul Shannon's 'Speedlink' (2014), p.7.  "One of the first flows to use B.R.'s air-braked vans was Kelloggs traffic from Trafford Park to Hatfield and Crawley, which ran as a combined train as far as Willesden.  No. 40 143 pauses at Manchester Piccadilly with the Willesden-bound train in January 1977."

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Cheers guys, this is great stuff and very thought provoking.  I have to apologise for my rather fantastical choice of loco's :-)

I picked a them purely because (especially in the case of the 20 and the 40) I love the design of them, and that might stem from the fact that they were so unusual to me - I grew up in a home facing the line between Margate and Broadstairs, and it was EMUs back and forth with I believe the occasional class 08...

I digress.  I like the idea of the line being a spur, and in my mind that's the sort of germ of an idea that I've been working with. 

I don't know if anyone knows the area but I imagine the fictitious location laying somewhere loosely in the triangle between Faversham, Dover and Ashford - maybe even serving or passing by Manston Airfield in some way, but certainly with links to Margate/Ramsgate.

  

 

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