Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thoughts on Staging Yards

Upper staging yard on the M & M Sub.

The old adage holds that you can never have enough staging.

In the most recent issue of Great Model Railroads, Sam Powell disputes that. On his Penn Creek Valley layout he has four short staging tracks. He says it's enough for his layout.

The M & M Sub. has 12 staging tracks, each capable of holding a 20-car train. I'm about two tracks short of what I need.

(This is partly due to the removal of two passing tracks when I reduced the size of the layout. They functioned as open staging.)

Lower level staging yard.

One option would be to reduce the size of the fleet. I don't feel a deep need to do that; cars not on the layout are on shelves in the staging room.

At least I'm not adding rolling stock; I stopped most of my buying of model train items a few years ago.

My staging yards operate pretty simply: One train out, another in. The goal of an operating session (which can take days or weeks) is to move trains from the bottom staging yard to the top, and vice versa.

A simple dispatcher's panel that uses magnets to represent trains help me keep track of the traffic.

Best of all, the staging yards are out in the open, in a storage room beside the layout room. This room also contains the dispatcher's panels for all mainline movements.

Looking left, Thunder Bay/Duluth on bottom,
Winnipeg on top.

When mixed freights arrive in Fort Frances, they have cars taken off and added by the yard switcher. Unit trains (coal, intermodal, grain, forest products) just change crews.

Anyway, over the  Christmas break I've been running trains. I completed one session, or cycle, and then set the layout up for a new one. That meant putting locomotives at the heads of trains so they are ready for their next trips.

When that was done, I decided to take a few photos.

Now, if I could just figure out where to put two more staging tracks . . . .

Looking right. The "helix" that connects the
levels is between the two yards.

Click here to read more about staging yards on the M & M Sub.

1 comment:

  1. Greg Hale did something that I thought was pretty ingenious on his Clinchfield Railroad. He utilized his helix as staging. It is triple tracked, one NB, one through track and one SB. It was a great way to add staging without burning up precious space.