ame across this the other night, a neat little switching puzzle you can probably do on your own railroad. I know the Tuscarora could do it so I’ll give it a try when I can and let you know how it goes.
Okay, so the puzzle works this way. You need a mainline track with enough room for five (5) cars on the main to the left, and three (3) cars and an engine on the right. You also need two sidings that can each hold three (3) cars. Overall, it looks kinda like this:
The thing is, it’s okay if your main and sidings are actually longer. Just stick to the car lengths and the game works fine.
So, first things first – put an engine on the drill track. Put eight cars wherever you wish, main or sidings.
Now, you need to set up some way to select cars. Maybe playing cards with the car written on them. Or poker chips. You just need something you can put in a jar or whatever and pick.
When you are all ready, pick out five car markers and place then in the order drawn in front of you. That’s the train you must build on the mainline (to the left), in that order. Everything else needs to be on the sidings. When you are all done and have a train built, toss your markers back into the jug and pull another five. You can play as long as you wish.
The beauty of this system is that a lot of railroaders out there have some sort of track arrangement that will support this. One my Tuscarora, those sidings exist on either side of the mainline (and that’s fine, as long as you define the five-car main and the two three-car sidings). Whatever works. I’m sure that most railroads could play this game.
Credit goes to Alan Wright, who (I read in passing) came up with it when he had to make a module in a day or so for a show. They started diddling with it at the show with the guests and realized that everyone was having a great deal of fun shunting cars.
So think about putting “Inglenook” somewhere on your railroad. You can spend a couple of mesmerizing hours moving cars about.