On Sheet – Just die!

On Sheet – Just die!

o I was asked to explain all the facets of model railroad operations, to spool this out and gradually teach you how to research, string diagram and prototype your operations so you’ll have ops so successful you’ll need velvet ropes and a bouncer to keep things manageable.

But you aren’t sure about ops and want to try, just you, on your little home layout?

So here’s what you do.

Go into the den and loot through your board games, Risk or Monopoly or whatever. Take a single six-sided die from the box.

Now, on your layout, build a train with six freight cars and drive around for a bit.

When it’s time to switch (when you decide) then pick a siding and roll a die. That number is the car number (from engine back) that you need to spot on that siding.

As you run the train around, come up with your own rules. Maybe if you only have four or five cars left on the train and you roll a six, that means you skip dropping a car off. Maybe you roll for each siding, and if there are two cars there and you roll a one or two, you pick that car up. Play with different rules and see what you like doing.

The important thing is this – you are now operating your layout. You are doing exactly what model railroaders did in the 1930s when they were trying to come up with things for their trains to do.

So just try it and see what happens. See if you get the bug and start making your own switching rules. See where it goes.

I know for a fact that you’ll quickly discover what a trailing point turnout is, a facing point turnout and a run-around move.

Just have fun! See you next week with more on this topic!


Answers: A trailing point turnout is a switch where you move in the direction of the moving points, where you can easily back cars into the spur when servicing it. A facing point turnout is one where you move into the points, where a moving train can go on one of two routes.A facing point set-out is a pretty difficult thing to figure out.