Monday, April 29, 2013

Town Track Diagrams

As I continue to prepare for my Sea Trials test session on May 19, I've been putting much more emphasis on operating paperwork than I did for the last test session. 
One of the most common questions operators ask on a layout is "Where am I?" The builder forgets that he knows where every town is in relation to every other point on the railroad, but it may not be terribly obvious to a visiting operator. 
This is a sample of one of the town schematics I'm making for each town on the layout.  I'm still tweaking these - but this is the one that's mounted in front of Everett. Note the direction arrows on the "station sign" - as you look at the layout "North" is always to your right. It also shows the names of the tracks, the car capacity, and the locations and names of the various industries, along with any specific car spots within that industry. Ultimately these will also include street names for grade crossings, and trackside facilities like water towers, stations, and the like. 
The various spots represent different doors or loading/unloading equipment. The waybill specifies the specific spot the customer wants the car. Makes switching much more interesting than simply shoving all the inbound cars into one track.


  1. I like the showing of the car capacity and spots. I wished more layouts did that.

  2. This is a great graphic that should be easy for operators to understand. I suggest that you move the "Main" lable so it is adjacent to the "Passing" and "Mill" lables. As for adding other info, I'd try to keep it simple. If the information isn't needed for the operation of the layout leave it off of the graphic, that's more scenic detail.

    Greg Amer

  3. Looks good Marty! Why are the tracks to the warehouse and the mill drawn with dotted lines?

    1. Tore,

      The dashed line represents tracks owned by the paper mill company, even though at this point the home railroad switches the facility. There's been some consideration given to getting the mill it's own switcher owned by the paper company.

  4. Greg, Thanks for the comment. I will be sure to move the "Main" label in the next version. - Marty

  5. A dedicated switcher sounds fun :)