Last night I played with my trains.Its been a while using my tmcc berkshire.I switched out different freight cars.Using the whistles and bells like the real rail road.The movements for going forward or backward to let the break men know.Whats going forward or back warded.By the time I was done.I had a very different train than what I started out with.So how about you guys.

Original Post

I always liked the idea of switching. My attic layout did not allow that so I started a layout in the basement which will mainly be a switching layout. .... Paul 2

seaboardm2 posted:

Last night I played with my trains.Its been a while using my tmcc berkshire.I switched out different freight cars.Using the whistles and bells like the real rail road.The movements for going forward or backward to let the break men know.Whats going forward or back warded.By the time I was done.I had a very different train than what I started out with.So how about you guys.

If I could go back in time and be anybody... I'd want to be Clarence Arminger.

That's the engineer who held down the night job in Baltimore running the C-16 "docksiders" around Fell's Point. 

A hot job in the summer but it must have been a lot of fun working that little 0-4-0 dragging cars down city streets and shoving and pulling them into tight city buildings.

I like it too.  All of our engines and cars have a home on the layout.  So every session requires you to build a train, run it, then put it away.  My son and I challenge each other not to use the 0-5-0 hand of God to move cars.  

Have Fun.



I'm quite a fan of switching. There is a small 3 track yard on my layout but it would be nice expand in the future to show off my rolling stock. Thus, the "Monty Python" hand of god does not have to show up as often! 


Where I went to school was right beside the tracks.On the other side was a rock quarry.The local would pick hopper cars and drop some off.It was fun to see 2 gp 9 pull out loads and then put in empty cars.This took about 20 minutes.Oh the hopper cars had a large yellow patch.With the words ballast only Seaboard Coast Line.

I like to put cars together into a long train, let it go for a long ride, and then take it apart.  Switches and reversing loops are essential to allow trains to go in either direction without having to go backward when they are at their lengthiest.

I really enjoy it.  At our open houses at the club I switch cars in and out of our rotary coal tipple for 6 hours at a time.D20191215 - T105620 - MS220



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Last edited by Greg Houser

I play a switching puzzle game for hours, and really enjoyed watching the ferry being loaded in the Mi.U.P. and Detroit River RR barge , etc as a kid; but I'm a looper on the layout. "Look Ma; no hands"... of God or otherwise

My feet are often the closest appendage to the layout

I like to throw the switches manually, makes me fell like I'm in the yard working on the railroad. Sometimes I'm slow so the engineer tells at me.

I used to just run my trains until I joined a local model rr club and they introduced me to operations. I really enjoy operating sessions, that involve making up trains in yard and distributing and picking up cars at various industries throughout my layout. 

If i didn't switch and spot cars, i would never use my trains.  I get bored real quick watching trains go round and round no matter how big the layout is.

How much do I like switching? A lot, as I've learned through experience.

The Plywood Empire Route has evolved into a mostly switching Pike. Each session begins with a train bringing set-outs from Interchange:


To Town:


There are 5 car-spots at the East End:


And 6 car-spots at the Paint Factory in the West End:


An operating session lasts from 30 to 45 minutes depending on the consist.


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Last edited by geysergazer

I was born to kick out a list.  Attached is a .pdf with an example of the types of layouts I design in AutoCad LT.  Included are a freight house, grain elevator, cotton compress, packing house, and more.  I may just have to build this some day.


I have a small layout so looping gets old really fast. All of my power is NW-2's, MP-15's, Geeps and RS-3's. Short steamers and tank engines rule the road too.  Most of my train time is spent shifting cars around various sidings, picking up other cars and moving them. Lot's of imagination at work but it's fun.

Everyone should stop by Switcher Saturday this week and see what's going on. Tons of great pictures shared.

2019-07-06 08.46.55


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Last edited by RSJB18

I was born lazy and have been losing ground ever since. I had eight pair of switches on my last layout and eventually grew tired of the back-and-forth. My "retired" layout has two pair plus one and only two sidings for an industrial area. It works for me.

Something hard to replicate in model railroading that I like doing as an Engineer at work is " kicking " cars.

Might be more easily done with these newer remote control cars and units , but I'm still an old school model railroader and railroader at heart. I have issues with the new technology on the real railroads as well  

Does anyone try " kicking " cars on their layout ?

david1 posted:

Imo operations is like watching grass GROW

You're a schmuck who is not enjoying the hobby the proper way!!

I couldn't resist my friend!

Can't wait for things to get back to normal so we can hang out again.



Last edited by Greg Houser

I don't have a layout at this time (still packing for the move) but being an ex-SP switchman, I love switching far more than just watching a train basically run in circles.  To me, switching gives your layout a reason for being there.  I also like building structures more than doing a lot of scenery.  Great topic with some great replies and pics.

I enjoy the idea of switching.  Have always wanted a layout that had BOTH continuous running and switching whether I was doing O, N, or HO. That way, I could run either method depending on what mood suited me at the time or run both methods simultaneously with me concentrating on the switching while the mainline runs in the background. 

Many of the plans I drew up had Inglenook switching puzzles integrated into the loop. Sometimes I had the sidings meet back with the main line on the other end (the length of the sidings would still be enforced by temporary track bumpers placed on the track) or had an additional siding on the Inglenook that served as storage filler with freight cars that weren't part of the game.
One of the inaccurate knocks I always hear about us O gauge folks is that we only want to run loops and that we haven't "advanced" to next level model railroading like the N and HO part of the hobby.
Whenever I do get that round the room shelf layout (hopefully 12x12 at a minimum) one side will definitely be a railroad yard, layout & design TBD.
Last edited by Amfleet25124

I don't have command control with no intention of getting it so switching is a lot of transformer lever maneuvering.

I sort of hand change trains a lot for variety.

My current layout has a freight yard, with two spurs, a lead, and a runaround track, with a Lionel Icing Station. I also have a public delivery track on the other side of the layout, with a milk platform, a coal dump, and a barrel unloading area. 

I like to begin and end each session at the public delivery track. Before any trains are running, I turn on the hobo boxcar that plays "I've been working on the railroad", and unload the cars on the track.

This is followed by moving cars out of the yard, and switching them out with the cars on the pdt. Then, the operating cars go back to the yard, and the loop running of a long through freight, two local freight, and three passenger trains.

Finally, the "big hand" scoops up the merchandise, the operating cars are reloaded, and the cars are swapped back out at the pdt.

And of course, I use command control, with sound. Noisy, but realistic.

Current 2 rail layout build provides routing operation in addition to several yard functions and various industries. 

I designed everything around a main line interchange fed by a lengthy staging yard, where five branch lines go off into different directions to serve various end of line towns.  The routing operation involves scheduling RDC and Doodle bug commuter service with some mixed trains and peddler freights thrown into the mix.

I did cheat and I connected two branch lines ends for continuous running for times when I want the fish tank effect of just therapeutically running  several trains in the same direction.  That in conjunction with a long point to point (loop to loop) wrap around 3 rail eye level run provides background inspiration while working on the RR.

One troubling factor I found was that once basic running function occurred, actual work on the layout slowed drastically.

It turns into a juggling act servicing industries between passenger runs and turning steam engines at the end of each branch line.  Just need to find some fellow operators for a critique and assistance.

I bit off more than I can chew but it is a end of life challenge to finish as much as I can before the big dumpster event.

Hopefully,  I will be able to get a lot done during this shut down.  The train room has been called Tom's  crack house by well meaning friends.

Last edited by Tom Tee

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