The Best "Fast-Time" for O Gauge

Recently, I thought it would be fun to play around with a fast-time clock on my layout. Given that I have relatively few sidings and yard, and no real interest in making up different trains and doing the whole waybill thing, I thought I would play around with running passenger trains on some kind of schedule.  Now, some of you may think that this is kind of anal, and maybe it is, but really, I’m the least anal person there is when it comes to playing with trains. Indeed, while I admire them, I think the 2RS guys are kinda nuts (I mean that in a really nice way) but I like playing and not operating. I would much prefer to get two trains running and setting things up so I don’t have to touch anything and I can just veg-out. But like I said, I thought it might be fun.

So I began to think, what kind of fast-time clock would be right for O gauge? I came up with the idea to base it all on gravity, like as follows:

Normal Gravity = 32/sec^2 (Everyone knows that, right?)         

Height = 16t^2=(32t/2)*t  (where t=time)         

So how long to fall 480 feet?       16t^2     =480                                                                                  

t^2    = 30                                                                                            

t     =√30                                                                                          

t     =5.5772 sec

Using the same formula the time to fall 10 feet (480/48) = .7906 sec

So the "O Gauge ratio for gravity" should be 5.5772:.7906  or 6.93:1

I found a fast time clock app in the Android Play Store that provides for several different options so I chose the closest to 6.93 fast time that I could which turned out to be 6:1, whereby a 12 hour day can pass in 2 hours. The scale distances, I have 336 feet of track on my layout, would therefore spread out to a little over 3 scale miles, but with the fast-time clock would equate to 18 miles, a nice little branch line.

So, my question to all those who haven’t zoned out on any of the above is, does any of this make sense as far as the scale? Does anyone use fast-time clocks and if so, what scale do you use?  Frankly, I’ll probably give it a go for awhile and then once I realize how ridiculous all this is, return to a vegetable state and just watch ‘em go.


In no particular order; Aviation (Pilot), Golf, Amateur Astronomy & Cycling (when it's nice out) and Trains (when it's not).

Original Post
xrayvizhen posted:

Recently, I thought it would be fun to play around with a fast-time clock on my layout. Given that I have relatively few sidings and yard, and no real interest in making up different trains and doing the whole waybill thing, I thought I would play around with running passenger trains on some kind of schedule.  Now, some of you may think that this is kind of anal, and maybe it is, but really, I’m the least anal person there is when it comes to playing with trains. Indeed, while I admire them, I think the 2RS guys are kinda nuts (I mean that in a really nice way) but I like playing and not operating. I would much prefer to get two trains running and setting things up so I don’t have to touch anything and I can just veg-out. But like I said, I thought it might be fun.

So I began to think, what kind of fast-time clock would be right for O gauge? I came up with the idea to base it all on gravity, like as follows:

Normal Gravity = 32/sec^2 (Everyone knows that, right?)         

Height = 16t^2=(32t/2)*t  (where t=time)         

So how long to fall 480 feet?       16t^2     =480                                                                                  

t^2    = 30                                                                                            

t     =√30                                                                                          

t     =5.5772 sec

Using the same formula the time to fall 10 feet (480/48) = .7906 sec

So the "O Gauge ratio for gravity" should be 5.5772:.7906  or 6.93:1

I found a fast time clock app in the Android Play Store that provides for several different options so I chose the closest to 6.93 fast time that I could which turned out to be 6:1, whereby a 12 hour day can pass in 2 hours. The scale distances, I have 336 feet of track on my layout, would therefore spread out to a little over 3 scale miles, but with the fast-time clock would equate to 18 miles, a nice little branch line.

So, my question to all those who haven’t zoned out on any of the above is, does any of this make sense as far as the scale? Does anyone use fast-time clocks and if so, what scale do you use?  Frankly, I’ll probably give it a go for awhile and then once I realize how ridiculous all this is, return to a vegetable state and just watch ‘em go.

Did you factor in the phases of the moon, depending on high tide/low tide, the time of day, and the latitude delineation, say at noon, perhaps, on a particular day and season?  I don't think we can really get an honestly TRUE reading result until we have all these computations made and factored into the gravity, height, and time formulas with adjustments made to the mean distance from the earth to the sun.

On the other hand, if it were me, I'd just give 'em full throttle and let 'em rip.

Paul  

Ship Rock Island ROCKET FREIGHT

 

2 Rails?  3 Rails?  Doesn't matter, I can't count that high anyway.

I love the smell of fresh-brewed creosote first thing in the morning.

You do realize that all of your gravitational constants cancel out and that all you've done is correctly calculate the square root of 48 as 6.93, don't you?

I've seen HO layouts use fast clocks from 2:1 to 12:1.  It all depends on what length of time they want to simulate, and how long they want the operating session to last.  I haven't seen anybody use 9.33:1 though (the square root of 87 is 9.33).

Not knowing what your layout looks like or how you plan to operate, why not just put together one passenger train at Terminal A and run it to Terminal B.  Then reverse the train (in any manner you choose) at Terminal B and run it back to Terminal A.  Do all of this under a stopwatch, but at an easy pace, and compare the results to what you think the real world time for those activities would be.  You now have a "fast-clock" ratio that should work well for you and your layout operation.

Chuck

Columbus, OH Union Station
Columbus, OH Union Station

 

 

I would say that the speed at which a fast clock runs should depend on the size (not the scale) of the layout on which it's running. Running at the same scale-speed, a train will take longer to run between towns on a large layout than a small one. If the full scale running time is one hour in the real world, the clock has to run more slowly on the larger layout. This is just a theoretical answer. I would never bother with it in running my own layouts.

MELGAR

I think the best option is to simply use what works well for your particular layout. Personally, I have always had trouble with the idea of a fast clock. In my opinion, "time" doesn't scale down. One minute is one minute whether the trains are O scale, HO, N, Z, or 1:1 scale. If I am wrong, perhaps my mind simply can't comprehend the science. The idea is certainly useful for making our compressed layouts appear to be more realistic.

Bob posted:

You do realize that all of your gravitational constants cancel out and that all you've done is correctly calculate the square root of 48 as 6.93, don't you?

I've seen HO layouts use fast clocks from 2:1 to 12:1.  It all depends on what length of time they want to simulate, and how long they want the operating session to last.  I haven't seen anybody use 9.33:1 though (the square root of 87 is 9.33).

Well, that's embarrassing! No, I didn't realize the constants cancel each other out (Math was not my best subject) which means that gravity has nothing to do with anything. Oh well.  And here I thought I was being clever. 

In any case, I did do a couple of run-thrus with a stop watch and as an example, a trip on my layout between two stations 57 linear feet apart, which equates to 3.15 "fast-time" miles took a hair over 38 actual seconds or 3:48 fast-time minutes at 50 scale MPH using the 6:1 clock. Just about right, I think.

The secondary goal is, by the way, when I hand a couple of Lion Chief + remotes to my 5-year old twin grandsons, they won't go tearing their way around the layout at the fastest possible speed. I can give them a goal like, "leave the station at 8 but don't get to the next stop until the clock says 8:03." I don't know if that would thrill them or not, probably not, but at least it gives them an idea.

I might work out a schedule between the different stations (five of them - 5 grandchildren, each with a station named after them) and see if it will be at all interesting or just a plain PITA.


In no particular order; Aviation (Pilot), Golf, Amateur Astronomy & Cycling (when it's nice out) and Trains (when it's not).

I have operated on HO layouts with 4:1 ratios.  This means that 1 fast hour goes by every 15 real minutes.  An 8 hour operating schedule is simulated in two actual hours.  Most layouts designed for operations are walk around layouts with command control.  Real people are walking with their trains for 2 real hours.

My operation friends have found that 2 hours of walking around is about all that we can take in a day - especially at our age.  I suggest starting at 4:1 and adjust up or down to suit yourself.  

Fast vs. actual time is the same for all gauges because it involves real people and how long they want to run trains during an operating session.  NH Joe

In 1977, Bruce Chubb covered this subject thoroughly in his book, How to Operate Your Model Railroad.   Coincidentally, I have always thought that a 6:1 fast clock ratio would be ideal for simulating a 24 hour day within a 4 hour operating session.

It seems to me that "fast time" in model railroading exists because destinations are not prototypical distances from one another. That is, if two destinations were 48 miles apart (separated by 48 miles of track), then an O-scale model would have one mile of track between the two locations. Not many modelers have the luxury of accommodating that distance of track.

And IMO, time is not scaled. Dimensions and distance are scaled and time works itself out.

Of course I find the calculation done by the OP meaningless, but here goes...

The math for the example in the OP's post of the formula for an object dropped from earth is:

  • s = 1/2g(t^2)
  • where s is the distance the object travels, g is acceleration due to gravity, and t is time

If s = 480 ft, then 480 = 1/2 (32.2)(t^2)

or 480 = 16.1 (t^2)

or t^2 = 29.8 sec^2

or t = 5.46 sec

 

Others have touched on the issues with fast clocks and the like, the real problem is no matter how large our layouts are, no matter how small the scale, we really can't mimic the operations of a real railroad based on real running times. Even with scale clocks it becomes problematic, if a real trip between A and B on the railroad takes 4 hours, and on our layout even at less than scale speed it takes let's say  10 minutes, we could use a 24/1 fast clock (240 minutes real time/24 to 1 fast clock=10 minutes), but that  might not work well if for example timing when a yard engine has to deliver a car for pickup at a certain time. 

If I was inclined to have operating sessions, I would base the fast clock time on how long the operating session was meant to be (IE the guys are coming over for 3 hours) and we want to simulate a typical 24 hour operations on the fictional or real railroad we model, we have a list of things we  want to happen, including perhaps a timetable. In this example, it would be a 8 to 1 fast clock (it is where an app is handy, can set the ratio).   From there,if we have a timetable for freight and passenger trains, and have a schedule based on this timetable for yard operations (ie making up trains before they leave, setting out cars, etc), then it simply becomes with the main trains, how do we simulate them given the relative small size of a layout....and the answer I have seen used is staging. So if for example, a freight train is supposed to leave at let's say 6am from some place (using fast clock), and at 7am is expected to be at some other point on the layout to allow a switching move to set out some cars, maybe pick some up, that using an 8 to 1 clock is roughly 7.5 minutes. If running directly that would take 30 seconds, then the train would have to 'hide' some place so that we could take it out of 'hiding' to arrive when it should (also could be on a siding, or also could be continuously running on a loop someplace else), and building a ratio simply on the real time it takes versus the timetable time won't work well (again, note, I have never operated like that, have seen it done and wondered even after watching it how they did it!). 

As far as the kids not running it too fast, well, that one defies all logic

The person who dies with the best toys dies a happy person

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Ted S


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