Unusual consist at Pembroke

Today’s number 46, the in-bound mixed train, brought with it caboose #2, sandwiched between the combine and the locomotive to provide a little extra relief from the noise, smoke and cinders. The caboose will enable 1120 to run an extra train to Ottawa tomorrow, where it will be taken off the layout for its cosmetic surgery.

Could I have reached in and plucked the engine from the track anywhere on the layout? Yes, absolutely. However, I’m finding that simulating real traffic has a number of benefits over running equipment purposelessly.

First, I find I exercise more of the track, and I exercise the main route most. This is important for my first attempt at a Proto:87 layout (maybe my last given the speed of construction!) as it forces me to confront and ultimately fix track issues. If I could choose the routes, I would choose those where there are fewer derailments.

Somehow running trains helps to keep the track from getting dirty. Again, because I am not just using my favourite routes, the track stays cleaner.

Finally, I find running real traffic motivating. If I weren’t keeping registers, I would probably only run back and forth when I had to test a piece of equipment or when a guest arrived. However, because I am running trains, I feel motivated to pick up the throttle when I have a few minutes to spare. I still don’t run every day, but I do run the layout three or four days a week, which is far more than most layouts run.

So, rather than simply swiping a loco from the rails, instead of depositing a car for a photo, I’ve decided that no equipment will enter or leave the layout, except via the staging yard at Golden Lake. This means there needs to be a movement that makes sense, and that is why caboose #2 arrived on this afternoon’s mixed train.

One thought on “Unusual consist at Pembroke

  1. I saw your article in Model Railroad Planning on working in a confined multi use area and am impressed with the outcome. What I wouldn’t give for minimum 36″radius curves in O Scale. Mine are O-42, that is 21″radius. I find fitting what you want want into the available space to be one of the major challenges in this hobby and you have to set realistic goals. I think if I were to put a sleeping area in my railway space it would have to be hammock slung underneath the layout.

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