Saturday, November 06, 2010

A primitive car routing system

Now that I placed the Welztalbahn into context, I can move on to send freight cars around. For the basic job of testing the track arrangements in Emsingen, and most of the layout inaccessible from Emsingen, a simple routing system is more than sufficient.

For each freight car in this rotation, I defined a spot on the layout (e.g. loading ramp Emsingen), and an off-layout destination. I wrote these on a small scrap of paper and placed it either next to the car, or in a stack of such papers representing yard tracks in Emsingen. Then I went to work with a switcher and collected cars in Emsingen, going north to be picked up by the Ng from Freiburg. Once ready the Ng enters Emsingen, the switcher pulls cars off from the end, and replaces them with cars going north. The Ng pulls out of the station, and the switcher prepares for the Ueb to Talheim, and goes on its way.

Now it's time to fiddle cars. Replace the cars on the Ueb with cars from Talheim, and on the Ng with cars coming from Hausach to Emsingen.

The Ueb returns from Talheim, the cars get sorted, and the switcher prepares for the Ng going south, replaces the respective cars, and then it's time for fiddling the Ng again.

The end-result of this exercise:
  • Once again, I'm amazed by how much more one is drawn into the game when what you are doing has a (pretended) purpose.
  • I had a lot of fun, and time was flying by quickly.
  • Oh yeah, the modified track arrangement works nicely, too.
I can't wait to get done with plaster in the Steinle area, and be able to run trains across the whole layout again. Once the kinks are worked out, I'd love to try this with a second operator. Since space is very limited in the train room, my operating scheme doesn't need to support more than two (or at absolute maximum, three) operators.

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