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Thread: Why DO we build them?

  1. #1
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    Default Why DO we build them?

    Beware, this could be one of those 'deep philosophical questions' we are all told we should avoid!!

    Yesterday, I was watching my locomotive and its 4-wagons and a guardsvan (caboose) train rolling past. It meandered along the edge of my carefully built railway yard (oh, the hours I laboured over that yard - repeatedly), and was doing-so when it suddenly occured to me. I actually DON'T use the yard/s I have built (there are two of them)!!

    So why DID I build them (the yards)? Why on earth did I painfully labour for hour after (literally - track pins in fingers ARE painful; under fingernails even more so), building my yards when they would be lucky to be inhabited by one train a month (if even that)?

    I have found that I am very happy just watching 'my' train (usually only one at a time) chasing its tail. Certainly it goes round, and round and round. Sometimes I even get it to to go dnuor, and dnuor and even dnuor.... Bu no matter what direction it moves in, it just 'goes round'. And I have to admit that i love watching it do so.

    I have two perfectly-good railway yards just waiting for trains, but they are rarely visited. But if I even consider removing the yards, there is this nagging suspicion that 'one day' I might 'just' want to do some shunting ('switching'), so perhaps they should remain (that they haven't had any such action in XX years is of course 'irrelevant'). There is also the thought (rarely worded) that if I DO remove all but the basic oval and 'perhaps' a crossing loop (passing track), then I'm not really operating like a real railway; I'd only be 'playing trains'.

    And it's not that i don't like Model trains. I've been involved with N-scale for years; I've even developed my own New Zealand-specific variant of the scale. I've been around Model trains for almost 40 years. I exhibit my N-scale efforts, and I have even worked for the full-size railways. I LOVE trains. Yet, I also like to see 'my' trains going round, and round, and round...

    Do others have this 'problem' . Does anyone else amongst the membership also wonder 'why on earth did I build yards I'm never, ever going to adequately use?

    Or am I the only one 'going around in somehat small circles (and enjoying it BTW).

    As I said at the beginning, this could be one of those 'deep philosophical questions' we are all told we should avoid!!

    So perhaps it shouldn't be asked. But then again......

    Comments anyone?
    Komata "TVR - serving the Northern Taranaki . . . "

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    Vince P Guest

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    that does shine a light on a different take to modeling watching them go dnuor& dnuor or round & round

    i might just have to add a drop in curve so i can watch them when i get the layout rebuilt

    thanks for an odd perspective my friend does make you think
    Last edited by Vince P; 6th Aug 2013 at 12:17 AM.

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    Because they are in truth toy trains, and what do they do best - go round and round etc. Sidings are good for storage.

    Some people fly model aircraft. What do they do? They go round and round etc. and some people race model cars and what do they do - they go round and round and round.

    And of course on a wet and cold Sunday afternoon, what is better than watching the trains roll by while sipping on a nice glass of red!

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    Because they look cool!

    The main reason I built mine on my last layout was I wanted a place to store my trains, but in the open. A working static display of sorts. And the yard also lends to authenticity. I knew when I built my yard I had absolutely no intentions of performing switching operations but I knew I wanted a big dang yard.

    Why?

    Because it LOOKS COOL!

    Be the kind of person your dog thinks you are.



    Ron

    For now, innocent bystander and occasional commentator

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    I'm like you. I like watching trains run. So I'm not sure I have an answer for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Komata View Post
    Beware, this could be one of those 'deep philosophical questions' we are all told we should avoid!!

    Yesterday, I was watching my locomotive and its 4-wagons and a guardsvan (caboose) train rolling past. It meandered along the edge of my carefully built railway yard (oh, the hours I laboured over that yard - repeatedly), and was doing-so when it suddenly occured to me. I actually DON'T use the yard/s I have built (there are two of them)!!

    So why DID I build them (the yards)? Why on earth did I painfully labour for hour after (literally - track pins in fingers ARE painful; under fingernails even more so), building my yards when they would be lucky to be inhabited by one train a month (if even that)?
    The emperor has no clothes.

    I haven't said much about this but my yard is all gone. I removed that whole entire portion of my layout for several reasons. But one of them was certainly that I looked at it one day and realized I wasn't going to operate trains with that yard. Yes it looked good and stored trains, but other than that I was honest with myself and since I needed more space in the room I just got up one morning and started tearing it all out. I do now have a very small "yard" for my locos which I will use to switch them to and from trains, and if I really was going to use all that yard I could have rationalized keeping it. But yea, all those grandiose plans for operating all that switching wasn't going to happen. I'd just as soon work on a nice scenic layout and watch the trains go around. My layout has plenty of variety for that.

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    I see the big yards I have planned on my future layout as scenery. I have a small yard/interchange on my layout now and it get used quite a bit, but its only 3 tracks and two of them are parts of the mainline and branchline.
    Last edited by hraka; 5th Aug 2013 at 09:13 PM.

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    As an operator, yards are required, at least for staging trains.

    For sorting cars, you can get by with just 2 tracks. I use the passing siding on my blairstown module as a yard a times.

    Since I have gone to only building modules based on prototype locations, I certainly keep my eye out for small yards. I have plans for several, but they almost always end up taking more space than you think they will. I did draw up a plan recently for a protypical yard that is only 8 feet long and 8 inches wide.. I might build that one day....

    Paul

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    You know, even though I like watching trains run, I am getting ready to build, at least for now, a point-to-point switching layout. However, even within that, I'm probably not going to have a huge yard. Instead, I will have spurs and industries, and do a lot of operational switching. But having huge yards that are just tracks is not really that appealing to me. I mean, they look cool, but other than for storage why would I use them, when my pike can handle at most 20 or 25 total cars when you add up all the space for spurs, etc?

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    I remember hearing once that the FarrisWheel was the best form of transportation. It goes nowhere, but getting there is fantastic. (Can't remember who said that)

    I think it is all about self realization Komata. You are a lucky person to have found and pinpointed your joy in model railroading and not what others tell you you should enjoy. Rip out those yards if they are not usefull to your joy. If later your joy changes, change the layout.
    Last edited by seanm; 5th Aug 2013 at 10:20 PM.
    Sean McC

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    who has friends." -- Clarence

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    if i EVER get around to building my shelf layout
    (a copy of lancemindheim's east rail) there will be a few spots to leave trains
    but no yards.. maybe a loco shop or refuel spot but no yards
    http://128.173.197.94:443/RRCmov <-streaming video of NS Roanoke Va from Trains.com.

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    You've done a lot of work and spent much time on the yards.

    While they may not be used as you thought, are they creating a problem in the current plan?

    Could you use them to store a second and third train so that you can swap them without handling them?

    Do they work scenically?

    Or are they stuck in there just because you "needed" yards and they do not fit the layout?

    Can you be happy with the layout as built?

    Do you have a deep seated need to constantly destroy and rebuild parts of the layout?

    Could you live with a layout this simple?

    Yeah, you might have more scenery and a bigger layout, but is this all you want?

    Having options lets other things happen.
    Use what you know about the world to model…
    Learn from modeling what you don't know about the real world.



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    I love watching my trains go round and round. Much more rail fan than operator. But I have lots of trains and do not like taking one off, and putting on one when I want to watch a different one. Thus I have yard, and storage track planned.

    I have friends who want to come over and play with trains when the layout is up and running. So I have industries to serve, and spurs to serve them, and staging yards, and engine yard, and car shop, and more storage.

    Years ago I was delighted with a single loop that ran a train. As I've explored the hobby that single loop has gotten old, and I've found I need more than just a loop.

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    I too enjoy letting a train just run. I wish I could expand my current layout into the rest of the rec room for a longer run but that's going to involve some tough negotiations and lots of "are you crazy and out of your mind!?"

    I purposely did not plan any yards other than a small one for my car float. I do have a staging yard and consider my car float another staging yard. So trains can go through the layout once more or less. A bit of switching to pick up and drop off cars along the way, but that will likely be it. I may get into operations later but right now I am enjoying building and running trains through complete and incomplete scenery.


    Marc
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    So many times, I look on these here fora and find such nice examples of small layouts that feature a continuous-run loop, and I get a touch of envy. The layout that I am working on at home is big, it's shelf-style, and it won't be able to support continuous running until it's done, or at least the track is done. That puts me several years out from being able to just launch one into orbit and enjoy its progress. In the meanwhile, I'm laden down with all the trackwork and wiring and turnout-tweaking to achieve the big yards and industries along the way. And I have, many times now, given serious thought to either abandoning the large layout concept, or delaying it for a while, as I shift gears into small-loop-mode.

    What keeps drawing me back to the big layout, though, is the real reason why I'm doing it all in the first place, and that is because I really want to tell the full story of the Winchester, Paston, and Portsmouth. Skimping on the layout plan would, to me, feel like I am not doing justice to the vision in my head. And I am the only person on this planet with this particular vision! There's nobody else out there to tell a better WP&P story than I can. All I have completed thus far is a staging yard and the town of Winchester... yet just that much is actually enough to be considered a functional layout in its own right. I can tell at least half of the WP&P story now, as I can receive and dispatch traffic from afar, and break down or build up trains in the yard. It would just be in and out of the yard, but for some that is enough; I've got enough staging to keep things lively.

    Yet, I realize that yard operations are not really what I'm all about, either. The yard exists because it plays a major role in the WP&P story, and to complete that story I need the other elements as well. I need the single track mainline through small Appalachian towns. I need the looming coal mines and conveyor belts. I need the B&O interchange, and the Potomac River (South Branch actually). And ultimately, I need the completed loop, so that trains can flow from staging to staging. When I get to that point, then I have the intermix of trundling mine turns that do their work amidst a parade of merchandise, and a yard that is visibly split in two because it serves those two distinct roles. I'm telling the story of a road that is something of a split personality - half forlorn, bankrupt branch line, and half urgent Class 1. It's also half fictional, half prototype.

    So the yard, the mine, the bridges, the mountains, the stream, the highway, the paint schemes, the balance of all these elements, it's all necessary to the ultimate WP&P story. Some elements I might actually like more than others... for instance, I'd love to have a much larger and taller bridge somewhere, across a floor-to-ceiling chasm, but that just wouldn't be right for the story I'm trying to tell. I am impelled, by my personal vision for this route, to do it right. And I might in fact end up with a spur I never switch. I'm okay with that.

    Get yourself a Rail Pass for free travel on the WP&P: wpandp.com
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    I have a small yard because it fits the town, and because when I want to do operations, I need a place to build trains to support those operations. I also have two ovals in my layout, so I can loop trains when I want to. Even on my future "big layout" I have no plans for a massive yard, or even for massive staging (well, OK, maybe some semi-massive staging). The little yard I have suits the requirement.

    I think yards are one of those things we see on some of the big showcase layouts and many people feel they "need" a yard. But that's not necessarily true. What one needs is a layout that makes one happy.

    If the yard supports the overall scheme of the layout, either functionally (as in my case) or scenically (as in WP&P's), then it belongs. Otherwise, why not build a layout without one?
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

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    gosh....i dunno ....a railroad without a yard is like.....well....a yardless RR....

    Whether a place to shuffle cars or a place to store your stock i guess its just "assumed" its part of the culture. All in all I'm with TD, if it fits do it. Better yet, if ya wanna do it then do it.

    I planned my K&L to operate so a yard was mandatory for my overall scheme ( prolly have 3 yards if/when its all done). There would be nothing wrong with designing/building a layout that was nothing but "pastoral mainline", loop or what have you. I enjoy the trains making their loops "between" towns as much as i enjoy the switching to make the trains
    "P tower to K&L dispatcher...... Gull cleared OT north 0835"


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    This is a great thread; but with apologies to Shakespeare - "To yard, or not to yard, that is the question"

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    I am of the "have my cake and eat it too" school... which is why I decided to go ahead and build a shelf layout with, perhaps not a yard, but tons of switching potential, but also to keep my 2.5x7 foot "loop" layout.

    I was planning to do shelves all across the room and eventually connect them up but now... I am thinking of just keeping the shelf layouts as switchers, and using the loop layout as my continuous runner, done and done.

    Also, I am going to make the shelves high enough that once they are done, I could make a slightly larger (maybe 4x8?) continuous runner underneath to just "watch trains run".

    I might, even... do multiple scales, and have HO on the short side of the room just for fun.

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    Chessack

    '....Have HO on the short side of the room just for fun'

    Very dangerous sir, N scale and HO scale have been known to breed. Should this happen, the resultant offspring is called 'Narrow Gauge'.

    Once a 'normal' railway modeller has met said offspring there is no way of knowing what the result will be; indeed, Narrow Gauge has been known to consume its parents.

    Beware........
    Komata "TVR - serving the Northern Taranaki . . . "

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