Modeling Operations On A Working Layout

Discussion in 'Guest Forum for Amtrak Questions' started by Cruiser83, Jan 17, 2020.

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  1. Jan 17, 2020 #1
    What does AMTRAK do with the train after it reaches its destination? Is the train disassembled? Do they separate the train into segmented parts (sleepers to one part of the yard, coaches to another, kitchens & diners off to be cleaned and re-stocked)? Or, do they keep the trains together only to add or subtract certain cars to satisfy the patronage for the next outgoing train? When do locomotives get switched out? Etc. THANKS
     
  2. Jan 17, 2020 #2

    John Santos

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    John Santos

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    AFAIK, they normally just turn around the train (physically) to point in the other direction, clean it and restock it and use it for the next trip the other way. They only break it up if there is a problem with broken equipment that can't be repaired between trips, or for some sorts of scheduled maintenance, or if they are adding or removing cars for seasonal capacity changes.

    Some regional trains have an engine at one end and a "cab car" at the other. The cab car is usually an ordinary coach with an engineer's cabin at the end. This is very common with commuter railroads, but Amtrak has some routes that work the same way. Instead of turning the train physically, the engineer just walks to the other end of the train and takes control from there.

    The process of setting up a train to run the next trip in the opposite direction is called "turning the train around" even when the train isn't physically turned around, because it can run backwards.

    Usually, a train from point A to B will be train N in that direction and train N+1 in the other direction. The only exception I know of is the Coast Starlight, where the northbound train (LAX to Seattle) is train 14 and the other direction is train 11.

    If the trip (including the turn-around time) is longer than 24 hours, they will have more than one set of equipment and will rotate between them, so there can easily be, for example, two train 7's running at any given moment. If it is necessary to distinguish them, they are labelled with the departure date, e.g. 7(16) and 7(17).

    As far as I know, Amtrak doesn't have any 3 point trains, where a physical train runs as train 1 from point A to Point B, then runs as train 3 from B to C, then as train 5 from C back to A, while a second train runs in the other direction as train 6 from A to C, then as train 4 from C to B and finally as train 2 from B to A. (Or as 1 from A to B, 3 from B to C, then 2 from C to B and finally as
     
  3. Jan 17, 2020 #3

    John Santos

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    John Santos

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    Whoops, getting used to a new keyboard... I don't know what I pressed but just went off and posted the reply before I was ready...

    The last sentence should continue as "... finally as train
     
  4. Jan 17, 2020 #4

    John Santos

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    John Santos

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    Did it again... I think the backspace key is in a horrible location and every time I try to fix something, I hit the wrong key and it does something catastrophic... Also, the focus keeps jumping out of the text window to random other places on the screen. I blame this web site, since this doesn't happen with other web sites.

    To try again, I meant to say "... then 4 from C to B and finally as train 2 from B back to A." As far as I know they don't normally do this but perhaps as the result of some bad delay or train cancellations due to weather or wrecks, they might occasionally shuffle trains like this."

    They keep a supply of spare cars at strategic locations to swap in if a car needs fixing, but they apparently don't have enough of these. Also, it takes longer to couple and uncouple passenger cars than it does for freight cars (more hoses and electrical connections) and the order of the cars matters more, so they try to minimize changes.

    I don't know about engines. They probably require more frequent maintenance than passenger cars and thus get shuffled more often.
     
  5. Jan 17, 2020 #5

    Qapla

    Qapla

    Qapla

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    The two Silvers change engines on every run. They both run diesel engines from DC south to/from Miami - they are swapped out to electric at DC and run with electric to/from NYC.
     
  6. Jan 17, 2020 #6

    Just-Thinking-51

    Just-Thinking-51

    Just-Thinking-51

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    Some layout will have a card base system, you draw a card and determine if a railcar need to be swap out and replace. Or if you need to add cars like a Private Varnish. The same can be used for engine swap outs.

    Otherwise the general idea (for long distance trains) is turn the trainset, wash, inspection, running repairs/cleaning, then off to the next assignment. Unload of supplies, and reloading is done by small truck (PU or Non-CDL) sometimes before, or after the train leave the platform.

    How much space do you have?

    Platform only? A wye or a balloon track to turn your trains? Yard long enough for your trains? Can you fit a railcar washer, and the bypass lane. Do you have space for a inspection building? Do you have a few track going in to a single car building, for major maintenance issues. A building mark as a wheel service, with extras wheels lined up outside.

    Support building with small deliver trucks getting loaded or unloaded. Employee parking. Control Tower.

    How much space do you have?

    If you have a dead end terminal. Than a turnaround with a visual stage yard, and a few small service vehicles might be all you need.

    Model Railroad did a in-depth look at New Orleans terminal. Might be worth the effort to get a copy of it.
     
  7. Jan 18, 2020 #7

    drdumont

    drdumont

    drdumont

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    John... If you inadvertently submit a post before you are ready, you can go back and edit it. Look for your post, and at the bottom, among other things, there is an EDIT hotlink.
    Some websites interpret a RETURN or some other keys as a "SUBMIT" command. I don't think this one does. But if your cursor is sitting over the POST hotlink, you may have issues if you bump a key.
     
    John Santos likes this.
  8. Jan 19, 2020 #8

    me_little_me

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    me_little_me

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    If you're modeling a long distance Amtrak route, be sure to make the sidings too small for your freight trains so the Amtrak trains get to wait for them to get by. Also, beat on the track with a small hammer so the train wobbles back and forth a lot.

    To be ready for the future, separate the sections of track and have a few buses there as connections between them. ;)
     
    Barb Stout and JRR like this.

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