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Model railroad operation is a very important and exciting aspect of model railroading that, for many model railroaders, serves as the main goal in the hobby. The Process of Model Railroad OperationMoving railcars to and from their industries, customers and staging yards is the main goal of model railroad operation; and it should be done in a way that is at least somewhat prototypical and makes the most sense. All of this activity is often done according to schedules and timetables set up by the host or by the chief dispatcher to hopefully provide for smooth model railroad operation. Helpers-An additional TIP on model railroad operation-In the April, 2009 issue of Model Railroader, on p.114, Andy Sperandeo wrote a very informative one-page article on "Helper Operations", in which he talked about the various prototypical ways in which helper engines can be used to get your trains up steep grades.
The unloading sidings was derived from measuring two intermodal trains using either 8 x 89' Trailer Trains (4 in each siding), or 12 x 50' Flat car with double 25' trailers or single 40' trailers (6 in each siding).
I included the section from the plan (orange track is intermodal designated), so feel free to hack it up and add to it, or even totally change the whole area.
As I said my actual knowledge of how a facility such of this would operate or could operate is very limited. The small spur is actually going to be an old concrete ramp for loading flat cars, may be used but will be modelled mainly as out of service or I may even remove it due to space constraints. I have another look tomorrow with fresh eyes, thanks for the help and if you do think of anything else please let me know.
I have actually been searching high & low for information on actual procedures for operations at an intermodal yard.
A piggyback trailer ramp on the other hand could have been found in almost any town starting in the 1960's or so. There were some facilities which took fairly long strings of flatcars at a time, but in that era there weren't as many dedicated TOFC trains as there are unit intermodal trains now. You may want to consider using some of the non-scenery area so you can straighten out the two back tracks more, and put the ramps at the end of those tracks.
Thats a great resource that website, your one stop shop for all things Intermodal, should be more like it!
Ontario Central's RS-36 #418 meets Finger Lakes Railway B23-7 #2301 at the interchange in Shortsville, New York, on October 18, 2001. Starting in Victor, the largest building on the layout is clearly the Victor Insulators complex (5). Continuing around the peninsula, we pass through the abandoned remains of the old Manchester Yard. I have chosen to add three customers in and around the roundhouse area as a sort of switching puzzle.
Special thanks to Don Brown and the employees of the Ontario Central Railroad for their assistance in making this article possible.
The full version of this article originally appeared in the June 2006 issue of Railroad Model Craftsman.


Recommend using a brown instead of black since ties (except when brand new) and rail on the prototype are not black. The problem with spray cans is the control is a lot coarser than an airbrush so you'd spend a lot of time masking or cleaning up over spray compared to using an airbrush? I have an airbrush or three but it has been years since I used them (use to paint NASCAR models) and would like to put them back into service.
Container yard with container wagons, tanks, D51-498 (steam loco), and EF210 (electric loco). The typical operating session is run based on a fast-clock, which compresses a 24 hour train schedule into 3-4 hours, depending on how long you want your operating sessions to last. If anything needs to change, I'd remove that small siding to the front (that terminates in some sort of small grey building) and change the radius of the two tracks just slightly so that your unloading sidings can be lengthened further toward the curve for the turn-back. The Alco had been recently rebuilt and repainted when the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville took over the Ontario Central. The plant is a series of simple modern steel and concrete block buildings that could easily be kitbashed from a variety of sources. Represented are the old roundhouse (13), turntable (14), yard office (16), supply house, oil house, and coaling tower (15). Thompson Grain Co.(19) gets some occasional hoppers, and they use three abandoned LV 40-foot boxcars (17) for storage. I've had some personal things going on so have not been following this thread until now.
I agree with Lacquer Thinner being a great cleaner but someone said it is getting harder to find due to Environmental reason?? Since this photo was taken, the Ontario Central has since become a part of the Finger Lakes Railway, and the Alco now belongs to the Livonia, Avon & Lakeville. My track plan includes the track lead into the plant, as well as the connector that runs from the former Lehigh Valley main up to the old New York Central Auburn Road (4). This could become the focal point of the model railroad, depending on how you want to play it.
I'm looking at giving most of it a coat of a grimy black colour as I model the transition years. I was hoping to design a railroad that would be fun for the casual operator, or the equipment collector.
After negotiating some tight radius curves and a slight grade, we reach the storage tracks and the Victor Insulator loading site (6).
Passing under the Route 96 bridge, and making the first bend, we come to the Ryan Homes (11) siding. You could represent the yard in its present decayed state, or backdate it to the final days of Lehigh Valley operation.


This might be more favorable for the modeler who wishes to simply sit back and watch the trains run! The layout I designed features some of the interesting highlights of this thirteen-mile line, and would give the modeler a chance to display his scenery skills and structure kitbashing talents. You may also wish to include a model of the former NYC station (9) and the abandoned right of way alongside (3). Ryan Homes is the largest residential home builder in the Rochester area, and they get regular deliveries of lumber to feed their operations. I added a small siding for A&K Railroad Materials (20), even though in real life, cars are spotted on the main alongside their yard.
The Finger Lakes Railway took over the former Conrail Geneva Cluster of branch lines radiating out of Geneva in 1995. On this layout, you have an opportunity to model the interesting features of a heavy mainline, without having to operate the multitudes of trains that would sustain such features.
The ONCT uses sidings inside the warehouse to house its locomotives, and you'll want to include the distinctive turnout on the shared road and rail bridge (7) that leads to a small storage shed (8). Their storage buildings could easily be modeled using the traditional open-air lumberyard shed kits from Atlas (#150-750) or Walther’s (#933-3057).
This would be a perfect opportunity for the modeler who is looking for an excuse to model a large engine terminal and its associated facilities.
With the new operation came engines dressed in a sharp rendition of New York Central's lightning stripe paint scheme.
An area like this could also be used to hold and display some of that equipment that you wouldn't ordinarily have room or use for! Olcastle Precast (21) makes concrete structures, and I have made them a customer that loads finished product to waiting flatcars spotted on the main line.
Or, you could downscale the abandoned yard to add more customers (like an industrial park), or add more active yard tracks for flat switching.
Since most ONCT trains are scheduled to meet the FGLK local, this gives a great excuse to add even more modeled equipment to the mix! Further back, would be the car going to milepost 19, which would then be the first of the 3 cars to be dropped off.Using car cards and waybills is probably the most popular method of car forwarding used for model railroad operations. To add another dimension to operations, you could easily add a staging track to simulate traffic coming from Geneva. You can buy the forms for this through Micro-Mark or Old Line Graphics; or you can make your own.



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