Give it some time….

For modelers, one thing perhaps missed in home operating sessions is time. Replicating time it takes for example for the crew of that local or road freight to grab it’s orders, switchlist, manifest, etc., and climb on board. Then there’s the time it takes to get clearance to depart, whether by signal indication or by train order/authority. Trains just don’t get up and go like jack rabbits. Sometimes you sit on the prototype waiting on traffic to clear, or that broken down train ahead that has a broken knuckle, or whatever the situation.

Time can be taken as well in simply operating at prototypical speeds. Set that throttle to step 128, and momentum, and you’ll see what I mean. Trains don’t fly at a scale 100 mph either, unless you’re modeling Amtrak in the Northeast Corridor.

Time can be replicated elsewhere on your layout as well. Take time to stop your train to let that head end brakeman, or rear brakeman for that matter, to throw those manual switches, and climb back aboard. All this takes time in real life railroading. Time can be taken as well for a simulated emergency application of air. Or time can be taken on those lonely branchlines to stop at the local deli or store by the tracks for that cold bottle of pop, and friendly chit-chat.

Finally, time can be taken to confer on those switching moves, a few seconds for that radio command or hand signal from the man on the ground to be acknowledged. All these factors can be taken into account on your home layout to add more time (and realism) to that ops session. These simple steps I use on my layout to replicate the prototype, and not only does it feel more prototypical, it also stretches out the ops session….

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