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Connecting Other Railroads
To Your Model Railroad - Part 2

 model railroads layouts

CNW GP7 locomotive on railroad

GP7 #1519 crosses the
diamonds to the Interchange.

CNW GP7 number 1519 is ready to depart the Interchange with train SF01E. The cars for this train have mostly come from western US railroads, via Blue Island and Burr Oak yards in Illinois. The train crew receives any orders from the dispatcher / yardmaster, and receives clearance to move onto the main track, and then onto the South Forest branch. Then they commence their journey.

To get to South Forest, the train has to travel from the Interchange, onto the main track which travels through the Forest Junction area and over the Thorn Creek, before arriving at South Forest.

Quick Tip: There are a number of ways to help simulate cars being interchanged with your railroad. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Waybills – These can indicate a destination outside your model railroad.
  • Physically interchange cars with other modelers in the area where you live.
  • Interchange cars 'virtually' over the Internet.

Have car holding trays off your layout where cars are stored for an operating session or two before they re-appear on your layout again.

SF01E locomotive engine on model railways

Train SF01E eases around a sharp curve past Bluwall Printers, before passing Forest Junction.

Today there are no other opposing trains, and there are no shunting moves to do on the way, so today train SF01E has a clear run through to South Forest. On this fair Illinois afternoon, the train is made up of the following cars:

  • 2 grain hoppers for the Silos.
  • An empty gondolla for Arkright Engineering.
  • An empty Bulkhead Flatcar for the sawmill.
  • A gondolla loaded with wood chips for the sawmill.

With the exception of the empty gondolla for Arkright Engineering, the cars in SF01E today arrived at the Interchange from either Blue Island or Burr Oak yards. That is also where they will return to when ready for their return journey during the next operating session.

Below are a few photos of SF01E as it travels to South Forest.

SF01E passes the unusually quite, but rather full looking, Team Tracks at Forest Junction.

SF01E2 locomotive engine on scale model railway layout

diesel loco hauls big load on model railway

jounerys end for this locomotive engine

The South Forest Local, train SF01E is almost at it's destination as it eases past the South Forest Sawmill to enter the run around loop at South Forest.

Journey's end. The crew of CNW 1519 prepare to uncouple from their train's cars so they can shunt the industries at South Forest.

It has to be fun!

One thing to remember when deciding on a way to provide interchange traffic to and from your railroad is that it has to be a way that works for you. If you are new to the hobby, or have never really considered the possibilities of interchange traffic, you should start with an easy system which you can understand.

Don't become so burdened down with trying to get everything exactly prototypica to the point where it is no longer fun for you to operate your model railroad. Start with a simple system, and as your understanding grows you can change the way you manage interchange traffic if you want to.

Here are a few sources of information to help you incorporate interchange traffic into your model railroad operations.

Look at how other people have incorporated interchange traffic on their model railroads. Ask more experienced modelers for advice. Many modelers are more than willing to give you some ideas, and even to help you implement up such an idea on your layout.

You might also consider finding a book or modeling magazine article on the subject, or doing some research on the Internet.

Whatever way you incorporate interchange traffic, if it's not fun you won't enjoy it. So, make it fun!



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