Another service train operation is the delivery of a box car to the rail-height dock at the south-side of the roundhouse. Here we see said box car and U3a Switcher NYC 7815 emerging from the coaling tower on roundhouse inbound track 1… …and rolls through the ash/wash pits… …to the turntable. To get to Garden Track 1, our mini-train gets turned slightly. When aligned for the roundhouse dock, 7815 slowly moves NYC 277010 into position. Three short blasts and our U3a backs away onto the turntable… …and without delay moves off through Ready Track 1 onto her next chore. Advertisements Continue reading ROUNDHOUSE SERVICE TRAIN PT1


The major service train operation is the delivery of coal to the coaling tower and steam plant along with the removal of the empties.  Coal is delivered five times daily to the coaling tower and once a day to the steam plant.  Here’s what happens…. The six-car coal train is kept on the near track, lower level of the staging elevator.  It is backed onto the layout. It is the Assistant Hostler’s job to run this train.  His first task, after the Staging Master raises the level and aligns the tracks, is to consist SoundCar to the locomotive. The train … Continue reading SERVICE TRAIN – COAL


One operation that I frequently include in operating sessions is swapping a full ash car with an empty one. The ash train begins in staging when the Assistant Hostler consists the under-layout SoundCar prior to moving off.  Service trains are kept in the lower level of the staging elevator.  When ready, the train moves onto the layout’s service track and crosses over onto roundhouse Inbound 1 track. The train moves slowly under the coaling tower, bell ringing.  We stop and pause a few seconds at all switch stands if the points need to be aligned.  This simulates the brakeman dismounting … Continue reading SERVICE TRAIN – ASHES


Where space permits, I attach a label for operators on the back panel of my throttles.  I also have limited and standardized the function buttons for all locomotives.  I feel having this commonality is good since operators on the engine terminal side will handle many locomotive models of differing manufacturers during an operating session.  These re-mapped functions are listed along with the whistle/horn discipline. Continue reading HELPING OPERATORS