Seven minutes and fifty-three seconds

Last year I wrote about the 5-20-5 minute idea and how much I enjoyed running regular, albeit short, operating sessions on my last layout. How much can you do in twenty minutes?

The above video was shot on the Claremont-Concord at West Lebanon. The video runs just under eight minutes in length. It has been edited from its original length but is a terrific record of just how long each movement takes and the pace of working a simple yard. Why not use the video itself as a measure of what can be accomplished in that same period of time on the model?

Categories: How I think


9 replies

  1. Reblogged this on Andrew's Trains – Formerly and commented:
    Chris Mears has posted another thought provoking article, this time based on the Claremont and Concord (written about as a project layout in Model Railroader some time ago). This time on a subject close to my heart – real time switching, and how watching how the big-boys do it can give you ideas for slowing down the Nascar switching on your own layout. It’s a great video, and well worth watching in it’s own right. And it follows on from the 5-20-5 minute post. Enjoy

  2. Chris;
    I love the C&C – and have ever since Tony Koester wrote about them for the G Scale project layout some years ago in MR. You are absolutely correct in saying that watching the speed of real switching makes you think about how you go about doing your own tasks in the yard.

    I’ve slowed way down, added a lot of physics to my loco’s so that they are slower to get going, and slower to stop. Once you do that the whole slot car switcher experience goes away.

    Great post and I hope that you don’t mind that I’ve reblogged the post on my own site.

    • Good morning Andrew.

      Among the many lessons waiting to learned from the prototype (things I need to learn) is the delay when changing the engine’s direction. It’s not just forward and slam into reverse.

      I like how this is another chance to have our models be more prototypical and at the same time, at this slower pace, we’ll have more time to enjoy watching the trains we’re running.



      • Chris – it is funny that you mention the delay in direction. I have watched some (really lots of) switching videos and there are some engineers who run fast and loose with the reverser. Some of them run more like model railroaders, while others run more “prototypically” with a delay between changing directions where you can hear the switch gear changing over.

        There really is a prototype for everything.

        Thanks for writing your blog. Love reading it.

      • That delay in switching is a great conversation. I actually started thinking about it driving home in my car. It occurred to me that I couldn’t just slam it into reverse without eventually dropping the transmission. I thought about the way I ran my model locomotives and figured the problem would apply equally.

        I too remember plenty of time trackside with engines being worked hard. A lot of engineers who went from idle into notch eight without any effort to patiently step through notches one to seven.

        Kick-shunting was also a part of yard work here in Charlottetown. Bring the train up to notch as fast as possible. With some momentum in place, dump the brakes and uncouple the cars on the fly so they could coast into place. Again, lots of hard starts and stops.

        I know railroading like the above is a big part of the railroading I know. On the model though I think it’s almost out of place. It belies the mass of the engines and cars and the impatience it communicates to the audience might play back into that “just toys” impression. What do you think?



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