What, wait did I skip a few posts?
Yesterday, my daughter was sick, and I had to stay home to look after her. She wanted to get out the Brio trains and have a good proper play, which is exactly what we did — for about four and a half hours! Now, ordinarily, I get bored after about an hour of playing horsie show (the trains were taking horses and their trappings to the show), but this time, I built a Brio track of Pembroke, including staging.
The more we played, the more I thought, this was a really interesting activity. At the same time, a couple of friends were scheduled to come by to talk about VanRail this evening, and one of them had asked, tongue in cheek, whether we would be having an operating session. So, I prepared a schedule, based on the real thing, just in case I could convince them to crawl about on the floor.
As it happened, I couldn’t convince them to play, and so, I had to run through the sequence (I threw the schedule out) myself. The central question I wanted to answer was whether, with the addition of a freight extra at midday, two crews would be busy on this little layout. I believe the answer is yes, although the freight extra is a little hard to justify given the first train out in the morning is a mixed train.
Emily gets ready to depart with 51, the morning train to Ottawa.
Emily passing Thomas, who is getting ready to take the number 45, the morning mixed into Golden Lake.
Duck pushes a cut of cars into the carriage factory yard. This was the midday freight, straight from Ottawa.
Thomas finds Golden Lake / staging is pretty full when he arrives with number 43, the afternoon passenger. There is no free track to run around upon.
Emily finds that Thomas has left his coach in the siding, and wishes he would have left it on the spur to the windmill. It’s going to be awkward to run around her coaches for the morning train, especially since the short run-around is also occupied.
Overall, I wish I had done this exercise earlier. Until trying it out, I hadn’t realized how much length we need in the yard tracks in front of the station in order to assemble the cars for the mixed train.
Fortunately, while I probably don’t have room for a fifth staging track, I might be able to add a crossover. This crossover will be required even if I don’t run a midday freight extra. Otherwise I will have to fiddle the trains in the staging yard during mid-session.
I was also surprised by how many cars, and how many moves this layout requires. The length of the town (16 feet) and the fact that an engine has to run the full length to get back to the turntable to turn for its return journey mean that a full operating session will probably run easily for two hours.