How many railroads do you model? That thought has been bouncing around in my head for a few weeks as I continue researching the Norfolk & Western in Cincinnati, OH.
The maps show numerous railroads reaching Cincinnati…. The N&W, PRR, CCC&STL, B&O, just to name a few. Then there are the interurban lines in the city. (As a side note here, I was recently sent a link to a great website that has information on the interurban lines of Cincinnati. That can be found here: http://jjakucyk.com/transit/?fbclid=IwAR22WTdqvZinge4hOsOpCE06GcmUC35u0iIj8fY4fxJVzp8qipfUMPUJquM)
On a layout, part of the fun in my mind is not only switching the industries, but having a place for cars to come and go, not just off the layout, but also into some kind of staging that represents connections to other railroads. In a city, that kind of interaction is a logical place, and figuring out how to include that will my layout planning is something I am putting a little energy toward.
Of interest there, then, becomes thinking about powering interchange trains. Do I hunt for an appropriate locomotive for all those railroads, do I simply include a track for interchange and have the N&W locomotives push and pull cars from and to there?
In my mind, as I work out designing for operation on this layout, the answer is both of the above. Power for some, tracks for others, is where I lean.
Imagine this with me. One of the “big” railroads has a track that represents the N&W interchange with them. A switcher positioned in that track, with a cut of cars, arrives at some point during an operating session to exchange cars with the N&W. The interchange train picks up it’s cars, and might drop some cars to head East on the N&W, or for industries on the modeled portion of Cincinnati. Then it leaves. Elsehwere, the N&W switcher takes cars to an interchange and picks up cars from that interchange, without there needing to be a locomotive from the foreign roads. That could even be done with 1 staging track then representing multiple interchange partners. Traffic, however, moves, cars come and go, and there is the feeling that the layout is part of a system, not just standing on it’s own.
Aesthetically, I tend toward smaller power, and the CCC&STL 0-6-0’s in the form of B-10 or B-11 switchers would be size-appropriate to the size of the layout and could be the interchange line that comes and goes. Meanwhile, the PRR and B&O would be served by the N&W trains going into and returning from staging tracks.
So, is it one railroad, the N&W, two, the N&W and CCDC&STL, four, adding the PRR and B&O, or is there really an answer, because the freight car fleet means I am modeling each of those railroads too? I’m not sure there is an answer, but a change of the question is probably what makes me feel best. How many railroads do you interchange with on your layout?