Posted by: bgtwindad | March 29, 2010

Easy Interchange

User “J Edgar” on nScale.net recently brought to my attention a very simple and extremely model-able interchange method being used between two prototype railroads, the Ann Arbor RR, and the Great Lakes Central RR.

The two railroads share a single siding at the meeting point.  The interchange method works like this:

  1. An AA train will leave some cars on the siding for the GLC
  2. A GLC train will arrive, couple head-on to the AA cars on the siding, and decouple from its own cars.
  3. The GLC train will push the AA cars out of the siding onto the main, reverse direction, and return to its home, leaving the cars it brought on the siding.
  4. An AA train will bring more cars, dropping them and picking up the GLC cars in the same manner.

This video illustrates the process better than any text could, I think.  It’s a clever way to use a minimal amount of track to pass off cars between two railroads.  And it’s nice to know that it’s not just something that we modelers cooked up.

Please excuse the “Screen Flow Demo” watermark.  ScreenFlow is a pretty nifty screen capture and video editing program, but buying the “pro” version isn’t in the budget yet.

Update:  After reviewing my video, J Edgar provided two additional operational details:

  1. On the prototype, cars are dropped at the opposite end from where I show them.  Train A leaves its cars at the B end, and train B shoves them all the way down the siding, dropping its cars at the A end.
  2. Also, on the prototype, the trains often have cars that are not meant for interchange.  This significantly complicates the operations, since the train must drop the non-interchange cars in a “safe” place, execute the interchange, and then reassemble the train.

I’ll leave those changes as an exercise for the reader.

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