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SModel Railway Timetables


235 posts

Yes saw the Metcalfe kit, not tried card kits - but could do. The idea for the brewery is for a small local building, with barrels being loaded as freight. By the way do you need special glue for card kits or would PVA do?


11858 posts

Community Moderator

In my opinion you need a glue with a little bit more instant grab compared to PVA. PVA will stick the card eventually if held together long enough. There are specially formulated model card glues.


One that comes to mind is 'Roket Card Glue'.

Chris........ Making the wood in the trees visible.


13586 posts

Community Moderator

I use UHU glue which can be stringy. I had tried balsa cement, no strings and wuick drying, but it shrinks as it dries and distorts the corners of buildings.

Halton Brat - Running Win 10, 64-bit - RM (Pro-Pack) with Elite as Controller-A, Select as Walkabout and E-Link as Controller-B - Locos are mostly TTS. http://www.halton96th.org.uk/robs_rails.html


235 posts

Ok thanks.

I have downloaded a couple of free card kits, so will have a go at those first and see how I get on.

You'll find (or at least I do) a great deal of difference between a Metcalfe card kit and a download-print-your-own. Pre-cut, with strenghtheners and oh so clear instructions, it's a world of difference to a downloaded kit and worth every shilling.

I've tried other card kits, particularly ones that say they are Rather Speedy to build and it's always ended in tears. until I tried Metcalfe i considered card kits the work of Sauron. 

Glue: I ended up using No More Nails Wood Glue on my last card model, for strange reasons I'm not getting into now, and it worked a treat! YMMV.


3615 posts

DeLuxe Speed Bond is very good.

Tomorrow will be a good day - Capt. Tom Moore


10160 posts

Running a model railway to a timetable can indeed be extremely boring to onlookers if real time is strictly adhered to but people get round this by using a speeded up clock which compresses hours into minutes. 


Alternatively the layout is operated in a sequence, so that once a move is completed the next follows . The moves are printed on a sequence of cards and turned over in sequence. Very often the cards are punched so they can be held in a clip such as comes in the centre of a ring binder, screwed to a board. 


There is another technique for dealing with goods wagons where the fleet of wagons on a model are each allocated a card. These are shuffled and dealt out in piles representing each siding, and the wagons are then placed in those sidings. Then the cards are gathered and shuffled again, and dealt out again into the same piles, which then indicates the destination sidings, The layout is then operated to transfer the wagons by train to the destinations indicating by the second deal. Once this is completed this is repeated, until you get bored with it!


Marshalling of goods trains safely is a black art.  First there has to be enough brake force to stop the train. In the old days this was solely by the brake on the engine and the guards van only. Trains could only run slowly so the train could be easily brought to a stand at an adverse signal, or an emergency. Travel too fast and the brakes become ineffective!


As more wagons were fitted with automatic brakes (usually vacuum brake) goods trains could run more quickly. but of course the hoses between these wagons and the locomotive had to be connected and the brakes working. The wagons with vacuum brakes attached to the locomotive was called the 'fitted head'. Wagons with livestock and with fragile loads were usually marshalled in the fitted head.  Fragile loads might be carried in shock absorbing wagons. However plate glass in crates was carried in special well wagons which surprisingly was not fitted by vacuum brake!


Exceptional or heavy loads in specially constructed wagons (Weltrol, Flatrol etc.) which needed to be supervised by the guard were marshalled next to the guards van where he could keep an eye on it.


The need for barrier wagons between the locomotive and the guards van and wagons containing dangerous goods has already been mentioned. Care was needed to choose suitable wagons to be used as barriers . Open wagons with tarpaulin sheets were a definate No No because a stray spark from the locomotive might set fire to the sheet.This was especially true if the wagon was loaded with hay or straw, or if straw was being used to pack the load.   Ideally covered vans were chosen, or empty wagons. 


Wagons loaded with steel bars were not supposed to be marshalled next to tank wagons carrying compressed gases or poisonous substances.. This was because if there was a collision the bars may puncture the tank.


Certain dangerous goods were not permitted on the same train. For example explosives and nuclear material were to be conveyed seperately.


Once the safety aspects were sorted out then the train would be marshalled according to where the wagons were going.  This was done to make shunting as simple as possible.If the train was also picking up wagons as well as dropping off the marshalling needed to be carefully worked out so newly attached wagons would not get in way of wagons to be detached subsequently.


Unlil the 1960s most goods trains carried more trucks of coal than any other product. Everyone had a coal fire (or used coke or other 'smokeless' fuel) so a typical goods train would have plenty of open wagons carrying it, or empty going back to the colliery to be re-filled. Only a handful of goods yards had facilities to deal with petrol or oil, and usually the places where tank wagons were discharged had a fenced off area where it could be done safely.


Not all goods trains went into station goods yards. Trains of perishable goods such as fish or meat would be worked to sidings alongside the big markets or to special goods depots  alongside main line terminals. Perishable goods trains were normally composed only of vacuum braked vans which could run at express goods speed, and were frequently pulled by locomotive more commonly associated with passenger work. On the LNER the V2 2-6-2 was often associated with express goods work, and the name "Green Arrow" was a marketing device for the LNER Express goods network.


I find goods work much more interesting than passengers.

Green trains are best!


235 posts


Thank you for a very interesting reply. At the moment my 'timetable' is just for me in the garage, so it is quite simple, but reading some of your post I can certainly improve the ideas. I like the idea of having a goods wagon stop closer to the Timber yard to collect rather than at a goods yard. Hadn't thought of that.

Thanks again.



235 posts


You'll find (or at least I do) a great deal of difference between a Metcalfe card kit and a download-print-your-own. Pre-cut, with strenghtheners and oh so clear instructions, it's a world of difference to a downloaded kit and worth every shilling.

I've tried other card kits, particularly ones that say they are Rather Speedy to build and it's always ended in tears. until I tried Metcalfe i considered card kits the work of Sauron. 

Glue: I ended up using No More Nails Wood Glue on my last card model, for strange reasons I'm not getting into now, and it worked a treat! YMMV.

Thanks for that. I have to say I was rather reluctant to buy a card kit...but having read your post I think I might try one!  Especially if the instructions are easy to use.

Timetables &/or layout operational schedules for model layouts.

Step 1: Simplest method is to get your hands on some real old railway timetables for your layouts era. Preferably "Working Timetables" which show both freight, & passenger, not public timetables which reveal little. (There are a number of railway book specialists that often have many original timetables and other important railway notices that can help).  



Step 2: is to find a timetable within that publication of a mainline or branch that has a similar track layout to your model railway. From this you will find the service of the given line for a 24 hour period, which will give some idea of what could possibly run on such a line. (The signalling system available on a real life route sets the limitations on how many trains can be run, especially with single track branchlines !)



Step 3: If you really want lots of detail, you will also need railway internal publications (again available from certain specialist railway book shops). Such as EWN (Engine Working Notices) which give the detail of locomotive type and all its movements during a days work, of every loco on the Railway/Region. CWN (Carriage Working Notices) which give the details of what coaches/vans etc where allocated to any given service. If you are modelling the Southern Railway/Region you will also need the CWNA (Carriage Working Notices Appendix). This gives all the detail of what coaches were semi-permanently formed in the Southern's coach SET system.


In the steam era, a major reason why trains (whether freight or passenger) took longer to cover any route, was because trains did lots of things they do NOT do today. This includes passenger trains dividing or combining en route, sometimes more than once such as the famous Atlantic Coach Express. Adding or detaching parcels vans at certain locations. Changing locos often at regional boundaries such as Basingstoke (Western/Southern). Even "slipping coaches" at speed !


Freight trains were often "looped" en route to allow faster passenger trains to overtake them. The numerous types of freight trains in steam days included operational problems such as "Unfitted freight" (NO train brakes on any of the wagons) or "Partially fitted" (Some wagons with train brakes coupled behind the loco, with unbraked wagons at the rear & of course a Guards van.). Such freight trains had special requirements of necessity. Such as having to stop at the top of steep gradients before descending. To allow the Guard to walk alongside the train physically locking some of the handbrakes in the "ON" position, before the train could proceed again. This basically stopped the train careering out of control down the hill because the locomotive brakes alone would have been insufficient to hold a heavy freight train. Then of course there was the "Pick-up Freight". Such freight trains stopped at virtually every station virtually all of which had their own Goods Yard. The "Pick Up" freight would then shunt each yard in turn, delivering and/or collecting wagons as required. 


You will find a lot more interesting detail about operational methods, and how they are applied to a model layout, if you scan through my "BASINGSTOKE 1958-67 87ft X 25ft" pages here on the Hornby Forum elsewhere in this "General Discussion" section. 


The Duke 71000       


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