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  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - 1st year's events
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  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - an operating session
  • John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - the track plan
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  • [an error occurred while processing this directive]

    John Oxlade's Bavarian layout - an operating session

    Author: John Oxlade, Salfords, Surrey, UK (EMail: )

    (this layout is now dismanlted)

    I had an EMail from someone in the US asking if I could describe an operating session, as practices in different parts of the world don't always make sense to other people.

    I suppose the first thing I should mention is that I do not operate the layout to a timetable, although I am thinking about producing one, and I am also thinking over the idea of having my PC generate a 'task list' for an operating session.

    It would be a good place to start to describe what the various sidings and structures are for:

    • The BayWa shed (1 on the track diagram) is a supply shed for a farmers co-operative. This would receive supplies like fertilisers etc.
    • The goods shed (freight depot, 2 on the track diagram) is used for arriving and departing goods of just about all natures. Ordinary small packages would probably go direct to the station rather than the goods shed.
    • I tend to use the siding at Illerbergen (3 on the track diagram) for my train of chalk wagons, although I haven't made a final decision on what it will be used for, but it will probably stay the same. I have a soft spot for this type of wagon.
    • The dead-end siding at Illerbergen (4 on the track diagram) will be quite close to road access so I use this for the odd goods van (boxcar) delivering freight to Illerbergen.
    • The two sidings at Oberfahlheim' (5 on the track diagram) are used for refrigerator and box van (boxcar) traffic.
    • The next siding in (which isn't specifically marked on the diagram) is used for open wagons, coal wagons etc.
    • I tend to leave a locomotive for shunting (usually a Fleischmann BR 94) in the back end of the head-shunt at Oberfahlheim' (6 on the track diagram).
    • Locomotives going 'on shed' go in via the track closest to the operator (8 on the track diagram) as this is the track with the ash-pit, and come 'off shed' using the one furthest from the operator.

    Also a few operating 'rules':

    • The fiddle-yard (10 on the track diagram) represents the 'rest of Germany', and from a viewers point of view isn't there to look at, it's just a staging area.
    • Passenger trains running in to Illerbergen or Pfarrhofen should run in to the track closest to the station building first, then subsequent tracks working outwards. This is done so that passengers walking from the train to the station never have the possibility to walk across in front of an oncoming train. Conversely, freight trains should run in to the track furthest from the station building.
    • All trains on the line should have a minimum of 33% braked axles. Remember that not all German wagons of the period that I model (1925-'35) had air-brakes.

    'Standard' trains that I have made up ready to run as of 9th November 1996:

    One thing I do tend to try and do where possible is to have a mixture of vehicle styles in each train. A good friend of mine always tries to run his trains with all matching vehicles, but for the period before the advent of the DB's 26.4m long coaches, this is not really very realistic. After the formation of the DRG, trains could be made up of vehicles from all over Germany. Bavarian branchline trains were still predominantly made up of Bavarian coaches, but not exclusively. Mainline passenger trains could have almost any combination of coaches. To me, this is one of the things that I find appealing about this period in German rail history.


    Local passenger trains:
    1. Roco 'short' Bavarian 3rd class coach 44801
      Roco 'long' Bavarian 3rd class '12-window' coach 44825
      Trix 'short' Bavarian baggage/post coach 23710
      Trix 'long' Bavarian 2/3rd class coach 23708


    2. Roco 'long' Bavarian 3rd class coach 44821
      Roco 'short' Bavarian baggage coach 44805
      Märklin 'G10' box van with brake cabin 4695


    3. Roco 'long' baggage van 44829
      Fleischmann super-detailed Bavarian CiBay10 from junior series 5002
      Roco 3-axle Bavarian 2/3rd class coach 44863
      Roco 'short' Bavarian baggage coach 44809
      Trix 2/3rd class DRG 1923, steel 2-axle coach 23743 - a bit out of it's normal territory but what the heck


    4. Trix 'long' Bavarian 3rd class 23709
      Fleischmann 'Thunderbox' 5072
      Roco 'long' Bavarian 2nd/post coach 44833


    5. Trix VT858 (4-axle, jack-shaft drive) diesel railcar 22469


    6. Trix VT135 diesel railcar + two VB140 trailers 22473 (the railcar and one trailer) + 22475 (additional trailer)

    One middle distance passenger train:

    1. Two Trix 3-axle Bavarian 3rd class coaches 23733
      Trix 3-axle Bavarian 1/2nd class 23732
      Trix 3-axle Bavarian baggage 23734
      Trix 4-axle Bavarian 3rd class 23766

    Freight trains:

    1. Permanent way train made up of:
      Trix brake van 23580
      Fleischmann 4-axle flat wagon 5285
      Fleischmann 2-axle flat wagon 5254
      Five Roco 2-axle hoppers 46130
      sometimes additionally with Trix crane 23516


    2. Six Fleischmann chalk wagons 5213 - needs two more to be kit-bashed with brake cabins


    3. Various other freight trains made up of almost any appropriate DRG wagon from Roco, Fleischmann, Trix, etc.


    4. Not too many beer wagons. Of my approx. 130 freight wagons, I only have 4 beer wagons, and 3 of those are all from the same brewery. Beer wagons may look pretty in the catalogues, but they are quite rare in real life. Additionally, it would be unusual to see wagons from different breweries in the same train.


    Accepting the fact that I do not run to an official timetable, there are various 'standard moves' that comprise a normal operating session:

    • Ensure a regular passenger train service over the branchline.
    • Regularly swap the freight vehicles around in the loading dock at Pfarrhofen (2 on the track diagram).
    • Any one locomotive is normally only allowed to run over the branch twice before it needs to go in to the loco shed to have it's fire cleaned etc., so regular trips to the locoshed. Actually, I just made that one up as I was writing, but it sounds good, so I'll use it.
    • Every now and then the through train from München arrives at Oberfalhheim. To run over the branchline you need a loco at least the size of a BR38 (ex-Prussian P8) - there's usually one in the locoshed or fiddle-yard.

    The best way to operate the line is to have a couple of people operating it. When my Father comes round for an operating session, one of us tends to operate the upper level, one the lower. You can actually operate the line as two separate layouts, then every now and then exchange trains from one level to the other, whether you operate the train right through is up to you.

    There's plenty of operating potential in the lower level for shunting (switching in the US), and you can run about as far as the backdrop (9 on the track diagram) before encroaching on the section for the helix.

    On the upper level I have designed in a few little problems to make operation more interesting. The head-shunt on the 3-way point at Pfarrhofen (near 1 on the track diagram) was deliberately made too short for big locos. BR38's and BR56's will 'just' fit. I know this, but it catches other people out from time to time, and they have to use another loco to move the train out of whichever track it came in to. Another little 'problem' here is that the buffers are hiding behind a tree, and it's definitely a disciplinary offence to hit them. Which most people do do, at least once..!

    The siding by the BayWa shed (2 on the track diagram) is ever so slightly down hill, and if you don't park the wagons in there carefully, they'll follow the locomotive out of the siding when you pull away. I may even put a track brake of some sort (retracting pin or similar) as it's a bit of a nuisance sometimes. This gradient wasn't planned, it just happened.

    The lack of turning facilities at Pfarrhofen can be a bit of a problem, and all my locos need to have working couplers on both ends. This means no scale couplers on one end for me. This is a bit of a shame, but a station of this size couldn't warrant having a turntable. Just to make life interesting (but partly because I didn't have the space either), the turntable at Oberfahlheim is too small for large engines (I used the 'new' Fleischmann 'small' turntable). Even so, the roundhouse is over 1m across (about 3 feet). A 'large' turntable would make the locoshed twice the size. I am considering putting a turntable behind the backdrop at Oberfahlheim (there is space, it just doesn't show on the track-plan) so that I can turn locos that are in the fiddle-yard.

    The entry points in to Pfarrhofen are also lurking behind the locoshed, and it's difficult to see when your loco is clear of them when shunting. This tends to make you pull further away from them than you normally would on a model, but this is more prototypical anyway.

    You have to remember that the upper level of the layout is about level with my shoulders, so I can't see over buildings or small hills, I have to look round them - this was the whole idea. This definitely makes the layout look more realistic, but it does have it's down side too - access. (I have a short step-ladder in the railway room all of the time.) There is also a large clump of trees (which you can't easily see through) exactly where the word Pfarrhofen is on the track diagram. I did however keep the trees away from the areas where you normally couple and un-couple vehicles.

    I am starting to be a firm believer in 'planned problems'. i.e. Introducing deliberate problems to enhance operation. Operation can get boring if everything is too easy.

    [ last updated 31st Dec 2003 ]