Timetable operations on the Birkentalbahn

don9GLC2

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11 Dec 2009
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Bridge of Don, Aberdeen EU
798.03 said:
. . . It actually requires quite a bit of thought and dexterity to work it all through without getting cross hobbled anywhere, even though it's quite a short timetable! Ensuring the right stock is in the right place, and, as I don't run MTS/DCC, the appropriate combination of track power, battery power, and use of the LGB isolating switches is essential!


A long time ago I had a 'summer job' working for the Electric Traction Engineer and it was my job to record the distance travelled by 'our' trains, for maintenance such as tire changes. The method was simple: we got a list from Traffic of the units in operation the previous day and their allocation to a particular pattern of operation. Each pattern had a route length and I added that to the running total. Being young and enthusiastic, one day I went to the main terminus station and checked the actual units against what Traffic had told us. Admittedly there had been a major disruption due to a power failure, but there was no resemblance between practice and what was claimed! While I admired Traffic's ability to maintain any sort of timetable in the circumstances, it helped to convince me that a career in what was then British Railways was not what I desired!

However, coping with such a disruption on a model layout might be an interesting intellectual challenge, when there is a timetable to follow!


It was also the responsibility of the Electric Traction Engineer's staff to train the 'drivers'. It does not sound like there is a great deal to driving an EMU in suburban traffic. You accelerate as quickly as possible for the minimum period (to reduce electricity consumption) then coast (there are coasting boards to help you) until you brake hard (but not enough to upset the passengers) at the last possible moment (to reduce journey time) to stop at the designated point on the platform (depending on train length). And you have to balance the brake pressure when stopped so that you can release the brakes promptly when given permission to leave but without allowing the train to creep. For brevity, and because we were 'converting' experienced steam / diesel drivers, I have omitted all the normal stuff about signals, etc. I have yet to find a model control system that even starts to approach simulation of the real thing. With DCC I set 'braking time' to around the maximum and then try 'shunting' while trying to prevent huge collisions, but its not really close to having real brakes.

One thing I did enjoy was the Friday Q train. This was a slot in the timetable for a test run of an overhauled unit. Imagine getting paid to sit on a train for a trip to the seaside! Yes, I did that! The overhauled unit was coupled to reliable unit (to bring any defective unit back to the depot) and off we went. Now that really was a test of the driver. Some drove 'by the book' which was not really the point of the test run. What we needed was a 'Jeremy Clarkson' type approach to really test the power systems. And no stopping at stations to avoid confusing passengers.

In real life Q trains are fun, and I don't see why model layouts should not incorporate this feature. Its not a regular run, just when required.



Thanks for the extra description of how your timetable was derived. I hope my thoughts might enrich your operations, but then again some people get paid to suffer the stresses of this demanding job, so why do it for fun? Because you don't have to!
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Please enjoy the fried dumplings! My last visit to Austria involved a discussion with the waiter about a dish I had not tried. He said 'you don't want that' which made me more determined. He was right!

So I have been wrong before, and expect to be now, and in future.



Happy timetabling!
 

Dtsteam

G Scale, Travel, Steam Boats, Mechanical Music
24 Oct 2009
5,401
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Preston
Thanks to Bruce & Don for some interesting posts.

I think a timetable really adds something to running a garden railway. My last layout had a 30+ movement sequence which took three people over an hour to run through (including two mistakes which we lived with for over three years). The Strassenbahn was built to better allow single handed working, and I regret that it doesnt really lend itself to a timetable. Its nice to see that Bruces timetable is complete,in that everything ends up where it started (although I wonder what happens to the first train).

Years ago I bought a drivers controller for a 4 VEP, with a view to making a model railway controller out of it. I was surprised that it only had four power notches, but Dons post finally clarifies why. No - I still havent made the controller, and forum member Andrew WH is now on his fourth new estate car since we nearly knackered the first one by dumping it in the back! Things don't move fast round here !

PS - Nice watch Don !
 

don9GLC2

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11 Dec 2009
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Bridge of Don, Aberdeen EU
Dtsteam said:
. . .

Years ago I bought a drivers controller for a 4 VEP, with a view to making a model railway controller out of it. I was surprised that it only had four power notches, but Dons post finally clarifies why.


As I recall the four power settings on the class 303 were as follows
1. First transformer tapping (used for coupling / uncoupling sets) just enough to compress the 'vestibule coupling'
2. Half voltage (not normally used in passenger service, though I have seen it used when departing the terminus with a 20mph speed limit.)
3. Full voltage (again not normally used in passenger service - meant for operation on two out of four traction motors). There was a switch so that the driver could isolate a defective pair of motors but I never saw this used in practice. Easier to wait and get a push from the train behind.
4. Weak field. After the tap changer ran up to full voltage, the motor field current was reduced, increasing the speed but reducing the torque available. That's why notch 3 was provided as the torque from 2 motors was not sufficient. Notch 4 was the normal operating mode.

Tap changing was fully automatic and limited the current to around twice full load current (FLC was 25A at 25kV).

At that time the system was dual voltage, 25kV normally but 6.25kV in the tunnel sections. It was considered that the overhead line was adequate for power distribution at 25kV but for the low voltage sections a 25kV cable was laid alongside the track to distribute power further along the line. Due to concerns about the fire risk of conventional oil filled cables in tunnels these cables were pressurized with nitrogen gas. There was a cabinet with two gas cylinders in one of the stations and another fun task we had was checking the pressure and that there were no leaks. Before we could work at a station we had to inform the station staff, and the conversation would generally be deliberately obscure if there were new station personnel, 'We're from Electric Traction, and we've come to check the gas pressure!'

Even in these far off times, I was fully enrolled in the 'simple minds, simple things' philosophy
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dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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Hi again 798.03.
Many thanks for completing the information for us. I do find that your timetable is very inspirational. Re the Timetable Boards, I created one for my Scratch Built Station Building, I was doing Irish at the time (15mm to the Foot on G1 Track, perfect Scale gauge Relationship). For mine I copied the L&LSR Prototype Timetable on a work Photo Copier, reducing the size to match an Etched Brass Timetable Board. It was then stuck on (I cant remember what with) and finally varnished. This was done around 1990 or 1991. I entered the Building in our Club Competition that is how I can remember how long ago it was, It came second I think. The first picture is a brutal close up to show that after all these years it is still in good shape.

I am now doing East German Narrow Gauge, sort of Harz Mountains. The Timetable Boards that I use for my Garden Sheds are very different and in fact based upon the one at Alexisbad on the Gernrode Line. 2 of these are shown in the second+third pictures. I created these in Excell and it is sized to be read. There are more than one, 1 is used for each Station on my line. Note that the Arrival Times are not shown on these, plus some trains are shown in more than 1 Column as they call at differing stations. The basis that they appear to use is to show Termination Locations and show all the Trains that call there (even passing ones). Most of the other stations do similar boards to yours, but some also show the Train Number. Cannot remember what they do in Austria now.

I do use a Time Sequence, similar to that suggested many years ago in the Model Press. Basically you have a clock WITHOUT the hour hand. The minute hand becomes the hours. Thus each minute is 12 in Model time. The second hand represents those 12 minutes, I never use less than 12 minutes Model time for anything, though 30 seconds could represent 6 minutes if you wanted. I bought 3 Largish Clocks, removed the Hour hand and put in an On/Off switch so that if things go asteray you can Stop Time for a while. We could never do that on the real thing. You get 12 hours Model Time per real hour with this system and the numbers 1-12 represent the actual hour that it is.

Re the Q Trains. It is a generic Railway Term to reflect an Untimetabled or Timetabled but not run every day train. Thus your memory of the Police Trains being called "Q" trains.

Finally on the subject that Don raises re the lack of freality between Reported and Actual on the real thing. I used to work in the Computer System that recorded the locations of Locomotives, wagons and Coaches (TOPS and POIS). These syetems wre legion for the lack of reality contained within the Computer. I used to spend many hours doing data Integrity checks for all the systems. A never ending job realy. But I did love it, only getting out on Privatisation as I did not like the way that things were likely to go. I never have regretted my leaving having seen the noncence that happens on our Railways today, but I digress.

JonD
 

dunnyrail

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Further thought 798.03, re your original article in Garden Rail. I have two OBB Kursbucks for 1961/72 and 1971/72. Would you be interested in copies of the Timetable for the lines that you have used. No goods trains I am afraid, but they do show Mixed Trains for the Garsten Klaus line.
JonD
 

Round n Round

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25 Oct 2009
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But I did love it, only getting out on Privatisation as I did not like the way that things were likely to go. I never have regretted my leaving having seen the noncence that happens on our Railways today, but I digress.

Same here... 14 year career that I loved and never expected to leave. I left just ahead of privatisation - walked the plank to the amazement of my colleagues (and myself) but don't, I'm sad in many ways to report, regret doing so for a moment.


Hi dunnyrail & 798.03

Yet another ex BR employee here BUT I made the mistake of staying on after privatisation
Silly move, it caused a dickie ticker - good excuse for them to dispose of me after 32years
That was 8 years ago and I still feel for the guys I left behind and the things they have to put up with.
It may seem a strange thing to say but in some ways I am pleased the ticker gave in, otherwise I would still be there,
struggling to work the new wonderful way - which is no way to run a real railway.

I have employed various methods of timetables in my previous layouts in other gauges.
I even wrote a programme on a C64 to tell me what to run next, this kept a check on stock positions.
It all makes for interesting running despite my handle on here (Round&Round)
 

Railfan

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17 Nov 2009
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Bruce, I really enjoyed the article when I read it about three weeks ago. (No comments necessary about the lack of reading the issue when it shows up in the post). :) I did notice the timetable displayed on the Birkenhof station in the article photo. And I don't remember seeing any previous article with an actual display giving times that the railway actually tries to adhere to. At the time of reading, I thought what a great idea. When my railway actually has a layout, I will have to try that. Thanks for the idea.

I found the discussions in this thread by Jon, Don, etc. very interesting also teaching me more about how 'real railways' run. Please keep the discussions going...great fun!
 

dunnyrail

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Two more points from me on this thread,
George - the Computer System that I mentioned earlier on in this thread (TOPS) was purchased from the good old US of A in the early 70's (SP I think). We moved the thing on quite a bit in UK ti reflect the fact that we were very different in th way we operate our Railways over here.
798.03 - As promised, here are the Austrian TT's for you. I quickly took pics on my Digi at the lowest res to get them up here. They can all be read OK if you Zoom in on them. If not good enough for you, just PM me with your email and I will send you the original files.

Interesting how they have changed the table for the Jenbach line over the intervening 10 years.
JonD