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Mainline Direction of Travel

Rich asks:

“I’m designing a 6 X 12 layout (HO). I’m liking the idea of multiple long mainline loops with cross-overs of some variety. I’ll have a yard and an industry (coal mine), too. My question is are most layouts designed with a primary direction in mind? How is that established? Thanks.”

You can share your thoughts below.

5 Responses to Mainline Direction of Travel

  • phil+johnson says:

    Most US RR’s use right hand running, except C&NW and a few areas out west, due to stiff grades. C&NW was due to Lake Michigan. Trains traveling east on their lines used the left track in double track territory. Which is opposite of other RR. Sorry, I’m not familiar enough to help with eastern RR’s

  • Joe Graffi says:

    Unless you are modeling a specific area of a prototype, I don’t see an issue with direction. I run freight and passenger service in steam and run the passenger service one direction and all the freight the opposite.
    My layout staging yoad and commercial sidings all favor one direction over the other. I made the passenger service purposely favor the other.

  • Graeme Wilson says:

    coming in and unloading/loading on the outer, I see no problem the inner coming in the other way, doing the same,

    MY BELIEVE – its your layout
    hoping its on DCC

  • David Stokes says:

    Real railways try to balance traffic – with as many wagons/coaches going east as to west and vice versa. On a model this is also a good idea as it reinforces the reality of your layout. How do we do this? We try to run each way on one track using a form of train control/scheduling. or we have an “up” and a “Down” track.
    In South Australia there were few areas of double track so I need to schedule up and down traffic, with goods and passengers on the same track on my layout, which by the way is three levels wrapped around 4 walls of a 4.5×6 metre garage. I have a large storage yard one end and 5 open to view prototype sized stations. Life can get interesting on busy days.

    In the British isles traffic was much denser and all but smaller branch lines were doubled and even 4 deep. One for passengers, Up and Down, and two for freight, usually designated fast and slow.
    There appears to be no formula to fit all cases. Best of luck, bir remember, it’s your railway so run it your way.

  • Jay Ross says:

    I didn’t see your track plan, but here is my advice: Design your layout to allow trains to run in both directions, and to not be stuck into running only in one direction around the layout. I have seen many track plans that limit the direction that the trains can run. If you have any spurs where cars can be pickup up and dropped off, this becomes very important. Being able to run your trains in both directions at any time, really adds to the realism and enjoyment. Of course, this will probably mean having some reverse loops designed into the track plan, but it’s worth it.

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