Ed Lorence, modeler of the Baltimore and Ohio L&S Division model railroad believes that the easy way to close couple locomotives and cars is to use a number 33 coupler instead of a number 5. The shank space is considerably less, so the draft gear parts from the number 33 are not needed and are thrown away, just saving the coupler. One can see the difference on the projection of the number 5 versus the 33. On the cars Ed uses, the spring click that holds the coupler into the pocket has to be trimmed in some cases to allow the coupler to swing fully from one side to the other.
The B&O layout is single track, but the passing sidings are pretty long. Allen Keller wonders how this adds to the feel of a real railroad. It makes the illusion of a double track main line, which in reality is not there. It also provides more operating time, by running two 50 car trains in either direction on the layout without the worry of crossing, with sidings that are long enough to hold 50 cars with three sidings. 8 people are ideal for an operating session. The car routing system he uses is car card and waybills which he found through Model Railroader.
To learn more about how the railroad goes back in on itself, watch the full video. For more tips of a successful model train operations session, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.