MRA Editors

How to Design a Model Railway Timetable & Schedule

MRA Editors
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Duration:   8  mins

When most modelers think about creating a model railway timetable, they incorrectly think that just means creating a schedule by which their trains will run. But as we learn from expert builder/operator Matt Snell, creating a timetable is so much more than just making a model railroad schedule.

Matt attempts, as much as possible, to run by actual Conrail Employee Timetables, which contain track diagrams, critical siding information, mileposts, speed, and station or control point names. Using spreadsheet programs like Lotus or Excel, Matt shows MRA’s Allen Keller how to create blank templates, then fill in all of the important information pertaining to his layout based on how the prototype does it.

He tells Allen that running his layout by more than just a model railroad schedule is actually like a “creating a prototype within a prototype.” Matt went so far as so create a convention train special for a layout tour using the same equipment and cars from an actual convention train that his prototype had used years before!

Matt refers to photos when weathering his locomotives and rolling stock, commenting that many modelers overdo their weathering when, in actuality, unless a car is in coal or other heavy duty service, weathering should be much more subtle.

While he denies being an expert on Conrail operations, Matt admits to being knowledgeable about certain operations and shares what he has learned on a Yahoo Groups website dedicated to Conrail. It’s his way of promoting model railroad operations, in general, while spreading information about Conrail.

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