The Lakeside Lines is one of the most unusual railroads that we’ve ever documented. It’s all one yard except for our huge staging yard. Allen Keller wonders why Tom Harris decided to build something so different. Tom didn’t really try to build something different, but he just couldn’t make a lot of compromises in what he was wanting to do. He wanted to make sure he had curves that were full size and run full size trains and have full size track links in the yard and full size sidings.
When Tom added up all the links involved, he only had room for one town, since he had only one town, he thought he might as well make it a yard so there’s something to do. The trains never actually leave the yard district, only leaving by a few feet. This is because when they come into staging to the East they are about six feet from the yard limit and when they go out stage into the West they are about four feet from the yard.
While running a train is great, but usually when Tom has a visitor here and we run a train, they end up seeing it for two and a half miles, and by that time they are ready for another train. Tom doesn’t want to see the same train all the time. When you have a bunch of people operating a railroad, they want something to do, and so all of the switching activity in the yard is a lot and can keep operators as long as they care to go. They like classifying and blocking cars.
To hear more about operations watch the full video, or watch more from Allen Keller’s Great Model Railroads in the Model Railroad Academy archives.