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March 2002 - Page 26

The Passenger Train Oriented Layout Part 3

by Robert A. Clark
Amtraks use of the former Pennsylvania coach yards at Chicago Union Station is shown in this September 1973 photo. Note the servicing platforms between the tracks. On the left is a repair track area. Much equipment is in evidence that probably never was seen on Penn Central trackage before Amtrak. Generally, trains were made up on these tracks and held with motive power attached until being backed into the station just before departure time. John Szwajkart photo


OACH YARDS are the most commonly recognized component of passenger facilities. Coach yard has at least two meanings in the literature. First, it may indicate a facility to which the passenger-carrying equipment was taken for cleaning and restocking, including diners and sleepers. This usage may reflect the streamliner era i n which consists were relatively fixed. Cars were changed only if repairs could not be made in time to go out on the next train. Once the train was pulled from the station and turned (a loop or wye capable of handling a full-length train would be needed), the train was not broken up except possibly f or removal of head-end cars or replace ment of bad order cars or cars scheduled for maintenance. The second meaning probably stems from the heavyweight era. Then, trains were turned and coaches pulled from the train and

taken to a yard for coaches. The rest of the cars were switched to facilities serving the various car types as explained previously. The classic coach yard was probably used by a single railroad only (each line probably having its own in a large city). The coaches were cleaned here and stored until required for their next use. There are several photographs showing coach yards in the first and more general meaning of the term (see Vanishing Vistas collection). The photos illustrate the variety of small details that can be added easily in wood, styrene, cardboard and wire to give your passenger yards an authentic appearance. The following specifications for the p hysical design of such facilities are d erived from the manual of the Ameri can Railway Engineering Association. T he manual notes that coach yards may

be either through (turnouts and yard leads at both ends of tracks) or stub. However, through yards were considered to be more efficient on the prototype, although as in t he case of freight yards on model rail roads, model railroaders tend to favor stub yards for our layouts. The tracks were recommended to have their length equal to the longest train to be serviced, and it was suggested that tracks of equal length give the greatest operating efficiency. This suggests the diamond shaped yard. Large yards should group leads to facilitate switching with auxiliary leads and tail tracks of ample length. Curvature in yard leads and tracks should be gentle. The length of passenger cars was as much a problem to the industry as it is to modelers. A wide radius, such as a 48" curve in HO, will help appearances and operation. The yard should be level. Special tracks for making up or


MARCH 2002

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