The Fast Lane HO

Collecting Model Trains Since 1995

Fast Lane Trains

In running a larger layout like this, just putting together cars and locomotives will get boring after awhile. Since my layout doesn't have a lot of industries (none at the moment) I have to make the operations interesting at which will provide hours of entertainment. Just because a layout doesn't have industries doesn't mean it can be boring. As the layout stands right now I have a mainline and two yards. This means the theme of the layout can be modified to represent a busy mainline between two major cities. In between two major cities you have lots of different trains that run. On my layout so far I have 20 different trains that I can run. Some of these I can't really run till after the expansion is complete. Each train has its own symbol to designate what train I am running. On the layout each symbol will have a specific routing, even though they may follow other routes, and it will consist of certain cars.

Symbolizing Trains

Each train has to be symbolized according to its direction, consist, and type i.e. local frieght, road freight, one-way run, two-way run (turn), and cargo. My system that I use is similar to that of CSX railroad, a letter followed by a number. The difference is my usage of letters however the idea is the same. My system for letters goes like this:

I - Intermodal 

A - Automotive

M - Manifest (mixed freight)

C - Coal

G - Grain

K - Commodity

L - Local

E - Empties

After the letters are numbers which tell what train is which in reguards to others that are related. Each type of train is given a certain range of numbers like this:

100 for intermodal

200 for automotive

300 for manifest

400 for coal

500 for grain

600 for commodities

700 for locals

Two-digit numbers are given to high-priority trains. Each of these numbers are paired up with a letter to give the symbol to a particular train. Here is a current list of the train symbols I currently operate on my layout. There are no grain, commodity, or locals yet.

Symbols         ORG               Type                                       Direction                                               DES

I-100               L-Yard            COFC                                     EB                                                           U-Yard

I-101               U-Yard           COFC                                 WB                                                             L-Yard

I-102               U-Yard           COFC/TOFC                         EB                                                           L-Yard

I-103               L-Yard            COFC/TOFC                         WB                                                         U-Yard

I-98                 L-Yard            TOFC (High Priority)           EB                                                           U-Yard

I-99                 U-Yard           TOFC (High Priority)           WB                                                         L-Yard

I-104               U-Yard           Bare-table                              EB                                                           L-Yard                                                                   

I-105               L-Yard            Bare-table                              WB                                                         U-Yard


A-201             L-Yard            Automotive                           WB                                                         U-Yard                                  

A-202             U-Yard           Automotive                           EB                                                           L-Yard


M-300             U-Yard           Manifest                                EB                                                           L-Yard

M-301             L-Yard            Manifest                                WB                                                         U-Yard                                  

M-302             L-Yard            Manifest                                EB                                                           U-Yard

M-303             U-Yard           Manifest                                WB                                                         L-Yard

M-304             U-Yard           Manifest  (turn)                    EB/WB                                                   U-Yard

M-306             L-Yard            Manifest  (turn)                    WB/EB                                                   L-Yard


C-401              L-Yard            Coal Loads                            WB                                                         U-Yard

E-401              U-Yard           Coal Empties                         EB                                                           L-Yard                                                                   

C-402              U-Yard           Coal Loads                            EB                                                           L-Yard                                   

E-402              L-Yard            Coal Empties                         WB                                                         U-Yard