Operations

Passenger Service 

In keeping with its tradition of striving for prototypical operations, the MLRR continues to operate its passenger trains according to the respective railroad's timetables in real time. Additionally, the railroad operates its trains based on scale mileage.  It is able to accomplish this by determining the number of circuits that equate to one scale-mile.  Trips are then measured in circuits to determine the scale distance around the layout and in between stations.  The circumference of the MLRR mainline requires a train to make approximately 2.16 circuits to complete 1 scale-mile of travel.  Based on this ratio, the MLRR determined the total number of laps to complete a given trip.  

On the homepage of the MLRR website you will notice the "Train Status Board" located near the center of the homepage. This board is updated as frequently as possible and if you see any trains in that table listed, that means that there is a train running at that very moment (per the status field's indication) on the MLRR. It also indicates trains that are scheduled to run on the MLRR in the near future. 

Currently the MLRR operates five (5) passenger rail services consistent with their respective prototpye railroads.  This includes Amtrak, Metro-North, MARC, METRA and New Jersey Transit.

       

Below is a table illustrating the passenger train routes the MLRR has incorporated into its operations.  This list will grow steadily as the MLRR acquires additional track charts and employee timetables with mileposts and track speeds.




Freight Service

The MLRR has very little experience with freight and given the fact that it is not as a narrowly focused venture as modern day intercity passenger service, the railroad continues to find its footing in how to mirror freight operations. The MLRR gives the operation of freight trains much more slack in terms of how they are run. Unlike the passenger trains, freight trains are run arbitrarily. Freight trains also serves as a backdrop to passenger operations. Depending on the type of train and its location, the MLRR at any given time, can decide to operate the freight train of the appropriate railroad of the respective region.

Locomotive Rotation

The MLRR takes great care in the amount of work that is put on its equipment and it is reasonable to expect that all model railroad equipment has some sort of life expectancy. The goal of the railroad is to preserve the life of its locomotives for as long as possible. Like the prototypical railroads, the MLRR rotates its engines in and out of service.

One example of this practice can readily be seen on Northeast Corridor (NEC) trains. Typically these trains consist of AEM7s and HHP-8s for pulling power. The railroad stages one fixed consist for a southbound run and another consist for a northbound run. A fixed consist will have a locomotive assigned to it. When one train has reached it's terminus, the cars are uncoupled from the locomotive, and that locomotive is sent into the "motor pit" for wheel cleaning. After the locomotive is cleaned, it is moved into the yard and placed in the last position int he "locomotive queue". The uncoupled cars are then assigned to a new engine for the trip north.

Computer Train Control

As of late 2014, the MLRR integrated computer train control using CTI-Electronics software and hardware into its infrastructure.  By using a varying degree of sensors, the MLRR is able to operate its trains through automation, allowing for trains to accurately traverse their assigned routes.  CTC is currently used for passenger operations.

Power System and Infrastructure

The Mary Lindsay Railroad has slowly been converting over to DCC however, it still uses block operations as not all of its equipment is DCC ready or equipped.  The railraod currently uses North Coast Engineering (NCE) for DCC and Crest Train Control Engineer handheld for DC operations.  The Crest Train Control Engineer is powered by MRC's Tech II power pack which has been in service on the MLRR since 1998.

Within the last year, the MLRR has intensified its DCC conversion practices and has aimed to retrofit the remainder of its locomotives with DCC decoders.  The major hold up was the MLRR's hesitation to convert its Acela Express train sets over to DCC.  When the railroad finally moved ahead with the upgrade of these train sets, it had cleared a hurdle that now made it possible to upgrade the rest of its fleet.  Although the MLRR maintains some level of block style wiring it is only used to conserve the amount of current through the entire network power district as well as preserve the life of incandescent and LED bulbs in passenger cars and locomotives.