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My layout is basically a double track oval with two sets of single-ended storage sidings leading off from it. It looks something like an omega loop with the bottom joined up. Thus I can make a train leave storage sidings A, run round the oval one or more times, then into storage sidings B. Then do the same thing in reverse.

With passenger trains this presents no problems. I run both express and local passenger trains with a brake composite at both ends. (Am I right in thinking that this is reasonably realistic?) Near the end of the B sidings the train stops, the engine decouples and moves forward an inch or two. Then a new engine, facing the correct way, backs onto the train, takes it out round the oval and into sidings A. The previous engine can now back onto it and the whole thing start again. Of course with DCC this is simplicity itself.

With goods trains things are not so easy. I don't think that a brake van at both ends of the train looks realistic. (Am I wrong about this?) This means that when a goods train reaches the B sidings, it must somehow lose its brake van and get the same or a different one on the other end. This involves a lot of fiddling around. I know that storage sidings are also called fiddle yards but I don't want to do a lot of fiddling. Do I have to run goods trains with a brake van both ends or is there a simpler way of doing things that I have missed? If it helps, there is an off-scenic connection between the two sets of sidings.

Thank you in anticipation.
 

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As I understand it, it was not typical for a goods train to have brake vans at both ends, unless the whole train was going to have to reverse direction at some point in its travels when this precaution would eliminate having to shunt the brakevan as well as the engine.

If there is an off-scene connection does this mean that the storage sidings actually form loops? Can you use a small loco to remove the guards van; this loco then propels the van along the connecting line to add it to the rear of a train in the other storage area and bring another one back to fit to the rear of the first train? Best I can think of at the moment with what you already have on your layout.

Regards,
John Webb
 

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A brake van or guard's van is a caboose on US railways being at the back of a train. American railroads have a caboose track which stores these vans as they come in to the yard and makes it easy to attach to the end of the train as it leaves the yard.

So basically, you need a sort of run around siding that can be accessed when the train comes in and also when it goes out. Perhaps from either end and accessible from the inbound track and the outbound track. Conductors would have their own caboose and not just any caboose so you need a method to get to specific vans when you want them. The timetable should help sort them out. Obviously you want to figure out a method to do this with the minimum amount of shunting.
 

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can you not run a hidden link track between the two yards?

thus a goods train can be returned to its point of origin?

This would allow an 'empties' and 'loads' flow?
 
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