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Should model locomotives have realistic and authentic top speeds?


A Class 08 should go at no more than about 20mph, an Industrial tank loco at about 25mph, a Jinty at about 50mph, an A4 at 126mph and a Pendolino at 140mph (give or take and assuming model railways do not have the working restrictions of the real thing).

The trouble is these speeds at OO scale look incredibly slow and it can take a very long time to get from one action point to the next when operating a model railway.

Many of us seem to suggest that train set layouts have more life at exhibitions than prototypical exhibition layouts and this may well be down to the non scale speeds that train set layouts are operated at.

Also the juniors of today seem to have a have shorter attention span than the juniors of yesteryear and if a loco takes 10 minutes to crawl from point A to point B they will very soon be back on the games console.

Surely the option of going faster than scale should be on offer and then its up to the driver to decide how fast the train should go.

The truth is does anybody know which is right or wrong or better for the hobby?


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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There is nothing worse than seeing a train whizz along at an unrealistic speed!
I do agree, on a large layout 100mph can look painfully slow, but if you put the perspective view into this then it is pretty much as you would see it in real life
An example of this is a viewing point I use on the WCML which is next to the M74
Once the train is seen in the distance (at about 90mph) it can take up to 40 seconds before it reaches me and obviously with slower freight trains (most of which do half that speed!)

My own layout scenic section, in N gauge, measures just under 26 feet, equivalent to 1300 yards
At full speed I can get most locos to do this in about 15 seconds, equivalent to 180mph (if my maths is right)!

Getting a Class 08 loco to do this is just daft, although my own Class 08 can do it in about 60 seconds (and even that works out at 45mph!)
 

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Gary, you have a short memory. Remember what we did to get the 08 programmed at the correct scale speed after a bit of testing with a tape measure and a stopwatch.

Most DCC decoders can set the top speed to a value from 0 to 255. 0 being 0volts and 255 being the maximum output voltage of the power station.

I have a rough scale that I apply to my locos - based on the fastest locos on the layout - A4's.

I set the A4's at around 200
Merchant Navy Class at around 180
Q1 at 120

The Class 08 was set to 100 with a liniar speed curve. That seemed best based on the prototype maximum speed of 27.5mph.
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 26 Oct 2006, 14:55) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Also the juniors of today seem to have a have shorter attention span than the juniors of yesteryear and if a loco takes 10 minutes to crawl from point A to point B they will very soon be back on the games console.
At a scale 20mph in OO a loco should cover about 70 metres in 10 minutes which is still a respectable distance. They may have short attention spans, but they aren't that short (and in most cases layouts aren't that big). Too fast a speed also diminishes the impact of a layout --- especially if even the slowest models can complete a circuit in under 10 seconds.

A loco which goes too fast also has a tendency to be difficult to manage at very slow speeds, so while shunting isn't very popular, making it difficult to do doesn't help matters.

QUOTE Many of us seem to suggest that train set layouts have more life at exhibitions than prototypical exhibition layouts
Most of those exhibition layouts aren't operating the locos at anywhere near their maximum prototype speeds, because they are using speeds that reflect speed restrictions near stations etc (or perhaps because they might otherwise derail on baseboard joins).

I think there may be a case for a modest increase over scale speeds, but not the size of increase seen on some models. The increase should also be uniform so that where the prototype of A is faster than B, then the model of A should also be faster than the model of B. It is really quite absurd seeing a small tank engine achieving speeds appropriate to a TGV. One of my sons does not appreciate seeing his HST being overtaken by a tank engine.

I think it reasonable for children to learn that when you want speed, you use a genuinely fast loco and not a shunter fitted with hyperdrive.
 

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A friend of mine & myself operate a double track mainline exhibition layout & we tend to run trains at a speed which is just over scale speeds as a compromise.

We use a Fleishmann "Tachowagon" (which give a direct readout of scale speed in KPH) to set locomotives maximum speed on the decoder.

Sometimes comments are made like "don't the trains go any faster ?", but mostly they are favourable.

As an aside, although the staion has 4 tracks when we start stopping one train & starting another the public seem to loose interest, so we tend to just let the trains trundle round, swopping them over in the fiddle yard.
That's what the public seem to prefer & they are the ones who pay us (through their entry tickets) to be there. We must be doing something right as we managed 3rd best layout in show on the first outing & placed in the "favourite 5" of the second.

best regards
Brian
 

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Whatever speed makes you happy is appropriate. If you want accuracy the DCC systems like the Ecos have a scale speed readout so you can accurately determine the correct speed. In terms of exhibitions the slower the speed the trains are running at the less interest you are likely to get. I tend to ignore the slow speed shunting layouts as I find them incredibly boring.
 

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QUOTE As an aside, although the station has 4 tracks when we start stopping one train & starting another the public seem to loose interest, so we tend to just let the trains trundle round, swopping them over in the fiddle yard. That's what the public seem to prefer

Thats a very interesting observation and thank you for offering it up.


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Peter,

I would draw your attention to the comments made earlier by dbclass50 and how he sets speeds. As an aside an acquaintance of mine drives for EWS and was a great believer of driving the old class 74's as fast as possible - but I don't think that's the way to go with DCC!

Regards

John
 

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QUOTE (pedromorgan @ 27 Oct 2006, 13:22) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>should the docoders be limited to the official top speeds or should it allow for certain class 66 drivers that hammer through st deny's at over 100!?
I'm happy for them to allow the maximum speed ever achieved by the prototype under the most favourable conditions (e.g. downhill with a following wind
). This should even apply to the Thomas range, so that Gordon is considerably faster than Percy (not true of the Hornby version
).
 
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