Timetable Operations
Based On Prototype Practice

John Carruthers of our Nottawasaga Model Railway Club lent me his copy of a 1975 timetable for Canadian National (CN) Railway. John worked for the CNR at the time on the Meaford sub that covers the region of Ontario where we live. 

Here is a simple prototype timetable. It shows station stops, times, mileage, siding capacity and length and the northbound and southbound timetables. It doesn't designate train class. This could be added to your timetable.

It also shows special rules in effect as of Sunday, April 27, 1975. The following link is to a pdf file. 

Meaford Sub timetable 

The CN rails have been ripped up for a long time and the Barrie-Collingwood railway was closed in the summer of 2011 due to lack of traffic. Our club is building a replica of the Barrie to Meaford line with Collingwood as the centrepiece.

The operating timetable lives on for modelling purposes. You can often find railroad timetables at train shows, flea markets and auctions. They are useful for establishing timetable operations on your model layout. Creating one from scratch can be fun and will keep your operators on their toes.

You can add special rules and list things like clearances and restrictions for motive power, etc. It's also a way to introduce a fast clock into your operations.

Other key rules in addition to equipment restrictions would be speed restrictions. I have a swinging bridge at the entrance to my layout that has a permanent "slow" restriction.

If you mix in some lighter rail on your layout, say a siding of code 40 where everything else is code 83, you could add a speed restriction for that siding.

Another good rule is to advise your operators always to reset turnouts to the mainline's normal position. We also limit the length of trains.

You could also include the grade percentages. On my Utopia Northern layout we always had to double-head steam from Underhill North to the junction at Collings Woods because that's the ruling grade and its on a curve. On my Utopia Northern trains were limited to 10 cars and a caboose (van). Passing track capacity should be noted in the timetable.

You can also have a rule that tank cars cannot be placed directly behind an engine. Makes sense should there be a derailment or accident. Here's a fun one from the CN timetable rules: 

"All occupied cabooses and occupied service equipment other than flangers, plows, spreaders, test cars and official business cars, shall be marshalled in and moved at the rear of freight trains immediately ahead of the operating caboose."

Use this CNR timetable as a guide for creating one of your own. You could design it on an Excel spreadsheet.


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