Derails…on purpose? (Part III)

This is the concluding post on derails.

Let’s see a derail used on a movement on B. Smith’s LCN RR.  Then I will briefly cite a challenge modellers face in incorporating the use of derails.

The LCN has a weekend excursion train often powered by a steam locomotive.  Weekend traffic is often slower on the LCN, but during the wheat harvest season, extras are often required on the weekend to keep up with the amount of wheat being brought into the San Angelo elevator.  A unit train movement often takes place a few times during the week during the peak of the season to service the San Angelo elevator.  We will see a derail used to protect the excursion movement from a unit train extra.

Narrative in captions describe the action from the engineer’s perspective.


Why do they run the grain train on Sunday now? They know the tourist train runs then too. Only means some extra hours (and $) because we’ll have to wait for it somewhere. Today we have a track warrant to proceed to San Angelo and hold the siding. Sure hope there are no cars spotted in the siding.


Here we go across the Hall Canyon bridge.


Good, no cars in the siding here at San Angelo. Matt has me lined in and the derail off.  (Note small orange derail ahead of the locomotive in the open position.)


Good old Matt, always checking the cars out as they roll by.


Derail is back on, switch is lined behind, we’re tucked in the siding, now we wait for the excursion to pass by before we can proceed. The mainline is now protected and ready.

We will leave the crew of the unit train extra to wait.  Hopefully, their wait won’t be long so they can get home to their families and salvage some of their weekend.  The life of a railroader is challenging, even in HO scale!

Now for the challenge.


Derail protecting the Union Pacific mainline in San Marcos,Texas. Note red flag to highlight the derail, 2013.

I hope you have seen how derails are an important part of real railroading and can be an excellent way to slow down and increase the operations of model layouts.  Unfortunately, I am not aware of any easily operable HO derails on the market right now.  Sequoia Scale Models did make them for a while but are not producing them at this time.  I will share this series with a few manufacturers to challenge them to address this deficiency in the market.  Perhaps, there is a product available, but I am not aware of an easily operable, reasonably scale derail on the market at the time.  (Please comment if I am wrong.) I hope this need is rectified soon.  I will need them soon!  I will inform you if I get any news.



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