Dec 21, 2022
When I visited the B&O Museum 5+/- years ago, there was an N-Scale modular layout operating the complete Autotrain consist of 50 cars. IIRC, I was told, but never knew, there are four consists of fifty cars each available for the Autotrain if reservations require that amount of space. That information surprised me. However, what was amazing was that the fifty car N-Scale consist was being pulled around the layout by only two locomotives at track speed, reliably, continuously, without human intervention.
Have you ever seen an NTrak layout in action? You will frequently see 100+ car consists pulled by two or three units. When I was active, we were doing that way back in the late 70's and early 80's. It was quite a crowd pleaser.
No, I haven't. Would like to. I'll look up conventions or shows that list NTrak. Hopefully, some won't be too far.
Went to a local mall today after my Doctor's appointment (good to go for another 3 months).
In one of the vacant stores, a local model railroad society had set up a layout. One of the trains they were operating was a 15 car representation of The Capitol Limited in its late 50's and early 60's era of equipment. Had one of the Columbian's streamlined combine/coffee shop cars. Had the double unit diners that B&O bought from the NYC. Had one of the square end observation's that was bought from the B&O and also had the two dome cars that the train operated during that time period. The coach dome that was purchased with the Columbian's eight car streamlined consist, either High Dome or Sky Dome. The Pullman Dome that was purchased from the C&O, Moonlight Dome, Starlight Dome or Sunlight Dome. B&O mounted a set of 4 flood lights to the leading ends of the dome cars so those in the domes could view the passing scenery at night (since the Capitol was an overnight train). The individual that put the model train together made two mistakes - both domes were in the train with the flood lights on the trailing end of the cars. When I mentioned it to the curator, he couldn't be bothered.
Back in the 60's I remember my parents taking me to the B&O museum in Baltinore and being fascinated by the H.O. layout they had then.
Rather than start a new B&O thread, I thought I'd just add on this 09/18/1989 picture of a very tired crane and friend found at Brunswick, MD.
The maximum Auto Train length is about 50 cars, but Amtrak only has (or had) a total of 80 autorack cars.
So, four equal consists could have no more than 20 autoracks.
In the off-seasons, you might see an Auto Train with 20 autoracks, or fewer.
However, in the peak travel seasons, the train can have 30+ autoracks.
Amtrak and AutoTrain have a real operating problem. They only have two sets of equipment, which is OK if the trains run near on time as the train can still be serviced at the 'other end' and still protect a on time departure, however, when one or both sets of equipment are seriously delayed - 4 - 5 - 6 hours or more, the only thing that can be done is 'run the train back on time' or in a worst case example CANCEL operation on a day or days.
In the heyday of private passenger train operations the carriers had sufficient excess equipment that they could put together a train of 'extra' equipment to protect the on time departure of their scheduled trains, even when a operating train was seriously delayed.