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Marshalling and shunting yards

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Marshalling and shunting yards 30/06/2022 at 11:43 #147048
Steve L
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I'm not sure if this has been requested before or looked at, however, I would love to see if anything could be created to replicate the operation of a marshaling yard. We see trains run into them in the sims, but that's it until they request an exit again. Would it be possible to create a yard to organise the trains as they run in from the running lines, please?

Thanks

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Marshalling and shunting yards 30/06/2022 at 13:41 #147051
Steamer
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I recall mention a while ago that a Kingmoor sim was considered (for chaining to Carlisle), but then abandoned.

Unless I'm much mistaken, the big challenge is that SimSig has no concept of locos, carriages and wagons. The train has various properties, but there's no way to define vehicles- you could have a loco detach from a Class 156 if you wanted to, the sim doesn't know any different. You'd have to timetable every shunt and the player would then work to that script. This doesn't really reflect how yards work- if a train is expected late, the shunters will get on with other moves while they're waiting. In SimSig terms, that would need very careful TT editing to achieve.

To make a realistic yard, you'd have to change the simulation's concept of a train to being comprised of individual vehicles, each with their own list of requirements (fuel, repair, move to train X etc.) and allow coupling/uncoupling to be done on command. How much work would be needed to implement that, I've no idea.

There's another simulator on the market (originally DOS-based and they still maintain that aesthetic on their newer products) which handles this very well, but they're light years behind SimSig on just about everything else.

"Don't stress/ relax/ let life roll off your backs./ Except for death and paying taxes/ everything in life.../ is only for now." (Avenue Q)
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Marshalling and shunting yards 30/06/2022 at 15:53 #147053
jc92
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The other thing to add to that, is that nowadays, most yards aren't signalled as such. Wembley, Cricklewood Carriage, and lovers Walk spring to mind as examples which are.

Most freight yards really aren't that interesting either. A Block load train arrives and sits awaiting its next job. the loco might come off for fuel and the odd cripple or wagon for exam might be knocked out, however beyond that, its fairly uneventful.

"We don't stop camborne wednesdays"
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Marshalling and shunting yards 01/07/2022 at 08:14 #147070
Anothersignalman
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Could a hump yard be worth considering, as a compromise between route-setting and marshalling? That way the program could be set up that after X number of wagons enter a siding, that triggers creation of a new train ready to depart.
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Marshalling and shunting yards 02/07/2022 at 17:14 #147105
bfcmik
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The new loader Euston sim has a feature on the down carriage yard that counts the yardage occupied and lets you ask how much remains. However, I am not sure if departures are allocated only after sufficient yardage has entered.
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Marshalling and shunting yards 03/07/2022 at 19:26 #147117
Jan
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830 posts
That feature already existed beforehand – what's possibly new (though I'm not absolutely certain) is the ability to telephone for asking about the current occupation status.

There was a description of how that thing was supposed to work in the old manual on Clive's homepage. The basic idea is that all sidings start out with the full length marked as "unknown", so that at the start of a simulation that siding length can be used for both entering and exiting trains. If a train needs to enter/exit the sidings and there's not enough free/occupied space available to serve that train, the necessary amount of "unknown" space gets converted as required. "Free" respectively "occupied" space can subsequently never revert back to "unknown".

Two million people attempt to use Birmingham's magnificent rail network every year, with just over a million of them managing to get further than Smethwick.
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Marshalling and shunting yards 04/07/2022 at 07:08 #147123
clive
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bfcmik in post 147105 said:
The new loader Euston sim has a feature on the down carriage yard that counts the yardage occupied and lets you ask how much remains. However, I am not sure if departures are allocated only after sufficient yardage has entered.
There's now a full description of this at https://www.SimSig.co.uk/Wiki/Show?page=usertrack:ssrun:rolling_stock_accounting
But the short answer is that no, departures can happen before any trains have arrived at the yard.

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Marshalling and shunting yards 04/07/2022 at 07:10 #147124
clive
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Jan in post 147117 said:
That feature already existed beforehand – what's possibly new (though I'm not absolutely certain) is the ability to telephone for asking about the current occupation status.
The ability to telephone and ask is something that each sim author has to put in or not as they like (and put in for each location or not as they like). I decided to include it in Euston as it was pretty trivial to do.

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Marshalling and shunting yards 05/07/2022 at 08:47 #147147
kbarber
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A slightly late twopenn'orth, having been in foreign parts for a couple of weeks (I recommend the FS 'Frecciarossa' by the way, especially in first class...)

As Steamer says, there is a fundamental difference between signalled running lines and a yard. Especially an old-style yard (Willesden Brent Sidings, I'm looking at you). Out on the main line, a signalman doesn't really need to know (much) about the formation of a train, so long as it carries a tail lamp and passes through sections in obedience to signals. (It may be useful to know, if you've a severe gradient in your area, whether a train is fully loaded or has power to spare. You certainly need to know if it's over-length for loops etc, though that should be shown on the timetable or advised by Control. You also could do with knowing if it's running with some kind of special requirement, which might require speed limits at particular locations - in my day the 'papers' for that were BR29973 and the train would have an X in the headcode accordingly. Apart from that, why do you need to know anything about the content?)

A yard is a very different animal, and if there's anyone here who fancies themselves as a core-code writer it will need programming very differently. You might think of the Simsig idea of a train as a container: Simsig users don't need to know what's in it, but when it arrives in the yard it's the contents (and the order in which they appear) that start to matter. (That would mirror 1980s operations: a TOPS shunt list would be printed out at the yard for every arriving train; it would show wagon numbers, various bits of useful information like weight and length, destination, and - in Speedlink days - the 'tag' that was used to plan the shunting operations.) If you knew what was good for you, you had the shunt list in your hand as the train arrived, checking the wagon numbers as they passed and swearing volubly if any were wrong. (On my shift, the chargeman - who had glanced through the evening's shunt lists as they came off the printer - lounged by the door seemingly taking no interest, until a wrong'un led to aforesaid bad language and grabbing the shunt list to nip down and get the correct detail. His memory was phenomenal!)

Having got rid of the inward engine, a shunter would go down the yard pulling the strings to let the air brakes off and slackening the couplings where cuts were to be made. With any luck, there was a good raft in the middle of the train that could be left where it was. The Jocko would then pull off a raft and proceed to shunt the various cuts into the appropriate roads for their forward services. Quite often, a cut would need to be set aside until later, as it needed to be in a different portion of the outgoing train. At the Brent there was a Jocko at both ends on late and night turns and we shunted freely into any road regardless of anything happening at t'other end. All of these things took time, of course, and there were many things that could go wrong. In contrast to Simsig, derailments would be a perfectly acceptable (albeit occasional) 'failure' in a yard, as I never knew one create a dangerous situation (apart from the toxic tank the late turn put on the floor at the South End one evening, but even that was only nominally hazardous). Finally, a jocko would push the wagons together and a shunter would go down to couple everything up. Meanwhile we were advising the TOPS Office and they were producing the train list (again, in effect, a container to hand over to Simsig when the train departed) then all we needed was the forward engine.

One interesting thing that would often happen was at Brent South End, where there was a very short headshunt and it was common, several times each evening, to need a 'long shunt' from the Powerbox. The bobby would need a decent margin, of course (it was only the carriage lines that were used, but a long shunt could lead to a stock being held out on the main line at an awkward time). Again, they didn't need to know anything about content, they just gave the signal, watched the track circuits light up and extinguish as the shunt proceeded, then put the signal back when told the shunt was finished.

In other words, it would need some kind of entirely new sibling sim that could talk to Simsig, perhaps also a Simsig facility whereby a train could have a Yardsim train list attached to be handed over at the next yard (useful for some of the bigger chains). It might even be possible to run Yardsim standalone, if that's your thing (and the Brent could be pretty interesting, particularly when 6E53 used to call there as part of the 'evening peak').

Anyone up for that kind of programming?

Last edited: 05/07/2022 at 08:49 by kbarber
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The following users said thank you: jc92, postal
Marshalling and shunting yards 05/07/2022 at 10:04 #147148
Meld
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997 posts
If you want to hump shunt etc, take a look at this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mkqp-ygH328

The guy streams most nights around midnight (UK)

Passed the age to be doing 'Spoon Feeding' !!!
Last edited: 05/07/2022 at 10:05 by Meld
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