Monday, June 30, 2014

Uselessness of Reversing Loops

There's actually a debate among our club members if reversing loops should be kept or tore down.

So let's see the pros and cons were discussed amont ourselves:

It has been pointed out a reversing loop may be useful when running passenger trains. We almost never run them and Murray Bay Subdivision was devoid of passenger trafic after 1975. Prior to that date, a single RDC Budd car was used. This kind of car doesn't need a reversing loop.

A reversing loop is also a good way to increase traffic. With two of them, you can have a continuous run while others are performing switching chores at some industry. Sounds nice, but only a train ran over Murray Bay Subdivision at one time. Adding more trains, devoid of any purpose, doesn't sound right to me. Also, 2 of our industries (Dohonue and St. Lawrence Cement) are large plant which have a dedicated switcher. This means 3 people can operate the layout without having to run a continuous train. It should be pointed out we rarely ran continuous trains, only to speed up things a litle bit and run fast trains just for fun.

That later argument helps me to define what I call a dwarfing solution. I think a reversing loop is the best way to dwarf a main line. Magically, you don't need to reverse the train, you just run forward. Also, depending how it is done, it inserts geographical discrepancies. On our layout, a reversing loop is connecting Clermont (MP 92) to Montmorency (MP 6). That's a huge gap! It doesn't make any sense. Worst. trying to justify this magic trick with scenery isn't as easy as it can seem. Clermont is a minimalist place. No overpass, no tunnel. Same thing at Montmorency. Trying to install scenery divider there kills the scenery balance.

Seriously, I often wrote about this subject, but I think most reversing loops are gimmicks that kills actual operation. They are a cute shortchut, but nothing more. Like a lie, you need a lot of other lies to make it believeable. And personally, I'm not fond of this self-delusional device.

I think our layout would be better off without those annoying reversing loops. I'm fully aware of their appeal, but hardly see them any redeeming factor as an amateur layout designer. And from a scenic point of view, without them, the Clermont area looks larger, making it more interesting.

I don't know if they will survive the rebuilding, but don't expect me to shed a tear for them. The initial peninsula wasn't designed with them in mind and I still think it is the way to go.

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