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Model Railroading > Hump yard models (?)

Date: 04/19/01 21:00
Hump yard models (?)
Author: geoangel

Hi guys,

I'm new to the world of model trains somewhat. I have about 80% of what I need to build a layout,except it all in boxes. LOTS of money spent over the years and waiting for a place to build it.
Well anyway,my question. Has anyone thought about or successfully built a working hump yard on their model railroad? It would seem to me impossible,but with technology today,determination,and with an excellent knowledge of modelling,is it possible?

Thanks for you comments,

Date: 04/20/01 00:18
RE: Hump yard models (?)
Author: spf

Hi, I have never built a hump yard myself, but recently fiddled with the one at the HO club in Pomona (Pomona Valley Model RR) right accross from the depot. I just stopped by to visit and was intrigued by the hump yard and when I asked if it worked, they let me borrow a loco and some cars to test it out. What they did was install an uncoupling magnet at the top of the hump (two magnets actually) that would allow you to automatically uncouple the cars at the crest. As long as the car's couples were in good shape, it worked. The only problem was that with free rolling equipment the cars really got going and had to be slowed by hand to keep from going all the way down the track.

They mentioned that they formerly had some sort of bristle to retard them, but that someone took it out. Perhaps if you built it a little shorter (not as tall so cars don't get as much momentum and velocity) this would be minimized, or if you can develop some sort of retardation system that would be even better. The only problem with something slowing the cars is all the cars roll at different levels of ease, and sometimes the track you are rolling the cars into is empty, or has room for just one more.

I did a search at the magazine index for hump yards, http://index.mrmag.com/tm.exeopt=S&cmdtext=hump+yard&output=3&sort=dYou can check those out, but a really functioning retarder system seems out of reach. Perhaps someone else more mechanically inclined would know better. The V&O layout used to have a hump yard, but as described in the 98 MRP, Allen McClelland, took it out to gain more staging and better fit the operating schemes of the area and rr. John Armstrong mentions staging yards in his "Track Planning for Realistic Operation." Basically says they are huge and the problem of retardation is prohibitive, but he gives a design anyway because of the intrigue of having a hump yard.

I know there are several people on here that belong to the Pomona club that can probably let you know more about the hump, and I assume you could arrange a visit.

Date: 04/20/01 04:48
RE: Hump yard models (?)
Author: zablocki22

At our club in NJ, we have a hump yard that uses compressed air to slow the cars down. The air tank produces the air that is fed to each track through a solenoid (electronic switch/valve). This means a simple pushbutton on the panel allows the humpyard operator to control the air to each track. The air is fed through small tubes to in between the ties. If I recall correctly each track has four tubes spaced out a foot or so apart. This allows the car to gradually come to a stop. There is the occasion where a car will "get away" and roll smack into the next car or if nothing is in the away go about 20 feet down the line...but hey it catches peoples attention during the show.
Hope this explains it a bit.

Vincent Zablocki

Date: 04/20/01 07:44
RE: Hump yard models (?)
Author: fmilhaupt

There used to be a large layout in my area which had a working 12-track hump yard. After years of messing about with designs for different types of retarders, they finally gave up and settled into having the hump crews slow the cars using their hands or the car cards.

One thing which that layout had that I don't often see mentioned is a small (six tracks, in this case) receiving yard before the hump, so that the incoming power and cabooses can be cut off and put aside before the hump pusher grabs a trackful to shove it over the hump.

Also frequently overlooked is a setout track for cars which cannot or should not be humped.


Date: 04/20/01 08:09
RE: Hump yard models (?)
Author: skunk

According to what I've read in the hobby press, the only successful method of slowing cars down on a model hump yard has been the use of compressed air. As posted above, the air pushes against the car to slow it down.

A friend of mine uses a different tecnique for his gravity yard (not a hump yard). At the end of his yard that has a "bowl" profile he has installed "Bingo" magnets under the track. Because of the bowl profile, the cars aren't moving very fast when they get to end of the yard, if they get that far. (The yard is stubb ended.)The magnets grab the cars and stop them. He has his cars weighted to NMRA specs and used metal wheels for consistency. We experimented with the grade before finalizing it.

It's pretty cool. He shoves his cars through the ladder track, determines where he wants to uncouple, (uses delayed kadee magnets, (non-electrical), and gives it some slack and off they go to the tracked he's lined up.

However, when you pull cars back up the grade over the uncoupling magnets, you have to have a steady hand and locomotive in order not start the process all over again! (Yeah, could have used electromagnetics)

Date: 04/20/01 12:22
RE: Hump yard models (?)
Author: Newcastle

A few years ago, there was an article in N-Scale Magazine that described a different technique. The hump itself was not super-steep. The yard tracks ran at a slight grade away from the hump, then back uphill at the far end -- typical bowl. Each track had a duct under it for about a third or half the distance. Each duct had small tubes running up at an angle through the benchwork and ballast. Each duct also had a muffin fan (like in your computer's power supply) that was controlled by a light-dimmer switch.

What made his yard different was that he used the air pressure to PUSH his cars at a CONTROLLED speed down the yard.

I don't know if a muffin fan will generate enough volume to work with HO. Seems worth experimenting with.

Date: 04/20/01 13:38
?? for spf about Pomona club......
Author: geoangel

Hey spf,

You mentioned the Pomona Valley Model RR club by the old depot.
Are you referring to the old Pomona ATSF depot off Garey Ave.? Or is it the club at the fairplex? I'm local to the area. Could you give me
more info.on this club and when they are open to the public? I have two sons (6&8) who love to see these things.(not to mention me)


Date: 04/20/01 14:15
RE: ?? for spf about Pomona club......
Author: barrydraper

The Pomona Valley club is across from the SP depot, near the Metrolink Riverside Line depot, not up by the the ATSF.

Date: 04/20/01 14:31
?? about Pomona SP depot....
Author: geoangel

Barry(and all),

I wasn't aware there was an old SP depot in Pomona. Where exactly is it located? Also,any info. on the PVMRR location and
public hours would be appreciated.


Date: 04/20/01 17:38
RE: ?? about Pomona SP depot....
Author: spf

Hi, the Pomona Depot is at 156 Commercial St. in Pomona. Check this <A HREF="http://maps.yahoo.com/py/maps.py?Pyt=Tmap&amp;addr=156+W.+Commercial+St.&amp;city=Pomona&amp;state=CA&amp;slt=34.059500&amp;sln=-117.751600&amp;name=&amp;zip=91768-3807&amp;country=us&amp;BFCat=&amp;BFClient=&amp;mag=9&amp;desc=&amp;cs=9&amp;newmag=8&amp;poititle=&amp;poi=&quot;&gt;map&lt;/A&gt;. The club is directly accross the street (State St. I believe) in a shopping center and is located on the second floor of a store. As far as visiting hours I can't really let you know as I am not a member. I am going to my club in Norwalk tonight and a member of the Pomona club usually stops by, so I will get more details (such as what store it is above and visiting hours) for you and post them later.

Date: 04/20/01 21:17
RE: Hump yard models (?)
Author: Rossweisl

my club has a working one

Date: 04/24/01 12:23
Author: Annie

Paul Mallory's book on Tracklaying is pretty much the
best thing written on hump yards. He discusses both
the sliding rails method and the air method.

Doing this is not for the faint of heart. It requires
not only great precision and engineering in the yard itself,
but demands highly uniform car rolling characteristics.

With the trend in layout planning towards staging, the
need to hump during an ops session has been reduced.

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