HO Scale Supernook

Posted originally on the old HVL DasBlog – Friday, June 07, 2013

Operations and Display Running

Apart from building my new (largish) layout at home, I have promised to provide a small layout for a show next April. The industries can depend on what type of cars you want to run, but the classic inglenook approach still applies of a 5:3:3 Inglenook within the Supernook.

The Supernook is my modification of Alan Wrights classic Inglenook. The Supernook though provides the means to turn a train, that is reverse its direction through the use of a loop to allow the locomotive to swap ends of the train.

The premise being that the train:

  • Enters the stage, in this case from stage left (staging),
  • Breaks down its incoming train,
  • Switches the industries
  • Makes up its outgoing train, and
  • Then Exits the stage to stage left (staging)

Exhibition operation

Apart from talking to people who are interested in modelling at our exhibitions, the most fun I’ve had is to make things work, or show others how things work. To that end I want to present a layout that would keep my interest, and the interest of the viewer for perhaps 5 minutes while they’re wandering around the show.

If I get lucky and I have someone who wants to have a go, and gets into the spirit of Operations then all the better.

The Nitty Gritty
Here is how I would see an operating session go on the new layout:

  1.  Our train arrives from off-stage, and parks itself on the branch main,
  2.  The crew:
    • Sets handbrakes on the cars,
    • dumps the train air,
    • cuts off the caboose or guards van from the rear of the train,
    • cuts off the engine,
    • runs around the train using the Loop track,
    • couples up to the caboose, before pushing it forward to the tail track on the branch main to clear the loop for switching.
  3. The conductor or guard checks the bill box at the entry to the industry track
    • The paperwork here tells the crew which cars are to go where along the industry track
  4. The crew:
    • Climb aboard the loco, and under direction of the conductor/guard:
    • pull the outbound cars from the industry track to the loop,
    • move off-spot cars and the incoming cars from the branch main to the industry spots at the end of the track, continuing to back-fill the industry track until they have completed the switching instructions left for them by the customer.
    • Any cars the crew could not place at the industries are pushed into the storage track.
  5. The crew with all switching moves completed begin the task of reassembling their train and readying it for departure:
    • First all of the outbound cars are marshalled together, and if so required may be blocked for delivery to other yards and industries,
    • Remember that as cars are put together into a rake, brakes must be unlocked, airlines connected and air pumped to operating pressures. All of this takes time, so slow down and account for that time.
    • With the train now almost formed the caboose, previously set out on the tail track, is connected to. The air pumped up, and a set and release performed to ensure that all brakes on the train are working.
  6. Finally with a train ready to depart the whole consist leaves the modelled portion of the line, stage left, for the fiddle yard.

This completes the operating session.


You can increase the level of operation on the layout by having in-plant switching taking place in addition to the interchange operation by the delivering railroad. In-plant switching would involve the local switcher, either leased, in-plant or track-mobile moving the cars from the doors/loading docks/UT Auger as they are unloaded and placed out on the storage road, pending the interchange move with the delivering carrier. The aim would be to use the loop and branch as needed, but to have them clear by the time the interchange carrier is ready to arrive. Say give it ten minutes to ensure that you have everything cleared out of the way to allow the interchange loco to run-around the train.


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