GLW heraldPCMRC graphic


CNW Interchange

outside Rockford

Rolling Stock Standards

Adopted January 27, 2009

These are considered minimum equipment performance standards for efficient operation on the layout.
Equipment that does not meet standards will be removed from the layout.

(1) Couplers – >All cars must be equipped with Kadee ® or Kadee compatible metal knuckle couplers meeting coupler height and centering performance tests done with a Kadee ® Coupler gauge. The centers of the coupler should be adjusted to ride 25/64” above the rail-tops and uncoupling pins should clear the switch work rails by 1/32”

(2) Car Size & Clearance – We use NMRA car clearance standards as measured with the NMRA track clearance gauge. Issues of concern are side overhang and car height. GLW’s minimum mainline curve is 28” and track clearance is set to meet NMRA standards. Exceptions for odd size equipment may be made for general running, but not for op-sessions, unless traveling under a high-wide movement order.

(3) Metal Wheels – Metal wheels are required for all rolling stock. They have several advantages including serious reduction of track cleaning and improve running characteristics of all cars.

(4) Car Weighting – Improperly weighted cars are the main cause of derailments because light and heavy cars do not work well together. Optimum weights for HO scale cars are:

  • 1 oz for Initial car weight plus
  • ½ oz for each inch of car body length

(There are paper car weight rulers showing the computed minimum weight based on length, in Room 106)

Note: Car weighting beyond these amounts is acceptable, but does not improve car performance and adds drag on the trainload.

(5) Wheel Rolling Test – Cars must be able to roll free on a 2% grade. Properly weighted cars with free rolling metal wheels can pass this test easily.

Note: Avoid use of lubricants in the journal bearings (except graphite).

(6) End-of-Train Detection – Operating sessions will be using electronic detection circuits to determine if a train occupies the hidden storage yards. Cabooses operating on the layout must be equipped with a resistance load across the wheels. The load may be a simple resistor (about 1K ohm) or a lighting system. See the Electrical Superintendent to insure that your caboose meets these requirements.

(7) Window Glazing – Cabooses, engines, and passenger cars operated on the layout must have window coverings. Glass or clear plastic may be used to simulate glazing.

(8) Engine Standards – All engines operated on the GLW must be DCC equipped and tested on the test track prior to operation. Engines must also be equipped with Kadee ® couplers and meet the size and clearance tests above.

Other Equipment Interchange Issues:

CAUTION -- PCMRC is not responsible for equipment left at the layout room or on the layout. While there may be locked storage available, members are urged to not leave valuable equipment in the railroad room.

On-Layout staging tracksThere is some staging trackage available on-layout for parked trains. Staging trackage is primarily for op-sessions and not for routine train storage. The chief dispatcher has authority to determine what and whose equipment may be left on the layout and may maintain a database of on-layout equipment.  Equipment left on staging tracks will be moved for operating sessions.

Equipment Used in Op SessionsThese simulations require pre-event staging so it is desirable to leave some rolling stock on-layout. Also all cars involved in op sessions must have car-cards, so a rotation will be established to allow any visiting equipment to remain on-layout for a defined time (3 months?). The chief dispatcher will set these standards. Members should contact the dispatcher to arrange for setting up cars for op sessions.

Bad Car OrdersThese orders will be issued for op-session equipment after failures occur. Typical bad car orders will be for bad couplers or wheels. Cars not meeting the equipment standards will also receive bad car orders. All this equipment will be removed from the railroad and must be repaired prior to return. The chief dispatcher, superintendent or others so designated, may issue bad car orders.

Identification of Equipment for op-sessions, the car number and road ID identify equipment. Duplicate numbered cars can be a problem. The chief dispatcher will resolve all such problems and probably will not allow duplicate care numbers in the same session. For purposes of DCC channel identification, the 4-digit engine number is the channel identifier. A log of registered locos will be maintained in the layout room to avoid duplication.

Personal Equipment Identification To identify your personal equipment, some sort of ID mark is needed on each car or engine. Initials on the bottom of the car, a color-coding on a wheel axle or note inside the box are likely ID marks. A list of car ID # is the minimum. PCMRC does not maintain a standard but requires some personal ID on all equipment prior to placement on the pike. The Chief Dispatcher will resolve any disputes. Note that club owned cars are marked with three yellow dots on the bottom of the car.

Equipment Era & Historical Accuracy:

The GLW is set in the early 1960’s during the steam – diesel transition period. Many types of equipment would be “prototypically accurate” for the pike. Also the GLW is centered near Chicago so both Western and Eastern road equipment would be present.

PCMRC has no intention of enforcing rules about what “period or roadname” equipment may be operated on the pike. While it might be odd to see a double stack train, steeple cab, Amtrak streamliner, or Civil War military train on the line, it is after all, for fun. The same applies for “humorous” non-prototypically rolling stock such as the Thomas the tank engine or the Hogwarts Express. Use of this equipment is expected to be only occasional so not a problem.

The one rare exception to this might be for public open houses or formal op-sessions involving visiting members from other clubs. The chief dispatcher and superintendent will have final say as to when “prototypical” equipment is required.