There is nothing more I like than setting the controller, sitting back, picking up a mug or glass of something appropriate and spending time watching a train make its way steadily around my Wallace Creek layout. On the real railway however trains don’t run with a constant speed and yet at exhibitions one occasionally sees trains running at inappropriate speeds which would result in the driver having to answer some uncomfortable questions if he or she were out on the main line. Not that Wallace Creek is immune to this as a number of my older locomotives (Lima especially) do not respond as well to the controllers as well as newer Powerline, Auscision and Austrains models. There are a number of factors to consider with speed and how you operate the railway. I should add this is written from my experience with a DC layout and DCC may offer different opportunities. Firstly there is the track speed which can vary between two points. In the UK these can be found in the Network Rail Sectional Appendices (available online). If you find a table A in one of these you will see the line speeds detailed for all the main lines in the UK. Every pair of points has a line speed and that is directly related to the length of the points and the accompanying line speed. At Mowarra Junction I have a main through platform line and a loop and the points at the end of the loop are actually quite short. So whilst a through freight to the fiddle yard might run at a reasonable speed though the platform road, I slow any trains routed via the loop for these points. On plain line track there is no reason why you cannot have a Permanent or Temporary Speed Restriction (PSR/TSR) on the route perhaps to reflect altered track conditions in the locality. A rickety bridge may be another excuse to slow down and a recent trip between Peterborough and Ely saw us slow where that line crosses the New Bedford River (Hundred Foot Drain). Locomotive acceleration and speed is another factor that needs to be considered. A freight train will accelerate more slowly that a passenger train and when passing two fixed points, and this assumes there is a line speed for passenger services that is above the typical 75mph top speed for a UK freight. Of course unless you have a four-track main line with Fast and Slow lines with trains running alongside each other this is probably imperceptible to the casual observer. Freight trains in the UK generally run as Class 4 (75mph), Class 6 (60mph) or Class 7 (50mph) these days but Class 8 and Class 9 did exist in the not so distant past. In fact whilst researching this article I have found different definitions as time has passed. However here in model railway world, I would suggest something a little simpler remembering that track speed trumps train speed. High Speed Passenger Passenger Fast freight (generally containers) Medium freight (generally more modern bogied rolling stock) Slow freight (older 4-wheel rolling stock) Then we come to braking and once again I have to confess I don’t always live by my own rule book and the anchors are sometimes applied too late and the trains stops on the proverbial sixpence. The correct way to do it is gentle deceleration to a gentle stop as best you can. Whilst running on the main line can over encourage high speeds, shunting around the sidings at Wallace Creek means the opposite in that I operate trains at crawling pace. If you watch a diesel shunter in action (not that easy these days) they generally have an application of power then coast for a while with perhaps a bit more power before starting the braking to the stop point (be it buffer stops, signal or another vehicle). I have tried this and in my humble DC set up it’s not easy to replicate satisfactorily and I tend to shunt at constant low speeds (although I have seen a UK model with a certain type of gearing which meant you had to drive it like that – and if anyone can add anything about what this was called I will be grateful ). Perhaps one of our DCC brethren can enlighten us as to whether that system offers better options for managing line speed?