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Author Previous Topic: treefoliage made out of gardenpond/aquariumfibers Topic Next Topic: The grandson layout
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MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 05/21/2015 :  8:10:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting you should bring this up Mike. I began some trial op sessions on my layout a couple of months ago. One test was to see if a second operator was really needed at Northumberland Yard. The answer, in my opinion, is yes! And you answered the why. I've operated on layouts where there are multiple operators in the yard and it does make it much more enjoyable. Yes, when it's slow, it REALLY slow, but when it gets busy, it can get very busy very fast! In my case, I will have an operator (or drill man) and a yardmaster. The yardmaster will essentially be in charge of the yard, directing inbound and outbound traffic, hosteling locomotives when needed, and also help out the drill man when slow. I think it will make for a much more relaxed session and add to the fun. In theory, one person could operate the yard in the event an operator doesn't show and we are short operators, so that's an added benefit into factoring this into your crew size.

Mark

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jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 05/21/2015 :  11:23:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I haven't had a great deal of experience with DCC-controlled turnouts, but I have noticed how it takes my attention away from the train & its business when I have to look at the throttle while striking 5 or 6 keys per turnout. Of course, I've also operated with people who found it distracting to have to map the turnout they wanted to its control by looking at a schematic. Those operators like ground throws because the relationship is simple, spatial and visible. I'm not even sure they'd like Andy Keeney's 'layout edge ground throw' scheme.

All I can say about your scheme is that's a good many value/relationship pairs to memorize. You might wind up having to put the numbers on flags, or put the schematic on the backdrop behind the yard. Let us know how it turns out?



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MikeMc
Engine Wiper



Posted - 06/03/2015 :  12:34:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit MikeMc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Boston & Maine #200, an EMD GP38-2 delivered in 1973 as #212 and still looking good in it's Bicentennial paint scheme 5 years after it was applied, leads a special Trailer-on-Flatcar train consisting of leased Impak 5-unit spine cars. Looking to emulate the success of the Central Vermont's Rocket TOFC service, this new expedited train is being tried as a joint venture between the Canadian Pacific and the Boston & Maine to take trucks off the highway between Montreal and Springfield, MA.



This train is planned at the tail end of my op session, along with an Amtrak passenger train. These trains will meet here in St. Johnsbury in order to pass each other on the single tracked mainline.

Mike McNamara
Delran, NJ
mainecentral.blogspot.com



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jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 06/03/2015 :  1:28:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Always good to see a railroad that's alert to new opportunities and flexible enough to address them.


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MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 06/04/2015 :  10:12:16 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Very cool looking picture Mike!

Mark

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nhguy
Fireman



Posted - 06/12/2015 :  12:56:01 PM  Show Profile  Visit nhguy's Homepage  Send nhguy a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Looks like a fun layout. To Mark's point about adding a operator in the yards. I have three operators in my Hartford yard. I have an engine facility there and it requires a 'hostler' position. As there are two switching areas in addition to the yard duties, one on the north and south/east end of the yard, the extra person takes the burden off of the yardmaster and switcher crew. It can be run with two but three is optimum with all the trains in and out and the switching that needs to be done. This can gobble up crew members from the road crew pool but is necessary. Bill

Bill Shanaman
New Haven RR
Hartford Division
in Colorado.

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MikeMc
Engine Wiper



Posted - 06/12/2015 :  10:52:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit MikeMc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Took some time today before heading out to band practice to do a test run of the Boston & Maine local job that runs up to Groveton, NH. This train starts from staging representing White River Jct., comes onto the layout at Whitefield, then runs through some hidden track to emerge at Groveton. The job does a little interchange and local switching at Whitefield, and then does switching of the paper mill as well as interchanging some cars with the Grand Trunk at Groveton.

Here is the train in staging with a B&M GP9 and GP7. Above is the North Stratford deck I discussed before, and in front is the train's destination of Groveton. The mill buildings will hide these tracks under the deck from normal viewing.



Here is a closer look at the single staging track. It splits the Maine Central mainline to the right and the Canadian Pacific mainline to the left.



The train emerges at Whitefield, with the ball signal and the junction and interchange with the Maine Central.



The train will need to check for cars left by the MEC. Some go to Groveton and will need to be picked up while others go south and can remain for the return trip. Here, a Kaolin tank car is spotted to go to Groveton, while the 2 boxcars will wait until later to be taken south to WRJ.



A pulpwood loading track may need to be attended to with pickups or set outs. Any pick ups can be left on the interchange tracks here in Whitefield as it will not be possible to switch this facing point siding on the return trip, and there no need to take cars to Groveton and back.



The train crosses Rt. 116 and the little grouping of buildings in this small town. The train heads under the bridge and into hidden trackage that does a 180 and heads under the scene we were just in.



The train emerges onto the slide out section in front of the small closet I need to work around. The section simply slides in place and has PC board ties to help keep the rail ends in place and aligned.





B&M train 4301 arrives in Groveton. On the passing siding are 2 boxcars left by the GT crew (that job is not modeled, these are staged in place between sessions). In addition there is the paper mill sidings to work. Kaolin and oil tank cars, empty and loaded boxcars and woodchip cars.





At this point I tried a little switching and thought through what needs to be done from an operating perspective. This is where I started to see some issues.

First, I would like to use 2 locomotives on this train, but I was finding this limits what can be done in switching as the loco length means one less car can be handled on some of the tracks. I can extend one track a few inches and that will help, but I am still seeing an issue in the areas.

Here is the track that could easily be extended just a bit.



For now, I will probably just use one locomotive on the train. I have an approach to switching the area, but it will be interesting to get input from other operators during the first session or two.



In particular I think I need to change out a turnout and a track that is essentially a switchback to get to the mill tracks in the back. Right now it is just too short and will probably be more frustrating than interesting.

Once switching is done, the train heads back the way it came, arrives back in Whitefield where it can pick up cars left from earlier, and then depart back to WRJ staging

With time running out, I backed the train up hill to the staging. This in itself was a good test and it was nice to not have any derailment issues!

The first Op Session has been set for June 24th, so luckily it won't be too long to get some feedback and ideas to address what I think area some issues with switching the paper mill.



Country: USA | Posts: 229 Go to Top of Page

MarkF
Engineer

Premium Member


Posted - 06/13/2015 :  12:35:01 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Looks like a fun run Mike. I can't wait! As you know, I finally am up and running and it amazes me how different some things work out when you have guest operators. We all approach a switching job differently, so while you may have an idea how a certain train works, you will have to step back and see how your crews handle those same jobs. They may not have the issues you had, but then may bring to the surface a whole different set of issues. That's where the 'tweaking' will come in, which is what I'm doing now.

Mark

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Twist67
Engine Wiper



Posted - 06/17/2015 :  10:05:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit Twist67's Homepage  Send Twist67 an ICQ Message  Reply with Quote
Hi,
looking good. And what Mark says, Itīs always good to have some other people operate a switchjob...Keep it going,

Cheers,Chris



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MikeMc
Engine Wiper



Posted - 06/18/2015 :  4:09:48 PM  Show Profile  Visit MikeMc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks Mark and Chris. Yes, getting some others to look at and operate will probably lead to things I just would not have thought of. I am very closely tied into what these prototypes were doing in 1980, and probably someone with an "outside" view will bring a whole new perspective on things.

I am pretty excited to have come up with a solution for what I saw as issues in Groveton. And I think it makes it an even better operating experience, and adds an operating job to the schedule.

I tried to think back to when I was laying out the track here to understand how I thought this might operate. Then I recalled I had based the operations on using a Boston & Maine SW9, a P2K model purchased back in the 1990s on sale at a hobby shop no longer around. It has DCC, but no sound. Sound was pretty new when I installed the decoder in that unit about 15 years ago. Would be cool to get sound in it...

Anyway, the key point is that with a smaller locomotive, the tail track for the paper mill spurs can now handle the loco and 2 cars, whereas using a GP9 would only allow 1 car (and 2 Geeps wouldn't work at all). This somewhat mirrors a few prototype paper mills up in my modeling area. Not this exact 2 car limit, but having a switchback to get to certain tracks, and only being able to handle some of the cars to pickup/set out in each move. That is what I wanted to model.

However, using an SW9 solely on the local is not only unprototypical, but underpowered - the return train wouldn't make it up the hill (even if my freight cars were only at NMRA RP weighting). So that is not the solution.

What I can do is add a new paper mill switching job. It can gather pickups prior to 4301 arriving. Then once 4301 arrives, it can work with that crew to get inbounds/outbounds swapped. The 2 crews will also need to work together to switch the wood chip spur.

All in all, I think it makes a for a pretty neat operation. And it resolves what I was beginning to think of as a real show-stopper for this area without doing more trackwork.

Mike Mc.
Delran, NJ



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jbvb
Fireman

Premium Member


Posted - 06/18/2015 :  10:53:51 PM  Show Profile  Visit jbvb's Homepage  Reply with Quote
The P2K SW9/1200 is a pretty good puller - I was testing my switchers and some road locos; only a Kato NW-2 out-pulled it, and that only by about 20%. The B&M bought them for road duty, on assignments where the 45 MPH top speed wouldn't be an issue.

If you'd like, I could put my Genesis, Atlas, Bachmann and P2K B-B road diesels through the same test early next week.



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lv4142003
Engine Wiper

Posted - 06/20/2015 :  2:45:43 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mike, which Bachmann engines do you use? Joe Hueber


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MikeMc
Engine Wiper



Posted - 06/22/2015 :  09:44:38 AM  Show Profile  Visit MikeMc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Joe,

The only Bachmann locomotives I have with DCC are a 44 tonner to be used on the North Stratford line (track not laid yet and loco not painted yet), and a recent BM GP7 with Tsunami. That one is not assigned for use yet. I need to do some weathering to tone down the overly bright blue paint. I also have a pair of 70 tonners in orange and cream for a backdated run on the St. Johnsbury and Lamoille County, but that is not part of operations, just for fun and photo ops. Oh, and I do have a 2-8-0 to be painted as Maine Central, but that is a back burner project.

Mike McNamara
Delran, NJ



Country: USA | Posts: 229 Go to Top of Page

MikeMc
Engine Wiper



Posted - 06/22/2015 :  10:46:07 AM  Show Profile  Visit MikeMc's Homepage  Reply with Quote
A few random pictures while getting some more things prepared for the upcoming Op session. Here is the BM SW9 to be assigned to the Groveton paper mill switch job. As James noted above, it does pull pretty well. I need to adjust the CVs a little on this to smooth out the start/stop action. I'd also love to do some more weathering on it and try to replicate how it looked around 1980. The good thing is it seems this unit stayed maroon and gold, even when repainted in the early 1980s. The proto picture below is from 1979.





An immediate predecessor to the Lamoille Valley was the Vermont Northern, which operated the line after Pinsley's StJ&LC folded. This was really Morrison-Knudsen, who was actively rebuilding the line and hoped to get awarded the operating contract after the rebuild. They used a pair of ex-Long Island RR high hood Alco C420s. These ran during 1977, and one was painted into a yellow and black scheme. Surprisngly Atlas released a version of this loco, which was interesting considering how short lived and obscure this railroad and unit was. Anyway, I have one and plan to exercise a little modeler's license to use it. It will be power for the Ballast Extra train that will run from Morrisville, out to the quarry in Hardwick, and than on to St. Johnsbury where it will swap loads for empties with the Maine Central, who is actively doing ballast work on the Mountain Division.



I pulled out the Amtrak train, representing a rerouted Montrealer between Washington DC and Montreal. It will need to meet and pass the previously shown TOFC train in St. Johnsbury, mainly because I need them to occupy each other's staging track! But it will be an interesting operational move for the crews. Here it is in St. J with the TOFC train in the background. This is nice looking Kato unit with a Digitrax sound decoder designed for this loco. It sounds OK, but you do get spoiled with what Tsunami and now Loksound decoders can do.



Preparations will continue the next couple days. Hopefully all will go well and I'll have some interesting pictures to post after Wednesday's session!

Mike McNamara
Delran, NJ



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Steam Nut
Fireman



Posted - 06/22/2015 :  11:52:33 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
So lets put sound in the SW 9!


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