Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Solo Op Session Notes 05.18.11

Started my solo op session.  It is much like a regular op session just in slow motion.  I ran the Stockdale local today.  Wow!  It was quite a chore even without having to dodge 1st Class passenger trains or the Grain train that always seems to meet the local in Stockdale.  I have a new respect for my crews.  They have it rough out in the field.

I'm hoping that the addition of a yardmaster at Davenport will allow the Extra Grain local to depart two hours earlier possibly preventing the meeting of the locals in Stockdale. 

I ran the XtrFE which made it to the siding at Joliet where it will meet XtrFW.  I implemented the changes to set offs/pickups in Davenport Yard utilizing the newly appointed Davenport Yardmaster.  The through freight pulled into the siding vs. the A/D track.  Instead of pulling its power into the yard to make its pickup/set offs (having to set off the various blocks in each corresponding track) it simply dropped the entire cut in the A/D track and picked up a cut of through East cars).  This significantly reduced the terminal time required for this train.  The yard job was then able to classify the blocks of cars received from the through freight.  Between preparing blocks for pickup by through freights, classifying inbound blocks and the Peoria/Grain locals, the yard crew should have plenty to keep them busy.

I'm looking forward to observing how the yard job pans out in my test solo op session.

No progress to report. simply doing some field research this week.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Progress Report 05.17.11

Finished re-staging the layout.  I will most likely perform a solo op session.  Basically, I take each train and run through them myself over a period of about two weeks.  I haven't worked the Stockdale Local since the N&W Meredosia Branch was added.

No construction reports tonight. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Progress Report 05.16.11

Late last night while chatting with a friend about adding a RIP (Repair in Place) track, I started to ponder more about Carrie Ave Shops on my layout.  Carrie Ave Shops just hasn't worked out as planned.  With the tracks running through the buildings, it is difficult to clean the tracks or access rolling stock on the far side of the structures.  The entire facility was derailment prone.  This along with issues from the turnouts coming off the yard ladder made me start considering alternatives. 

It is always a bad idea to start thinking about layout design before going to bed.  I couldn't fall asleep due to running track scenarios in my head until the wee hours of the morning.

This morning, crews moved in and ripped out the tracks and Carrie Ave Shops buildings.  Engineers started formulating a plan to rebuild with a more simple track alignment allowing for a locomotive fueling pad, RIP track, caboose track and thoroughfare.  The existing Carrie Ave Shops will be cut down to building flats to be used in the background.  In addition, the #3 Class track, will be double ended allowing for the Grain train to pull into the class track, cut off its power and roll into the fuel pad from the West.

This evening I used the palm sander to completely sand down the area for the new and improved Carrie Ave Shops.  The previous version has been erased from existence.

Operations Change
For the next op session, I plan on using four crew members plus myself.  I will then utilize a person for dedicated yard service.  The yardmaster will be able to pre-sort cars for the locals, move pickups to the A/D track, classify incoming set offs by trains and work the supply tracks at Carrie Ave Shops.  This should reduce the time greatly on the Peoria and Grain locals plus through freights where as now the crews have to perform the work themselves.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Day After Reports 05.15.11

Worked on re-staging the layout today.  I turned the coal train, added loads and turned the pig train.  I turned waybills for all the industries while completing my industry summary form tracking the available spots for incoming traffic.  This is the only way I can keep up with it all.  To try to remember which industry has available spots otherwise would be insane.  I have over 100 spots that can be filled.

Re-staged West Davenport Yard.  Working on re-staging Chicago.  Boy, there sure was a lot of traffic in Chicago.  The yard was full to capacity!  That will take a little while longer to re-stage. 

I should have everything re-staged in another day or so.