Instead of solely using the five class tracks in East Davenport, I'm going to better utilize the west yard by moving trains that are completed or near completion to it. The trains coming from the west (physically sitting in West Davenport staging) would have cars that would need to be pulled off to be classified in Davenport while the remaining freight traffic moves east. I found myself preoccupied with other tasks and would forget to pull the cars from the trains as they "arrived" in West Davenport before the crew was called to take the train east. I know of at least one instance last session where Davenport cars traveled to Chicago. So, I devised a wheel report to assist the yardmaster.
In the wheel report, the yardmaster will find useful information:
- Schedule (2 hours in advance) of inbound trains from the west
- Schedule of estimated arrival times of inbound trains from the east.
- Schedule of call times for locals providing a 1hr cut off window to prepare the train for departure
- Schedule of passenger trains arriving/departing in the terminal
- A summary of the blocks of cars to be pulled for other trains.
- A guide for the suggested utilization of West Davenport staging
I believe this will greatly assist the yardmaster in keeping on top of things during the session.
I picked up a coal mine building for dirt cheap on eBay. I decided to add it to the Clinton, IA line. I thought it would be plausible mining some coal out of the bluffs along the Mississippi River. The building is run down, but still produces a few cars of coal on occasion. This was the site of the former Oakley Grain Co. Business was weak here, so it was no lost to the ROCK to swap the industries out. Just down the line is one of my favorite industries Daniel Grain Co. named after my dad.
It has been a while since I have ran a solo op session. You might remember that I have run these on occasion in the past for research, but mostly fun. With so many changes that have been implemented lately, I was overdue for another solo session. I like to run through all the train jobs to know what my crews are experiencing.
Tonight, I quickly learned with the recent changes on the Joliet local that they are now utilizing the east interchange switch on a frequent basis. This is great to hear until you realize that you have to walk around the peninsula ten times to set the switch for various moves. I've decided to add a tortoise switch machine in this location with the control on the Joliet side. This way crews can perform their moves without the assistance of other crew members. I think it will make the Joliet and IL Shorts runs much more efficient.
1977 Route ROCK Photo Contest
Since I'm running a solo op session, management decided to have a photo contest for the railfans who adore the ROCK so much. Railfans have canvased the line taking photos from every conceivable angle. I just processed the photos from 2 1/4 trains that I have run this evening. There was 100 keeper photo entries. Once I complete the session, I will post a massive blog post with all the photos detailing the events of the session. While the layout is not scenicked yet, I find the photos useful for stimulating ideas of how to create the scene. I was quite impressed with the photography tonight.
In summary, I absolutely love my layout. It's not museum quality by any means, but it is a lot of fun to operate and brings me an incredible amount of joy.