Saturday, December 17, 2011

Progress Report 12.16.11

Construction continues between Blue Island and Joliet.  Crews completed the removal of the old track and roadbed Wednesday.  I was able to sand the benchwork smooth with my orbital sander.  You wouldn't even know tracks were once laid there. 

Yesterday, I glued down the roadbed reconnecting the mainline between Blue Island and Joliet.  Majority of the track probably won't be laid until after Christmas break, but it's a good start getting the roadbed down.

This morning, I laid the track to connect the mainline with the former IHB crossing.  Plus, I cut the main and siding tracks (but not glued) that extend down to the corner before curving over to Joliet.

In reviewing the track arrangement, it appears I can meet two trains between the crossovers at Blue Island and at JD Tower in Joliet.  Before, I couldn't meet trains at Blue Island very well especially if coming from the same yard.

I have visions of scenery on the new configuration.  I can't wait to start!

Operations Update
I have hosted five operating sessions to date.  With every session there has been some pretty significant changes as I continue to dial in my desires as well becoming more prototypical.  Before, my next op session, I plan on more changes.

1) The design changes at Blue Island and east of Joliet which are underway.

2) Operations changes regarding dispatching and train movements.  Last weekend, I had the pleasure to operate at my friend Larry's Lehigh & Hudson River layout.  He began Timetable and Train Order (TT&TO) operations this past session.  For the first attempt, it went extremely well.  I was quite intrigued and inspired by the new operational scheme.

Since last weekend, I have been heavily researching TT&TO ops reading many articles on the subject.  After discussing with fellow modelers, we believe a streamlined version of the TT&TO ops would work well on the ROCK.  This would allow crews to self-manage train movements and meets.  

With the new plan, I would add my five through freights to the timetable schedule.  This will require less interaction from a dispatcher which is good since I don't have this as a full-time position.  If crews got behind on their schedule, I could put the order board out in a town and call an audible instruction.  Writing the train orders would be too cumbersome with such short distances between towns. 

I have considered purchasing some semaphore signals to use as Train Order signals at each OS station assuming I could find a good deal on them.

Crews will be required to perform the role of the station operator reporting in.  There will be a pre-printed form at each OS station.  As crews pass by they will write down their OS time.  They will also be able to review the trains ahead of them to make the decision whether or not to proceed.

I also referred to my archives adjusting the train schedules to closely match their prototypical 1972 times.

The train schedule utilizing times from the last op session as a guide

A graphical display of the train schedule from the last op session

The new revised schedule.
A graphical display of the new schedule. 

Other call time changes include:
  • #92 Peoria to Davenport Freight call time now 10:30am 
  • #92 Davenport to Peoria Freight call time now 9pm
  • #130 Peoria to Bureau Turn call time now 4pm
  • #217 Ottawa Branch Turn call time now 1:30pm
  • #221 Blue Island Turn call time now 2pm
  • #110, #113, #112 will maintain their previous call times
In addition to the timetable meets, the schedule changes will create potential meets of #92/#23 at Rock Island and #92/#1 at Bureau.

More news on Blue Island.  It doesn't look like the originally drawn configuration will quite work in Blue Island due to lack of real estate.  We have sent out a research team to develop a new plan.  The mainline will stay as is, but the industrial trackage will change.

So, once again, many changes in motion on the ROCK!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Progress Report 12.13.11

Crews started early this morning severing the mainline in Blue Island.  It's always hard to do, but change is needed.  The mainline and industrial spurs have been ripped out between JD Tower in Joliet and C-5 Tower in Blue Island.  Crews are currently working on removing the roadbed.  Once sanding is complete, the new roadbed can be laid.