Thursday, January 10, 2013

Progress Report 01.10.13 - Return to Agent

Return to Agent Waybills
I can't remember if I mentioned this in the past, but for the sand hoppers in Ottawa, if not required by a mine or industry, they are returned to the Ottawa Yard Agent for storage.  I can't do this for every type of car as I don't have enough storage capacity at yards.  In Ottawa specifically, it doesn't make sense to send the empty cars off somewhere as they very well could be required the next day (operating session).

So, I've been thinking about the unit grain/empty trains that will be traversing the layout between Chicago and Silvis.  I've decided to implement the Return to Agent (Silvis) waybills for grain hoppers.  Kelly Yard in Silvis will act as the storage facility for grain hoppers to be used at the rural elevators as well as the larger Heartland Coop elevator in Moline.  Silvis will build outbound unit grain trains for export to Chicago.  Inbound empty trains will be broken down for local use or stored until needed.  This should mimic part of the operations from this last session (for which I was so pleased with).  I can already hear the requests for additional class tracks from the yardmaster ringing in my ear.  :-)

Extreme Focus
So, I have been in a funk for the last few months working on the layout.  I have managed to get a few things done, but not a whole lot overall.  I started working on a little project the other day.  I revised the track arrangement and industries in Moline.  That was exciting, but not near as exciting as when I started constructing the Walthers Central Gas kit.  I don't know what came over me, but I became extremely focused on installing every last detail (typically, I just construct the basic building and will return to detail, paint later).  I began to envision how the scene would look.  I'm now consumed with spending all my time working on this project wanting to complete the scene 100%.  It has rekindled the fire motivating me to work on the layout.  I have plans to finish the structure kit, scenick the roads and lot around the facility as well as ballast all tracks in the immediate area.  I'm very much looking forward to posting pictures of the completed project.  I wish I had more time in the day!

It will be hard, but I need to finish up the tiny little bit of re-staging I have left to do.  I would hate to leave it incomplete and then forget where I'm at later.

So, this evening, I worked on re-staging the layout.  I have a little more to re-stage than I thought.  Mainly filling out trains, but still a lot to move around.  I noticed two things that will make life interesting next session.  The first being the monster 17-car unit empty (grain) train bound for Silvis from Chicago.  It will be arriving early in the session.  The second being an equally large #111 Silvis Illinois Shorts train.  The train would simply be too large to handle leaving Chicago.  I have decided to split the train.  The crew for #111 will deliver a cut of seven cars or so to Joliet and return to Chicago.  The train will depart again with blocks for Ottawa, LaSalle and Silvis.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Progress Report 01.09.13 - New LP Gas Dealer

This morning, I had a burst of energy (first time in quite a while).  The plaster was too damp to sand.  I did install the slide switch for the switch at the new grain elevator.  I also repaired the slide switch at the west end of Bureau that failed late during the last session.

The new industries in Moline will be:
Heartland Cooperative Grain Co. and Rock Island Fuel Co.

Appropriate paperwork, car card box labels, waybills, etc. have been created.  Since there is only one track available for loading/unloading at the grain elevator, the second track will be used as in inspection track for inbound grain hoppers.  Crews will have to spot the inbound cars on the track (identified with a yellow "Car Inspection Required" card included in the car card packet) and move any cars that have completed inspection to the loading/unloading track.  Thanks Marcus for this idea!

I started construction on the building and LP tanks for the Rock Island Fuel Co.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Progress Report 01.08.13 - New Grain Elevator

This evening, crews made quick work of filling in the bay at Moline.  The grain elevator was placed in it's final position and track laid.  Crews will need to return to sand the plaster, paint the roadway, install the slide switch and add new fascia.

It appears previous estimates of 9 spots was incorrect.  After the track had been laid, engineers spotted a total of 8 cars in the facility.  It's still a big improvement over the original 2 car spots.

Management is debating on names for the grain elevator.  It appears Continental Grain will be moving out.  The new tenant has yet to be determined.

Photos of the progress:

Monday, January 7, 2013

Progress Report 01.07.13 - Grain Boom in Moline, IL

I was in the layout room yesterday.  A vision came to me.  I was pleased with the operations surrounding the unit grain train last session.  I would like to capitalize on the trains success, but don't have enough sources for grain.  There are three sources of grain west of Bureau.  The largest of the three is the Continental Grain elevator.  For it's large size, it doesn't produce much as it only has two car spots.

So, what does all this mean?  Time for some changes in Moline, IL.  The cement elevator is closing it's doors.  They haven't been pleased with the performance of the ROCK anyway.  Something involving the lack of availability of two bay covered hoppers.  Evidently, the ROCK has secured most of these cars for it's sand service over in Ottawa.  The bay will be filled in with dirt.  The silos from the cement elevator will be relocated to expand capacity at the Continental Grain Elevator.  The existing elevator will be moved over slightly to accommodate a two track loading facility.  This will result in expanding the facility from two car spots to nine car spots.

The former cement plant will be replaced with LP Gas dealer.

So, as with any day on the ROCK, change is the name of the game.