Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rock Island v.2.0 - Switchlists are Generated

So, I continue my quest for knowledge about the sand operations around Ottawa.  I have been researching the area extensively for the past week or so.  I have gathered many images of Rock Island customer's structures between Peru and Ottawa as well as the yard, surrounding scenery, etc.  I have a book of printed material that I have created that is about a half an inch thick!

Yesterday, I started thinking about converting to a switchlist if the Rock v.2.0 was to happen.  I created sample switchlists of the #118 LaSalle Turn, #217 Ottawa Local and Yard Job.  Pretty cool stuff!  Now, to figure out how to automate the re-staging process.  I plan to run some of this by fellow modeler Larry Keller this weekend when he visits the ROCK.  I think the switchlists would work well.

In other news, I have simply been running trains back and forth across the layout.  Weighted = good, non-weighted = derailments.  This is especially true when running long 20+ car trains.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rock Island v.2.0 - Utica is added to the plan

Growing up, I loved to draw.  As my interests grew in model railroading, I would often find myself copying track schematics of the prototype or creating a model railroad plan.  I have a folder tucked away in the layout room with numerous plans/drawings that I came up with over the years.

Over the past few days, I have been researching Utica, IL pretty extensively.  It is one of the towns I would like to include on the Rock Island v.2.0.  I like the Belrose Silica and Philadelphia Quarts (PQ) plants there.  I created a drawing of what I would like to model.  Of course this would probably have to be scaled down some, but I like the basic layout.  It would follow closely to the prototype.

The local would be based out of Ottawa Yard.  The crew would build their train in Ottawa Yard and then head west a few miles to Utica.  They would identify any sand loads to come out of Belrose Silica.  Some would be spotted at PQ and the rest would go back to Ottawa for destinations elsewhere.  The crew would crossover to Main Two to spot any sand loads as well as work the dry and wet chemical spots at PQ.  These cars would need to be spotted at certain locations within the plant per instructions provided by the PQ plant manager.  Any empty sand hoppers would need to be spotted back over at Belrose Silica unless they were not needed at this time in which they would be taken back to the agent at Ottawa to store.  Of course, you would also deal with rejected cars at the Belrose Silica plant (as with Ottawa Silica).  These could be cars that require repairs or overloaded.  These cars would be sent to Ottawa to be repaired on the RIP tracks and returned the following day.  Although it sounds relatively easy, I believe it would be an interesting job.  There would surely be some kinks in any crews plan.

I wonder if there was a scale at Belrose Silica or was the sand weighed at Ottawa.  Hmm...

Here's the drawing I created...

This evening, I tested a train of mixed freight cars that had been weighted.  It was a heavy train at 22 cars pulled by two Kato SD40-2s.  The cars performed well.  It was really cool to hear those SD40-2s digging in as they started up the grade departing Bureau.  The engines had a lower deeper sound from the motor.  I didn't adjust the throttle letting the train naturally slow as it climbed the steep grade under heavy tonnage.  The locomotives performed flawlessly.  I ran the train back down the grade.  It performed well being pulled and pushed up the steep grade.  I backed the long train into two tracks in West Kelly yard (at a rapid rate as my daughter was at the controls).  No derailments on any of the turnouts.  Perfect!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Progress Report 04.14.13 - Covered Hopper Diet Change

So, yesterday, we had some guests over.  They viewed the layout and ran a test train.  The test train (unit grain train) derailed in four places.  It only figures....showing off the layout and there are problems.  I was surprised though.  Usually those cars do well.  I had added weight to them.  I went back to them this evening.  The weights added to the covered hoppers were sitting high inside the car making them unstable.   Most weights added to box cars sit low right over the wheels.  I removed the weights that were previously added and filled in the center sill with bird shot.  I ran the train again forward and backwards across the layout.  No problems.  I appreciate Jake, my 7 yr old assistant, testing this train before the next operating session.