Friday, November 15, 2013

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 11.15.13

After further review, I have decided to go with the #6 double slip for the yard.  The yard crew can access class tracks #1-4 from the new lead.  I will use track #5 as an A/D track.  The yard crew will have to run out on the main with a limited lead to move cars in and out of this track.  It's the best solution for the space I have available.

I completed the paperwork for the first op session which I must say is pretty heavy with traffic.  Make that real heavy.  Check out the stats for the first op session below.

1st Session Stats:
#217 Ottawa Local will depart with 20 cars, move 11 cars between Ottawa Silica and LOF, and pickup 28!! to return to the yard.

#118 LaSalle Turn will depart with 19 cars, move 13 cars between Belrose Silica and PQ, and pickup 17 to return to the yard.

BN Local will arrive in town with 4 cars and depart with 5.

For the yardmaster, he will start off with 60 cars in the yard including today's #217, #118 and yesterday's pickups from the same locals.  After clearing his yard of the 39 cars for both outbound locals, during the day he will receive in 24 cars and send out 18 to the Joliet Turn (east/west).  He will receive in 17 from #118 around evening time and another 28 from #217 late in the day.  Wow!  That's a lot of freight moving on my little portion of the ROCK!

I might need to provide a bottle of scotch for operators!

Here's an updated track plan of the yard.  The only thing I don't have a spot for is cabooses, but I'm guessing they could just be on the loco track.  Thoughts?

This evening, I completed installing the fascia boards except for the short section in front of Peru Power.  I'm going to try to model the river in this area so I will hold of on installing the fascia until I figure the scene out.  

I then cleaned up the room.  Not exciting, but definitely a necessity as the room was in complete disarray.  

Late this evening, I returned to the room to patch all the holes and imperfections on the fascia.  A little sanding tomorrow and I'll be ready to paint.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 11.14.13 + Yard Design Change

This afternoon/evening, I began to really focus on the yardmaster running through his daily duties in my head.  One thing I underestimated was the lead track.  I know....that's like yard design 101.  I was thinking that the yard could share the track into Ottawa Silica to use as the yard lead.  Two factors prevent this from working.  1) The Ottawa Local is a beast.  They will have cars scattered everywhere.  That would interfere with the yardmaster's lead to classify traffic.  2) More cars are moving in and out of the yard at Ottawa than I originally planned.  It needs a longer lead to work properly.

So, I have a problem.  I surveyed the landscape at the west end (left) Ottawa Yard.  No dice.  The lead would be short and encroach on PQ's property.  Plus, the track is further away as it goes in toward the corner to make the turn back down into Utica.  It would be hard to read the car numbers from that distance.

I moved my attention back to the east side of the yard.  How can I make this work to give me a longer yard lead?  I came to the conclusion I could add a parallel track to the lead into Ottawa Silica running along the rim of the sand pit.  This would allow for a trim job to pull out a cut of up to 15 cars or so and classify into the individual yard tracks.

I found the best way for this to work is to install a double slip on the yard ladder so I still preserve the original yard design.  I sent an email to my eBay contact to get pricing on a double slip.  I'm not the biggest fans of these (mainly because operators often don't set the correct route creating confusion), but I much prefer it over the alternative of adding another turnout to the yard ladder shortening my track capacity.

For those that might not know, a double slip turnout looks like this:

This evening, when reviewing the overall yard plan and projected operations, I decided to calculate the individual track capacities.  Here's what I found:
  • Track 1 - 8 cars 
  • Track 2 - 11 cars
  • Track 3 - 14 cars
  • Track 4 - 18 cars
  • Track 5 - 21 cars
  • Run around track 
So, roughly my yard will hold 70 cars.  That would definitely work for my plans.  

In other news, I installed two more panels of fascia (about 3 feet long each) in front of LOF.  My work was cut short due to the kids going to bed.  I will resume work on fascia in the morning.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 11.13.13

This morning, I worked on installing some telephone poles to get an idea of their overall appearance.  I'm using Showcase Miniatures telephone poles.  I purchased a few a while back to test.  I like them much better than the Atlas ones.  The crossbeams on the Atlas telephone poles are as wide as a freight car.  These look more prototypical in size and style.

I googled how far to space the telephone poles and found this article.

I decided to space mine at a scale 100 feet apart or roughly every 7.5".  Between this morning and evening, I installed 15 poles (mostly along the mainline behind Ottawa Yard).  They look great (and not even painted yet)!

Ottawa Ave sanded and ready for paint.

A fresh load of frac sand out of Ottawa Silica in a Trainworx RI gon.

The test loading building at Ottawa Silica.  Note, this will be raised up above the track using concrete arch supports that come down.  The sand hoppers move under the structure to be loaded.

Another view of the loading building

Showcase Miniatures telephone poles spaced a scale 100ft apart (7.5")

Telephone poles added along Ottawa Avenue

A comparison of Atlas and Showcase Miniatures telephone poles.

What the fascia?
Inspired by reports of fascia installation progress on my friend Marcus' Charleston, Roanoke & Eastern (CR&E) layout, I thought maybe I should get busy too.  I had all the fascia panels from the old layout.  I would simply need to trim them down and install.  I only had about 15 to 20 minutes to work this evening, but I managed to install all the fascia in front of Ottawa Yard.  1/3rd of the layout is done.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The ROCK 3.0: Op Session Planning

Today, I was pondering a few things about operation formulating my "master" plan.  I believe I will be able to run v3.0 with four to five people just as I did with v1.0!!  That might seem crazy, but when I created this flow chart of duties, I believe it will work out ok.

Train #217 - Ottawa Local
This train will definitely require two operators.  On average they will be dropping off 28-35 cars, picking up in the low 20s.  With weighing cars and the mere number of moves required, I definitely think two operators is best.

Train #118 - LaSalle/Utica Local
This train should be able to operate with one person.  It has less traffic overall and not near as complex as the Ottawa job.

#113 Joliet Local West/East plus CB&Q Local
These trains would have one operator to run them all.  It would be a mixed bag of duties, but should keep the person occupied.

Ottawa Yardmaster 
I predict this person to be pretty busy all day. If not, I can modify later.

The best part of it is that each day the locals are already built by the previous shift the day before.  If I'm short on crew members, I can still run one, two or three locals each being independent and not relying on another train to operate.  Anything that is not completed during a session can be completed by myself in-between sessions.

If it works out like I propose, this would allow for 3 to 4 hours of running trains during a session.  Not bad for my little railroad.  If fully staffed, my little railroad will move about 150-175 cars per session.


In other news, I finish sanded Ottawa Avenue and removed the side supports (.060" styrene strips).  The road turned out great!  The quality is much better than roads on v1.0.

The other day, I cut out the basic wall parts for the sand loading building at Ottawa Silica.  This evening, I assembled some of those pieces to get an idea of what one of the facility structures would look like.  I'm very pleased.  I think it will turn out pretty nice.  I placed on the layout to get a vision of the structures to come at Ottawa Silica.  I'm excited!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The ROCK 3.0: Photos of the Scale House & RI (VGN) Coal Hoppers

The new Ottawa Silica Scale House.  I still have work to do on it.
It sure looks nice next to that gantlet track.

Today, I was thinking about the Virginian hoppers that the Rock Island used back in the day.

I used Micro-Sol and an eraser to wear down the logo.  It needs more work, but I think it looks pretty good.

Here's a photo of what I'm looking to reproduce.

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 11.11.13

Last night, I worked on constructing the scale house for Ottawa Silica.  I have it all constructed minus the scale table inside the building.  I will then need to paint it.

This evening, I added another coat of plaster to the Ottawa Avenue between the Ottawa Silica and LOF plants.

Nine more turnouts are shipping tomorrow.  I should have them Thursday.  Yah!

This evening, I also worked on cleaning up the layout room some.  It was a mess.

Also, off and on, I have been working on the initial paperwork for Op Session #1.  I'm predicting the first one to be in February or March 2014.