Thursday, April 10, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Re-Staging Layout

I re-staged the layout.  It's not a bad process.  I take about 10 or 15 minutes to write down all the cars at each location.  Since cars can be moved around and placed back in a track in a different order, I like to document them all and mark with a 1. which one is to go out first and then update the spreadsheet.  I have a random calculator that generates the number of pickups and set offs for each industry.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Solo Op Notes - Part Three

Tonight, I completed the #217 LaSalle Local on the Solo Op Session.  I ran the first part of the local for about 30 minutes last night.  It took me another hour and a half to complete it tonight.  This local is a monster to work, but very enjoyable.

I ended up running it much like Marcus and Jeff did during my last op session.  I too ended up with quite a load of hoppers in the loading tracks.  There was easily over 50 cars there at one time.  

I was surprised how many moves it took just to switch out the 40' box cars at the bagged sand loading tracks.  With such a long lead, you end up moving cuts of cars back and forth to get your empties spotted and switch out the cars you need to take.

Weighing went well.  I had two cars that were rejected that need repair at the RIP track in Ottawa Yard.  Out of all the other cars, I only had two over tonnage.  It was right at the end too.  I thought I was going to make it without having any over.  I know Marcus would have been upset after they got nailed with over tonnage cars.  :-)

The toughest part was trying to get on the north side of the all cars when wrapping up the switching.  There is not one long run around track.  You have to do it in sections and shove all your cars down toward LOF to make it work.  You really have to think out all your moves on this job.

I returned to the yard with only 19 cars.  Marcus and Jeff had 34 returning the other day!  

I was telling my wife how challenging the local was to run.  She then asked me, "Would you change anything now that you have run it?"  A big smile stretched across my face as I replied nope!  It's absolutely perfect the way it is.  I couldn't be happier with the way the sand operations turned out.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Solo Op Notes - Part Two

This evening, I rolled out of Ottawa with a 25-car local (9 cars short of the local Marcus and Jeff engineered at the last op session).  Pulling up to the Ottawa Ave road crossing, I quickly realize I don't pay my employees enough.  Wow!  I shoved my 40' box cars on the track behind the main mill and went ahead and switched out the gons of frac sand.

I realized that I'm already blocking the Ottawa Ave crossing for some time.  If my evil twin was present, he would be lining up cars at the road crossing anticipating the arrival of the local sheriff to cite us.  By the way, I can sit there at that crossing all day long and watch those gates go up and down.  I love it!  Back to operating... I realize I need to pull ahead and give time for the traffic to clear out.

About the time I'm starting to get a handle on things, I hear the CB&Q come over the radio stating they are entering the plant.  I run around my cut of sand hoppers and then shove down to the end of the track at LOF to make room for the CB&Q crew to work.  This will give me a chance to review my paperwork and formulate a plan.  It looks like I already have a few cars that were rejected by the plant that will have to be switched out.

I stopped there for the night.  This is a fun local to run.  It's very challenging.

Monday, April 7, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Solo Op Notes

I completed operating #118 LaSalle Turn this evening.  I departed the yard with a seemingly basic list of duties.  I must say, it is surprising how involved this local can be.  Each industry has certain spots for the cars which requires additional moves.

Then moving the sand.  That's really when you get the wrench thrown into your plans.  Out of the empties departing PQ, majority go to Belrose, but you have one or two going back to the Ottawa Agent for repair or storage.  Same thing with Belrose.  You pick up a long cut of loads.  Majority go to PQ, but a few scattered in the cut are traveling to glass plants elsewhere.  All this requires additional moves and switching which takes time.

Then, I weighed the sand.  Out of 9 cars, 4 were overweight.  I might need to adjust that range down on the WeighStation.  I followed procedure setting those cars to be reduced, moving the others to PQ.  I then had to re-weigh them, record the weights, and finally move them over to PQ for delivery.

As complex as this local was today, I didn't even have to deal with through trains or the blue flag lights at Westclox.

In summary, I don't see anything that needs to be changed on this local.  I figure crews will get faster at it over time, but that's expected.  I will try to rotate the guys out so no one person is on the same job session after session.  That will help keep the familiarity down.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

The ROCK 3.0: Progress Report 04.05 - 04.06.14

Saturday ~

This evening, I worked on measuring various widths of PVC pipe to make some chemical storage tanks/silos for the industries on the layout.  I will cut them all tomorrow.

I found four turnouts with broken points this evening.  I repaired one.

Sunday ~

I cut the PVC pipe pieces, and repaired four more (one turnout had two broken points) turnouts.

Here are pics of the PVC pipes in place.  They will need tops made of styrene cut and paint.