Monday, February 9, 2015

The ROCK 3.0: Steve is on the Jazz Again!

I grew up in the 80s and loved watched the A-Team with my dad.  Just recently, I watched an episode with my wife on Netflix.  They were talking about Hannibal being on the jazz again.  Well, I feel like that myself this evening.

So, I continue to ponder the idea of east staging.  I love my layout, but the downfall in the design was lack of east and west staging for the local stuff to leave/enter the layout.  This afternoon, I wondered, if i was to curve back the mainline using the little bit of window frame opening space, I could make the turn and run staging along the back wall behind Ottawa Silica.

Here is a mock up of how it would work.  Only one mainline track would make the hidden turn back behind Ottawa Silica.  This is Kato Unitrack 13.75" radius that I use for my test track as an example.

Currently, to access the bag sand loading tracks, you have to come up from the south of the Ottawa Silica plant and run behind the plant to access the box car tracks.  I created this as it was the way the prototype was.  The only issue is that it is awkward for the operator to operate the turnout for both tracks as it is hidden behind the tall sorting building at Ottawa Silica.  It will be even harder to access after I add the conveyors in between the Ottawa Silica buildings.  

My new thought is to add a turnout just north of the scale track in the foreground of the photo.  It will open up to the two bagged sand loading tracks that will be closer to the aisle.

The staging track would come around where the blue board is resting now.  It will be hidden by the Ottawa Silica bag loading building.

Here is a view looking up behind the Ottawa Silica building to access the two bag sand loading tracks.  Once the mainline makes the hard right turn, I will open it up to two tracks for east staging.  This area would be hidden by the structures and most likely a 3-4" high sky blue mini-backdrop to hide the tracks.

So, if this plan was to be put into motion, let's list the Pros and Cons:

  1. Provides east staging (two tracks)
    The RI moved a lot of sand to the east.  
    1. New Blue Island Transfer Train
    2. New GTW Unit Sand Train (from the ROCK to Blue Island to GTW)
  2. Improves access to the turnouts for the bagged sand loading tracks.
  3. No loss of industry spots at the bagged sand loading tracks.
    1. The gondola sand loading track will still remain in place in the third picture above.

  1. Destruction/construction process.  You never know how well that might go pulling up track.
  2. BN crossing would probably be removed permanently.
    1. The crossing in reality was much further to the east.  I tried to make it work to include on my layout.  I haven't really used it much so far and would be fine getting rid of it.  
  3. ???  Maybe something else I'm not thinking.

Thoughts anyone?


  1. Good idea, staging is essential.
    My thoughts on this - you asked for it ;-) - related to my own staging solution :
    If you bring it up behind OS try to use some scenic divider, and if you could use some sort of staging cassette you could have more flexibility by swaping a whole train.

    Moving the crossing wouldnt be a problem, try using a 3.5 wye a little more into the curve instead of the RH turnout.

    1. I agree, you can never have too much staging!

      I thought out using a 3-4" half wall divider. My friend has used those in the past and they work well. I'll doubt I'll use a cassette and it would be hard to lift out from behind the OS buildings. I would imagine cars flying off everywhere.

      I'm thinking of abandoning the BN crossing. In reality, it was further to the east. There isn't much activity on the BN as it is now on my layout.

      Thanks for the input!