Monday, April 29, 2013

Town Track Diagrams

As I continue to prepare for my Sea Trials test session on May 19, I've been putting much more emphasis on operating paperwork than I did for the last test session. 
One of the most common questions operators ask on a layout is "Where am I?" The builder forgets that he knows where every town is in relation to every other point on the railroad, but it may not be terribly obvious to a visiting operator. 
This is a sample of one of the town schematics I'm making for each town on the layout.  I'm still tweaking these - but this is the one that's mounted in front of Everett. Note the direction arrows on the "station sign" - as you look at the layout "North" is always to your right. It also shows the names of the tracks, the car capacity, and the locations and names of the various industries, along with any specific car spots within that industry. Ultimately these will also include street names for grade crossings, and trackside facilities like water towers, stations, and the like. 
The various spots represent different doors or loading/unloading equipment. The waybill specifies the specific spot the customer wants the car. Makes switching much more interesting than simply shoving all the inbound cars into one track.




Thursday, April 25, 2013

Changes in Everett

Preparations for the Sea Trial Session of May 19 continue at a furious pace. Big event for this week is to complete the South staging yards in the utility room. These are critical to the operating scheme and we need to get them done before the 19th! Stic Harris is coming over Saturday to help with that task. 
A couple of turnouts that were not up to snuff have been cut out and will be replaced (once I get the turnouts delivered!). I also did some modifications to the north end of Everett in an effort to lengthen the mill lead. 
In this shot, the SP boxcar shows the clearance point on the mill lead. I noticed a Peco code 83 curved turnout should be able to fit in place of the turnout where the reefer is sitting. I went back and forth on this for several days, since tearing a gap in the mainline less than a month before the test session didn't seem like a great idea. But I knew if I could tell the mill lead should be lengthened, my operating crew would likely offer the same feedback. So, out came the track removal tools. 
When I started actually fitting the Peco turnouts in place I found if I excavated some of the hill I could extend the mill lead and the passing siding through the use of two Peco turnouts. 
Here's how it looked with the turnouts laid in place temporarily and the hillside cut back. The clearance point for the mill lead is around the frog on the further turnout. The change makes the siding a full four-five car lengths longer:

In addition to the changes in Everett, I've also replaced one of the turnouts in Essex Junction with the Peco code 83 track. I really, really like this track system. In fact, if I had it to do over again I'd seriously consider using Peco code 83 throughout the layout.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #12

Pete McLachlan photo, Waterbury, VT.

Tweaking the Script

Frank Ellison liked to describe the model railroad operating as a stage play, with the trains as the actors and the operating scheme as the script. Well, I've been tweaking the script slightly as I go about preparing for the first test session. Below you'll find the current outline of trains I'm planning to run in a typical "day"session (one "day" may actually consist of two operating sessions). 
Rather than take down the first draft from yesterday's post I'm going to leave it up so anyone who cares about such things can see how the operating scheme is evolving. Since it's really impossible to directly duplicate the prototype times and operations on the layout (the mainline is too short, for one thing!) I've opted to focus on trying to get the traffic flow through White River Junction as close as possible to the real thing, and will let the times the trains get to other stations fall where they may. 
For reference I'm using several prototype CV employee timetables, along with some information on operational details from former CV employees. 

Position
On Duty
Description
WRJ Operational Notes
Dispatcher
12:00 am
Dispatches the railroad

12:00 pm

Operator
12:00 am
Calls crews, OS’s trains, copies train orders, writes clearances

12:00 pm

WRJ Yardmaster
12:00 am
Switches White River Junction yard ; acts as hostler

12:00 pm

Assistant WRJ YM
12:00 am
Assists YM; Works south end of yard and passenger terminal

12:00 pm

Train
Call Time
Description

No. 21 “Montrealer”
12:30 am
First class passenger train, Washington DC to Montreal
Arr. WRJ 3:10 am; Depart 3:22 am
WRJ switcher cuts local sleeper from train – sends north with 303 Vermonter @4:50am
No. 303
“Vermonter”
3:00 am
Accommodation passenger train. WRJ-Montreal.  Local sleeper.
Departs WRJ @ 4:50. CV coach, express, sleeper from 21.
Essex Junction Switcher
5:30 am
Works local industries in SXJ, transfer to/from Burlington

No. 490
9:00 am
Merchandise Chicago-New London, Conn.
Arr. WRJ 5:00 pm
Lv WRJ 6:30 pm.
No. 332
“Ambassador”
11:00 am
Passenger, Montreal-Boston/New York City (sections split in WRJ)
Arrives WRJ 2:30 pm.
WRJ pass switcher separates into NYC and Springfield sections.
Departs WRJ at 2:45 pm
No. 210
1:00 pm
Wayfreight, St Albans - WRJ
Works Waterbury and Everett. Switches SXJ creamery if needed.
Arrive WRJ ~5:20 pm. Milk cars to B&M to connect with B&M 301.
No 307
“Ambassador”
2:30 pm
Passenger, Boston/New York City-Montreal (sections combine in WRJ)
Arrives WRJ 4:00 pm
WRJ switcher combines cars from B&M 77 Departs WRJ 4:30 pm
River Rambler
YM calls
(~6:00 pm)
Switches local industries in WRJ

Everett Turn
“The Mill Job”
YM calls
(~7:00 pm)
Extra, WRJ-Everett and return. Works paper mill tracks only.

No 304
“Vermonter”
8:30 pm.
Accommodation passenger train. Montreal-WRJ. Local sleeper.
WRJ – 12:30 am arrival
Makes stops at all towns for Train 20 sleeper. Sleeper left at WRJ platform track for connection to 20.
No 20
“Washingtonian”
10:00 pm
First class passenger train, Montreal to Washington DC

WRJ – 1:30 am arrival/1:40 am departure
WRJ pass switcher adds local sleeper/express block  to train
No. 430
 12:30 am
General freight, Montreal-WRJ. Sets out/Pick up blocks of cars in Essex Junction and Everett
Arrives WRJ 5:30 am
Lv WRJ: 7:30 am
Extra North

General freight, WRJ-Montreal. Sets out/Pick up blocks of cars in Everett and Essex Junction
Extra Train
Per Manifest Schedule –
Ar. WRJ 3:00 am
Lv WRJ 8:30 am
Extra North

Wayfreight: WRJ- St Albans. Works Everett and Waterbury.
Extra Train
Extra north

Merchandise New London, Conn. to Chicago
Extra Train
Ar WRJ 4:30 pm
Lv WRJ 6:30 pm


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Make all preparations to get underway...Sea Trial coming up!

Although there are a few projects left to finish, I've decided enough of the layout is in place and working that it's time to test the thing out.
So, I've set a date for my first test session (Sea Trial #1): 1300 on Sunday, May 19th.
We'll run a modified schedule. The primary purpose of the session is to test what's been done and see what needs to be tweaked, fixed, or downright replaced. (Of course the results of the last Sea Trial resulted in a complete remodel of the railroad that has taken a little more than three years to complete! I'm hoping that won't be the result this time!
Here's a line up of the trains run in a typical "day" (note the call times are subject to change):
Also not confirmed is the fast clock ratio. I'm also considering running a 12-hour session (either the "am trick" or "pm trick.")

Here goes nothing....


Position
On Duty
Name

Description
Dispatcher
12:00 am


Dispatches the railroad
12:00 pm


Operator
12:00 am


Calls crews, OS’s trains, copies train orders, writes clearances
12:00 pm


WRJ Yardmaster
12:00 am


Switches White River Junction yard ; acts as hostler
12:00 pm


Assistant WRJ YM
12:00 am


Assists YM; Works south end of yard and passenger terminal
12:00 pm


Train
Call Time
Engineer
Conductor
Description
No. 21 “Montrealer”
12:30 am


First class passenger train, Washington DC to Montreal
No. 490
12:30 am


Merchandise Chicago-New London, Conn.
No. 210
4:30 am


Wayfreight, St Albans - WRJ
No. 429
5:00 am


General freight, WRJ-Montreal. Sets out/Pick up blocks of cars in Everett and Essex Junction
Essex Junction Switcher
5:30 am


Works local industries in SXJ, transfer to/from Burlington
No. 403
“Vermonter”
6:00 am


Accommodation passenger train. WRJ-Montreal.  Local sleeper.
No. 430
7:00 am


General freight, Montreal-WRJ. Sets out/Pick up blocks of cars in Essex Junction and Everett
No. 211
12:00 pm


Wayfreight: WRJ- St Albans. Works Everett and Waterbury.
No. 491
3:30 pm


Merchandise New London, Conn. to Chicago
Ambassador
2:45 pm


Passenger, Montreal-Boston/New York City (sections split in WRJ)
Ambassador
5:15 pm


Passenger, Boston/New York City-Montreal (sections combine in WRJ)
River Rambler
YM calls
(~6:00 pm)


Switches local industries in WRJ
Everett Turn
“The Mill Job”
YM calls
(~7:00 pm)


Extra, WRJ-Everett and return. Works paper mill tracks only.
Vermonter
8:30 pm


Accommodation passenger train. Montreal-WRJ. Local sleeper
No 20
“Washingtonian”
10:00 pm


First class passenger train, Montreal to Washington DC