Operational Staging on the AD&N

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Tad, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. Tad

    Tad Member

    Starting operations on Phase I of my layout has pointed out to me the importance of having somewhere for trains to come from and go to. I have been trying to figure out how traffic would flow in and out of my mills. I'm working on setting up my car cards & waybills so that they work in a logical manner. It may just be that since my current layout is all one geographical location (Crossett, Arkansas) it seems very limited in what can be accomplished other than switching the mills. That is fun, in and of itself. Maybe I just can't visualize how it should work with cars being interchanged in and out, since they don't currently go anywhere.

    I do not want to wait until I am able to build the whole layout to actually start operations. Since the mill complex is the operational heart of the layout and is complete now, I want to start working out the kinks that I am sure that I have not foreseen.

    I've been having problems making everything work out like I think that it should. This is my plan of attack that I think will fix that. I wanted to run it past y'all and see what someone else thinks.

    Phase I represents the mill complex and has 25 spots for loading and unloading various types of cars.


    Phase II is supposed to be my mainline and also have my staging yard. Phase II is as yet unbuilt and it will be a little while before I can build it.

    This was the initial overall design that contained both Phase I and Phase II. Phase I is the loops on the left and has changed somewhat in the actual building. Phase II is the long loops on the top.


    There are four trains that ran in and out of Crossett, Arkansas on a daily basis.

    The AD&N "All Day & Night" local which runs to Monticello, Arkansas and back.
    The Missouri Pacific 785/786 which runs from Montrose, Arkansas and back.
    The Rock Island 777/778 which runs from Tinsman, Arkansas and back.
    The Arkansas & Louisiana Missouri "Gator" local which runs from Monroe, Louisiana and back.

    I have decided that to work out the operations for the mills I need to build a "temporary" four track stub-ended staging yard. I got the idea from Tony Koester's Operations book and his article in the last Model Railroader. I took stuff that I already had and started building it. I'm building it kind of like a module that can be put up for a session and connected with a 5" straight section. The yard can then be taken down and stowed when it is not in use. The tracks will each hold a train that consists of 2 engines, 10-12 cars, and a caboose. The staging yard will be attached to the layout at the right bottom corner of Phase I at the straight leg of the wye. (Whitlow Junction)

    One track will represent Monticello and will hold the AD&N local. It will be the first train on to the layout and will come in to the A/D track, drop the train and the power will head to the barn. AD&N switchers will break down the train.

    The MoPac 785 will come in and work the interchange and then leave as 786 and head back to Montrose/staging.

    The A&LM Gator will come in and work the interchange and head back to Monroe/staging.

    The Rock 777 will come in and work the interchange and then leave as 778 and head back to Monroe/staging.

    Meanwhile the switcher has been working the whole time and has built the next AD&N local to go to Monticello. The crew comes on, hooks to their train and exits to Monticello/staging.

    I plan on starting with no cars on the layout and each train in staging having 5-6 cars. I want to run a couple of sessions and then expand a few cars per session as I work out the procedures. I plan on each train having about maybe about 10 cars maximum, but this will be dependent on what actually works on the layout.

    With the "temp" yard being stub-ended, it will require restaging between sessions. When the yard needs to be taken down, the trains can be pulled onto the layout and parked.

    If you made it this far, feedback would be appreciated.
  2. Tad

    Tad Member

    This is how the staging yard will be attached to the current layout.

    The bench work is built and I will be laying the track tomorrow.

  3. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Whew! Made it Tad! :) Seems pretty well thought out to me. I just want to clarify....trains that "work the interchange" are picking up or dropping off cars there only and are not switching the mills, right? Is it your switcher that you describe as building the next local that is picking up cars from the mills? Clever idea to set up temporary staging so you can operate this section of the layout before the rest is completed.
  4. Tad

    Tad Member


    By working the interchange, I meant that the trains will pick up and drop of cars at the Crossett interchange and Front Yard only. An AD&N switcher will pick up cars bound for the mills from the interchange and probably take them to the yard for classification. The other three roads also interchanged with each other at Crossett.

    An AD&N switcher will also work the mills. The AD&N was owned by Georgia Pacific and this mill complex was the reason there was an AD&N. They had 2-3 switchers working shifts around the clock everyday but Sunday and they worked 1 shift on Sunday.

    I currently have a dual cab control setup with both having walkarounds. Two trains can be operated at one time. One switcher can be constantly working on the mills and the yard. The other cab can alternate between running road trains and another switcher.

    I wanted to get this setup so that I could start figuring out my car cards, waybills, and operational flow because I would like to eventually be able to have small sessions with a couple of friends.

    Thanks for the comments and questions.
  5. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Sounds great! Lots of operational work and fun!
  6. Tad

    Tad Member

    The staging yard is completed and wired. I cleared all cars off of the layout and staged 4 trains with cars. I am going to cycle the trains onto the layout and switch the cars in and out of the mills as a way of "seeding" the layout.

    I plan on working through a couple of sessions with things just the way they are and then start adjusting from there. By adjusting I mean working out waybill & routing issues, loading & unloading times/sequences, operational sequences and slowly adding cars to the layout to ensure that I do not exceed operational capacity.
  7. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    Tad, half the fun is exceeding operational capacity and finding somewhere to store cars like a siding which creates a whole nother kind of problem.this is real life railroading and yardmasters figure this stuff out on a daily basis.
    Yardmaster-air traffic controller,i think you get the picture :)
  8. Tad

    Tad Member

    What I want to avoid is gridlock from simply having too many cars on the layout. I want interesting and challenging operations on my layout, but I realize that at my current level of skill it will not take a lot to challenge me. I figure that I will build up a step at a time and learn as I go.

    If I ever have anyone that wants to come over for a session, it will be interesting to see if they come up with different solutions. I also want to keep working on troubleshooting and fixing any problems, maintenance or operational, as I go.

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