Pondering ops at Kings Port

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Ralph, Jan 10, 2004.

  1. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    I've been interested in the various posts about model railroad operations lately. I planned my layout with sidings and spurs so I could set out and pick up cars and even have a couple of train meets, but I didn't really think about operations more realistically than that.

    Discussions here, some research, a good article about switch lists in the 2004 Great Model Railroads magazine , and finding a picture of a Penn Central switch list online have all motivated me to think more about how my layout can operate.

    Here's a track plan of the section of my layout called Kings Port. The two tracks labelled "MAIN" look like double track but are part of the same long folded dogbone. It loops around the industries on the right side of the diagram, goes up grade, and circles back behind Vandelay Industries.

    The track called "YARD 1" is actually a long siding that follows the main to the other side of the room and ends at the town of West Mill Jct. I can run a local on it without interfering with the main.

    "Yard 2" is a stub ended track that is hidden at the end. It can accomodate eight freight cars and a switcher.

    I'm imagining Kings Port to be a mid-division point between two major yards...somewhat like Kingston NY is between Enola and Selkirk on the former River Division. I need to come up with names for these large division points, perhaps that vaguely reflect the names of the real cities. I'm thinking of calling my layout "the New River Division" since its roughly based on reality but ....completely fictional.

    What I'm thinking of doing for operations is:

    1. Running a yard turn, that it comes from the imaginary Kings Port Yard just south of the industrial area I modelled. On "YARD 2" I'd hand place cars appropriate to the local industries with the switcher at the back end so it could conveniently push them into the spurs. This will work great if there are no pickups! I can see some challenges if the turn needs to pickup as well as set out...including the need to use the main for a while.
    This train might be called KK-2 (Kings Port Turn) after what I've learned about typical PC train numbering policies. The letters represent the town of origin and termination so a "turn" would have the same letter twice. The even number identifies direction.

    2. A local run from Kings Port to West Mill Jct. and other online industries that would originate from the hidden track of "YARD 1". West Mill Jct. has a small interchange yard and connects with the CN. This train would be designated KW-4. There would also be a return train known as WK-3.

    3. A through freight going from one large division point to the next. It could be a continuously running train that once every five minutes would pass by my local or the "turn" to create the appearance of a lot of action. It could make things interesting if I need to use the main for switching. This train would be designated by letters corresponding to the whatever names I assign the two division points it travels between.

    I haven't thought about car cards or way bills but might create "situation cards" that I'd shuffle and let determine what kind of traffic would be moved each operating session. I also plan to develop a facsimile of the PC switch list to use when operating the turn and the local.

    Whatcha think? Is this the sort of post that might be appropriate for an operations forum?


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  2. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Whoops! I forgot to draw the turnout from "YARD1" that lets trains get on the MAIN. Its noted in red. It'd be pretty tough for the local to get by without it!

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  3. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    This is exactly th kind of post i was hoping to see in an operations forum.Glad you didnt wait :)
    Have you considered a Dedicated local to be a shifter for the steel mill and perhaps the local industries.It would give you a good reason to have a small service facility and a single stall enginehouse.Your division local would be able to pick up and set out on its way through and not be held up too long on one section of the mainline.the shifter could do all pick ups and set outs for the local industries and the steel mill in just this area of the layout.the local turn could handle switching duties further out on the tracks .
  4. Tad

    Tad Member

    It appears that you are planning on using just one part of your layout for ops, perhaps as a switching puzzle. Is this correct or do you plan on starting here and eventually incorporating the whole layout into operations?

    I would like to see the whole layout if you have a diagram available.

    This is definitely the type of post that is needed for an ops forum. I've been working on developing an operational scheme for my layout, as well.
  5. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Boy you guys got your nerve! Talking ops before we even have a forum for it!!!!!!! :D :D :D
  6. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Ralph,What you have there is what we would call a nightmare to switch..But switch it we would..Believe this or not we would not use the yard unless we really had to..You see that would only add to the work needed to switch those industries since they are trailing point except for Booms Redi Mix and a simple run around move would cover that..Now we may have to clear up to let a rattler by but we would find the easiest way to do that.

    Remember what a old line PRR conductor told me..Son,Always plan your work and work your plan.Never make moves you do not have to,never move a car you don't have to and never get your caboose in front of your face.

    Tad,my amigo,That is far from a switching puzzle..That in terms of railroad speak is normal every day work..
  7. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Thanks guys for taking time to read through my long post! :)

    Tileguy, I like the dedicated shifter idea! I'm not sure I can fit any engine facilities but it would be cool though.

    Tad, This is just the beginning! :D I'll try to draw a decent diagram of the entire plan soon and also plan to post ideas for ops at West Mill Jct.

    Brakie, I KNEW you'd grumble about the track plan as you know how real roads would lay tracks and turnouts to support these industries. Wish I'd had access to the expertise of folks here at The Gauge before I laid track but its ballasted, scenicked, and surrounded by structures so it stays as is and my LPB train crews will just have to switch it as you said. :)

    Thanks for the thoughts and ideas!
  8. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Ralph,That is not always the case..
    There is nothing wrong with your track plan..That is the way the real railroads would lay it out..

    Remember nothing is cut and dry on the real railroads as many modelers believe and the railroads had to come up with some real "switching puzzles" at times in order to serve their customers..Of course we train men would grumble about it as more then likely it would be hard to switch and never forget there is a DS that wants to run trains while you are trying to get the work done.:eek: :D
  9. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Ralph, not only have you got comments, but you have some prototypical grumbling. :D
    You should have another town to switch. We had a pair of industries like yours next to each other -- I think it was a manufacturing plant and a cardboard box maker -- and every session we exchanged 2 boxcars between those sidings. It would have been more efficient to put a plank between the boxcars and just wheel the boxes through. (This was HO).
  10. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    The reason i brought it up is your situation is similar to the Steelton area in west Duluth when the steel mill was open.
    The steelton yard had a shifter on hand to deal with the mill the cement plant and a few smaller industries.DM&IR power was used and cars were interchanged with the NP,GN,MILW or CNW
    NP and GN got the bulk of this traffic.

    We have a similar situation in Grand Rapids MN with a Paper Mill.
    BNSF has a dedicated Shifter for the mill operations.The local out of Dul-Superior runs to and from,but the shifter does the bulk of the work.
  11. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    Ralph, regarding your first scenario, if any cars spotted at Vandelay Ind. could be moved, you can use that track to runaround cars to get on the proper end. Without fouling the main. Would that be done Brakie?

  12. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    Tileguy, thanks for the protypical examples. I'm liking this idea.
    I have a pair of SWs that could roost at Kings Port for this purpose.

    Brakie, Glad to know that real railroad designers could create complicating switching puzzles. Do you have a "worst switching locale ever!" story from your career?

    Gary, I was thinking of using that siding by Vandelay as you suggested. I guess it depends on whether the car is being loaded at the time (?) Maybe that could be something to include on these "situation cards" I'm thinking of making. Randomly being informed that "Cars at Vandelay cannot be moved" would spice things up!

    60103, were you thinking that the steel co. and Laroche Manufacturing exchanged materials? They don't so I won't be shunting cars right next door in that case. Actually I really don't have a good set up for exchanging shipments to the steel mill. I've only modelled the rolling mill portion with trackage. My plan was just to send out coil cars and have them returned empty for refill.
    Thanks again for the thoughts and feedback!
  13. spitfire

    spitfire Active Member

    Ralph, maybe you could re-define the role of Laroche Mfg so that it does receive shipments from the steel mill. I've been toying with the idea of having a generically named manufacturing company on my layout whose product can be changed from one operating session to another to enable totally different loads to come in and/or out. Perhaps you could do the same with Laroche.

    Another thought suggested by the location of Laroche so close to the steel mill is perhaps it could be part of the steel mill complex.

    I've read about layouts where entire sections were switching between different buildings of one large manufacturing complex - a steel mill was one example.

    Anyway, just some thoughts. I'm glad you started this topic - I think this operations forum is going to be great!!!!

  14. Tyson Rayles

    Tyson Rayles Active Member

    Hopefully there will be a operations forum. :)
  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Actually there would be no need to use the Vandelay track as a run around and no need to move a car that don't need to be moved and put back.You have a perfectly good run around track by using the crossovers on the main...Now I like the idea of a
    dedicated switch crew. :D Great idea!

    Ralph,I have 2 such stories and I will be telling those as well.
  16. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    Actually, our situation came about because we were using a computer program to generate the switch lists. We had set up all the input commodities and all the output products and the 2 adjacent industries were compatible.
    On the other hand, we never did manage to get the coal mines producing the 20 to 30 car coal trains that we had the rolling stock for.
  17. Tad

    Tad Member


    It might be all in a day's work for you, but it is still a puzzle for me. :cool:
  18. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Tad, Oh how I wish it was still all in a days work..But,sadly I have not worked on the railroads since 1984. :(

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