Short sidings

Discussion in 'Model Rail Operations' started by Greg Elems, May 18, 2004.

  1. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    On the Reno Branch, storage is at a premium. One industry leases a siding to hold their cars till they can be cycled through their spur for unloading. The unloading takes three cars maximum but at any given time they have 6-10 cars waiting to be unloaded. So off in the middle of the branch there is a siding with cars for no apparent reason. Having given this some thought, I figured this could be a perfect way to display some cars and have a reason to have them on the layout. An industry that takes them but not necessarily on the layout.

    For operation, the cars come from the yard and are placed on the track. As the customer needs them, the ones that have been on the siding the longest get taken to the customer. As they are emptied, they go back to the yard to be placed on a train to get reloaded. Kind of a three step process. Takes up time for the operator to place the excess cars in the leased storage track the then to pull the oldest product to deliver to the unloading track. Also on the layout, a short double ended spur wouldn't take up that much room width wise and no associated industry need be modeled. Perfect for a shelf layout or thin area next to an isle.

  2. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Great idea Greg! Easy to model, it makes ops even more interesting, and its prototypic!
  3. SD90

    SD90 Active Member

    That is a good idea, I'm thinking of doing something similar on my layout.
  4. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Hi Greg, I have a similar siding planned on the industrial area of my layout. It's nice to think that it isn't such an offbeat idea. Maybe I'll have to add another one or two extras now that they can be justified. :D :D :thumb: :thumb:
  5. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Whoa up one!! Why bother to drag those cars to that siding when it would be better to hold the cars in the yard till needed? There is no need to add tonnage to your train when its easier to wait till the cars are called for.Remember you must keep your local in working order..Now,if that company has no work for you (say) today why bother to stop and set out cars? Now if you don't have any work beyond that plant you can simply run around your train and return to the yard after you switch out your last set out. :D
  6. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    If the cars held raw materials that came from a distant destination or were to make up several loads destined to be sent to a single distant destination that was more than a couple of days away it would justify holding the cars on an industrial siding or two, to be moved into position by the local switcher as needed for the smooth operation of the industry.
  7. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Clark,You would hold those cars at the division yard or a out laying yard in a smaller city or town..I apologize for not making that clear. :oops:
  8. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Thanks Larry. I probably am not very prototypical, but I envision several light industries in fairly close proximity to each other being served by one switcher (see my latest revision at the bottom of the page and you'll see what I mean).
  9. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Clark,Doesn't matter if you are being prototypical or not..Just as long as you are having fun.. :thumb: After all there is no rules that govern the way we model or the way we run our trains .. :D :thumb: So enjoy! :D Nice looking layout. :thumb:
  10. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Why bother to drag those cars to the siding? One, space is limited in the yard at Sparks. Two, they are then held much closer to the industry that needs them, which leases the track for that purpose. Three, the local goes by the storage track 5 days a week anyway so dropping them off isn't any more difficult than shifting them around the yard in Sparks. Four the cars are leased and shipping charges may be higher if sitting in the yard, where as the charges for track lease and cars on spot at such track are probably cheaper. It isn't uncommon for companies to lease a track to this kind of storage.

  11. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Greg,I spent 91/2 years working on the railroads.(PRR/PC C&O/Chessie).Remember one thing..Every time you needlessly handle a car that requires extra moves and extra work which involves time..Time that you may not have due to superior trains.A outlaying yard is set up to hold overflow cars for industries.What do you do if that track is already full?
    See railroading is never cut and dry or as simple or complicated as we modelers makes it.
    Sure the local may past by that industry 5 days a week..But,it may not have any work to do there regardless of how busy that given industry is..After all it takes time to unload or load a boxcar,covered hopper or tank car.Again nothing is cut and dry as it may appear to most modelers.
    Now lets take this one step farther.Let's say that that industry has a assigned switch crew or perhaps their own plant switch crew..At times they may not have that much work to do and of course may only spot or move very few cars in a 8 hour work day and in the mean time new loads and empties keep on arriving for that industry.You see how messy and out of control things can become? :D
  12. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Larry, I've been working on the railroad 25 years now (WP/UP). I switch those very cars that are taken up to the siding. We need the room for other cars going out on the same local. You are right, it isn't cut and dried. We have limited room at Parr yard, on the branch, and it is quicker to set them out there than move them four and five times just to spot or run around other cars for the industries at the yard. Parr yard is on a 1% grade for the most part, steeper in other parts, so every time we move the cars that requires hand brakes released and retied. Yes Larry, I know how messy and out of control it can get and how bogged down UP is right now.

  13. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Greg It is great to talk to another railroader. :D Then lets also look at the customer..Have you ever notice you might spend a lot of time "cherry picking" cars out of that cut on that siding or in a outlaying yard??? I never could understand the reasoning why we would put the newer inbound cut in front of the older cars waiting to be spotted.Of course a lot of times we had no idea what cars the customer would want until that given day and of course that *could* be changed by the customer when you arrive at his plant. :eek: Nothing as time consuming as cherry picking cars at the customer's loading or unloading docks and replacing those cars with loads or empties and re-spotting the cars you had to move to get that inbound car at a given dock door with the DS calling you every few minutes wanting you to clear up..No wonder conductors was whiskey drinkers. :eek:
    I am sure you recall the UP/SP melt down after the merger..That was small apples compared to the PRR/NYC merger that clogged and stopped a major railroad.Not only was cars lost but whole complete trains went missing.Of course nothing like being called for 2:00 AM for a train that does not exist or left hours before your call time.Apologizes for getting off topic. :D
  14. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery


    I saw a presentation at the local club the other night by a guy from Ottawa Central. He noted that they often rent/lease part of their section of Ottawa's Walkley Yard for storage of rolling stock. As you noted - an interesting way to put stuff on your layout for which there is no "traditional" industry.

  15. Greg Elems

    Greg Elems Member

    Hi Larry and Andrew,

    Larry, we usually pulled the oldest cars from the siding, meaning the ones that had been there the longest. The way it worked when I was on the local, was fairly straight forward. We would put the cars in the siding from the east end on our way to Parr. The next night we would pull the cars from the west end to serve the customer on the way to Portola. Once we quit running to Portola and started getting our cars from Sparks, I imagine the cherry picking started in earnest then. At that time, I was working the yard engine in Sparks. I still see cars sitting on the siding but I'm not sure how they are handling the oldest car, new car set out routine. I know for a while we would hang onto the new cars, pull the spot cars, set the new cars in and place the rest on top. A good crew and conductor can do this surprisingly fast.

    I remember seeing trains sitting on sidings for 2-3 days at a time. One train took a week to get from Fresno to Roseville, a grand total of 180 miles. Units ran out of fuel, crews died on the hours of service and never left the terminal or siding. UP's decision to close some out lying yards proved fatal.

    Our melt down now is due to a couple of factors. One crew shortage and two work rules. With the accidents over the last few years, lawyers, FRA and such, have ground switching to a virtual halt. Minimally trained crews and mass retirements haven't helped either. Experienced crews, even with the restricted work rules could plan their work. Now we are happy just to get the work done without any incidents. What took 6 hours now often takes 12, like a poorly played chess game.

    Andrew, with real-estate at a premium on our layouts, large industries, like lumber yards are better modeled off layout IMHO. The storage of cars for industries allows those neat cars a reason for being on the layout. Same for plastic plants and LPG terminals.

  16. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    Hi Greg,

    Yes I agree. It is a neat way of still having an "industry destination" with a minimum of real estate required. :)

  17. stuart_canada

    stuart_canada Member

    well when I lived in Iowa, the local IC ( now CNR) would drop cars off at the local station, now just a few tracks , the cars would be dropped beside an old loading un loading ramp. they were palced there for a couple businesses that needed rail shipments and did not have their own tracks or were not close enough to any rail line. i have put a set of tracks in my layout for just that reason. The tracks in Iowa always had the strange box cars sitting there waiting to be unloaded and taken away. A good place to store and show off new models without having to run them around the tracks....
    just my thoughts
  18. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Absolutely! The team track..King of the industries. :thumb: Nothing like a good team track for industries to large to model even when its been condensed in size.
  19. Tileguy

    Tileguy Member

    On a model railroad using the yard for storage wouldnt be practical for the most part.A seperate storage area would be best.
    That said
    I agree with both of you(greg and Larry).You see,much depends on the policies of the individual roads and the particular area of that road.
    Example.BNSF has several long sidings locally.they also have an interchange yard 6 miles up the line and another small yard in GR 9 miles up the line.
    With this in mind 1 siding is called Philbin.I have seen this siding used for intermodel car storage for as long as 3 months at a time40-50 cars just siting thier and not even owned by BNSF.Certainly that siding is being leased by TTTX.
    Now why do they not have them at Gunn or in GR or for that matter at one of the manny yards available in Duluth 60 miles away(division point yard plus several outlying yards due to merger of GN,NP etc. NP's main was in Duluth,GN's was in Superior Wisconsin (other side of the harbor ) several yards exist all over the twin ports area)
    So, why are these cars sitting here??? Why use up yard tracks when you have a siding that see's little to no use.Has a daily local, a dedicated switcher in GR 9 miles away and no set time frame as to when these cars will see service???
    Now that is the particular situation for this particular road and area,however,what if they didnt have a daily local?? what if it was the only siding for 25 miles in each direction?? I think you see where i am going here.Conditions dictate as well as individual road policy and need.

    So, like i said,I agree with both of you.(and I am not a railroader with 9 1/2 or 25 years )....I did stay at a holiday inn express last week however :D :D :D

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