Well last night Quin and I got together and ran the dry run. I must say that everything went as planned and we had a blast. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos or videos this time as we were to focused on getting the train ran. I apologize for that.
I have plans to hopefully get several small videos of the train while it switches each town in the future, kind of a like a mini series. Gonna have to give this some thought on how to go about this?
The only train we ran was the Winnfield local which was staged in the main yard. It was ran as an Out and Back turn starting in Little Rock and running down to the yard in Alexandria, LA.
Since I just wanted to see how the local would go about it's chores, I planned not to run the W&OV switcher, the ICG interchange or the El Dorado switcher, thus saving time.
After I had the cars staged and tabbed to be picked up, I moved them by hand into position so the local could just pick them up. This included the cars from the W&OV at Malvern, the interchange cars at Ruston from the ICG and the cars that needed to be picked up from the yard in El Dorado.
It was then that I realized some of the cars would not be run from the staging yard. For example, some of the cars from the ICG actually wind up in Malvern. Normally these cars were picked up via the local and drug back to the yard in El Dorado where as before the W&OV would run a train from Malvern down to El Dorado and exchange cars and then drag them back to be set out at the industries in Malvern by the W&OV switcher. So I sat those cars bound for Malvern on the ICG interchange track and had the NB Winnfield local pick them up. They were then actually hauled all the way back to Haskell where they were set out on the siding there for them to pick up via the Hand of God and moved back into Malvern. The cars at El Dorado was pre-staged sitting on the A/D tracks as well.
Next I was just randomly placing NB or SB white tabs on the cars to be picked up when I realized that I shouldn't be dragging these NB cars ALL the way south end? They should actually be going North.
Let me back up a bit. Since the local was going to be ran as an Out and Back Turn , it was only going to work the Trailing Point turnouts. This would save me from having to make any Run Around moves to get cars off the Facing Point turnouts.
This dictated that any cars sitting on a trailing point turnout that had a NB tab was going to have to be picked up and set off at the nearest siding or drug down to the yard at El Dorado, sat out and would then be picked up by the NB local. This posed some interesting movements, ones that I hadn't thought of before.
Likewise, some of the SB cars that would be picked up by the local from the W&OV in Malvern needed to go to A&A Concrete in Dubach and the rest needed to go to the ICG at Ruston. The Hoppers bound for A&A Cement wouldn't be an issue because the Pit Track in DuBach was a trailing point turnout that could be worked by the SB local. But the ICG interchange track was a Facing Point turnout that would needed to be worked by the NB local.
There were several options. Those cars could have been left in DuBach and worked by the NB turn, but they would have had to run back down the line from DuBach to Ruston. The other option was to drag all those ICG cars to the yard at Alexandria, then placed in with the cars sitting there waiting to make the run North. This was chosen as it gave us a little more work to do in the yard other than just swapping the power and caboose onto the NB cars. Then as we worked our way North, we worked the interchange with the ICG by grabbing the NB cars for Malvern that were sitting there and moved the ICG bound cars back on to the interchange track and headed on North with the Malvern cars in tow.
NB cars that we had left at DuBach and El Dorado was picked up and hauled north by the NB local. All in all it made for some very interesting moves to be made and really made us stop and think about how we were going to get the jobs done.
Bottom line......I plan to move forward with the new operations. It took Quin and almost three hours to run just the two trains. Of course this was due in part that we were dealing with some new situations that made us stop and think them through. I think once we run a it a few times, the time required will be reduced.
It was also a lot more laid back, much more like the prototype that I had always envisioned.
Another thing I plan to move forward on is rebuilding the staging yard. I plan to rip up 90% of the tracks and make a much more smaller, simpler yard, something with maybe 5-6 tracks and small engine facility.
If and when the yard gets rebuilt, there should be enough room that I may include an industrial scene using some of the larger Walthers Cornerstone buildings that I've collected over the years. This area could then be worked as a separate Minim layout if I wished or could be included in the operating session if there are enough people on board, or it could just be left alone. Time will tell.