Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Changes at Fordyce

In the last post I mentioned about removing one turnout and connecting two spurs, well that went by the wayside.  While adding the Gavilon Fertilizer plant in Haskell I removed one small industry that received flat cars, which left only industry on the layout that used flat cars.  Wanting to have a more flats in use I came up with a company that received pipe on flat cars.

It produces Irrigation piping and I named it Ozark Irrigation. Along with loaded flat cars, some pipe may arrive on Bulkhead flats aswell and also gets some a boxcar for some of the smaller items like fittings needed to produce the irrigation pipe.  

This new industry replaced Dixie Woodworks and will probably not allow me to have the street running as I had planned.  But that's progress.



The next project is to reconfigure Flappers on the left.  Before I had the Flappers Litter track on the right side of the main in the background.  Now I'm gonna have to move it to the left side.  

Another side project that needs to be done with all this realignment is to reconfigure the Wheel Report and add a few more Tabs for all the new industries

Once I get done with the trackwork in Fordyce, I plan to clean up the wiring a bit, then I want to put together an Op Session to test and see how all the work pans out.   


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Riceland complete.

While relaying the elevator tracks last week, I ran out of  turnouts so I had to order a couple. They arrived tonight so I slipped down quick and got them installed.

One thing I did was to address the closeness of the elevator tracks to the mainline. Doug M. brought this to my attention after getting the mainline relaid behind Riceland a few weeks ago.  This should allow me to get a bit scenery or fencing between the tracks now.  Good call Doug.

The only thing left is to attach the feeder wires and trim the tail end of the elevator tracks.

I did forget that I have one more small bit of trackwork left to redo in Fordyce.  I want to remove the turnout for Dixie Woodworks and attach that spur to the spur for Flappers Litter track.  Two reasons for this.  1) I want make a little more work for the Haskell Turn so they might have to move any tank cars sitting on the Litter track to access Dixie Woodworks.  2) I want to try and get a little street running on the layout and I don't want to have a turnout buried in the middle of the street.

Fordyce seems to be a good candidate for this because of the viewing angle. Standing at the bend in the layout you can look right down the tracks.  I also want to move the spur for the Litter track and Dixie Woodworks a bit towards the backdrop so I have a little wider area to layout the street.

We'll see how this works when the time comes.  Here's the reason I kind of forgot about it, it was buried just a bit.

In this view you can see the turnout that I want to remove that's just in front of the blue tank car.  That spur will connect to the end of the spur with the two black tank cars.  Then I will try to move them a bit closer to the right towards the backdrop.  This also has the bonus of having one less turnout on the mainline.

Once I get this work completed, I plan to get an op session together to test all the new track I've been working on for the past few months.  Another thing I've been working on, I've been rebuilding my Wheel Report, adding the new industries and cleaning it up a bit.  Another reason for the Ops session, to test out my Excel skills! Thanks for all the help on that Steven!  

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Riceland Re-do

After finishing up the basic track work for the Gavilon Fertilizer plant, I got started on ripping up the turnouts that lead into Riceland Industries this weekend.  I wanted to move the turnouts back down to the south end of Haskell siding.  

This has always been a troubled spot through the turnouts with frequent derailments and electrical issues, so hopefully this will resolve those issues.  This will also allow me to move the elevator and mill tracks back towards the backdrop and away from the mainline to give me a little extra room. Overall the track plan will stay pretty much as it was.

I'm still planning to leave the drill track (top picture next to the backdrop) in place for the Riceland switcher to use, but I'm working on another idea.  The whole purpose of the Gavilon plant was to add more work for the Haskell Turn because it never took as long to run as did the Winnfield Turn.

My thoughts now are to have the Haskell Turn switch out the Riceland elevator and mill tracks during it's run.  This means that the Haskell crew will be spending the majority of its time working in the town of Haskell. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Reversal at Gavilon

After getting one of the spherical tanks and the two loading platforms assembled then making the mockups of the hopper unloading facility, I could see that it might be better to reverse the purpose of the two sidings.

The hopper unloading buildings actually fits better at the end of the track.  With only the tank car unloading platforms on the other siding, this leaves me more room for the spherical tanks and a small pump house.  

While the big tanks probably would NOT have been built this close to the tracks, one has to deal with compression.

After getting things rearranged, I had to try it out.  I found out that with the hoppers at the end of track, and following FRA rules of not having the locos coupled directly to a tank car, I will have to have the cars blocked at El Dorado so that there will be hoppers (or a buffer car) on the head of the train that I can use to work the tank car siding if there are no hoppers called to be set out that day. Otherwise if there are hoppers to be picked up, they can be worked first.

Let's take a look at how the local handels this new job?  I used the max amount of cars (2 hoppers and 2 tanks) to see how things fit.

After the Haskell Turn pulls into the siding at Haskell it uncouples the new cars and pulls forward then reverses onto the new Shoofly.

First thing is to switch out the tanks cars.

Next comes the hoppers.  First they set out the tank cars on the old main and swap the hoppers, then recouple..........Glad they left the old main intact.

With this done, they head back to Haskell siding and place the cars on what will be the rear of the train when they leave for El Dorado.

This looks like it could a fun and simple operation! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Gavilon Fertilizer LLC. takes shape.

After getting the basic trackwork laid out, I needed to figure out where to install the two sidings.  So this past weekend I started working on the two tank car loading platforms, then got started making some mockups of the hopper unloading shed and storage bins.

Here's an overall view of the area.

I made a few blocks of wood for the hopper unloading station and elevator along with four 1" PVC tubes for the storage bins.  The shorter block will also have a corrugated lean-to shed to keep the material dry while unloading it.  But I'm still debating what I'll do for the actual elevator?

I really like the Tomix kits even though most of the time their details are a little oversized.  But it's nothing a little Evergreen sheet stock can't take care of.  I made the new roof panels a bit larger and added a second section that overhung the tracks a bit further.

Their railing are also a bit oversized so I snipped off the top railing which helped the appearance.

On the back side of the platform they give you a support for piping which lined up over the top of the railing, so I cut a section out to make it line up under the platform.

I got them painted and temporarily set them in place along with one of the spherical tanks to get a feeling of space needed and location of the siding.

Where the yellow squares of paper are I plan to use the Pikestuff  Milton A. Corp kit.  I bought this originally to use for the Crushmoore Co. building in Malvern, but it turned out to be too small for what I wanted.  Hopefully it'll be a better fit here?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Gavilon Fertilizer LLC.

At least that's what I'm calling it for now.

The history of this plant is as follows.
The road that served the plant was a branch line or short line which shut down or abandoned the line leaving the plant without rail service.  Rock Island was asked to build a shoofly so rail service could continue.

The real reason it's being installed was to equalize the operating time of the Haskell Turn and Winnfield Turn.  The time it takes to work the Winnfield Turn (El Dorado to Winnfield to El Dorado) is much longer than the time needed to complete the work of the Haskell Turn (El Dorado to Haskell to El Dorado).

This weekend I found enough time to start ripping things up so I could start the work on the fertilizer plant.  Wasn't sure how much room I had to work with nor do I know how big the plant will be when finished.  

I managed to get the cork and track relaid on the sections that I could.  This being the second Haskell siding and the Shoofly  leading into the new plant.  

After that I got the cork tacked into position to get a feel of the room I had to play with, then tacked down a few sections of track.

You can see that I also reworked the south end of Haskell siding by removing the two #6 turnouts and replaced them with one #8.  I also decided to remove the short spur that was for Ghuntz Implements.

Next I need to determine the footprint of the plant as well as the size of the buildings.  Since I have nothing special in mind for the main plant building (where the hoppers will unload) I can't install that spur yet, but I do have what is needed for the tank loading spur.  I picked these up awhile back when I decided to include the fertilizer plant on the layout.

I have four of the spherical tanks and two of the loading platforms.  I was surprised tonight when I  opened the platform box and found there are actually two platforms in this box.  Since I can't read Japanese I wasn't sure if there was one platform with two options or two with one of each.  What you see on the box IS what you get: two platforms and one truck loading ramp.  Now I have four...

So the next thing on my list will be to get some of the kits roughed in so I can get a feel of the size and how many I can fit in the area.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

South side complete!

As of this afternoon, I have completed everything in regards to the trackwork on the south side of the layout.  That would be from El Dorado to Winnfield.

As I mentioned in a coupler posts back, I wanted to reduce the ICG trackage to a single track.  My original plan was to have the ICG crew return to the siding and then have them run around the train so it was ready for the next session and to add to the ops of this crew.

Now after several sessions, we've decided to change the staging to where everything gets restaged, and this includes the ICG.  So we've just been returning it to the siding and tying it down.  I' also shortened the siding thereby allowing my to hide it a bit easier and it also gives me a bit more depth behind the yard lead.

So I went from this:

To this.

I also mentioned that I wanted to a new customer in Ruston.   After doing a little proto research a few weeks back I found out that the Rock would drop off open hoppers filled with agricultural limestone for the local fields.  It would then unloaded via portable augers into trucks.  So with one of the turnouts from the ICG siding, I installed a house track at Ruston.

A little later I caught the 4464 in charge of a very short Winnfield turn sitting out a hopper on the new track.  This should be a very rare sight during op sessions as from what I gathered in an article, this was not very common on the prototype.

With this done today, the realignment project on the south side of the layout is now complete. 

The next projects.  I'll return to the north side of the layout where I plan to redo the Riceland trackage, move a turnout in Fordyce and start laying out the new fertilizer plant in Haskell.

Monday, May 29, 2017

TOFC's on the new track.

The proof's in the pudding!
I was able to get some video action over the new trackage this weekend.

Please forgive the clutter on the layout, I plan to move right along to another one of the projects that I noted in a previous thread. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

"Honey! What's all that commotion down there?"

"Nothing dear!  Just finishing up a little trackwork, that's all"


What I thought was going to be some major work turned out to be not as bad as I first thought.  Last night I finished up the last major realignment on The Little Rock Line: The track between Haskell and Winnfield.

As stated in an earlier post, where the track curved through the backdrop was a little tight and I had a turnout right afterwards which created a bit of an "S" curve. This only reared it's ugly head after I had decided to run some longer equipment. So I turned up the tunes and grabbed the track working tools and dove in.

After some head scratching and conversations with a few friends, the work commenced. I was planning to rip up the biggest share of the track all the way through Haskell, but as it worked out I only needed to pull up the track from the backdrop to the first turnout leading into Malvern.

Here are the before and after pictures.

Haskell, AR

 Winnfield, LA

This is the town of Winnfield, not much was changed here.  The first thing I needed to do was to slightly swing the mainline to the right and a bit closer to the fascia so I could get it to meet up with the new tracks through the backdrop and the diamond.

Then I played around with the spurs.  I wanted to leave the spur for Union Scrap and after some research I decided to add a small pallet company (which was actually on the line and severed by The Rock, but I do believe it was further north on the line).  

The rightmost track is the mainline, but it is not used during the sessions and is treated as the EOT.  In real life (I believe) Rock Island used tracks owned by the KCS to gain access the yard in Alexandria, LA via Tioga Jct. which is in the bottom of the picture.  (I still need to add a section of track from the diamond to the fascia to finish it off).

During the sessions cars are placed on this track and it is the job of the Winnfield local to exercise the journals of the cars stored there.  Which means it needs to pull all the cars from the track, move the last car to the front of the line, then replace all the cars to the EOT as part of it's daily duty.

The other industries: Union Scrap is nothing more than a scrap yard that receives empty gons and the newest industry is the pallet company: Boudreaux's Bayou Pallets.  This will be a very small industry and will only receive one or two cars at the very most from time to time.  Either a 50' flat of lumber or a empty 40' boxcar to be filled with, you guessed it, pallets.

Now with the major realignment projects behind me, it's time to turn to a few smaller projects.

First, the three turnouts that lead into the Riceland facility.  These were laid kind of hastily in order to meet the deadline for an earlier ops session.  They work, but can be kind of electrically spotty from session to session.

Back in the Winnfield area, it's been decided that the ICG does not need a siding on their track.  When the sessions are over, the train never gets run around the itself and winds up getting stripped of it's cars while restaging the cars.  So the two turnouts will be removed and reclaimed for another future project I have planned between Fordyce and Haskell.  The ICG track will be shortened a bit, this will allow me to move it a bit closer the backdrop and hopefully be able to partially conceal it with a tree line or low rising hill.

Lastly, again while doing the research, I stumbled upon another quaint little on-line industry.  In Ruston, LA The Rock would drop off one or two open hoppers of agricultural limestone on the house track. This in turn would be unloaded via an auger into farm trucks and spread onto local fields.

So returning to Ruston one more time, I plan to install a simple siding like this.

This type of simple industry was part of what drew me to model this section of The Rock.  It reminds me of the article in an older issue of  Model Railroader where they designed a simple 10' x 10' layout that portrayed Southern Railway's Murphy's branch line.  If stock High Hood locomotives had been available back then, I may have actually been modeling the Southern instead of The Rock?

In closing this post, I am so glad that I only tacked down the track throughout the layout.  This has allowed me to run Op Sessions over the last several years and see what and where any changes needed to be made.  A few more sessions will be needed to make sure these changes are in fact the final changes before proceeding with any scenery.