Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Two weeks ago we had another ops session primarily to test the newly rebuilt yard at El Dorado.

I'm happy to report that the work rebuilding it was well worth time.  The yard seemed to work as planned and the yard crew didn't find much to complain about!  After Quin got the Haskell local [the third and final local] on it's way, he had me come look at the yard, he held out his hands and exclaimed "Empty", and actually had a little free time before the Winnfield local returned to El Dorado.

The main goals were:
1) To add a second Arrival / Departure track.
2) Re-align the entrance to the A/D tracks on the north end so the yard lead and main had their own access to them.
3) Move and re-design the engine house tracks.   

Adding the second A/D track gave the yard crew a place to spot the outbound cars somewhere else other than in the yard, effectively freeing up one yard track.  Now it's like having a fifth yard track.  It also allowed the road crews to do their own set outs and pick ups without having to wait for the yard crew to do it for them.  This meant less down time.

Re-aligning of the yard entrance gave the yard crew the ability to continue with their chores without getting in the way of the road crews.  Again less time spent waiting on each other.  It also had the benefit of seeing two trains moving within El Dorado, something I find fascinating to watch on a model.   

Moving the engine house tracks so they came off the yard lead allowed the local power to slip on and off of their trains easier without having to move through the yard, again interfering with the yard crew and their work and vice versa.  Granted, they still have to share the yard lead to do it, but it's not as much of a hassle as having to run down the yard ladder. 

Here's another before and after shot of the yard from the north end.

In the old yard, the two tracks to the left of the yard were the Pool Tracks.  In the new yard, yard track #4 serves as the Pool Track now.  Four yards tracks seem to enough now that the second A/D track has been installed and the yard tracks were lengthened a bit. 

The Pool Track is where the captive service cars are stored that do not return to the main yard. These would be tank cars and pulpwood flats that originate from the ICG at Ruston and run to Malvern and open hoppers that originate at Malvern and move to A&A Cement at Dubach. It just keeps them separated from the rest of the cars.

The track that comes off the south end of the ladder and caboose track will be the lead to a couple of industries in the upper section of  El Dorado.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Riceland Industies gets their switcher.

After the first couple of operating sessions, it was thought that Riceland Industries should have it's own switcher.  Not that they have a ton of cars to move, but more so to reduce the amount of work for the Haskell local.  This also created a quick and easy job if a crew was standing around waiting for a call or where a newbie could wet their feet if they felt intimidated with any of the other jobs.

This is an Atlas Baldwin VO-1000 that started out as Cotton Belt # 1018.  

I removed the short stock stacks, replaced them with the taller stacks, rubbed off the lettering and printed the Riceland logo.  

The weathering was done using Tamiya's white weathering powered to give it a faded look, then went after it with several coats of artist oils and finished it off with a dusting of bragdon powders.

I installed a TCS VO-1000 DCC chip and set the speed table for a lowered the top end speed.

To answer a recent comment on how I made the Riceland Logo:
Nice job Allen! Tell us more about how you printed and applied the logo. Do you have one of the old ALPS printers that can print white?

Thanks Dave!
Yes I do have an Alps printer but that is not how made this decal. I started out with a sheet of white Inkjet decal paper.  I did a search on Google images for "Riceland Logo", copied it and brought it into CorelDraw.  Created a box and colored it blue.  Then I snooped through my collection of Fonts until I found one that was close and overlaid it on the blue box so when I printed it with my inkjet, the white decal paper showed through.

I then sprayed several light coats of Floquil Crystal Coat to seal the image then trimmed it and applied it like a normal decal.  The cab number was just from a leftover decal sheet that fit my liking.