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.