Back in the early Spring when I was talking with a one of the crews in El Dorado, they mentioned there may be some trackwork scheduled for Ruston and DuBach, but wasn't for sure where or when.
Long about late September while heading to Winnfield to get my tires changed on the Ol truck, I noticed a bunch of track equipment sitting on one of the junction tracks at Ruston. Evidently they were planning to get started before winter set in?
This past weekend I decided to head back south and see what if anything had changed at Ruston. Sure enough, they'd been busy! They had removed both tracks at the junction and replaced them with a single track. They also re-aligned it and got rid of that kink coming off the ICG. I was always amazed that nothing ever jumped the track at that point! I'm sure the crews will be a bit more relaxed when switching Ruston now?
After seeing all this I wondered what if anything had been done in DuBach? Upon arriving I was shocked at the amount trackwork that had been done there as well! They had lengthened the sidings on the south end! But the real shocker was, they reinstalled the old spur that had been ripped out years ago when the old feed mill closed down due to a fire?
But now it looks as if someone had bought the old feed mill with plans to reopen it? Awesome, that means a little more switching action in DuBach! I might have to hang out down here a little more often?
It's been so long since I've done any track work I had to stop and think about which tools I needed and more importantly, where they were.
I figured I'd start with the easiest project, and that was Ruston. When I first laid the tracks there in Ruston my plans were to have the ICG drop off cars to be picked up by the Rock and visa versa. It worked good and it also served another purpose. It was a simple switch job where any newbie could get their feet wet with operations without feeling overwhelmed. There were several of my crews who were a little apprehensive about taking the throttle of one of the work trains but readily tried their hands with this.
But as time went on and everybody got the hang of it, it became kind of mundane. Then one day I ran across this video that DJ of (DJtrains) posted on Youtube
Well I applied that to Ruston and came up with this.
This worked great and everyone gave it a thumbs up.
Well that has been 4 sessions ago and during those sessions it was decided that Ruston didn't need two sidings anymore. After several conversations I decided to finally Ruston Jct. to the "To-Do" list.
The options I toyed with was to leave the two sidings in place and park Maintenance equipment there, leave one in place but have the rails ripped up and leave the ties or rip it out and relay it with a single track, I chose the latter.
Here's the before and after's.
It's fairly long for a junction track, but we also use it for a temporary storage. Once the Winnfield Turn is done at Ruston, the ICG pulls the cars onto the siding where they will sit until the Turn comes back from Winnfield. Winnfield has a very small siding so leaving the cars at Ruston is a good option.
With Ruston done for now, it was time to move into DuBach.
DuBach only has three industries, but it has turned out to be one of the more complex towns to switch. Most of the crews who have switched DuBach have said there never seems to be enough room. Much like Ruston, we have figured out that since Winnfield has a very short siding, it's easier to switch out the cars in Dubach and then leave the empties on the siding to be picked up when the Winnfield Turn comes back through town heading back to El Dorado.
To make things even more interesting, the Turn needs to switch out ARKLA Dist. on the return trip as it's now a trailing point turnout. So as one can see, DuBach can be a head scratcher to work.
To compensate for the lack of space, after the first few sessions, I added a small double ended siding next to the backdrop to help alleviate the lack of space. It helped, but at times there was still a lack of space. Here it was giving Coy a tough time a few weeks ago.
What I came up with was to extend the two sidings to just past past the RH turnout that leads into ARKLA Dist. This added almost two feet of storage.
I also decided to add another industry in DuBach. This track will serve the refurbished feed mill. LOL, this will probably just add to the issue I tried to solve.
All I need to do now is to the re-connect the feeder wires and adjust the alignment a bit and finish the siding.
Next on the hit list is The bridge scene between Calion and El Dorado, Fordyce and finally Winnfield.