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.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


How is it that whenever you do a little bit of work on the layout, the rest of it becomes a catch all?
It's always amazed me...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The "un-named" Pallet Co.

During my track realignment I decided to add a small one car industry in Winnfield.

While doing a little research, I discovered there was actually a Pallet manufacturer on the line that the Rock served, it was named "Someone" & Sons Pallet Co. Sounds a little boring to me so I decided to try and find a new name for it but keep coming up blank.

So I thought I would throw it out here and see if anyone can come up with a cute or catchy name for it that I could use. 

You got any names?

Update:  A follower gave me a good suggestion for the name.
He's resides in Louisiana and sent me this note.

Being in Louisiana, you just can not go wrong with a name such as "Boudreaux", that or one of those other crazy Cajun names that have far more letters than syllables.

So I combined it with another name I came up with for: 

Boudreaux's Bayou Pallets

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Haskell to Winnfield realignment pt2

Making a little progress on this latest realignment project.  The way things are turning out, I was able to squeak by without ripping up a ton of track.  

I decided to move the curved turnout back to Haskell and it seemed to work out much better. It actually has given me a larger radius on both tracks.  Now I need to decide what to do with the turnout?
Do I power it or leave it manual? 
If I power it, do I use a choke cable or switch motor?
A buddy has a DCC capable Cobalt machine that I can use?  Hmmmm?

During Ops it will not be used, so leaving it manual may be an option for now?

Before and After of Haskell.

Before and After of Winnfield

In the last photo, the track that crosses the diamond from the backdrop is the continuous run connection, this is not used during a session other than parking some cars on it and serving as the EOT.  It's primary purpose is so I can bypass the yard when I'm running by myself.  The other two tracks lead to the yard.

It will definitely look a lot cleaner now and..... the "S" curve is gone!

Here's another shot further down from Winnfield.

Just out of the picture at the bottom is a 45° crossing.  From this point to the diamond the mainline will have to swing out towards the fascia to meet the new connection track seen on the right.  The spur for Union Scrap was never permanent, It was placed where it's at so we had a physical spur, I'm kind of thinking about relocating it a bit, maybe to match the swing of the connection track?

Once I figure out where and how the mainline will wind  up, I'll relocate the spur for Union Scrap and get everything wired up.  Then life will be good again....