Saturday, October 24, 2020

Going, going, gone!

The only bit of track that remains on the yard is the outer loop along the backdrop and the two staging tracks.  I just need to tie the three tracks together to form the two siding and I can start relaying things.

I'm planning to tie the three tracks together in the curved area with large curved turnouts so they'll be easy to reach.


Friday, October 23, 2020

Halfway there.

Over the course of a week, I've been able to get the first half of the yard ripped up, and decided to leave some of the existing track in place to use for the rear track and the two sidings.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

First bit of new track

Been making a little progress ripping up the tracks in the yard and while I was doing this the light went on.
I decided to move the two turnouts for the two rear staging tracks to the left end of the yard around the curve.  
Originally I was going to have them on the tangent just after the curve.  This will allow me to reach them a lot easier as well as giving me a bit more length should I need it.

If the geometry looks off, it's because I shot it with a wide angle setting on the iPhone.  Notice the length of the turnouts, both are large, the second one is curved.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Let's get ripped......up.

It feels good to get back to the layout.
It's been a year since I walked away from it due to the bathroom remodel and getting back into some railfanning.  With the weather starting to change, the leaves have fallen off most of the trees already and what little time we had to get some fall foliage colors recorded was ruined with all the smoke from those late summer fires made the sky look gray and dingy, so I decided to turn towards the layout again.

I already posted of the plans to redo the yard in El Dorado and the main staging yard.This afternoon I got out the tools need to start removing the track.

Here's the first three turnouts removed.

But I have a long way to go, 16' to be exact.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Staging renovation

Along with the reduction of my operations, the staging yard will also be reduced.  Not in physical size, but in the amount track that will be needed.

As mentioned several posts back, I plan to reduce the amount of trains that run during a session from as many as 22 down to 4.  This will include one local that runs out and back over the entire layout and only two through freights. 

The new staging will still function the same as the old staging, but will have much less track and be less complicated to operate.  The trains will enter and exit the staging as before as an extension of the layout, but will only have 4-5 tracks that make up the bulk of the yard.  A small basic engine facility and at least two tracks at the rear where a couple of through freights can sit out of the way.

In time, if things pan out my plans are to add a small industrial area between the yard and the rear two staging tracks, hopefully giving the illusion of a downtown scene.  This should also give me another mini switching layout within the overall layout to play on without having to run the entire layout.

A little history of the staging.

back in 1986 when we first came up with our BendTrack modular plans we wanted a staging yard where we could make and break trains without fouling the mainlines.  The first one was 8' long and 9 tracks wide.  After the first few public shows it was obvious that it was going to have be expanded.  The first expansion was to lengthen it from 8' to 16', the second expansion came a few years later.  I added a bubble on the end and looped the track 180° and wound up with 8 staging tracks and one return track.  This worked until 1997 when I doubled the width of the yard from one yard with 8 tracks to two parallel yards of 8 tracks each.  I also included two By-Pass tracks that ran between both yards.  I also added a bunch of ready tracks where the members could store their extra power if need.

In 2008 when I decided to build the current layout in the basement, I included the yard module for the staging of the new layout since we weren't setting up the modules any longer. Over the years I've made several minor modifications to it so it would function better in this new role.

As of tonight I took the time to clear it off so that I can start the renovation process.


Here is a rough drawing of what it will become when I'm finished.

The local is planned to originate and terminate in this yard.  The cars will be pre-staged into a SB and a NB group on two of the tracks.  The locomotives and caboose will be stored on the tracks within the loop on the right.  The two through freights will be staged on the green tracks in the rear (in opposite directions).  The industrial section is in blue if and when it gets added.  Disregard the red X's for now.

The session will begin with the crew pulling the locomotives from the engine facility and placing them and the caboose on the SB group of cars.  They will leave the yard (Biddle yard) SB, traverse the layout and wind up back on the same track (now in Alexandria, LA) from where they left.  Next they will drop their train and tie onto the NB string of cars and place their caboose on that train and traverse the layout NB and wind up on the same track from where they left originally in Alexandria.  Lastly they will park the locomotives and caboose back in the engine facility to end the session.

As things progress, I'm sure some things will change, but this is what I have planned as of now.  That's right, there will be no complicated classification switching either.  I want the bulk of the switching focused on the layout, not in the yard.  But by having the crew add their locomotives and caboose to their trains, it should give the feeling of doing some yard work without all the work.

We'll see how this goes...

Monday, October 5, 2020

Brainstorming again...

I'm slowly getting the basement and layout back in order. 

After getting the stuff cleared of the section that is El Dorado, I took a break and got thinking about how this area will be used now with the reduction of the Operations.  In the past this small yard was a bustling place that seen four trains stop here dropping off and picking up cars for the two locals that that were based out of here.  

The unlucky crew that got assigned the El Dorado job was kept very busy throughout the session shuffling cars in and out of the yard for the locals as well as attending to the three industries that are located here.

With the new Ops the entire layout will now only see four trains total pass through El Dorado.  The two through freights and the one local that runs both ways.  The local will drop off cars on the A/D tracks that will be bound for the opposite direction and it will pick them up on the return trip.  The local will still drop off cars for the three industries in El Dorado.

Since the traffic has been reduced, I think I'll reduce the amount of yard tracks as well.  At one point I had planned to have El Dorado proper be raised about 3" between the yard and backdrop and two of the three industries would have been on the raised section.  This meant that there would have been a steep incline with a tight radius loop to reach the industries.  There's always been a burr in my side about this setup, which is one reason why it never got done.

What I plan to do now is to keep everything on the same level as the yard and remove several things so I can get the industries set in place.

I snapped a shot of the existing town and then ran it through my editing software to virtually remove the tracks I have in mind.  

In this edited shot you can see that I removed the loop on the far end that would have been raised to the upper section.  I also removed the one of the four yard tracks and made the third one as a spur to the industry on the far end.  I also removed the caboose track.

In the foreground there used to be two tracks for the local engine facility where the power for the two locals were kept.  I removed one and shortened it up for the spur to serve the second industry.  I'll more than likely move it a little closer the other tracks as well.

This should now leave me with enough room for the two industries as well as road that will run from end to end and connect the two industries.  It should also give me the option to make a town scene with a little more space that won't feel cramped.

So now I have three things to strive for in the future:  I have two locos sitting on the workbench ready for paint that I left them before the remodel began, to completely rebuild the staging yard and now the redesign of El Dorado.  The juices are starting to flow again...