Author Topic: Progress on The Little Rock Line  (Read 51244 times)

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Bendtracker1

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Progress on The Little Rock Line
« on: May 16, 2011, 11:46:51 PM »
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I finally got the updated pictures of the layout uploaded to my page which are now up to date as of April, 2011.

All of the tracks on the main layout have been installed.  As I get the buildings built, some of the tracks may need to be repositioned as needed to get the tracks to line up with the buildings [or the building to fit the spaces].

The last industry to be designed and installed was Riceland Industries at Haskell, AR.  I was looking for an industry that I could make use of my Airslide hopper fleet.  I didn’t want just any typical milling company which can be found on so many layouts, but rather something unique that could still make use the Airslides.  So I started searching the net looking for industries in Arkansas and/or Louisiana that used these hoppers.
I finally stumbled across something that mentioned rice, which then led me to the Riceland Industries home page.  Here I found what I was looking for and the more I read the more I got intrigued.  Riceland is basically a CO-OP for Rice producers much like the CO-OPs here in the Midwest for Grain.  I also found out that Arkansas is the nation’s leading state for the production of Rice, followed by Louisiana [At least that is what I read].  Since The Little Rock Line is located in Arkansas & Louisiana, what could be better!

So here is what I came up with: 
 


I had just enough room to fit an old Walther’s elevator with an add-on silo kit [which I will  replace when I get the decals made for the new elevator kit] and squeezed in a Red Wing milling kit.
The Elevator tracks have room for ten hoppers and the Mill can handle up to 3 Airslides.  This should give the Haskell Turn [the NB local] more than enough work to keep the operator busy along with the rest of the industries along the line for each turn.

The rest of the updated pictures for the Little Rock Line can be seen here.

Next up: buildings, scenery and getting to work on a car routing system [something I may need to see if any of you can give me some insight on later]. 

Allen…
Thanks Philp for giving me some info and help with posting this.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 11:08:47 AM by Bendtracker1 »

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2011, 01:26:47 AM »
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Looking good Allen.  Looks like lots of good switching opportunities all along the line.  Do you have an overall schematic drawn up?  Do you expect to hold regular ops sessions?

Cheers,
Gary

Philip H

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2011, 09:00:12 AM »
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Hey Allen,
You are welcome.  I toured your photo album, and it looks good.  Now I need to figure out how to do interchange service requiring your outbounds!
Philip H.
Chief Everything Officer
Baton Rouge Southern RR - Mount Rainier Division.

"Yes there are somethings that are "off;" but hey, so what." ~ Wyatt

"I'm trying to have less cranial rectal inversion with this." - Ed K.

"There's more to MRR life than the Wheezy & Nowheresville." C855B

Bendtracker1

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2011, 12:07:37 AM »
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Looking good Allen.  Looks like lots of good switching opportunities all along the line.  Do you have an overall schematic drawn up?  Do you expect to hold regular ops sessions?

Thanks Gary. 
I think there should be more than enough switching opportunities, I hope.  I have tried to refrain from overloading the layout with industries, which is easier said than done.  You see all that open space and all of the ideas that you've seen in the all the magazines over the years start popping into you head!    ??? hmmm  ::) thinking  ::) thinking   :o Ooo, you know...

What little playing we've done with the locals, we have had a hard time trying to stay under a 15 car maximum for the locals.  I think what will help with that is not to have every industry get switched out every session.

That kind of answers your second question...yes I plan to have operating sessions, not sure about "Regular" [weekly or monthly] sessions.  Our group is kind of, well very informal.  We have never had a regular meeting night.  We get together mainly when someone gets an itch!

We tried to do operations with the modules, but not everyone really understood ops or they just didn't care.  Plus true operations on most module systems, ours included, seems to be a little tougher, due just to nature of the beast.  That being, able to setup in a different form every time and also trying to do that at busy shows, where your either watching for reaching hands or you wind up talking to show go'ers, makes it difficult to concentrate.

So when I conceived this layout from the beginning, I vowed to have it geared towards operations.  So we'll see how it turns outs.

I might see if I can pick some minds here and see if I can get some help with the finer details of operations.  I've read about it, researched it and planned for it, but when it come right down to it, it seems there is more to it than shuffling cars around!

As for the schematic, I threw this together this evening.



I have a friend helping me get a track plan drawn up that I can post here as well.  He makes his living with AutoCad and Micro-Station so it should be a breeze for him. I'll get it posted as soon a I can.

Allen...

« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 09:01:25 PM by Bendtracker1 »

Bendtracker1

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #4 on: May 18, 2011, 12:22:14 AM »
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Hey Allen,
You are welcome.  I toured your photo album, and it looks good.  Now I need to figure out how to do interchange service requiring your outbounds!

Thanks Philp!

How about Priority Mail Flat Rate?

You know, I got to thinking  ::)  I wonder how your gonna want payment, and how much for the use of your trackage into Alexandria, LA ??? Sure hope I can afford it seeing how I'm still trying to find a way to stave off bankruptcy!   ;)

Allen...

Denver Road Doug

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2011, 03:09:44 PM »
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Allen,

Looks good.   Riceland Industries should be a great looking complex when you get done.

Interested to hear about your ops.   I operate on two layouts...one in N with a simplified yet effective scheme to avoid squinting at freight car numbers all night and the other HO using RailOps.  I'm by no means an expert but I'm interested in learning and both layouts are fun to operate, each in their own right.

Doug
NOTE: I'm no longer active on this forum.   If you need to contact me, use the e-mail address (or visit the website link) attached to this username.  Thanks.

Bendtracker1

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2011, 01:15:02 AM »
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Hi Doug,  Thanks.

I hope it turns out like I plan. I wanted something simple and easy to switch at the end of the run.  The way the tracks worked out at Riceland is kind of how Paul Dolkos' Boston & Maine is laid out.  Most of his switch points are facing one direction.

Even though it's simple, I plan to make the local drop cars at the back of the left track, then shuffle the remaining cars from the left track to the back of the right track and take what ever doesn't fit back to El Dorado.  I think I will try to always leave some cars on the elevator for fillers.

The ops should be fairly simple.  The stars will be the two local turns from El Dorado.  There will be two manifests that run both North and South out of the main yard [which actually acts as two yards, Biddle at Little Rock and MoPac's yard at Alexandria, LA] to feed El Dorado and the locals.  One Red Ball called "The Shrimper" Which is a frozen intermodel/reefer train that hauls Seafood from the Gulf North, and the Empty that returns South will drop Chickens off at Fordyce so that it retains the Red Ball status Southbound.  Amtrak will make a show and then the W&OV will run from Hot Springs South to interchange at El Dorado. 

If things work out, there will be a CNW Stack train on occasion and a MKT coal train.  Both of these roads offered to help revitalize the line in return for trackage rights. ;D  CNW to the New Orleans and MKT to Baton Rouge.  If there is enough time or too many crews standing around, then a RI grain drag, or a NS or CSX detour trains could run to fill in.

Although some of these would never happen or are too new to be seen in the summer of '83, it will give me a chance to run some of other favorites toys.  It's my layout right? ;)

I have only operated on a three layouts, and never for very long.  Most of what I have planned, have been from what I've read or schemed up.  I'm looking forward to getting into the thick of it and putting some of things to the test!

It sounds like the N scale operation that you spoke of is kind of what I have in mind.  Simple and non eye straining. I took the idea of the Wheel Report that Jim Hediger used on his Ohio Southern.  It basically makes use of car types instead of relying on the car numbers. 
I found this with a quick search  Conductors wheel report.  Read the first section titled "OPERATION METHODOLOGY"  This basically explains what I plan to do.  I've modified it a bit for a little variation in set-outs.

I would be most interested to hear how the system works that you've used on the N scale layout you've mentioned.  I'm open for options and any tid bits of info that could help me get things figured out.  I think the main hurdle will be getting the trains scheduled to run in the right order to keep the cars flowing. 
Right now I don't have plans to use a fast clock. :P

If anybody wants to pipe in and give me any advice on operations and how you operate or have yours set up on your layout..... I'D LOVE TO HEAR IT!


Allen...

nscalemike

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2011, 04:43:41 AM »
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Thanks for the updates and I'll be reading to see how you end up handling your operations.  It looks like it'll be a blast to operate, whichever way you choose.  Your posting recently was part of what pushed me to start my own post as well.  Looks like we have some of the same goals.  Good luck and I'll be checking back often!

Mike

Bendtracker1

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2011, 02:23:45 PM »
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Thanks for the updates and I'll be reading to see how you end up handling your operations.  It looks like it'll be a blast to operate, whichever way you choose.  Your posting recently was part of what pushed me to start my own post as well.  Looks like we have some of the same goals.  Good luck and I'll be checking back often!

Mike

No problem Mike.
I hope it's as fun as I'm dreaming it will be!  That is part of my goal this summer, getting the ops worked out.

I know I've seen and read your postings, but for the life of me I can't remember where I seen it.  Was it about the weatherd FEC GP?  Also thinking your layout was the one that showed the FEC Boeing train, is that right or am I loosing my memory? ???

Allen...

nscalemike

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2011, 03:14:48 PM »
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No problem Mike.
I hope it's as fun as I'm dreaming it will be!  That is part of my goal this summer, getting the ops worked out.

I know I've seen and read your postings, but for the life of me I can't remember where I seen it.  Was it about the weatherd FEC GP?  Also thinking your layout was the one that showed the FEC Boeing train, is that right or am I loosing my memory? ???

Allen...

No, thats another great layout in the making it looks like, but mine is the IC/CN.  The loco your probably thinking of was a BNSF that I weathered and posted in a weekend update or my CN GP40-2 that I am currentley detailing, thats listed in the Need Loco Help thread.  Although, as I'm typing this, I think that FEC geep was done by a Mike as well, or maybe I'm losing my mind too?   

Bendtracker1

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2011, 04:08:58 PM »
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OK that's right. 

That CN unit is coming along mighty fine the way it looks.

When you get around to getting some pictures of your layout, please post them!

Allen...

Bendtracker1

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2011, 01:56:45 AM »
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Well it's been a long time since I've posted anything about the updates to the layout, so here goes.

I've made some good progress and covered a lot of grounds over the summer and this fall.

The first thing that I got done was to get a diagram of the layout drawn up.



The next thing that I got done was the fascia. I started on this back in July and finished it around the first of October.

The Fascia

It's made using 1/8" Masonite or Hardboard.  The colored striping for the schematic was painted first then taped off. I then rolled black paint over everything and removed the tape.  The schematic runs the entire length of the layout except on the main yard.  After I had that done and the paint had dried, I printed the town signs on Avery labels and stuck them in the corresponding locations so that the newbies knew where they were at, at any given time.

The town signs look just like what The Rock used for their town signs with the exception that theirs were Black with white reflective letters.  I had to reverse this so they would show on the black fascia.  I still might need to label the industrial sidings, but once the buildings get built and set into place that should help to locate them.

I then got the UP-5 and the UR-91 panels re-installed and placed black Velcro strips nearby so we could have someplace to hang the throttles instead of laying them on the layout.   :facepalm:    Still not feeling very comfortable about the Velcro yet.  Might see if I can find some other way of holding them in place.  We've knocked a couple of them off as we walked by already.   :x

I'm still in the process of installing the skirting.  I'm re-using the skirting that we used on the modules since they were just setting a box for the last several years.  I have attached the skirting with more Velcro to the back side of the fascia.

A few months ago we were getting close to getting the finishing touches done on the Wheel Report for operations.  After a couple of dry runs we decided that Riceland Ind needed to have it's own switcher to relieve the work load of the Haskell local.  So I added a couple of turnouts to create a lead for the switcher and then decided to add a third yard track at the elevator to act as a pocket track while shuffling cars around for the local.   You can see what I did here.

This new track arrangement has really decreased the load of the Haskell local and the time that it's on the road.  It has also created another job that can be done at the beginning of the session.  It's a fairly easy job and a number of our members who have never tried their hands at operations can get their feet wet without a lot pain or humiliation  :scared:.

Like I said earlier, we had given the Wheel Report a couple of dry runs to work out some of the questions and to make sure things were going to work as we had planned.  The third time we decided to pull the trigger on the Cannon theory and see what would happen.

Last Saturday night we got together with much anticipation.  Five members showed up around 5pm so I had time to explain the evenings events before we got started.  We had everything staged and ready so when 7pm rolled around we could get started.

We had a total of six members, 7 working trains and four switch jobs including the yard trick at El Dorado.  Thrown into the mix we also ran 8 through trains for traffic effect and gave the locals something else to worry about!  :trollface:

We started at 7 and had everything done by 10:30 that night.  Everything went off without a hitch.  The only things that went wrong was two cars got placed on the wrong locals and the yard goats lost contact with the command station momentarily [due to a spot of dirty track in the El Dorado yard] and proceeded to shove about 6 cars in the bumper and onto the ground before they could be stopped. 

After we got things shut down the decision was made to have the two manifests that feed the yard & the three locals at El Dorado [where two of the three locals originate] at the beginning of the session, now be broke down into four trains.  The first two run at the start, delivering only cars for the first two locals only.  After these have made their run and returned to El Dorado, then the second set of manifests can then deliver the cars for the third local and pick up the cars from the first two.  Thereby reducing the amount of cars that the El Dorado crew has to deal with.

El Dorado is a fairly small yard that has one Arrival/Departure track and four yard tracks that has a combined capacity of around 40-45 cars.  When all the cars are delivered at the beginning of the session, the yard crew found out right away that they had their hands full and no place to set cars out of the way.  We're thinking that if we break the manifests into two sets, the total amount cars should be cut in half and then there should be more open tracks to move cars around on.

We're going to get started this week on revamping the spreadsheets to so we can split the two manifests into four trains and give things another go around next month.   

Can't wait!

The next project this winter, will be redesigning the head end of the yard so that we can put it into operation instead of having to 0-5-0 the trains onto the main layout.  The whole yard comes down into a single track that creates a big reverse loop.  This was designed for the modules as an "off module" staging yard.  I need to split this bottle neck into two tracks and eliminate the need for the reverse loop, then I can get the yard re-powered up.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 11:12:08 AM by Bendtracker1 »

seusscaboose

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2011, 06:46:26 AM »
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Did you ever investigate using a Fast Clock?  You mentioned it in one of your previous threads....  just curious....

"I have a train full of basements"

NKPH&TS #3589


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http://nkphts.org/modelersnotebook

Bendtracker1

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2011, 10:14:49 AM »
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Did you ever investigate using a Fast Clock?  You mentioned it in one of your previous threads....  just curious....

Not yet, but I'm keeping it in mind as an option for the future.

Right now I need to get the confidence level stabilized with the layout, the system and more importantly with some of the members.

We have about 9 guys and only about three have ever "Operated" on a layout.  All of them have played trains for years on their layouts and the modules, but you could see the hesitation in their eyes when they drew for jobs Saturday night.  But at the same time they were all anxious to give it go.

I played on only one layout that used a fast clock, and that was years ago but I don't remember it being to difficult.  I think it will be something that will come in due time as the layout and ops progress.

I think the Digitrax Supercheif has one built into the system.

Do you use one on your layout?


I've seen

seusscaboose

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Re: Progress on The Little Rock Line
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2011, 12:05:33 PM »
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http://www.thegmlenterprises.com/id19.html

no affiliation... just a nice, fellow mid-westerner who makes a good product


re: Op's...  it took my sx regulars a full 10 sessions until they were cross-trained and effecient.  I have 5 extra's that are reliable in certain jobs, but not fully cross-trained yet.

when i add passenger op's next season (i run 8x in spring and 8x in fall) i will need at least 2 more regulars.

it gets busy/fun

:)

"I have a train full of basements"

NKPH&TS #3589


Inspiration at:
http://nkphts.org/modelersnotebook