Author Topic: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub  (Read 3700 times)

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MichaelWinicki

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Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« on: July 02, 2011, 09:15:12 AM »
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Here's the track plan...






I'll gradually add more images and stories about the construction.

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2011, 11:17:36 AM »
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Thanks for starting this thread Michael.  I'd love to see some overview shots of what you've already built, to set the stage.  I'll start by linking to the photo you posted in the Tehachapi thread:

http://therailwire.net/forum/index.php/topic,24108.msg236309.html#msg236309

And now a question: is the connection between the two levels completed by the green track between the staging loops on the lower-right?  How does the 4% grade work out in practice?

Cheers,
Gary

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2011, 12:23:39 PM »
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And now a question: is the connection between the two levels completed by the green track between the staging loops on the lower-right?  How does the 4% grade work out in practice?

Cheers,
Gary

Good question about the 4% grade.

Before I started building the layout I put a lot of thought into how to connect the two decks.  Of course a helix was at the top of the list.  And of course that comes with its own good points and bad. 

A few folks I came across had used a "nolex" to connect their decks.

Here were the positive points about using the nolex...

The branch line was going to start quite a distance from where the main loop (which led to the upper level).  This gave me the distance to at least consider a nolex.

Next came the grade.   

I combed through a lot of MR's and message boards in order to achieve some kind of consensus.   

The result was no consensus.  One person swore that a 2% grade was the maximum anyone could use, the next said they were running on a 5.5% grade. 

I decided to do some testing before anything was fixed into place.

Through my research on grades I came across Woodland Scenic's Riser System.   

For someone who isn't the best with power tools and carpentry, I thought the WS was perfect.  Given the length of run I figured somewhere between a 3% and 4% grade was needed.  If I went with 4%, then I could have a couple areas of the run where the grade was level.  But would my locomotives play nice with a 4% grade?

I put up a practice 4% run over about 16' to see how things would work.   I then tested the pulling strength of various locomotives.   

My TrainMasters could pull an 9 car train up the grade.   They were the best pullers.   The 6-axle Alco's could do 8 cars.   Most of the others could do between 5 and 7 cars.   Being a branch the longest train seeing the upper level was going to be a maximum of 13 cars.   I had several combination's of locomotives that could do that.   I was convinced that the 4% grade would work.

Within a couple of days the nolex was glued in place.  Here are some photo's...






 


The nolex has been in operation for 3 years now, running thousands of trains up & down it.

Later on I came across another advantage of using the nolex– there was plenty of empty space within the center of the loop that I could use for additional staging, so last year I added 5 staging tracks.

Scottl

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2011, 12:57:12 PM »
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Whoa, that 4% incline and riser install looks like a wall! 

I run longer trains (2 X 4 axle Atlas locos, 15-18 cars) and the 4% was too steep.  They would stall unpredictably, which for me was a worry in hidden trackage.  I just tore it out for a 2%.  I think with your shorter trains, you should be OK.

DKS

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2011, 12:57:30 PM »
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The nolex has been in operation for 3 years now, running thousands of trains up & down it.

That's good to know, because my immediate reaction was, what happens if something stringlines on the nolix, particularly near the apex? I could envision dire consequences.

Also... access to the staging inside the end loop must be a treat.

Well done!

Bendtracker1

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2011, 01:35:16 PM »
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Michael,
That is an interesting idea!

As for access to the inner staging tracks, if I'm understanding your plan correctly.  It looks as if the only way to get at the tracks is to reach over the "The Great Wall"

My first thought was, could you cut some smaller removable access holes towards the bottom of The Great wall on the rear of the layout, just behind and above The Albany staging yard?  Then maybe add some 2D building flats to cover the holes?

Maybe you have done this already or have plans too.  Or is there is an access hole in the bench top?

Either way, it looks good!
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 05:49:41 PM by Bendtracker1 »

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2011, 06:13:27 PM »
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Whoa, that 4% incline and riser install looks like a wall! 

I run longer trains (2 X 4 axle Atlas locos, 15-18 cars) and the 4% was too steep.  They would stall unpredictably, which for me was a worry in hidden trackage.  I just tore it out for a 2%.  I think with your shorter trains, you should be OK.

Yeah, you would need a 3rd diesel in there to handle a 15-18 car train. 

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2011, 06:20:43 PM »
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That's good to know, because my immediate reaction was, what happens if something stringlines on the nolix, particularly near the apex? I could envision dire consequences.

Also... access to the staging inside the end loop must be a treat.

Well done!

Thank you Dave!

What I did to make it easy (well relatively easy) was to mount the backdrop, that covered the nolex, on foamcore using velcro... And mounting the foamcore to the Woodland Scenic's risers using velcro. 

The result is that I can get to the nolex pretty quickly and without creating damage.  I take off the backdrop and then remove the foamcore panels.  Within a couple of minutes the entire nolex is available for repair/cleaning/rerailing. 


MichaelWinicki

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2011, 06:30:29 PM »
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Michael,
That is an interesting idea!

As for access to the inner staging tracks, if I'm understanding your plan correctly.  It looks as if the only way to get at the tracks is to reach over the "The Great Wall"

My first thought was, could you cut some smaller removable access holes towards the bottom of The Great wall on the rear of the layout, just behind and above The Albany staging yard?  Then maybe add some 2D building flats to cover the holes?

Maybe you have done this already or have plans too.  Or is there is an access hole in the bench top?

Either way, it looks good!

In the area behind the Olean yard I have two access holes cut out of the Woodland Scenic's Riser wall.

This image show approximately where they are:



The staging yard is of course a staging yard, so I don't have to do any switching there.  I simply back or pull trains in and then either pull or back the trains out.    To access the area I simply use a step stool and then reach over the "wall".  Being 6'3" helps out a great deal. :)  I've also found that a hand-held mirror can be useful spotting any potential issues inside the "wall".

However I've found that it's not a big deal cutting into the riser wall and creating access holes.  And I've toyed with creating a couple along the Albany staging area side, and just haven't done it yet. 

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 06:22:05 PM »
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I posted this in another thread but thought it would be useful here also as it describes how I came about creating my list of trains and managing the flow of cars in & out of the yard...

As I thought about what industries I wanted on my layout, I thought about train-flow and more importantly yard-flow.

From that point I took my list of industries, a rough list of trains I wanted to run and came up with a rough chart that gave me a lot of insight on if what I was thinking was right or wrong.  He's the chart I came up with at one point... It wasn't the final chart BUT it was far enough into the process that I had eliminated yard bottle-necks and had a good understanding of the number of trains and cars the yard would support:

Each line of the chart starts off with something like this:  30 [15-7-8]  The first number means that there are 30 cars in yard at that particular moment in time.  Keep in mind the yard has total capacity of 57 cars.  And is broken down into three separate yards for classification purposes: Outgoing Yard, Branchline Yard, Local Yard.

The rest of the numbers, [15-8-7] means there 15 cars in the Outgoing Yard, 8 cars in the Branchline Yard, and 7 cars in the Local Yard.  The Outgoing Yard is always the first number, the Branchline Yard is always the second and the Local Yard is always the third.

The yard starts out at 30 [15-7-8]
1.   Early train to branch 23 [15-0-8] 1 Engine A– from looking at the above row of numbers and comparing them to this row, you can see that this branchline train is taking 7 cars out of the branchline yard.  That's why the Branchline Yard now reads 0.
2.   Inbound 35 [15-8-12] 1 Engine H
3.   Olean local 30 [15-8-7] 1 Engine B
4.   Outbound 18 [3-8-7] 1 Engine I
5.   Returning Olean local 23 [8-8-7]
6.   Inbound 35 [8-14-13] 1 Engine J
7.   Warren local 26 [8-14-4] 1 Engine C
8.   Returning early train from branch 33 [15-14-4]
9.   Outbound 21 [3-14-4] 1 Engine K
10.   Inbound 33 [3-17-13] 1 Engine L
11.   Interchange train 21 [3-5-13] 2 Engines D & E
12.   Returning Warren local 30 [12-5-13]
13.   Outbound 18 [0-5-13] 1 Engine M
14.   Inbound 30 [0-14-16] 1 Engine N
15.   Bradford local 22 [0-14-8] 1 Engine A
16.   Returning interchange train 34 [12-14-8]
17.   Late train to the branch 27 [12-7-8]
18.   Returning Bradford local 35 [20-7-8]
19.   Outbound 23 [8-7-8] 1 Engine O
20.   Returning train from branch 30 [15-7-8] This is the number we started with at the beginning, which is a good thing.  A complete cycle of trains ends with things pretty much as they should be for the next operating session.

By going through this process I could make sure...

A. The yard would never be overloaded to the point of being "clogged".  There is never more than 35 cars in the yard at one point.
B. That there are sufficient cars in each sub-yard to run the trains that are scheduled.  For example if I had a branchline trains scheduled but there were only 2 cars in the branchline yard, then this wouldn't be a good thing.

In addition to all the trains listed above I also have 6 through-freights which do not stop at the yard, so they have no affect on the operations there, but I did pay attention to the chart when scheduling them, so that they passed over the layout at times I thought were most interesting for operations.  For example while the first trains is being made up (for the branchline) I have a through-freight pass over the layout, giving an operator a train to run while the yard crew is doing their thing.

Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 11:17:07 AM »
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I really dig this type of analysis. Just remember, always include surge capacity, so that someone can show up early.

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 02:04:22 PM »
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That's a great point about "surge capacity" Ed.

I figured in an extra A/D track for such events, plus there is always space in the yard for at least 20 additional cars.  Obviously I try to keep that sort of thing from not happening, but we know how that goes.  :D

My experience on this layout and others is that if the yards are too crammed too often it doesn't make the job of yard foreman much fun.   Either too many cars in the yard or too many bodies having to hang-around the yard area waiting for trains/cars puts a damper on things.  And it's not something a real RR would allow to happen too often either– if it did, then something would be changed to alleviate it. 

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2012, 09:21:59 PM »
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That is an interesting analysis.  Do you have enough time to run these 20 trains in a single session?

-Gary

MichaelWinicki

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2012, 08:05:26 AM »
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That is an interesting analysis.  Do you have enough time to run these 20 trains in a single session?

-Gary

No... If it's just say 3 of us, only 1/3 of the schedule is run.  A larger crowd will typically run 1/2 of the schedule. 

I typically leave the session where it ends and then just pick it up the next time around unless it's close to the end and I'll run the rest of it myself so we can start off the next season with a clean slate.

wm3798

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Re: Penn Central - Kinzua Sub
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2012, 03:20:46 PM »
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That's about how mine runs*  (*we haven't done a full ops session since the reconstruction began in Feb. 2010)

Previously, a schedule of about 23 trains would take two sessions to get through.  Regardless of where we left off, I would always play trains to run locals or just run lazy circles before the next session.  Once the schedule was shot, I would play trains to reset everything (swapping loads and empties, moving power around, etc.)

The new schedule is a little bigger, with new locals going up and down the hill to Elkins, and we'll probably need a separate switcher to work Cumberland now that the infrastructure is almost complete there.

But yeah, I like.  I especially like the power assignment system you've come up with.  I'll definitely need to employ something like that as just about every train through Ridgeley will get some sort of swap.  Simple "A B C D" designations will be easier to track than individual power, especially if a unit goes down halfway through a session.  (Probably some of that Chessie crap that Tim brings...)

Got me thinking about running trains again... that's half the battle!
Lee
Rockin' It Old School

Lee Weldon www.wmrywesternlines.net