Author Topic: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3  (Read 430 times)

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Dave V

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Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« on: January 01, 2019, 03:44:53 PM »
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I've been conversing with @Ed Kapuscinski about setting up an operations scheme for my RGS layout.  One of the reasons I burned out on the PRR Juniata Division was that it doesn't really operate well.  The Middle Division upon which it was based was a racetrack for through freights by the dozens per hour.

Fortunately the Rio Grande Southern has much more easily grasped operations.  Toward the end of its life, the RGS might run two steam-powered trains a week, relying on a daily Galloping Goose to handle the daily LCL, mail, and occasional passenger.  I choose to model World War II when the railroad was relatively busy but still quite manageable.

First and foremost, let's get oriented.  The real 3-foot gauge RGS ran 162 miles from Ridgway to Durango, Colorado.  It interchanged with the D&RGW narrow gauge at both ends.  Operationally it was divided into two districts.  The First District (the one I model) ran from Ridgway over the most scenic portion of the line 66 miles to the division point at Rico.  The Second Division ran from Rico all the way to Durango.  Some trains operated from Ridgway to Dolores as if Dolores were the division point, but for simplicity on my layout all trains use Rico as their division point.  The reality is that the RGS operated almost like two different railroads...  One from Ridgway to Rico (and Telluride, which I didn't have room to model) and the other from Durango to Dolores.  In later years there were no online traffic sources between Dolores and Rico.  In fact, for a time a lighter class engine was assigned to "relay" cars between Dolores and Rico.  So this means I can pretty much "contain" my ops as either online traffic on the First District or through cars between the Second District and the D&RGW at Ridgway.



Here's how I've set up my layout.  Windy Point is near Ophir on the map and the Gallagher Loop is between Lizard Head and Burns on the map.  Neither were operationally significant; just scenically interesting.  On my layout plan I've identified online traffic sources and operationally significant trackage.  Note that these track layouts closely follow the prototype so whether there was a smarter way to do business is irrelevant...this is the RGS as it was. 

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Dave V

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2019, 03:52:07 PM »
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Some operating rules I've decided upon:

Tonnage Ratings/Helper Requirements:
While the layout has no grades, the ruling grade on the real RGS between Ridgway and Rico is 4%. To simulate this, the following tonnage restrictions will be used:

For T-19 class, 5 cars and a caboose
For C-17/C-19 class, 6 cars and a caboose
For K-27 class, 8 cars and a caboose

For simplicity, these restrictions apply to loads and empties regardless. For any additional cars, a helper is required between Placerville and Rico. Helpers may be head-end, mid-train, or cut-in ahead of the caboose. Helpers will run light downgrade ahead of the train and will be cut-out at Lizard Head. Generally, helpers will return to Ridgway unless a northbound turn from Rico is anticipated in the next 24 hours. Helpers southbound between Placerville and Lizard Head may be cut-in at Placerville.

All trains will stop at Lizard Head Pass regardless of direction of travel to check air brakes and set retainers.

All trains run as extras except:
- Galloping Goose (scheduled passenger/mail)
- Any steam-powered passenger train operating in place of the Goose on the Goose's schedule (I have a thing for steam passenger trains!)

While empty stock cars my be delivered as set-outs in any train, loaded stock cars will move as a unit train in order to expedite movement.  Delays between Rico and Ridgway of a loaded stock train beyond legally required livestock resting intervals (depending upon the species) will require a stop for unloading and resting at Placerville.

Some of the 3000-series boxcars have specific loading instructions on their placards.  In the event waybills are used, these instructions will be duplicated on the car card.  Some cars are for ore concentrate loading only, others for agricultural product loading, etc.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2019, 03:57:30 PM by Dave V »
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Point353

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2019, 05:48:53 PM »
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What happens to trains after they arrive at either Rico or Ridgway?
There doesn't seem to be much yard or staging space to break (or make) them up or to store them between runs.
Also, how do either locos or the Galloping Goose get turned at Rico for the trip back to Ridgway?

Dave V

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2019, 05:58:05 PM »
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What happens to trains after they arrive at either Rico or Ridgway?
There doesn't seem to be much yard or staging space to break (or make) them up or to store them between runs.
Also, how do either locos or the Galloping Goose get turned at Rico for the trip back to Ridgway?

1)  Since the trains are short, there's enough room to set them out both at Ridgway and Rico.  Cars headed on to the D&RGW at Montrose can go on the interchange track which is more than long enough.  Cars destined for the Second Division can fit on the relay track.  These tracks are about 7 feet long and I'm using 30-foot cars, so...they fit.  The staging track at Ridgway is long enough for both a short freight and a short passenger train to both occupy the track.

2)  That's a challenge.  I really didn't have room for the Rico wye...so a loco turning at Rico will have to cross the lift-out and turn at the Ridgway turntable.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2019, 06:04:09 PM by Dave V »
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Dave V

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2019, 06:03:29 PM »
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Another alibi to the operating rules.  While the passing siding at Lizard Head is scenicked to represent Lizard Head, operationallyit doubles as the passing siding that existed just beyond Bridge 45B at Ophir.
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Santa Fe Guy

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2019, 07:25:46 PM »
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All looks good to me Dave.
My idea was to have loco, 7 cars plus caboose however I like your idea of only 6 cars behind the C19.
Have you thought about a set time to stop for water, conductor alighting from the train to throw turnouts etc just to add a bit more time into the run of each steam loco.
Could you add a wye that is a drop leaf section that gets hooked onto the layout during an ops session? just a thought.
Living down under I am trying to come to terms with the D&RGW operations however I do not want to get overly complicated and like your ideas.
I will definitely be using car cards and waybills as I am used to as are all my friends so that's a no brainer for us.
Rod.
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Dave V

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2019, 07:31:20 PM »
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All looks good to me Dave.
My idea was to have loco, 7 cars plus caboose however I like your idea of only 6 cars behind the C19.
Have you thought about a set time to stop for water, conductor alighting from the train to throw turnouts etc just to add a bit more time into the run of each steam loco.
Could you add a wye that is a drop leaf section that gets hooked onto the layout during an ops session? just a thought.
Living down under I am trying to come to terms with the D&RGW operations however I do not want to get overly complicated and like your ideas.
I will definitely be using car cards and waybills as I am used to as are all my friends so that's a no brainer for us.
Rod.

Rod,

No on the wye...I actually don't mind the otherwise unprototypical move because it adds time to the operating session.  Could I cram in a wye and make it drop-leaf?  Probably, although it would be hard to engineer reliably.  But I'm happy with the turntable compromise.

As for the time involved for water and turnout throws, you're reading my mind.  That's exactly the stuff Ed and I are working out.

Car cards and waybills...  I'm seriously on the fence here.  They'd work great for the RGS.  In fact, most cars wouldn't even need a 4-cycle waybill since they essentially were in captive service (ore, empty, ore, empty, ore, empty, etc.).  But simple switchlists might accomplish everything I need as well.  I already have the Old Line Graphics car card/waybill set and bill boxes so that makes it an investment of time only.
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Dave V

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2019, 12:59:34 PM »
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Decided to stick with the car card/waybill system.  I feel like if ever there was a railroad whose operations were the perfect balance of "just enough paperwork to be fun" (if there is such a thing) without becoming overwhelming, I think the RGS is it.

I also ordered the Micro Mark "Try It" pack:  https://www.micromark.com/Train-Order-Try-It-Pack-Pkg-of-4-Pads?gclid=Cj0KCQiA37HhBRC8ARIsAPWoO0yWqsUz11BF1Qo9x6U7fcSu_0AAxZd1V2KHNw9qIdm5ppK4ddzvXKkaApPfEALw_wcB



If I like it I can reproduce these forms myself and make them a little more like D&RGW/RGS paperwork.  Also ordered more bill boxes as I don't have enough for all of my tracks that need them.

With regard to the authority to pass a stop signal...I don't plan to use that!  The RGS did use train order boards and those would always require a stop if stop is indicated since there was no way to contact crews out on the line.  My Rico depot has the order board permanently set to stop.

And, ordered a pad of "empty car request" forms.  Probably in the future I'll use software to generate empty car requests but for now I want to get in the grove.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2019, 01:03:58 PM by Dave V »
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Santa Fe Guy

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2019, 05:47:16 PM »
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I am fortunate to have a few clever friends who can roll there own car cards and waybills.
John designed mine and others in our group. having been in N Scale for years we decided to add images along with its car number of every car on our layouts to their own car card. Boy did that make it easy to find a car during big ops sessions.
We also make our own car card boxes using MDF to any combination we need. I used to have a saw bench and could whip up anything the guys wanted.
One thing I did a little different was to make car cards for each loco (with image on top) and had a separate two bay car card box near my loco service area. As each train arrived at Augusta the locos would be taken off the train, car cards and locos moved to the service area and the cards put in a "waiting to be serviced box"at the rear behind any others already there. At my discretion I would move cards to the "serviced and ready to run box" so the local yard operator had to choose from this box which locos where next to use.
Gave more work to the yard operator and at the same time made sure all my locos got a run.
Just a couple of images for info.
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Rod.
 
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Dave V

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2019, 06:36:42 PM »
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Rod,

I considered doing that when I did Pennsy...  But what makes nonphotographic waybills more appealing to me now is that my cars all look the same anyway...  One D&RGW 3000 series boxcar looks like another and only the version of the herald (or lack thereof) distinguishes them.  Just as a real crew would have to walk the ground and squint through sun-chalked and peeling paint to find the right road number, I want my crews to "enjoy" that same experience.
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Santa Fe Guy

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2019, 06:56:42 PM »
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Good call however me and many of my friends who operate are over 70 and into mid 70's. Me I'm heading for 76 in a few months and need all the help I can get. haha.
Hey your idea also saves a lot of work.
Rod.
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Dave V

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Re: Operating the RGS First District in HOn3
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2019, 10:30:53 AM »
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Good call however me and many of my friends who operate are over 70 and into mid 70's. Me I'm heading for 76 in a few months and need all the help I can get. haha.
Hey your idea also saves a lot of work.
Rod.

I can always issue Optivisors to my road crews...   :D
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