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    • July 27, 2020 2:01 PM EDT
    • A runaway will now track all the way to level track indoors if the track is clear   When this happens, the car cleaning crew is faced with what happens when passengers suddenly go from a peaceful ride up the hill to a high speed roller coaster like ride down the hill

      The Mauch Chunk Switchback RR in PA had exactly that - a thrill ride down the mountain in a passenger car at weekends. My book says they only had 1 accident in the whole time it operated. Apparently it was the inspiration for the first Coney Island roller-coaster

       

       

       

    • July 27, 2020 12:28 PM EDT
    • Ric Golding said:

      .

      I believe some of the early Long Island or Jersey side of the Hudson had enclosed or covered Car Float loading docks.  It would make a great interchange and maybe even overnight storage for cars if operating for a couple of days.  If it was a starting point for an OPs Session, cars could be delivered to the outside locations from that Interchange/Transfer House.

      .

      For Outside Ops, cars could be delivered from the inside to the Interchange/Transfer House.  Cars from the Interchange/Transfer House could be distributed to the outside destinations.  Another group of cars could be brought out from inside to the Interchange/Transfer House and then those distributed to outside destinations.  I can easily see Ops being a day of fun for at least 3 operators.  Inside job, Transfer job and outside job.    

      .

      Sometimes the best part of this hobby is just planning for what can be accomplished.  

       

      Definitely can agree with that last statement

       

      As I continue to refine how I want the operations to work - having a purpose rather than just shuffling random cars around, your thoughts of an outside yard are making sense to me.

       

      I will need to re-think my ideas for the engine house.  My long term plan for the area just outside the building, where the track ends, was to model a 2-track coal dock using modified plans of the EBT Rockhill Furnace dock, complete with the car shed on top and a steep ramp to get a hopper into position at the top. This early photo shows the space where the dock would be located...

       

       

      And this is the location where the hopper track would cross Deep Cut. Currently, this is an abandoned bridge, not connected to live rail. The tail of the Engine House leads are just out of frame to the right...

       

      Time for a quick reality check.  My motivation to build anything new at ground level outdoors is waning fast, so this plan has about a 15% chance of ever being implemented.  More likely would be some raised benches off in the back yard in the area of Coal Dump curve.  With the national shortage of PT lumber due to COVID, I probably could not build that this year even if I do find the motivation!  Surveys for such and expansion were taken in the winter of 2016-2017 and the track purchased that spring. Then I got motivated to expand indoors

    • July 27, 2020 12:06 PM EDT
    • Jon said - "A runaway will now track all the way to level track indoors if the track is clear When this happens, the car cleaning crew is faced with what happens when passengers suddenly go from a peaceful ride up the hill to a high speed roller coaster like ride down the hill."

      .

      The "bean counters" might look at this as a new revenue stream.

      .

      Just stating for a friend.

       

    • July 27, 2020 11:07 AM EDT
    • Al Pomeroy said:

      Yes homemade coupler height gauge for Accucraft Couplers. even Accucraft cannot get them all at the correct height.

       

      Al P.

      Ain't that the truth!  Just noticed two factory mounted cars yesterday that were a good 1/4" off.  I made my own gauge too - based it off a single car - no idea if that car was correct or not, but the cars I have converted from truck to body mounts using my gauge couple up perfectly with most everything else, so I think I'm OK.  I could always measure :)

       

      I have a spot outdoors that currently needs maintenance and really points out any coupler height issues.  At Pine Summit, the main line crosses over a buried pine root. Like trees, roots grow bigger over time. I've needed to do some serious cutting here in the past to keep the grade transition from steep, to nearly level from becoming problematic.  At the moment it's bad and my first train out this year proved it as the caboose and a few cars uncoupled raced down grade all the way to the basement.  This is the same condition that caused the great Coal Dump disaster of 2008, which gave curve it's name.  Since then, the grade has been eased and the curve made less sharp. A runaway will now track all the way to level track indoors if the track is clear   When this happens, the car cleaning crew is faced with what happens when passengers suddenly go from a peaceful ride up the hill to a high speed roller coaster like ride down the hill

    • July 27, 2020 10:18 AM EDT
    • https://lsc.cvsry.com/Post4/EngineHouse07-10-14_10.JPG

      .

      I believe some of the early Long Island or Jersey side of the Hudson had enclosed or covered Car Float loading docks.  It would make a great interchange and maybe even overnight storage for cars if operating for a couple of days.  If it was a starting point for an OPs Session, cars could be delivered to the outside locations from that Interchange/Transfer House.

      .

      For Outside Ops, cars could be delivered from the inside to the Interchange/Transfer House.  Cars from the Interchange/Transfer House could be distributed to the outside destinations.  Another group of cars could be brought out from inside to the Interchange/Transfer House and then those distributed to outside destinations.  I can easily see Ops being a day of fun for at least 3 operators.  Inside job, Transfer job and outside job.    

      .

      https://lsc.cvsry.com/Post2020/FiddleYard2020-09.jpg

      This is a perfect "Inglenook Puzzle".  I can see" hours of frustration" getting trains ready for outside transfer or breaking down the outside transfer for inside delivery.  If the inside interchange/ fiddle yard is used to reload these tracks at Tyrone, the puzzle is endless.  

      .

      Back in the 10 years we operated on the outside layout .  The break down and setup of trains on the 2 outside ready tracks in the basement were my major form of Ops recreation between Ops Sessions.  We would complete the weekend and "the sweeper" would bring the cars in.  Car inventory would be printed out from RailOps and differences between software inventory and reality were adjusted.  This right here could take a week or two of spare time.  Transfers had to be run from "Fiddle" in the garage to the "Southern Division" and then all inside locations needed to be verified that cars were at the proper destinations.  Once you got it correct, then you prepared the 2 outside ready tracks for the "Setups" of the next Ops.  One track went to the front yard and one track went to the backyard.  Great fun, great memories and to me a great part of the enjoyment.

      .

      Sometimes the best part of this hobby is just planning for what can be accomplished.  

       

       

       

       

    • July 27, 2020 7:07 AM EDT
    • Yes homemade coupler height gage for Accucraft Couplers. even Accucraft cannot get them all at the correct height.

       

      Al P.

    • July 26, 2020 12:33 PM EDT
    • "Coupler Height Gauge"

      Every home should have one.

       

    • July 26, 2020 11:41 AM EDT
    • I may be wrong, but I think that is Al's "Coupler Height Gauge".  Al is the master at realistic working couplers.  You've got to stop the scale 5 feet from the car, align couplers, open couplers and gently bring your equipment closer to couple.  All lift pins work and he puts a great deal of time in to making sure couplers operate smoothly, are the right height and operate correctly.  Lots of people have a lot more inventory of equipment than Al.  Few have equipment and track that works better or smoother.  Great railroad to operate on.

    • July 26, 2020 11:26 AM EDT

    • I already have a bunch of car storage shelves, but they are jammed with locomotives stored for projects that haven't been envisioned yet, so new shelves are needed.  I like the way Al did it, with cars organized on the shelf so ends are visible which allows for easy access to more cars in a small space.

      I scoped out locations last evening.  I'm undecided about above or below existing bench. If I go below, I'll need to find new winter storage for summer stuff that lives there now. Above will be easier to see and access. I have lumber in stock to build them. Just need the MOJO to get started.

      Jon what is the coupler/plastic base sitting on the shelf? that to pull the cars out of the shelves? 

    • July 24, 2020 7:45 PM EDT
    • I'm not proud to say that it took me the entire day today to build a working railer. My first attempt in PVC was not precision enough resulting in 75% failure to rail. My second attempt started by cutting up one of the storage shelves that came down to make way for the new shelving. It was cut with recesses for wheels which gave me a better starting point. After cutting it to width and length I cobbled together a taper jig and cut it into a wedge on the table saw.  A little trimming with an exacto blade and some thin guide strips glued and pinned on I have a generally reliable way to easily rail cars from the storage shelving..

       

      Ric asked

      I'm trying to remember what your indoor lead looks like heading outside.  I can remember the outside trestle heading in, but what does that track look like inside?

      This picture may help. We are looking toward outside from the end of the yard. Tyrone Tk. #1 has the railer on it. About where the stack of plastic cups are, track ends just beyond the yard switch. East Es-Cap`e Bridge is the fold up you can see beyond which is very close to the exit wall; where the window is.  No room for anything there as the bridge is used to gain access to the yard.  Parking the sweep train has never been an issue. I have lots of open mainline indoors, and once I have cars at industries outdoors, I don't usually run exclusively indoors. If I do, I just need to keep moving the sweep train around

       

       

      Interesting idea for the car ferry.  It wouldn't work out where the engine house is as there is no room to do anything else. But the lead has room for a switch and there is space between it and the main. Not sure it would be believable though - the ferry would need to cross over the main! These are very old pictures, but gives a fair idea of the position of the Old Engine House and the lead...

       

      Thanks for the ideas!

       

      EDIT to add the missing picture!

    • July 24, 2020 5:05 PM EDT
    • Jon, you said - "As a little more "information" - when I am actively using the outdoor division, a sweep train will pull all the cars from outdoors and leave them on the main indoors. A set-out train will put them back before the next session."

      .

      I'm trying to remember what your indoor lead looks like heading outside.  I can remember the outside trestle heading in, but what does that track look like inside?  Can that be used as storage for that outside setup/sweeper train or as a destination for the outside train in the Winter, when outside Ops is shutdown?

      You said - "The undefined industry at the Old Engine House could be a coal originator or consumer."

      How about a wharf wharehouse and a car ferry lead?  The wharehouse could be for LCL (Less than Car Load) and a track alongside could be a Car Ferry Lead.  Therefore you've turned the railroad into a bridge line., with industries consuming and creating product and the shelf interchange in the basement and the Car ferry being Interchanges.

      .

      Just thinking.

    • July 23, 2020 8:04 PM EDT
    • Ah!!!! Now I see the fold up bridge access point to get to the shelf storage

    • July 23, 2020 7:37 PM EDT
    • And to help tie the schematics to the area I am working in...

    • July 23, 2020 7:00 PM EDT
    • Since you referenced the gramps car

    • July 23, 2020 6:55 PM EDT
    • Just bringing the industry list and schematics forward to the current page for reference with a little additional detail at the bottom.

      Jon Radder said:

       

      Outdoor Division

      Northville (End of N. wye tail)

      Northville Foods - A food distribution center - Accepts reefers, boxcars and water tanks. Room for 2 cars max.

      Indian Hill

      Walk Landing Trans-Load - a  freight transfer station - Accepts box cars, flat cars & gondolas. Room for 5 cars max, but only one at transfer dock.

      Old Engine House - undefined industry - currently accepts flats, oil tanks, gondolas and coal hoppers. Room for 8 cars on two tracks.

      Indoor Division

      Honey Grove

      Honey Grove Yard - This is a planned consolidation of Kistler and Tyrone yards plus the new "fiddle" capacity. The existing yards were set up as spurs with a capacity of 8 full size cars and 4 short cars (R1 territory). The new fiddle" shelving adds about 15 more full size cars of capacity for a total capacity of 23+4. All car types are accepted, but only short cars on the R1 tracks.

      Nook

      Nook Trans-Load - a  freight transfer station - Accepts box cars, flat cars & gondolas. Room for 5 cars max.

      Willow Hill

      Passenger Station - accepts oil tanks (for fuel) - capacity 1 car.

      LCL Dock - accepts boxcars or reefers - capacity 1 car.

      Coal Dock - accepts coal hoppers - capacity 1 car.

      McCown Freight Forwarding - Freight warehouse - accepts box cars, flats, gondolas and reefers - capacity 3 cars (door specific spots)

      Russell Poultry - Processing plant - accepts boxcars & reefers at Spot 1 and water tanks at Spot 2 - capacity 2 cars (specific spots)

      Golding Square Box - box factory - accepts boxcars, flat cars and gondolas - capacity 5 cars

      South Willow Hill

      Chandler Quality Water - water well head - accepts water tank on Tk 1 and coal hoppers on Tk 2 - capacity 3 cars max (2 2-bay hoppers or 1 3-bay).

      Swill Tank - not currently an industry - room for 1 car - usually where engine is staged.

      West Willow Hill

      Brunt Coal - Retail Coal Dealer - accepts coal hoppers - capacity 1 3-bay or 2-2bay steel or wood.  Probable expansion for 1 more 3 bay.

      McGillicuddy Supply - undefined distribution center - accepts boxcars - capacity 4 cars max.

       

      In summary, the only comodities that I have given much though to are water and coal.  Water originates at Chandler and is consumed by Russell and Northville. Coal has no specific origin, but is consumed by Willow Hill, Chandler, and Brunt. The undefined industry at the Old Engine House could be a coal originator or consumer. There is no coal mine on-line.  I have also not done anything in JMRI with schedules, specific loads, or return-when empty - things I really need to learn about going forward.

       

      Until I had the issue of no room to move, JMRI would move cars around at most industries. Some, like Golding, saw very rare movements.  My goal is to tweak JMRI so that I get movement at nearly every industry that a train services.  I have quite a few routes and trains built, but in reality I run either indoor only or indoor outdoor/outdoor. Indoor/outdoor would be Eastbound, Westbound or a turn. Indoor is Northbound, Southbound or a turn. When things were moving well, an indoor turn would generate enough traffic to keep me busy for several hours.  Since I usually run alone I only run one train at a time, but I'd like to plan on capability of opposing North/East bound and West/Southbound trains.

      These are my schematics, not fully current, but close.

      Indoor - Yards & Nook (Willow Hill section obsolete)

      Indoor Willow Hill

      And Outdoor...

      I realize that connecting the three schematics is not very intuitive. The control point names are key to tying them together.  In relation to first one, or Indoor yard area, the Willow Hill schematic has been rotated 90 degrees left.  Also in relation to the indoor yard area, the outdoor schematic doesn't seem to fit. I should have added a U shape at the left from before WALL to WEST.  West and East Es-cap`e is the connection from inside to outside.

       

    • July 23, 2020 6:44 PM EDT
    • Thanks Ric. Your thoughts are appreciated.

       

      The Fiddle Yard shelving in conjunction with what is labeled Tyrone Track 1 will be the interchange.  The long track labeled Kistler will be available as empty space for drilling / blocking cars.  In the photos, these are the tracks at left, behind the fence.  The track with the Gramps tank and the outhouse is the top most track in the Willow Hill schematic, the location of the Depot, LCL, Coal Dock, Mcown & Russell. No good access to the main with a tricky S-curve pair of turnouts.

       

      If I have read the manual correctly, JMRI handles interchanges kind of strangely.  When a load arrives at the interchange, it changes to an empty. Empties arriving stay empty, so my coal would never arrive :(  I need to study this aspect of JMRI bfore making any changes to my set up.

       

      I do like your thoughts on Chandler & Golding. My initial reason for taking coal cars at Chandler was for a filter medium, but now that I have Brunt as a coal destination, box cars would be ideal.  One day there will be a building here that will hide the house water pipes with the cars being spotted inside.

       

      As a little more "information" - when I am actively using the outdoor division, a sweep train will pull all the cars from outdoors and leave them on the main indoors. A set-out train will put them back before the next session.

       

       

    • July 23, 2020 4:54 PM EDT
    • Jon, thank you for posting this.

      .

      A couple of thoughts.

      .

      You've got to have an "Interchange Track", whether active or inactive.  Somehow equipment has to get on the railroad and normally on and off the railroad.  Being you always end with the outside cars ending up back inside, it would seem the "Interchange Track" needs to be inside.  Track 1 of Tyrone Yard looks great and taking stuff off your shelf or putting stuff on the new shelf would work great from there.  No clue as to how close that track is to the new storage shelves. The ideal track would be the one at the top of page 3 with the Gramps tanker and the outhouse on it.  What track is that in your schematic?

      .

      In this crazy world of bottled water, Chandler water could also over bottled water to be shipped out World Wide in box cars, with packaging coming in in box cars and bottled water going out.   Golding Box might provide those packing supplies, but would need raw material delivered in box cars and then shipment by box car would go to Chandler.

      .

      Since no mine, coal is an imported item to the railroad at the intechange and empties go back out through the interchange to be reloaded.

      .

      Just thinking.

       

    • July 23, 2020 2:17 PM EDT
    • Getting this back on track after I derailed it myself    Now that the fiddle yard is complete, and before I update JMRI,  I think it might be time to re-visit the overall plan for freight movement on the railroad.  I never gave much thought to which industry originates commodities and which industries consume those commodities, but as I add more specific industries like Chandler Water (an originator of water tankers) and Brunt Coal (a consumer of coal hoppers) I think it may be time to have an overall plan. This post is not so much to ask for advice, but to organize my thoughts. I am, however, happy to hear your comments or suggestions. So to start, here is a list of industries that exist on the railroad with notes on the products / car types handled.  I will begin with the Outdoor Division which never operates without originating or terminating indoors. The indoor division should be able to be run independent of the outdoor for winter and inclement weather ops.

       

      Outdoor Division

      Northville (End of N. wye tail)

      Northville Foods - A food distribution center - Accepts reefers, boxcars and water tanks. Room for 2 cars max.

      Indian Hill

      Walk Landing Trans-Load - a  freight transfer station - Accepts box cars, flat cars & gondolas. Room for 5 cars max, but only one at transfer dock.

      Old Engine House - undefined industry - currently accepts flats, oil tanks, gondolas and coal hoppers. Room for 8 cars on two tracks.

      Indoor Division

      Honey Grove

      Honey Grove Yard - This is a planned consolidation of Kistler and Tyrone yards plus the new "fiddle" capacity. The existing yards were set up as spurs with a capacity of 8 full size cars and 4 short cars (R1 territory). The new fiddle" shelving adds about 15 more full size cars of capacity for a total capacity of 23+4. All car types are accepted, but only short cars on the R1 tracks.

      Nook

      Nook Trans-Load - a  freight transfer station - Accepts box cars, flat cars & gondolas. Room for 5 cars max.

      Willow Hill

      Passenger Station - accepts oil tanks (for fuel) - capacity 1 car.

      LCL Dock - accepts boxcars or reefers - capacity 1 car.

      Coal Dock - accepts coal hoppers - capacity 1 car.

      McCown Freight Forwarding - Freight warehouse - accepts box cars, flats, gondolas and reefers - capacity 3 cars (door specific spots)

      Russell Poultry - Processing plant - accepts boxcars & reefers at Spot 1 and water tanks at Spot 2 - capacity 2 cars (specific spots)

      Golding Square Box - box factory - accepts boxcars, flat cars and gondolas - capacity 5 cars

      South Willow Hill

      Chandler Quality Water - water well head - accepts water tank on Tk 1 and coal hoppers on Tk 2 - capacity 3 cars max (2 2-bay hoppers or 1 3-bay).

      Swill Tank - not currently an industry - room for 1 car - usually where engine is staged.

      West Willow Hill

      Brunt Coal - Retail Coal Dealer - accepts coal hoppers - capacity 1 3-bay or 2-2bay steel or wood.  Probable expansion for 1 more 3 bay.

      McGillicuddy Supply - undefined distribution center - accepts boxcars - capacity 4 cars max.

       

      In summary, the only comodities that I have given much though to are water and coal.  Water originates at Chandler and is consumed by Russell and Northville. Coal has no specific origin, but is consumed by Willow Hill, Chandler, and Brunt. The undefined industry at the Old Engine House could be a coal originator or consumer. There is no coal mine on-line.  I have also not done anything in JMRI with schedules, specific loads, or return-when empty - things I really need to learn about going forward.

       

      Until I had the issue of no room to move, JMRI would move cars around at most industries. Some, like Golding, saw very rare movements.  My goal is to tweak JMRI so that I get movement at nearly every industry that a train services.  I have quite a few routes and trains built, but in reality I run either indoor only or indoor outdoor/outdoor. Indoor/outdoor would be Eastbound, Westbound or a turn. Indoor is Northbound, Southbound or a turn. When things were moving well, an indoor turn would generate enough traffic to keep me busy for several hours.  Since I usually run alone I only run one train at a time, but I'd like to plan on capability of opposing North/East bound and West/Southbound trains.

      These are my schematics, not fully current, but close.

      Indoor - Yards & Nook (Willow Hill section obsolete)

      Indoor Willow Hill

      And Outdoor...

      That's enough for now. As I let all this boil around in my head for a day or so I'll update as needed.

    • July 23, 2020 1:48 PM EDT
    • I asked Marilyn where she wanted to go and she said Class A (RV). Then I asked her if she was really going to be able to let go of all her antiques, crafts & stuff. I know I will have a big problem letting go of the RR. In reality I don't think it's wise to plan on 100% full time RV.

      One of my RR buddies used to travel in his Class A between Durango, Phoenix, and Florida. The Riverbend Motorcoach Resort (https://www.riverbendflorida.com/)

      has a large pad with cabana and parking for 2 cars, a grill, and a golf cart. Even better, the large clubhouse has a sunken area out front that floods in summer, when no-one is there. The Riverbend & Southern RR has a concrete track bed, and every year they get out the track (all labelled/numbered,) and the buildings and start running trains.

       

       

      This second pic from the other side shows the main viewing area by the driveway, and in the background there are sheds. In total, I think they have 6 sheds. 2 are for storage of the buildings and track, 2 for storing train cars in 'cartridges' that are a standard size, and 1 workshop and a paint shop.

       

       

       No track power, so all battery or r/c steam. Most of them use D&RGW power [my pal from Durango is also the President of the club.] You can see how they build viaducts and similar features to be waterproof.

       

       

      Jon - my pal's wife does lots of craft-y stuff, like quilting. She has a 'sewing room' in the Durango house. They spend about 3 months in Florida.

    • July 23, 2020 10:20 AM EDT
    • John said - "We have a 23.5 ft. Oliver Travel Trailer and after two weeks in it I'm ready to come back home to our home where all my stuff is, I can't be without my stuff, at least at this point in my life." 

      .

      John, totally understand.  Longest, we been gone from home is about 3 months.  Longest we've been home since 2015 is also about 10 weeks for the start of this "self -isolation" virus.

      .

      I've always thought, "you can do almost anything".  "You just can't do everything"

      .

      Hope you can slide in to that grave, yelling "what a ride".