Saturday, June 21, 2014

Mid June Update #3

Progressing ahead of plan - Main Track 1 (MT1) re-opened at Bay City / Bay Yard this evening. The project now allows better throughput and less interrupted production at Bay Yard. Main Track 2 (MT2) which was newly added with Atlas Code 83 Concrete ties should be finished later this week just prior to July 1st.

Y-BA04 led by GP38-2s 3816/3810 begins to cross from the "BAY1" DTC block into "CHE1" DTC block. The switch in between the DTC blocks will allow for better crossover and run-around moves. 

Another shot of Y-BA04 at the east main switch where the newly built MT2 diverges from MT1 at Bay Yard.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Mid June Update #2

Update on new MT2 at Bay City / Bay Yard.

East end switches and track are in place, with a few small roadbed pieces to add this weekend.

West looking shot from M-13 overpass.
L to R: yard lead, MT1, MT2 and the newly added DTMF (finger) controlled Peco switch.

East view showing switch that leads to Northern Arrow Logistics and Lake State Railway Interchange. This track also is the lower level continuous run.

Close-up looking west again. I love Peco code 83 turnouts, atlas flex track, and Walthers rail joiners. I have a great backdrop from Sceniking for this curved area that is close to the tracks.

Thanks for checking out the update, should have tracks in service by next week.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Mid June Update

Quick update on the "Clair".

After last weekends very successful mini-ops session, I have been in full swing to get it ready for its first full operating session. Not only are the many things happening on the layout but I am also building JMRI Operations as my car routing program.

DTC Signs
Following how the Alaska Railroad dispatches the railroad is broken up into segments that are identified by high visibility green. More on the details behind this setup, but luckily the dispatching board, signs, and cards are ready.
M-BAPH leaving "UPPE" block heading for "LACE" block at Upper Huron.

All three DTC block signs at Upper Huron east switch. As you can see one block ends and the other two blocks (main and diverging) begin after the switch. 

Motive Power 
The lone GP60 on roster MCIS 6051 made an appearance at the Bay Yard DSF while laying over between runs. This unit normally runs the M-GRTO but with the 4 ACe's on the road it now finds itself traveling the network working with SD and GP40-2s.

MCIS GP60 6051 -  yes those are "shoving platforms" to the left of the diesel service facility. 

Capital Improvements
After the operating session closer evaluation noted that the industry run around siding at Bay Yard off the main would make an excellent candidate for 2nd main track through the yard. Capital gangs wrapping up at Upper Huron have now moved down to Bay City / Bay Yard to lay concrete ties and rail.

East end of yard (L to R - East Yard Lead, Main Track 1, and beginning of Main Track 2)

West End of yard (L to R - Main Track 2 *Yellow Tack*, Main Track 1, Bay Yard)

Few photos of M-BAPH passing through Upper Huron. Affectionally known as the tank train as it normally carries a mix of tanks coming out of Dow and empty LPG and Ethanol cars returning to Port Huron.

M-BAPH in the curves at Upper Huron with MCIS 4035 (EMD GP40X) leading.

Tank Cars as far as you can see over the pink waste land.... ground cover cannot come soon enough.

Caught this from overhead - rear of train making its way into the West Siding Switch at Grays Lake. 

Stay tuned for more

Saturday, June 7, 2014

1st Operating Session - June 7, 2014

We reached a milestone today on the "Clair" with the first official operating session completed. It was sort of a mini-session to test operating patterns but an absolute success. A few electrical trouble spots and switches that need positive point control (I.E. Caboose Industries ground throws) rounded out the list of issues. Operators for this session included Chris Palmieri, his son, and myself and lasted around 2 hours 15 minutes operating 3 manifests, 1 yard job, 1 local turn, and 1 work train.

Items noted from session:
1. Room and layout can handle 3 operators easily (2 road and 1 yard assignment). I see one more operator and dispatcher in the future. Luckily with sequence operations an operating session could flex from 1 to 5 operators.
2. JMRI-WiThrottle are great with multiple operators and no cords!
3. Bay Yards 6 track setup can and did handle designed work flow. 
4. Layout setup and operation is easily understandable. Station diagrams , timetables, and train job cards help operators navigate layout.

Items to implement before session 2:
1. DTC block signs on layout and update DTC authority cards
2. Create locomotive cards with DCC address and unit details
3. Install industry track at Grays Lake and Buhler so L-GLBU can be operated next time.
4. Install second main track through Bay Yard to give anothe location for online stage / meets.

It was an awesome opportunity to spend a few hours with other modelers from the Fort Worth area building camaraderie and operating our trains.

Chris and his son working the east end of Bay Yard.
Gather and distribution at its finest

MCIS power alongside visiting Natchez Trace & Orient motors. These  custom Atlas motors were done  by Chris for his proto-freelance road that operates from Vicksburg, MS to Presidio, TX via DFW. Looks like MCIS locomotive team request horsepower hours from partner roads to help with power deficit.

Chris working the yard job Y-BA01-07 with his WiThrottle 

Looking forward to session #2.