Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Mid January Update

Not much to talk about regarding layout progress mid month since I have been on vacation. I instead wanted to bring a neat perspective to that moment that a layout goes from being a model train to model railroad system. 

The layout is paused from the end of the last Ops Session on January 3rd. The neatest part of this pause is taking a snapshot of Bay Yard which we will talk about more in just a minute. Relating to real world operations it reminds me of the many times I have driven down I-35W over the Fort Worth & Western Hodge Yard in North Fort Worth. How does this remind you might ask? Well when I pass over the yard I get just a brief opportunity to glance and see what power is in town and what freight cars or for that matter how full or not full the yard is since its less than a dozen tracks, and no matter if I pass over it once a day, week, or month there is change... Cars arrive and depart with purpose and destination as this is what real railroads are built to do.

So taking back this observation to the MCIS St. Clair Subdivision I can look at the cars and engines in Bay Yard and know that they are not just models sitting on Atlas Code 83 and cork sheets but actually cars enroute to be unloaded or loaded in the North American rail system. Many of times before this snapshot cars had been on the layout were staged to allow train running but the way the cars are now was the result of physical gathering, distribution, and linehaul operation. So this snapshot was that one drive by you could say and the next drive by will be after the next operating day (ops session). Best part is the yard will look completely different...... if it doesnt look any different... well I will let you figure that out.

East End Snapshot
Yard power at DSF, Yard 5 - Bay City local cars (closest in foreground), Yard 4 - Mackinaw City cars,
Yard 3 - Grand Rapids cars, Yard 2 - Port Huron cars
West End Snapshot
Yard 2 - Port Huron cars (3rd track from left), Yard 3 - Grand Rapids cars, Yard 4 - Mackinaw City cars,
Yard 5 - Bay Local cars, DSF with yard power
Digging further into moving cars with a purpose and destination, lets talk about each of the tracks. Its all in the observation:

Yard 2 Port Huron:
VMID double door box returning to Virginia for lumber reload which will route MCIS-CN-NS-VMID
WCOX hoppers moving outbound ag products from MAC elevator in the background to southeast customers

Yard 3 Grand Rapids: 
CHTT (UP) box heading to California with paper rolls from Fort Mackinaw Paper.
MCIS newest and higher capacity 5161 cubic hoppers heading to gulf export with their loads of corn. 

Yard 4 Mackinaw City: (Cars visible in eastend snapshot)
MCIS, MCBT, and AGR 70 ton boxcars full of recycled paper bales and empty heading to the Fort Mackinaw Paper. 
MCBT all door boxcar heading to the upper peninsula for OSB loading. Rare but still around on MCIS in 2014.

Yard 5 Bay City Local: 
MCIS 4600 cubic salt car returning empty to Grays Lake for reloading.
WCOX returning empty to MAC elevator for loading.
PCIX pressureaide hopper loaded with flour for delivery Huron Bakeries.

I hope you enjoyed seeing the snapshot and just a glimpse of the commodity flows on the St. Clair Sub. These were just a small sample of the 132 car moves during this operating day. 

Thanks for stopping through and be sure to check back this weekend for Part 1 of my Walt Disney World & Railroading Series. 


1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your perspective here, Greg! You analogy notes to Hodge Yard are spot-on. What separates the true operating modelers from the collectors (and there is nothing wrong with that) is that the operators understand there is a purpose behind why things are where they are. It was a pleasure to work the Bay City yard position in your last operating session! I look forward to the next....