Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Oregon Joint Line Tour

While I have been working hard on the next signal install phase coming out this weekend, this post is not about me or my layout. This post is all about my my experience, overview, and influence of good friends layout this past weekend.

My favorite train - northbound coal drag from The Rio Grande seen here at Humboldt Jct.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to attend and dispatch Dean Ferris' N Scale Oregon Joint Line set in the 1960s. This layout is not only great to operate on, but also railfan with the numerous scenes to catch a train traversing. The layout is single deck walk around with staging located below. It has been some time since my last OJL post so let's jump right into my experience as dispatcher and layout tour.

              Map of the layout 

Seated in my corner of the the OJL world I had all the tools needed for a succesful day including track map, diapatcher board, plenty of track warrants, and dispatcher phone. Dispatching anothe layout is a great way to get ideas for your own layout, not to mention really learn the territory. Having a good comfortable spot for the dispatcher is appreciated, and Dean did well with this.

    Prepped ready to begin the session.

Working through the lineup - 24 track warrants were issued for 11 trains and a dedicated helper working both north and south grades to Snowline.

Keeping them moving! Having a dispatcher white board helps dispatchers lay out there authorities and plan better. We use a similar board on the MCIS which will go digital soon. Each train receives a different color.

We start out on the lower level of the layout. This north staging yard represents Ukiah, Antelope, and other northern offline destinations.

North Staging below - Monument Yard on top.

Coming out of staging and past GN Jct where the joint line begins we traverse through Lone Rock. This is the only town on the lower level before coming up onto the main level.

With Lone Rock behind us we begin our trek along the South Fork of the John Day River with spectacular views of The Picture Gorge.

Following the river we enter Fossil which hosts a logging site and passing siding

       North end of siding at Fossil

              South end of Fossil 

Passing Fossil we diamond over the shortline Oregon & Northeastern at O&NE Crossing of all places before continuing on to Monument.

O&NE Scanlon Yard with OJL mainline behind the industries. As you can see forest products are king out here.

After passing the O&NE the main jogs to the right bringing us into NP Monument Yard.

Beyond Monument is Dayville which also hosts the GN yard with a host of industries around both terminals. Why are there two yards? It is a joint owned line so both NP and GN have their own classification facility.

Leaving Dayville we begin our assault up the grade to Snowline. Most trains other than passenger and piggyback require helps to conquer this grade.

  The grade crest at Snowline. There is a siding here to make meets.

Once past Snowline southbound it is downgrade all the way to Silvies. Here we are passing the ballast pit at Basalt.

Past Basalt we enter the town of Emigrant. Multiple customers keep a local out of Silvies pretty busy during a session. Additionally there is a station stop here and connection to UP Burns Branch.

Coasting out of Emigrant we enter Emigrant Canyon on our way to Silvies. Fantastic views along our route!

Emerging from Emigrant Canyon we enter a broad curve bringing us into Graystone and past the large Graystone Cement plant. 

Rounding the curve out of Graystone we enter the north end of Silvies. The locomotive in the foreground was our helper this session. Northbound trains heading towards Monument / Dayville need a helper out of Silvies to get over Snowline.

Silvies has a yard which hosts the local to Emigrant and numerous block swaps during a session.

Beyond Silvies Yard is the town of Silvies before trains enter Staging at Humboldt Jct representing offline destinations to the south.

Humboldt Jct and NP Hearney Staging 

While Dean's OJL represents the 60s I took the opportunity to model the OJL on my modern day Michigan Interstate. How you ask? Well those forest products that are King on the OJL must get to market so what better way than a FMC double door boxcar in forest product service. 

Former McCloud River found new life on the OJL. While the OJL is a jointly owned railroad which in modern times would be UP/BNSF, the railroads decided to create a paper subsidiary railroad to serve customers between GN Jct and Humboldt Jct using OJL marks. 

There are also rumors that Graystone Cement is looking to enter the Great Lakes market via a terminal somewhere in Michigan.... Will have to see if this materializes....

I hope you have enjoyed our tour of the OJL and seeing how two proto freelance railroads can influence each other. Stay tuned for my next signal install phase post coming this weekend!


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