Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Early November Update

Happy Election Day! Just like that October is behind us and we are running full tilt towards the holiday season starting with Thanksgiving.

This past week things have been the quietest on the layout in probably six months. After the Lone Star Region Ops session in June, I began the ABS signal project which is now 80% complete, followed by hosting two sessions at the 2016 DFW Interchange. Sometimes a little break is nice before getttig back to the layout. That being said let's look at the Ops Weekend, Industry Changes, and future posts.

Z-BKPH-28 departing Bay City after making crew change

DFW Interchange Weekend
On October 29th I hosted both am and pm operating sessions during the operating weekend. The layout operated very well during both sessions with only five railcars going bad order. I was honored to host guest operators from Houston, Austin, Dallas, Tulsa, and Kentucky. That evening everyone had a chance to meet up and have a group dinner at Uncle Bucks in Grapevine. I put together some quick stats of the days operation: 

Operators Hosted: 10 (5 am session, 5 pm session)

Trains Handled: 25 
Car Movements: 263
Bad Orders: 5 (Tight Trucks mostly)
Operating Hours: 6 hours, 15 minutes 
Donuts Eaten: 5

Provided are a few photos from the day with commentary. Thank you to all who participated and operated on the Michigan Interstate St. Clair Sub. 

Y-BA04-29 pulling across Saginaw River to clear switch to River Spur

L-PBBA-28 awaiting authority to take West Wye Switch and proceed to Bay City

Inbound M-PHBA-29 on Yard 1 to classify. In the photo you can see four sugar beet loads
RCL Operator on front platform of MCIS MP15DC #153 at Bay Yard. 

Every type of boxcar in modern era is pretty much in this photo at Bay Yard

West end of Bay Yard - Sugar Beet harvest is in full swing no doubt

Y-BA04-29 spotting two loads of Bitumen at Interstate Asphalt

Towards the end of the afternoon session we had enough traffic for Michigan Sugar at Grays Lake that we ended up running an extra L-BAUH-30. In this photo we can see the inbound traffic shoving into the plant storage tracks.

Industry Changes
Always looking to continually improve the layout, a few industries will have their locations changed. 

Bay City Station
The history of this location has been altered and the station no longer existed here. The station from its construction has been located on the mainline at Grays Lake. Accompanying the move is a neat history that we can explore along with providing a great architectural add to the downtown of Grays Lake. The location clicked almost instantly and where I placed it was actually a coincidence while I was working on the lower deck. Imagine that....
Grays Lake station looking west

Grays Lake Station looking east
View of station from an eastbound train. The station adds alot of character to this scene,

GEM Bakeries
The bakery has moved from the River Spur (West Switching Zone) to the Elevator Spur (Central Switching Zone) located where the Bay City Station was located. This new location will allow for a facility that will located on the edge of layout while providing three car spots for flour, sugar, and corn syrup unloading. I plan to cut in the switch and industry track over the Christmas holiday
Bakery adjacent to MAC Bay City Terminal

Graystone Cement 
In place of where GEM Bakeries had been located will be Graystone Cement's Bay City Terminal. This cement distribution terminal will receive inbound lake freighters of cement from Graystone's Superior, Wisconsin Plant. From here the cement will be stored then transferred to outbound railcars or trucks for delivery to batch plants / smaller distribution facilities. Using photos, a lake freighter will be added to the backdrop behind the terminal. Base model will come from the Walthers Medusa Cement kit. Ever since a kid I have loved the look of this kit, glad I will have the opportunity to add one on the St. Clair Sub. A single track will serve the plant allowing for 3 cars to be stored at one time for loading. 

Having a little fun clearing the lot before silos went in... 

Stand in silos for Graystone Cement. A simple print out of a lake freighter was used to get a sense of the scene.
Overall the changes in industries will net an extra 6 to 10 car movements per session in the form of GEM Bakeries gaining two extra car spots, and adding Graystone's new four car track.

Tank cars for Interstate Asphalt
A friend in Virginia snapped photos of three Interstate Asphalt cars coming out of VMID after receiving new markings and tank maintenance. The railcars were waybilled empty to Bay City for loading. Those cars sure look fantastic!

Steady progress is key.... it may not be alot but it is still progress. Always remember to continue moving forward with your hobby no matter how large or small the gain is.

Have a safe month.


1 comment:

  1. Greg,
    Interesting swopping over placement of spur 'Industries' to aid operation...yes, chipping away at the projects on the Layout certainly needs to be done steadily- good to see your progress. Regards. KEV.