I did some operating on the layout last weekend, and it was all kinds of fun! Its amazing how much operating potential a small layout can have. Its important to slow down, and try emulating prototype practices.
First the train arrived in town with “light engines” and picked up outbound cars from the Farmers Co-op. There was an empty hopper at the fertilizer spot and two loaded cars at the (imaginary, for now) at the elevator. Notice in the foreground, there’s an “off spot” loaded hopper that was left there the last time the train came to town; it will need to get spotted at the Co-op fertilizer building in a bit.
Once the conductor had tied onto the cars from the Co-op, the conductor rides the shove down the elevator tracks a bit further to Cassidy Grain to pick up three loaded cars. Cassidy Grain kit-bash is coming along slowly! The two tank cars on the liquid fertilizer spur are still being unloaded, and will remain where they are today.
Once the air hoses are tied on and a brake test is done, the train pulls forward to pull all 6 cars from the elevator tracks. This means crossing the WT&J diamond, which means the train stops and blows the horn and ensures the crossing is clear before moving across it. I love having a layout big enough to switch cuts of cars this long. Of course, it would be more like 12 to 18 cars in real life, if not more.
Then the crew backs the outbound cars onto the main track. The GP10 prime movers roar.
After spotting the off-spot hopper at the fertilizer plant (which I neglected to photograph because I was too busy having fun!), the crew heads back across the diamond to pick up the BN box car loaded with cotton at Chickasha Compress. This industry still needs a loading dock to simulate the rest of the warehouse “in the aisle.” I plan on following Tom Klimoski’ s excellent article for this in the most recent issue of Model Railroader.
The conductor rides the shoving move to attach this car to the cut of outbound hoppers that was left on the main. The conductor places a flag on the rear coupler of the box car. After that, the locomotives run around the train (which actually takes some time, running at realistic speeds), ties onto the outbound cars, conducts a brake test, and heads for Snyder, OK.
Until next time, y’all!