I haven’t had much time for a blog update lately. Since my last post, I’ve completed another successful overseas tour and have been enjoying lots of quality time with my family. Its been good to be home, and it looks like it will continue to be home for another 2-3 years!
I haven’t done too much to the layout, but I did acquire a Proto Throttle, and that has really enhanced and improved operations. I can’t say anything about it that hasn’t already been said by others in the model railroading space, but I will say I’m a big fan and happy customer, and I highly recommend it.
I also recently had fun turning the clock forward on the layout for a couple of operating sessions. I model around anywhere between 1995-2005 on the layout, when there was more traffic on the Frederick, OK line and GP10s still dominated Farmrail’s roster. But when Athearn released a GMTX GP15 in the exact road number for one that is currently leased to Farmrail in the present day, I had to grab it.
These days, Farmrail’s main customer in Frederick is a cattle feed operation that unloads on the “main” line south of the diamond, near the end of the track. They get several cars at a time, some from as far as Canada and some Farmrail shuttle cars from other parts of the system. I don’t model this industry, but it was easy to set cars out on the main and “simulate” them being pulled down to the industry with a front-end loader.
Some of the other elevator tracks and sidings in Frederick are now used for car storage, so I filled a couple tracks with crude oil tank cars and plastic pellet hoppers (commonly stored cars on the railroad). I also simulated running with a conductor in a pickup truck, which changed somewhat where I chose to make cuts, tie down cars, etc.
The resulting operating sessions were fun and casual, and resulted in about 20-30 min. of running. Plenty! Sometimes I would tie down the locomotive in town, sometimes it would return to Snyder. Sometimes cars were switched a short distance to and from the WT&J interchange, which is prototypical as well.
Although the layout has already returned to the late 90’s, I may have to break out the GP15 and do it again sometime soon!
Until next time, y’all!