Monday, February 27, 2012

NYC Freight Yard Video

I stumbled across a double feature on YouTube tonight while researching New York freight yards. Made by the New York Central in the 50s, there are some great shots of how a yard works from the hump yards to the inspection pits. Includes a nice overview of different types of freight cars, a few minutes on changing wheels, and some shots of interesting tools in steam locomotive servicing. The "Leave it to Beaver" type music gets tedious after a few minutes, but it is worth it. The second shorter film at the end is a general "railroads are heart of America" piece and just a few minutes long.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Phil's Latest Op Session

Below the benchwork view of a couple of operators plus layout dog.

Phil's railroad has only been up and running a few months, and he is still working out the schedule, track alignments, procedures, etc. The BNSF layout represents New Mexico and Arizona operations sometime in the 60s/70s. I think this was just the third session (I've attended two), and the operators range from experienced to novice. No radios (we're all in one room) or signaling needed at this point as we are running on a mother may I dispatch and sequential schedule.

It is close to the end of the session and 201C has been working pretty hard this evening along with it's train crew. They forgot to turn off their headlight before moving on to the next assignment. (I was the crew...) 

The op session is relaxed, and includes sweeper freights, locals and two yards. The most challenging job seems to be Williams Junction Yard where the Grand Canyon Route interchanges and the mainline breaks off to Phoenix. There are several classification tracks and industries, and at the moment, traffic is mainly interchange to the two branches. REX/REA cars ride with the passenger trains for switching in each town around the layout. Locals move out to their towns and spend most of the session servicing industries and helping the sweepers drop and pick up cuts of cars throughout the session.
Staging is double-ended and fully visible and accessible. DCC control, some sound locomotives, carpeting, benchwork low - 39.5" due to room restrictions.

Things work pretty smoothly already, and most of the adjustments are going to be to work balance and scheduling. Best thing is that locals are mostly free to work at their own speed without too much bother from the mainline trains.

The layout is pretty loosely prototypical, and I think the flavor of railroading is the priority here. The challenge of such a layout is to provide some sort of framing that makes the work on the layout relevant to something in the real world, or to highlight some type of operational aspect. It will be interesting to see how this develops!