Friday, May 6, 2011

Layout Construction–April 2011

Continued Work on Denton
I have continued working on the scenery in the Denton area. This time I added a base board for the roads and some building in the area. The base board is 1/4” foam core. Using the foam core will bring the level of the road up to the same height as the track. In the first photo you can see an overall view east end of Denton showing a major road crossing and elevated areas for a gas station, repair shop and local watering hole. The second photo shows closer view of the crossing with inserts between tracks for the road surface. This road will be a paved two lane road.


In this view, I have added a small country crossing to a local farm house. This will be a one lane dirt road. I also assembled a concrete silo to help hide the squared corner of the back drop.


Operations Planning
Most of the month was spent working on a program to enhance the operating scheme of the layout. I came across a freeware program from the Model Railroad Hobbyist forum. The program is called “Easy Model Railroad Inventory”. You can check out Bob Langer’s website here. This program allows you to inventory all of your rolling stock, locomotives, buildings, library and much more. This is a very intensive program. As a benefit from inventorying your equipment, you can create waybills and car cards for operating sessions. Below are a couple of screen shots of the program’s inventory input sections.


Creating Car Cards and Waybills
One way to simulate real railroad operations is with car cards and waybills. Each car you own has a printed card with a photo of the car, car number, type of car and who owns the car. This card is folded to create a pocket to insert a waybill. Waybills describe what type of merchandise the car is carrying, where it came from, what its destination is and the type of car that is required. Below are examples of a card card for Milwaukee Road hopper #100285. The first photo shows a waybill for the car with no load (EMPTY). The car will travel from the staging yard in Harlowton to Montana Elevator in Geraldine. Once the car arrives at Montana Elevator and is loaded, the yellow waybill is moved to the back to reveal the next waybill. This waybill (which is actually the wrong one) shows the car destined for the Cargill grain export in Seattle, Washington.


The main idea is that every train will have multiple car cards showing the destination for those cars. As the train reaches that car’s destination the car is set out at that industry and waits for the next train to come along to pick it up. This creates a realistic movement of cars across the layout. In the first photo below you can see how the cards are clipped to the front of the layout next to their destination. The second photo shows the box used to store car cards and waybills that are not currently on the layout.