Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Demand Based Car Flow - Model Fleet Part 3 - Breaking it down into Roads

In Model Railroad Hobbyist, for March 2015 Tony Thompson wrote an excellent article highlighting the cars owned by various roads at particular times. Although the data he used later then my prototype era of choice (Tony's data represented 1950) I felt if could still be used as a basis to model my fleet on.

I started with my previous Determination of 50 cars required to run my layout (excluding logging and passenger equipment) and started to break this down.  There are various schools of thought or rules of thumb when determining the number of home road and foreign cars on a layout. I decided to start with a 40-60 split and figured that the logging fleet would probably balance it out closer to 50-50.

With a 40-60 Split I would need 20 home road cars (I will address this in a separate post) and 30 foreign road cars. Based on the article of Tony's you could break this 30 down into particular roads using the fleet size that each particular road had at the time being. There is a graph on his blog here that represents this Modeling the SP. The result of this would result in the fleet being slewed towards PRR and NYC.

I felt that the location of the Yacolt branch would see more traffic from roads in direct interchange such as SP, SP&S, GN, ATSF so I adjusted my car fleet to represent more of these but also kept in mind the high number of cars owned by PRR

The Main Roads

SP  Southern Pacific - 5 cars
ATSF Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe - 4 cars
SP&S Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway - 3 cars
GN Great Nortehrn - 2 cars
PRR Pennsylvania Railroad - 3 cars
NYC New York Central - 2 cars
PFE - Pacific Fruit Express - 2 car

Total 21 cars Leaving room for 9 from smaller roads that I would like to represent but not limited to,


This brings the number of non home road cars up to 30. The next challenge is breaking it down to percentage of car types required across the layout but it is likely the majority will be XM class.

Building A Freight Car Fleet - Resoucres

I have been using various resources in determining my car fleet. Three blogs that have been a fantastic help with wealth of knowledge and examples on setting up a fleet are,

Demand Based Car Flow - Model Fleet Part 2 - The Total Number

A few weeks ago I used a demand based car flow system to begin  determining my freight car fleet. The exercise highlighted that daily trains departing staging would consist of 6 or 7 car lengths.

I plan to run my layout on my own most of the time and want to be able to enter the shed and run a train. To start out I envisage 3 trains daily crossing the layout, local freight, passenger and dedicated log train, with the the options of adding an extra freight when I have 2 operators.

This would mean I need the option to have staging for 4 trains at Vancouver end of the layout and also 2 free tracks to run around and somewhere to turn locomotives. i haven't determined if i will use a traverse table with 6 tracks and a turntable at the end or just s standard staging yard.

Using the demand based car flow from my earlier post it shows 6-7 cars entering the layout on any given day. At the same time these cars will be spotted at various locations from he previous day s you can assume there will be 6-7 cars being loaded or unloaded on the layout. I also plan my waybills to have cars sitting to be loaded for more then one day in some cases so you could make the assumption that there would be 10 cars on the layout most of the time.

The above scenario results in 24 cars being required on the layout at any given time.

Staging 1 - Local freight 1- up to 7 cars
Staging 2 - Local freight 2 - up to 7 cars
On Layout - Up to 10 Cars

I want to run a variety of freight cars across the layout and not use the same 24 cars each session. When making up a train in staging i plan to use the demand based table and the process to be something similar to

- Look up Demand based Table for day of month (table needs to be extended to cover full 31 days.
- Table determines what cars are required by shippers and local agents.
- Make up train using a mixture of freight already in staging yard and from car draws below.
- Add Waybills to the car card pockets. and stage train ready for departure.
- There should already be 1 train in staging ready so this train will become the next operating sessions local freight.

Wanting a mixture of fleet to reduce seeing the same freight on the layout each time have double the figure of 24 cars to 48 and then rounded it out to 50 in total.

This figure of 50 doesn't include cars specifically for Murphy Lumber Co and also the logging fleet and it is likely this will bring the number up to approximately 70 cars in total.

 Next up its time to break down those 50 cars into different roads and home road cars that accurately represent 1929.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Track Diagram

Recent planing and thinking about my layout has led to a lot of changes, concepts and ideas on how i plan to operate this layout. Part of that is the track diagram.

I'm using this as an aid to determine freight movements for operations and hopefully help me work out the amount of cars in my fleet. The diagram covers Battle Ground through to Yacolt and is split at the helix.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Demand Based Car Flow - Model Fleet Part 1 - A layout re think

As part of my desire to model the 1920's I have set about developing a car fleet for my railroad. Part of this process is determining freight movement across the layout and in tern determining the umber of cars required for operations.

Tony Tompson has written extensively on car moment, waybill creation and operations on his blog. One series of his I have found particularly helpful is Operations: Demand Based Car Flow.

Using Tony's methodology and generating a distribution schedule of sorts based on the industries on the Yacolt Branch highlighted a problem with my proposed layout. The Yacolt local ended up being over 10 cars long to service all the required industries if I modeled Homan through to Yacolt.
At the same time i have been struggling to fit all Homan through to tunnel 1 on 1 deck of the layout.

My aim for the layout was to generate enough traffic that I can run one freight local a day and additional passenger service / dedicated log trains. Using my sample schedule I found that restricting the layout to service only industry past Battle Ground the car lengths averaged out at 6 cars. An acceptable length for my layout.

Sample Distribution Schedule -  showing cars arriving on layout from staging.
Using my distribution schedule caused a re think of the track plan and a decision to model the layout from Battle Ground through to Yacolt and the Murphy Lumber Co.

This will result in the following trains:
- Yacolt Local - Departing Staging (Vancouver junction) through to Yacolt and return
- Daily passenger service AM and PM service
- Murphy Log Trains

As a result its back to the drawing board and track planing for the lower deck with the new school of thought.

Friday, 24 November 2017

The Rock Crusher Spur - Generating Some New Traffic

A few months ago when researching I stumbled across a document referencing a county owned rock crusher. It intrigued me as I had seen reference to gravel pits on the NP Tile Plats that i had thought of as large structures. This evening something caught my eye and upon closer inspection it turned out to be the Clark County Rock Crusher.

The simple operation could be set up along side a spur for loading into rail cars.

The Requisition for Authority For Expenditure (Form 1363) outlined a request to do just that to provided crushed rock across the county.

Received July 7 1913
Proposed Work : Rock Quarry Spur for Clarke Co. Track increase 1194 ft.

West of Yacolt on Yacolt Branch County of Clarke, Wash., owns several acres of ground, purchased for the purpose of developing a rock quarry to furnish rock for the improvement of county roads.
The county has purchased a rock crusher and same will be installed as soon as it arrives. Construction of spur track recommended to serve this quarry as per sketch and estimate herewith submitted.
Special authority granted for the construction of this track as per Gen'1. Superintendent's wire of March 26th. The County expect to ship about four cars of rock per day via rail, to be unloaded at various stations in Clarke County, and from thence by team to location wanted for hard surface improvement of county roads.

 The proposed spur was built just before crossing the Lewis River. 

The NP tile Plats for the Yacolt branch however suggest two other locations where gravel spur /pit existed. One near Homan that was removed in 1914. The other Jameson Gravel Pit just past mile post 8 although I'm yet to find information on the track removal date.

Unfortunately my room and track arrangement doesn't allow any of these spurs to fit into the layout as per the prototype but the proposition of the county shipping 4 cars of crushed rock per day to various locations would provide an variety to operations on my layout.

For the time being I intend to model the rock crusher spur utilizing a spur off the run around in Brush Prairie on a small peninsula. This spur was an abandoned logging operation that intended to model a log loading of some kind. 

Utilizing this spur will enable me to generate traffic across the layout to various locations as the county requests it for roads being constructed and repaired.

The addition of this spur will enable me to increase the variety of traffic across the branch. Now I'm on the look out for equipment to replicate the mobile crusher and rail cars to serve its industry.

Friday, 27 October 2017

The Achievale Layout Concept

I've had a few comments and emails on various forums I have shared my proposed track plan on.
The idea of a late mulitdeck layout has always appealed to me. Long runs between towns and lots of scenery. I went as far as numerous 3 level designs trying to fit the whole Yacolt line in.

Time for a reality check. I'm a single layout builder in a country town with limited man hours. How long will it take to produce scenery for 180' of layout. That's a lot of trees!

The achievable layout concept is nothing new to a lot of modelers but something to keep in mind when we design and build layouts. Plan for something that wont overwhelm you and you may get to an acceptable level of completion before distraction kicks in.

Trevor Marshal over on his 1:64 scale Port Rowan blog talks about the concept in detail and goes as far as providing several track plans.

I intend to apply this concept but keep the options open for future expansion of the line.

Take a top down approach building Yacolt and the logging area first before moving on. I hope that this approach will enable me to iron out the bugs, develop standards for wiring, control ect so they can be applied to the following stages.
This will also enable me to have an layout that I can hold operating sessions before moving to the next stage.
Lets see how this plays out over the next year or so.