Due to the grade of the mainline coming out of Newport and progressing all the way to St. Johnsbury, Lyndonville has the main line on a grade, while the industrial park itself is flat. What this means is that CP RS-1 passes the switch for Lyndonville park and then backs its whole train into the siding and the park. It cannot leave any part of the train on the main line due to the grade.
This has worked OK as the operator can use the whole train to switch the training sidings, and work around keeping his caboose in the right spot. I thought about adding an extra unused siding where the caboose could be dropped. But it has always bothered me that the operator switches with the whole train, even with it being a short train.
I've seen various articles and pictures of different methods to hold a train on a grade, using ground throws, levers, Tortoise machines, etc. However I did not want to invest a lot of effort into something that would be used once per op session.
While doing some switching and using a wooden skewer to separate cars at the Kadee couplers, I thought that it would be easy enough to "assign" a skewer as a brake to hold the caboose and through cars on the main, and allow the train to pull forward, back into the park to do its work and then return back out to the main to pick up the waiting through cars and caboose.
It only took 5 minutes to implement the solution and the pictures are pretty self explanatory. I doubt I am the first to think of this specific idea, and sticking something like a pin into the track is something I have seen, but I like the ease and visibility of the "Hill Brake" skewer.
|Looking upgrade - the skewer nicely holds the train using the the Kadee coupler of the caboose. I put a little flag on the skewer so it would be more obvious what it's purpose is!|
|A close up of the Hill Brake skewer. It sits off to the side of the roadbed, easily accessed. Silver Sharpie marks the location of the holding hole as well as the spot to keep the skewer.|