Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Friday, December 30, 2016

Listening to my operators

Through the 5 operating sessions I have held so far I have received some good feedback on the layout and the operations. Some suggestions have been easy to address, like train sequence, which I have done through schedule changes in each subsequent session. Others have been more "infrastructure" related, involving track. Sometimes this has been addressed by explaining something about the layout and the prototype operation, and that has resolved the issue (like running from Whitefield to Crawford Notch to use a passing siding).

However one suggestion has been mentioned a couple of times by different people, so I am thinking it may have merit. Interestingly enough it involves a location where I freelanced the track plan instead of following the prototype. The prototype usually gets it right, so this comes as no surprise.

In the Morrisville yard I provided a passing siding to assist in breaking down and building trains. It works, but it could be easier if the siding was longer and also if it was not one of the yard tracks. With a limited number of yard tracks, it becomes tough to tie up the mainline and the siding and still have room to move power onto and off trains and also maneuver the yard locomotive.

I have watched these operations and also did some test running after the last session to see how things work. My conclusion was that the suggestion to drop in a pair of turnouts to create a second passing siding would really help things.

The siding to Lamoille Grain parallels the main line (left). The turnout installed is the start of the yard ladder and also one end of the existing passing siding. As suggested, dropping turnouts as shown will allow a second, longer, passing siding on the other side of the main. 
Adding the curved turnout on the main will involve removing a piece if the ballasted main line and a little scenery, but that shouldn't be too difficult. I will need to do some roadbed transition as the siding height is 1/8" lower than the main. The regular turnout on the siding will be even easier, a simple drop in for a cut out track section.

All the turnouts in this area are controlled by ground throws mounted at the layout edge (see earlier post on this). However doing it the same way for these 2 would require some major work that would damage scenery. I think the better solution will be to use Tortoise switch machines. For one, it will not require ripping out and rebuilding some scenery. But also throwing one turnout really requires the other to also be thrown. This is easy to do having one control throw both machines. I'lll just have to determine the best place to add the control. It will be my only Tortoise not controlled by DCC or a Touch Toggle!

Of course, checking my supply of turnouts on hand (I still have to finish track in North Stratford and Lyndonville) reveals that I have a #7 curved turnout, right hand even, but what I really need is a #7.5 for the 28" inner radius curve. And I could use a #5 or #6 left hand turnout for the siding, and all I have are right hand turnouts. Figures! 

As the overhead shows, I need a less sharp curved turnout and a left hand (not right hand) turnout on the grain siding. Of course, I don't have these on hand!
So time to pick up the 2 turnouts I need and then see if I can get this installed without too much down time. I have the layout restaged and ready for another op session, so I'll have to see if I want to wait until this is done, or have the op session first and then come back and do track work.


Shannon Crabtree said...

Isn't that always how it plays out. Needing a turnout and it holds up the project. Hope you have a hobby shop close by!

Simon Dunkley said...

There is also the option of hand-building to suit the location, using materials which may already be available.