Working a freight extra [8]

Back in January I photographed a freight extra on the Port Rowan branch, to document a typical operating session.
There are a lot of photos to upload and describe, so I’m going to share this in sections.
In the first section, the crew of X1560 West switched the spur at St. Williams.
In the second section, I documented the run through the Lyn Valley to Port Rowan.
In the third section, the crew arrived in Port Rowan and collected outbound cars.
In the fourth section, we followed the crew as they continued switching in the terminal.
In the fifth section, the crew finished switching in Port Rowan
In the sixth section, the locomotive was turned and outbound train assembled.
In the seventh section, the freight extra began its return trip.
In this, the eighth and final section, the crew finishes a bit of switching in St. Williams, then heads for home.

As X1560 East pulls into St. Williams, the engineer eases back on the throttle and coasts past the boxcar and tank car that the crew pulled from the spur and dropped on the siding during their outbound journey:
 photo Tour-2013-01-073_zps30ac5fe9.jpg

(The extra work then saves the crew from a run-around manoeuvre now.)

The train pulls to a stop with the van near the head of the cut to be lifted, so the rear brakeman can unload to open a knuckle on the boxcar and release the handbrakes on this cut of cars:
 photo Tour-2013-01-074_zpse3336fc5.jpg

Meanwhile, the head-end brakeman pulls the pin behind the locomotive and climbs back aboard. He flags the Charlotteville Street crossing as the engine eases across, then walks back to unlock and throw the east siding switch. He’ll wait here while the engine crew fetches the lift:
 photo Tour-2013-01-075_zps86263c54.jpg

 photo Tour-2013-01-076_zps50831f54.jpg

 photo Tour-2013-01-077_zps18897a26.jpg

As 1560 eases into the siding, the crew watches for hand signals from the rear brakeman, who stands ready to make the connection:
 photo Tour-2013-01-078_zpsa497d9c2.jpg

 photo Tour-2013-01-079_zps668093b1.jpg

All is good and the locomotive hauls the two cars out of the siding. The rear brakeman hitches a ride to the head of the cut standing on the main, where he’ll wait for the train to shove back:
 photo Tour-2013-01-080_zps3f322624.jpg

Once more, the head-end brakeman flags the crossing. He’ll then line the east siding switch for the main, lock it up, and signal the engine crew to shove back:
 photo Tour-2013-01-081_zps4a408295.jpg

 photo Tour-2013-01-082_zpsdfaa45e1.jpg

The train is reassembled. Air hoses are connected and a brake test performed:
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With the work done, X1560 East heads across Charlotteville Street one last time today, then scoots behind a row of tobacco kilns as the crew heads for Simcoe:
 photo Tour-2013-01-084_zps469e607f.jpg

(I hope you enjoyed this tour of my S scale layout. Without counting the time stopped to take photos, I required about two hours to run this train at realistic speeds with correct whistle and bell codes. The work involved included stops for collecting paperwork, writing switch lists, unlocking/throwing/locking switches, opening knuckles and checking that pins had dropped when coupling, setting brakes, hooking up train line hoses, performing air tests, and more. There’s a lot that can be done to enhance how one runs a modest layout, if one is ready to think beyond the “throttle and direction switch”!)

8 thoughts on “Working a freight extra [8]

  1. Trevor,

    Thanks fior taking all the time to show us this great tour of your layout and the way you operate it. Very informative to say the least. It’s different seeing this type of layout, with the open fields and the long grass with the wild flowers blooming. I know you have added some new senic areas since the photos were taken and that will only enhance the next operating session you have.

    Mike S

    • Hi Mike:
      “Different” – I like that and definitely do take it as a compliment! A friend who visited recently compared the layout very favourably to a British-style “terminal to fiddle yard” layout, which is a design I quite like. And while talking to another modeller this week I suggested he incorporate a long stretch of single track instead of another switching location, to give him the sense of “going somewhere” during operating sessions. He’s seen my layout and quite likes the idea – it hadn’t really occurred to him but now he’s drawing up fresh plans.
      As for scenery – I have a couple more blog posts coming. Stay tuned!

  2. Trevor,

    Thanks for that – not just in terms of how you operate the railway, but also for the insights into the real railway and the obvious enjoyment you derived from this session.

    If you fitted in a genuine lunch break, the session could take 3 hours…
    What a pleasant way to spend part of a day.


    • Hi Simon:
      I’m glad you enjoyed the tour. One thing I have not yet covered on this blog is an op session – or at least a portion of one – showing how the various operations aids are used. I have switch list blanks, track diagrams, waybills, bill boxes, fascia-mounted air hoses and brake wheels, brakemen, and more. Creating a photo essay relating them to what’s going on at track level is on my to-do list.
      As for lunch – we haven’t actually broken a session for lunch when in Port Rowan, but friends and I have run two trains during a visit with a break in between for lunch – and a pint! I can confirm that it does indeed turn into a pleasant way to spend part of a day.

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