Thursday, December 12, 2019

Operations - Freight House

I talked about freight house traffic here, here and here in the past. In the process of compiling that information, I have come to the conclusion that the freight house would be "set up" in the same way each day, to accommodate these regularly scheduled movements.

Among my collection, I have a Traingram from 1951 that just happens to talk about a temporary order for freight house movements, and it seems to imply just that.

So for autumn 1951 sessions, I know exactly how the freight house will be set up for outbound traffic.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Crossing Gates

As an addendum to the Crossing Shanties series, I'll need to look at how to model the evolution of the crossing gates in New Britain.

The line from Smalley Street to Curtis Street (the entire layout) received new automatic gates flashing lights in Summer 1952. The Employee Timetables note where they are in use, and in April of 1952 only East St. and Wooster St. had them (and had since before 1946), but by October '52 the entire line does.

In the photos I posted for the Main St. crossing shanty, there is no signal box in the Cochrane video, but in the later photos one has been added. Presumably for the crossing gates.

But what's interesting is that the Elm St. and Main St. installations aren't your typical crossing gates. In this shot looking south on Elm St in 1956, the manual gates are still present, and what looks like the base of a typical automatic crossing gate. There are no flashing lights, although there is a stop light in this location.

Here is a look at a similar base on the northwest corner of Main St. There wouldn't be a gate on this side of the road (although it could certainly block the sidewalk).

Comparing the one at Main St. to the one at Elm St. there's a difference in the height of the post, with something attached to the Elm St. one.


Note that on the west side of Elm St., the manual gate is still present without any additional hardware.

Looking north, we can see the stoplight and the manual gate on the far side of the yard:

Clearly this isn't a standard installation.

As interesting as all this is, based on the 1955 Thomas Airviews aerial photos, the gates throughout my era remain the same. The gates on High and Washington St. in this photo are the old manual gates, and there aren't any flashing lights installed at these locations either. This is consistent at all streets in this series of photos.

So, despite the employee timetable, my assumption is that the crossings will retain the manual style gates through my entire modeling era. The gates will need to be "automatic." I need to be able to turn off the gates for manual operation in the earlier era, as the Employee Timetables note when the crews must stop and protect while the attendants are on lunch break.

How to build them? I have a couple of the Walthers ones to see if I can easily modify those to make them a little better. They just seem a bit chunky to me, but they are operational and easy enough to get.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Return of the Son of Crossing Shanty

So building and installing the crossing shanties seemed simple enough. Until Main Street. For years I assumed the two-story one at Elm Street handled these gates as well, although I had no idea how they would be mechanically connected. But then I found this picture:

Sure enough, there's a shanty right behind the gate on the northeast side of main street. The date is unknown, but looks like the '30s or '40s. No problem, I can do that.

But in the Kent Cochrane video (c1952/3) it's on the southeast side of the tracks. It still looks like a small square shanty. Again, not a big deal, they moved it. So the question would be when.

In this post-1956 picture it's still on the southeast side of the tracks, and is clearly a simple square shanty.

And in a later picture ('60s?) when the arcade was demolished, is a good shot of the front. This structure will serve as the model for the "standard" crossing shanty I'll build for East Main St., and Stanley St. if I can fit it. Looking at it more closely, it's really rectangular in shape. Looking back at the Washington St. shanty, it looks a lot like it was the same size, then an addition was added on. I don't know if that's the case, but I'll use that as a starting point.

Here they are under construction:

The Washington St. one is on the top, and the two small ones will be for Main and East Main Streets. The size is based on a 30" wide door, and a 24" wide window, then just working the dimensions until they looked "right."

Note that in the Cochrane video, the electrical box isn't present yet. I'm guessing that was added shortly after the video for the automatic crossing gates.

Since it's not there steam era photos, such as in this c1947 shot by Kent Cochrane of an R-1-b on a winter day, I figured I'll make it moveable, placing it on the northeast side of the tracks for the 1948 and earlier sessions, and southeast for the '49 and later, at least until I find more specific information as to when it was moved.

And then I noticed this:

This is a crop of one of the 1955 Thomas Airviews, and the crossing shanty is on...the southwest side of Main St.? Huh?

That doesn't make sense, because we know it's on the southeast side after 1956 (because of pictures taken after the station is demolished). The Cochrane video is c1952/3. So why would it be on the other side of the tracks in 1955 between these two dates?

As noted, I can make it moveable, but I need to double-check the date of the Cochrane video. But based on the photos in the late steam era, I think it's probably still on the northwest corner in (at least most of) my era.

While I'm at it, I should probably get started on Embassy Diner...

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Son of Crossing Shanty

After completing the two-story crossing shanty at Elm St, I decided I might as well work on the other ones that I'll need.

Washington and High Streets
On the layout, Washington St. and High St. become one and the same. I don't have the room for the additional block of Russell and Erwin, and as a result had to eliminate a runaround and a siding (although as I type this I can see the benefit for the runaround at that location and will have to see if maybe I can squeeze it in...). Anyway, I know there are crossing shanties at both locations, as can be seen in these aerial photos from Thomas Airviews taken in 1955:

Other than the aerial photos, I don't have any pictures of the High Street one, although it looks like a simple square shack. But I do have photos of three sides of the one on Washington St.:

The front, taken from a picture on a snowy day (and the first photo I had of the shanty).

The back, in the background of a photo taken from Main St. In this photo, the second block of Russell and Erwin buildings have been demolished for a parking lot. But it also demonstrates the view I will get on the layout, since the smoke stacks will be right next to Washington/High St. so even though I've eliminated the city block, the major structures will still be present, and in largely the correct location for photographs.

And this excellent photo of the side taken from Washington St. If this was the only picture I had, I would have assumed a simple square structure, without the compound roof that is evident in the other two photos. And while I can't build this scene exactly, I will build the factory buildings that are on the left behind the smokestacks, which will allow me to still build the two pedestrian bridges between the factory buildings.

Another aspect that I'm working on for this, and other scenes, is the fact that they not only have the manual gates still in use (thus the crossing shanties), but they are of an older style that are long enough to span the entire road. While Walthers makes manual gates like these, they are too short and too chunky.

Stanley Street
The only photo I have of Stanley Street is part of the same series of aerial photos:

It's also a helpful photo of Stanley Svea (the building still stands), and the surrounding area. You can see the elevated coal trestle on the far side of the building. This will be a simple square shack.

East Main Street
I don't have any photos, aerial or otherwise, of the East Main St. crossing. None of the maps I have note the location of a crossing shanty either, although my assumption is that there must be one. How to find out?

The Employee Timetable. Rule 1705 tells us what crossings have flashing light signals, and in New Britain in 1948 (the one I have handy), East St. and Wooster St. do, but not East Main St..

Rule 1707 tells us that the normal grade crossing whistle signal is not used in New Britain between Stanley and Curtis St., but that means it is used at East Main St.

Rule 1713. Public Crossings at Grade - Stop and Protect per Rule 898.
There are only two places within New Britain on the Highland Line where the train must stop and protect, Myrtle Street (which is a switching lead for Fafnir Bearings), and the Bonali private track at Wooster Street. Which means East Main St, must have a manned crossing shanty.

I don't know what it looks like, or what side of the street, so I'll make it a small square shack on the north side, since that's where I have space.

Berlin Line
I have pictures of two-story crossing shanties at Church St and Chestnut St.

This is taken from Elm St. and is from the series of photos in 1956 installing the Elm St. grade crossing.

This is a pair of photos looking East and West of Chestnut St c1920s (?). The Rogers Door and Sash building is still there, but the rest is largely gone. The flour, grain, feed (and poultry feeds looking east) sign is on the C. W. Lines grain silo. I was excited when I first learned of it, since I could have a grain silo, to find that it's just another brick building. In any event, it won't fit on the layout (it's in the middle of where the Berlin Line ducks under the helix).

I don't have any pictures of Park or Whiting Streets, nor do shanties show up in aerial photos, but the Whiting St. one is on the valuation maps. So I know the location (it will be on the lift up of course...), but not whether it is one or two stories. Because it's a wide open area, I might go with a single-story one, but all of the ones that I have pictures of on the Berlin Line are two story, so I might use one of those as the basis of the model.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Tank cars and Dangerous Cargo

Another interesting clinic in Chicago was about hazardous materials placards by Rich Mahaney. Tony Thompson has covered placards for my era, so no need to repeat it here.

But it did start me looking to see how it would apply to operations on the layout. And I found I have a booklet, conveniently dated May 15, 1947, to address those questions.

There are multiple sections based on job, and while some of the earlier sections might alter the paper work, the first I'll look at that will apply to operators on the layout is in Section VIII for Yardmasters, Yard Office, and Yard Crews:

10. Cars placarded Explosives" must never be handed next to the engine....either in switching operations or in trains. At least one non-placarded car must separate the engine from the "Explosives" car in switching operations.

22. Cars placarded "Explosives" must be placed and carried in trains, either standing or during transportation, as follows:
In all freight trains, when length of train permits, not nearer than the 16th care from the engine or occupied caboose; and when the length of train will not permit them to be so placed, as near as possible to the middle of the train.
Never next to an engine.
Never next to a loaded flat car.
Never next to an open-top car when any of the lading extends or protrudes above or beyond the ends or sides therof.
Next to a car equipped with automatic refrigeration of the gas-burning type.
Never to cars containing lighted heaters, stoves or lanterns.
Never next to a wooden under-frame car.
Never next to a car with live animals or fowl and occupied by an attendant.
Never next to a car placarded "Dangerous."
Never next to a car placarded "Poison Gas."
Never next to an occupied caboose.

23. Placarded loaded TANK CARS must be placed and carried in trains, either at rest or during transportation, as follows:
Not nearer the 6th car from an engine or occupied caboose, when length of train permits, but in no instance nearer than the second car unless the entire train consists of placarded tank cars.
Never next to a loaded flat car.
Never next to a car placarded "Explosives" or "Poison Gas."
Never next to a wooden under-frame car.
Never next to an open-top car when any of the lading extends or protrudes above or beyond the ends or sides therof.
Next to a car equipped with automatic refrigeration of the gas-burning type.
Never to cars containing lighted heaters, stoves or lanterns.
Never next to a car with live animals or fowl and occupied by an attendant.
Never next to an occupied caboose, except when train consists entirely of placarded tank cars.

24. A car placarded "Poison Gas" must not be to a car placarded "Explosives" or next to a car placarded "Dangerous." Any other position in a freight train is permissible unless the car is also placarded "Explosives."

26. Car placarded "Dangerous," other than tank cars, may be placed and carried in trains in any position desired except next to a car placarded "Explosives" or one placarded "Poison Gas."

Section IX Train and Engine Crews has the same rules, as e, f, g, and h.

All of these are rules that can easily be modeled in our own operations.