Friday, December 2, 2011

Testing commences

Over the last few days I have completed laying all of the mainline track. In addition, I've added enough feeders to test all of New Britain Yard and the associated industries. The industries on the east side of town (on top of the helix) are not wired yet. As yet there are no tracks for the west side of town.
The most difficult track to navigate is the long siding on the north side of the westbound mainline. Entering this track is via a curved crossover that also goes up a fairly steep grade. The track is then a pretty much continuous curve with 6 turnouts. The I-2 and L-1 successfully navigated this track (westbound), although they will never have to do so in an operating session. But I'd like as much of the track to function with as much equipment as possible.
Test Session
So this morning I tested a portion of an operating session. 
  • I staged on the siding 22 cars representing the cars left overnight by OA-6, NY-2 and EA-2.
  • I was only operating one switcher to do the work.
  • I did not run any through trains; expected were two eastbound trains and I did not foul the eastbound main.
  • I did not run NY-4 or HDX-5 which presumably would have dropped off another 10-15 cars.
  • I was operating at fairly prototypical speeds, and allowing time for the crew to work (walking to turnouts, etc.)
  • I did not make allowances for train lengths. I was using the DEY-1b, and the T-2-b and DEY-4 probably won't reliably move more than 5-7 cars at a time, at least up the grade. I have not determined prototypical train lengths for these switchers yet, although photographic evidence shows at least 6 cars. On level track either model will handle at least 10 easily.
In about 1 1/2 - 2 hours of operating I was able to:
  • Block 11 cars for west side industries (to be switched by the other switcher crew)
  • Sort and block the remaining cars.
  • Switch out Armour, Swift, Landers Frary & Clark, New Britain Lumber, Cohen Williams, Carlson & Torrell, and Household Fuel, and sent cars to the Freight House and Team Tracks.
In total I sorted 22 cars, dropped off 11, plus another 11 set out for other switcher, and picked up 15 cars.
The loads and empties picked up were blocked in groups for Maybrook and Cedar Hill freights for later pickups.
In a full operating session there would be another 2 trains dropping off 10-15 more cars, plus 5 trains picking up cars, along with 8 passenger trains.
The end results - mechanically things worked pretty well. The track needs cleaning, more feeders, powered frogs, and I'll probably need to add jumpers to the points of the turnouts as well for reliability. No derailments.
Operationally, it looks like the planned amount of work will be plenty. I didn't have any waybills, nor did I add any additional work (empty requests, car moves, etc.). It's possible that I might be able to add a few more cars when I have a Stanley Works operator as well, but we'll have to see. The yard will probably be fairly congested with incoming trains and blocks for outgoing trains.
But so far things are going better than I expected. I have more tweaking and testing I'd like to do before having an 'official' test session, but it won't be long.

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