Wednesday, August 29, 2018

(Re) Designing Whiting Street Yard...Continued

Here's where we left off:

This is a more complete mock-up including the runaround, 4 yard tracks, a new (and more accurate) location for the scale track, and I've added a siding along the wall to include an industry that was missing, since it's supposed to be a crossover leading to that track (Track #5). 

So I have a good working mock-up, the space is in good shape, I'm good to go. Right?

Well, it would be nice if the loading docks for Landers, Frary and Clark were actual models. It would be even better if the factory itself was a flat model too. But the siding is 1 1/2" from the wall. No way I can fit that.

Problem #2 is that the hole for the mainline and yard lead are placed right between two studs. The studs are there because of how I had to build around the pipes in the ceiling. It's not a big deal to put in a couple of crosspieces and cut out part of one of the studs. It is, however, quite difficult to do when all the benchwork is in place on both sides, including the foam. I tried, but I decided to see if there was an alternative to moving the tracks.

So, mock-up #3ish...

Whiting Street Yard is actually on a curve. By angling the mainline across the length of the yard, I can create enough space for modeling the factory more appropriately. There will still be some compromises, but it will be much better. This actually works because the last loading dock is some distance from the end of the siding, which just runs next to the building at that point. So it can be close to the wall there.

In addition, to make this work, I have to move some of the turnouts onto the lift out. I'd already been playing around with this, because I can make  sure the clearance points are all on the lift-out, so the yard tracks are usable to the end of the fixed portion of the layout, which extends those tracks. The biggest change it forces, though, is that the freight house is now parallel with the edge of the layout. 

In response to a question from Dick about undulations in the ground, I sent him a couple of photos of the yard:
 J-1 pulling a train out of Whiting Street Yard taken from the Ellis Street bridge
T-2-b working Whiting Street Yard

These are both from the south end of the yard, presumably taken by Kent Cochrane pre-1946. There are a few things that stand out to me. First, the amount of weeds and grass I'll need to plant. Second, there's a fence between the Landers siding and the mainline, and I always seem to forget that the siding is on a small hill. Third, the space between Track #6 where the cut of cars is sitting, and the yard proper where there are rows of neatly stacked ties.

So several iterations of tweaks later...

The Landers portion of Track #5 is on a hill, with enough space between the that and the mainline for a chain-link fence. Most of the lift-out is a parking lot for Landers or the Freight House, with grass and bushes between Track 6 and the yard tracks, which isn't that far from accurate. Whiting Street is just off of the lift-out to the right in the photo now. I'm not sure I'll have room for the crossing gates, but I can squeeze in the crossing shanty I think. 

I had tried to arrange the turnouts at the south end of the yard in the same manner as the first photo with the J-1 and it worked until I moved the yard slightly to accommodate the piles of neatly stacked ties. It would take up too much space to try to match it more closely. But the bigger reason is that I moved the crossover between Track #6 and the mainline to this side of the Ellis Street.

On the prototype, the crossover is south of Ellis Street. But operationally, I was trying to keep a turnout off of the yard lead out of sight. Installing a crossover beyond Ellis Street also shortens staging. By putting the crossover between the turnout for the bulk tracks and the yard, it's still possible to pull trains directly out of the yard onto the mainline. So it's a workable compromise to make operation simpler and more reliable in the space I've got. Since the geography is so compressed here, the scale track sort of looks like the third house track anyway.

The runaround and scale track are placed appropriately, and the two track (instead of three for the freight house) looks good, including the bump out on the second track which matches the prototype. 

And the bulk tracks are...heading off the layout?!?

Yep. I could simply make it a dummy track, and dump the cars for the bulk track and Stanley Tools here. But if I put an 8" shelf across the aisle, I can add two bulk tracks, the Stanley Tools siding (a dummy track, but still operational) the concrete platform, and the pillar crane. I plan on building a hinged bridge that will swing like a door to connect the two, which will be opened as needed. By building the shelf as a shadowbox by cutting out the middle of a couple of studs, I gain another 3/5" so the aisle will be 30" instead of 37" wide.

But why? 

Well, for one, it puts the bulk tracks in a more prototypical location. I also plan on bumping out the main layout 6" so I can put trucks at the freight house. Oh, yes. The freight house. I can now build the entire freight house, compressed slightly. It will be about 85% to scale (about 615ish feet instead of 720 feet), but it should include all 17 truck doors, the office, and the covered platform. 

The yard tracks themselves are only compressed 25% or less, although I am eliminating 4 yard tracks and one house track. The industry siding now comes across Whiting Street itself to where the industry should be located, instead of the wall to the left. The Landers factory won't be that compressed, and will include the bridge over Ellis Street (although obviously none of the buildings beyond Ellis St.).

Operationally, the placement of the turnouts where they are keeps the working yard tracks as long as possible, and also shortens the effect of the curve itself. The yard lead on this end is Track #6 alongside Stanley Tools, and that remains the case on the model. 

I need a few more turnouts than I thought, but I can start building from the north end. As it turns out, I can fit a lot more than I thought I would, and the changes have made operations more prototypical too. 


  1. Hi Randy, thanks for posting those two black and white photos. I'm guessing that's one of the YN trains returning from Holyoke, and it's sand in the hoppers. Do you know where that originated?

  2. Yes, I would guess it's YN-3 since that usually came through in the middle of the afternoon. The J-1 as power (along with it heading towards Berlin) makes that a pretty sure thing.

    When I zoom in on the copy I have, it looks more like ballast than sand to me. But I haven't gotten a high-quality scan yet.

    If it's sand, then I'm not sure where it would have come from. That region has a lot of clay, and in fact just south of Whiting Street yard are a lot of (now flooded) clay quarries for the brickyards in Berlin.

    If it's ballast (my theory), then it's coming out of Cooke's Quarry just over the border in Plainville. Actually, it doesn't really have to be ballast, there are plenty of other uses for traprock in various grades.

    Now, Tilcon is across the highway from where the old quarry was, and that's where I'm getting my ballast. A 1953 timetable I have has a "Stone Extra" that specifically serves Cooke's. So that's my guess

    1. Hi Randy, thanks for the clarification. Yes, I didn't realize the quarry was there, but I do see it on the valuation maps, so I would tend to agree that it is rock as well. Can I ask what kind of a timetable that is that showed this train? I have an employee timetable from 1942, but I don't see that it has any info on freights in it.