Thursday, November 14, 2019

Operations -Crew Schedules

If I establish a staggered starting time for operators, how will a typical session flow?

Summer/Autumn 1949
6.15 AM (Session Start)
Cut from OA-6 is on Highland Track #5
Cut from NY-2 is on Berlin Track #6
Agent #1 starts

6.30 (7 minutes)
Yard Crew #1 starts

7.05 (12 minutes into session)
NY-4 arrives. Yard crew switches the train.

444 makes station stop

8.00 (26 minutes)
Stanley Works crew starts (?)

446 makes station stop

10.30 (1 hour, 7 minutes into session)
Yard Crew #2 starts
Crossing gates at Whiting Street are not manned until 12:00, stop and protect.

12.43 PM
131 makes station stop

1.30 (1 hour, 49 minutes)
Agent #2 on duty

YN-3 arrives. Yard crew switches the train.

2.30 (2 hours, 14 minutes)
Yard Crew #1 off duty

2.45 (2 hours, 22 minutes)
Agent #1 off duty

4.00 (2 hours, 25 minutes)
Stanley Works off duty

157 makes station stop

463 makes station stop

136 makes station stop

Freight House closes

6.30 (Session End)(3 hours)
Yard Crew #2 off duty

Agent #1 is off duty for 35 minutes at the end (35 minutes).
Agent #2 is off duty for 1 hour, 49 minutes at the start (109 minutes, or more than half the session).
Yard Crew #1 is off duty for 7 minutes at the start, and 45 minutes at the end (52 minutes).
Yard Crew #2 is off duty for 1 hour, 7 minutes at the start (67 minutes).
Stanley Works Crew is off duty for 26 minutes to start, and 35 minutes at the end (61 minutes).

The through trains could be handled by the off-duty crews, except YN-3, which comes through when all crews are on duty. However, if the Agent's shifts are 8 hours, instead of 8.5 including a lunch break, then Agent #2 can bring YN-3 into Whiting Street Yard, and Agent #1 could pull it out once the switching is completed.

Would this work for other sessions too, when there are more through trains? In general yes, the Agents trade off in the middle of the day, and the other off duty crews can also sign up for some of the trains. Which means I don't need a separate through train crew member.

At Chicagoland RPM, Lowell Smith ran an operations roundtable. At his sessions (and it sounded like those of his friends), everybody is put on an extra board when arriving at a session, and those with seniority (the most hours on the layout) get to pick their job first. This type of approach didn't make sense to me for my layout, since people aren't typically running multiple trains. But I think I might try it for the next few sessions, once the layout is operational again. The "off-duty" crews can sign up for the through trains, which will still be a conductor and engineer, so they can work in different pairs.

Chances are the sessions will never run this smoothly, and the yard crews will probably work longer.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Operations - Switching Jobs at New Britain

So one of the things I've been trying to narrow down is when the switching crews go on duty in New Britain. At the Chicagoland RPM Jack Ozanich presented a clinic on Railroad Work Rules. It was very informative, discussing how the union agreements affected work on the railroad. For example, the pay for through local freights is higher than through freights. But if a through freight stops to do switching, if they pass a certain threshold, then they are paid the local freight rate for the entire run.

Since the railroad wouldn't want to do that on a regular basis, I decided to dig a little deeper in the documentation.

I already had the New Haven Agreement with Clerks, Freight Handlers, and Station Employes, so I picked up one for Enginemen and one for Trainmen.

One of the things that Jack pointed out is that there were regular start times for work across the entire railroad. So I checked the books. In the Clerks book:

Rule 53 - Three Shift Positions
When three consecutive shifts are worked covering a 24 hour period at a particular location within a seniority district or sub-division thereof, the starting time of the shifts covered by the employes engaged in such 24 hour operation will not be after 12:00 midnight or before 5:00 AM unless otherwise agreed to by the Management and the duly accredited representative.

While interesting, the Day Train Order station and Agent are at New Britain from 6:15 AM until 10:00 PM, as noted in the Employe Timetables. So that was helpful (and corresponded with information gleaned from several Shoreliner articles), since it established that the three shifts (tricks) were:

Midnight to 8:00 AM
8:00 AM to 4:00 PM
4:00 PM to Midnight

The Engineers' book was also helpful:

Article 3 - Yard Service
K. Where two shifts are worked not in continuous service, the time for the first shift to begin work will be between the hours of 6:30 A.M., and the second not later than 10:30 P.M.

Since we know the station is open at 6:15 AM, that the switching crew(s) probably start at 6:30 AM. But I think that they work a staggered shift, because they also have to protect the closing of the freight house at 5:00 PM.

And the Trainmen's book provides even more (in 1954):

Five Day Work Week
Section 1
...a work week of forty hours, consisting of five consecutive days of eight hours each...

But there are other rules that can help narrow down the details.

Rule C-1. Regular Engineers (still in Article 3)
...all time worked in excess of eight hours continuous service in a twenty-four hour period shall be paid for as overtime...

But as you may know, in this era crews didn't outlaw until 16 hours of service. And many people have stated that the crews would probably work 12 hours each day. If they worked 16 hours, they would have to be off duty for a minimum of 10 hours, which means the start time would have to shift 2 hours every day. But I thought that it would be unlikely for them to be having a local switching crew work overtime regularly. The jobs seem to be fairly well organized. But could I find evidence of this?

Actually, yes. From a Locomotive Utilization Report from April 20, 1948. This was a report that was produced along with a document that was looking at the difference in efficiency between diesel and steam locomotives. That document is interesting enough, but the report is what was useful here. It records the utilization of every locomotive on that day, as measured by miles (for road trains) and hours worked (for yard work).

In most cases, diesel switchers worked multiples of 8 (8, 16, or 24 hours). For yards where switchers worked 24 hours (like Waterbury), they would have had three crews.

Two 44 tonners (as usual) worked New Britain. 0802 and 0812. Both switchers worked 8 hours. While this is a single day, it was a single "normal" day and I think it shows (since few of the switchers in the report worked an odd number of hours, a few 9 hours, one or two 11 hours), that the yard jobs were typical day jobs, 8 hours/day.

This is supported further supported by:
D. Yard crews shall be assigned for a fixed period of time when shall be for the same hours daily...So far as practicable assignments shall be restricted to eight hours' work.

E. Regularly assigned yard crews shall each have a fixed starting time...

O. Yard crews will be allowed 20 minutes for lunch...without deduction in pay.

Which means the shifts are 8 hours total, inclusive of lunch breaks.

So in order to protect the 5:00 PM closing of the freight house, the second switcher must have started later in the day. Now the question would be when?

Back to the Engineers' book, this time for road crews:

Article 2 - Freight Service
As noted, engineers are paid based on the type of service (through vs. local), but also by weight on drivers. This matters:

E. ...the total weight on drivers of units operated by one engine crew shall be the basis for establishing the rate.

So let's look at AO-5, with an ABA set of locomotives. The weight on drivers for the DER-2a is 240,600 lbs and the DER-2b is 236,400, for a total weight of 717, 600 lbs. This gives the engineer a rate of 18.19 for through service, and 18.71 for local service. Where the yard crew rates for a DEY-3, -4, or -5 is between 16.89 and 17.49. The yard crew is paid hourly, so there is no reason to pay extra money to the road crew if there is a yard crew on duty.

In other words, due to both service and the weight of the locomotives, the yard crews should be doing the work where possible. Are there exceptions? Yes. The Conversion Rule.

H. Conversion Rule
Engineers, in through or irregular freight service required to pick up and/or set off a car or cars at three or more points, or, when the time actually consumed in pickup up and/or setting off exceeds one hour and thirty minutes in the aggregate for the entire trip during any one trip or tour of duty will be paid local freight rates for the entire service performed.

Rule 21 for Freight Service in the Agreement with Trainmen is basically the same and applies to conductors, brakemen and flagmen in addition to engineers.

There are some exceptions, and an entire section later in the book to clarify this rule, but for our purposes this is sufficient other than to note that we won't need to consider the origination or destination when working through this problem. Here's the schedule for AO-5 in 1946:

Hartford.............L 8:00 PM
New Britain.......A 8:25, L 8:40
Waterbury..........A 9:40, L 10:30
Ansonia.............A 11:10, L 11:25
Stearns...............A 1:15 AM, L 1:45 1:55
Hopewell Jct......A 3:35, L 3:45
Maybrook...........A 5:00

First, it's interesting that it doesn't leave Hartford early enough to beat the midnight deadline. So they are paying a day's per diem on all of these cars.

But to determine whether the second switcher would still be on duty at 8:40 PM depends on how many other locations the AO-5 crew would have to switch. Looking at the Utilization Report, Waterbury and Ansonia have switch crews on duty 24 hours/day. It doesn't look like the train picks up anything at Danbury, although there are two switch crews there and on April 20, 1948 they worked 8 and 11 hours (with the second crew also running 106 miles as the Danbury local).

That means there are no crews at Stearns and Hopewell Jct. If Danbury is not switched, then a crew is not needed at New Britain since the road crew would be within their 3 allowable switches. If Danbury is switched, this might be different. So it's quite possible that the crew was gone by this time.

The only other train coming through in the early evening is ANE-1, through the end of 1948.

ANE-1, has stops in New Britain (7:55 to 8:05 PM), Plainville, Waterbury, and Ansonia. Plainville doesn't have a yard crew, but New Britain doesn't need one either since Waterbury and Ansonia do.

The yard crew isn't needed for either of these trains. So my assumption is that the last work the second crew does is pull the freight house. When ANE-1/EA-2 were running they would have had to pull the cars up to Track #5 on the Highland, after 1948 the cars were picked up at Whiting Street yard. I don't think this would take more than an hour.

Agent #1: 6:15 AM to 2:15 PM
Agent #2: 2:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Although they are paid exclusive of a 30 minute lunch, so maybe:


Yard Crew #1: 6:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Yard Crew #2: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM

I'll take a closer look at how this will work for an ops session in the next post.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Pullman-Bradley 11-Window Coaches Part II

Although we tend to call these Osgood Bradley Lightweight Coaches, I noticed that in the New Haven published promotional materials they called them Pullman-Bradley cars...

Anyway, this is still in a proof-of-concept stage, as I'll need to figure out just how I'll put these back together, and what parts I'll need. This is a test, with strips of styrene behind the side to bring it to the right plane. It's just tacked together with Aleene's Tacky Glue right now.

Here it is next to an (as yet) unmodified Rapido car:

One thing I noticed. If you look at the modified car, the bathroom bulkhead is not in the correct location. I checked the plans, and the location of the bulkhead differs only by 1/8" between the 10-window and 11-window cars. While the windows are smaller (as they should be) on the brass car side, there is obviously a discrepancy of some sort. Since the bathrooms are entirely hidden behind frosted windows, I'll just move the bulkhead. I also need to figure out what seats to get for the new coaches, since they have more. I might test fit a Branchline/Atlas interior (after counting seats).

You can see on this end that there is a gap I'll need to fill as well. The best approach would be to add a bit of filler on both ends and center the side that way. Overall, though, it looks like this is going to work pretty well. I need to figure out how to do the window glazing. Most likely I'll just have to put something behind the brass car side, so they won't quite be flush with the car side. But the brass side is pretty thin, so I don't think it will be too bad.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Oh yes I did!

John and I just got back from the Chicagoland Railroad Prototype Meet this weekend. We had an awesome time. Got to meet a number of people in person that I've spent a lot of time chatting with via email, and new people too. I highly recommend the meet, and plan on attending next year too.

But that's not what this post is about.

Tonight I started a new project. I won another Custom Brass 11-window Osgood Bradley streamlined passenger car. I have a bunch of the Rapido cars, but unfortunately they have yet to get around to the 11-window cars. And the reality is, those are the ones I actually need. The 10-window cars were primarily for mainline trains, and the 11-window cars had additional seating for commuter service. In all, I could probably use as many as five of the cars, but right now I have three.

Anyway, since I won the car, I decided to see if the Rapido underframe would fit in the car, since my eventual plan is (was?) to do just that. With a bit of work, and the removal of a number of parts on the brass car, it works.

There is more work to do, but it shows that the concept will work. Then I decided that I thought the roof would fit too. So I started to remove the roof. But the ends look better on the Rapido car too, and the way the end meets the roof is also different. As I worked my way of separating the roof from one side, I found that it would be easier to just remove the side itself.

Which presented another approach. Seeing if the side would fit the Rapido car:

So that's what I've started to do:

So yes, I removed the side from both a Custom Brass and a Rapido Osgood Bradley car. I'll have to remove the second sides of both cars, and figure out the best way to reassemble everything. I can use the bulkhead and toilet, but will need to get some additional seats and fix the seating too.

And of course, once I get these together, Rapido will be free to release their 11-window models for me to replace them with.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

More Operations

Among my more exciting recent acquisitions is additional paperwork for operating the layout. More importantly, it also answers some lingering questions...

First up, I finally found an actual New Haven Railroad Switchlist. It's too big for my scanner, so it's at Chris' waiting to be scanned. I already knew what they looked like (and the form number) because there was a picture of the "old" one in a booklet about the installation of an IBM computer system c1947 (available here thanks to John C. Carlton).

But what I found after that was a form that I didn't know existed:

This is a switchlist for yard crews and is the primary form that the agent/yardmaster will be creating for the switching crews. Especially since it's now clear that Stanley Works, for example, will request switching moves several times a session.

Note the "Order No." field, with instructions at the bottom. These are generated sequentially through the week, as needed. It identifies where the car is located, where it will go, and the conductor needs to complete the placement time when complete.

Based on what I'm learning from Dale over at the CNZR and Joseph at the Pioneer Valley Railroad, there will be priority switching orders (such as perishables, the freight house, and industries like Stanley Works), and regular switching orders. I don't see anything on the form to indicate this, so it will probably be something more informal.

In the meantime, time to get working on the infrastructure so I can get back to operating.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Stanley Works Modifications

Wow, my last post was over a month ago. I've been trying to keep that from happening...

So, after the prototype meet I ripped up the entire west end of the layout to relay. Chris and John (Drake) have been helping out, and in the process I have been able to much more closely model the actual track arrangement.

This is where Stanley Works used to be. The initial goal was to fill in some space to allow more room for buildings behind the trackwork itself. As you can see, we left a hole open for access, and also to make it easier for anybody who needs to access the helix. At least, that was the theory....

In the original (well, second or third original arrangement), the rolling mill was flush against the wall, and the tracks stub-ended, with additional tracks going to the shelf beside it. This was a compromise because I didn't think I could actually run the tracks through it like the prototype. The white piece of paper is a template I'm using for roads to see if I might actually be able to fit Curtis Street. 

In the process, I drove around the plant again and realized how much of a hill there is:

This is where the track passes through the rolling mill over Burritt St., and there's a pretty significant grade.

This is the track on the other side of Burritt St. and a look at the building where one track goes inside. That's the same building that was there in my era. What's even more interesting to me, though, is how they've used rail for maintaining the flangeways in the switch, even around the points. Something I intend to model.

Instead of the rolling mill being against the wall, I found I'm able to angle it to allow me to model Burritt St. (which will be on a hill) going into the tracks across the street. The switch will be encased in asphalt.

While the arrangement past Burritt St. won't be exact, this has the track in the building (on the right), and one against another building, with pavement between them, as on the prototoype. In later years a track running alongside the building on the right would lead to additional buildings. But the best I can tell, these weren't in place in my era. In any event, they won't fit.

While the arrangement may not appear to be that different through here, it is operationally. The box is a stand-in for a building right now, as are all of the buildings except the rolling mill. On the prototype, there are two low buildings, with the two sidings between them as there is now on the model. Then there is an open paved area between the second building and the main Stanley Works building, with pipes connecting them. The main building is on a hill, so the side facing Myrtle St. is a full story above this side. I'll be building the hill , and the building will dominate the back of the scene, well above eye level, and all of the structures along that back portion will end up covering the hole we left above the helix. So much for the access! But it will look amazing, and is just buildings.

This is a look up Curtis St. There will be trucks at the end of the building on the left, and to the right will be the Power Plant (and I'll be shortening the coal tracks there). Curtis St. will go up a pretty steep grade just past the siding, all the way to the corner of the wall. The corner itself will be fairly well hidden by structures. Note that in addition to the box car to the right of Curtis St., based on photos there will be additional spotting locations to the right of that turnout. Which essentially eliminates the runaround and greatly alters operations.

The small Fafnir Bearings building (from Ed O'Keefe who was once modeling New Britain and recently passed away), is a stand-in for the much larger building that will be there eventually.

Operationally, I'm still working out the details. There are about 30 spotting locations in Stanley Works alone, not including the coal tracks, and unlike my prior arrangements, is entirely prototypical, if compressed. Without any real storage tracks, they will need to rely on the NH switchers to clear space and bring new cars throughout the day. I've got a better understanding about that process now due to some new finds, but that's for a later post...

Thursday, September 5, 2019


Several different products and colors. They aren't necessarily intended for these locations, but I wanted to see how they'd look in a (relatively) finished scene. I'll need quite a bit...

T-2-b #2327 working Whiting Street Yard in the early '40s.
Kent Cochrane (probably) photo.

Note the scaffold around the smoke stack, and the hoppers, probably filled with stone from Cooks Quarry just over the border in Plainville. I believe they would have been dropped at Whiting Street to be weighed.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Railroad Terminology

On my last post, lajrmdlr asked whether I should have called the tracks to Home Depot "spurs" rather than "sidings."

Those who know me know that I can be particular about utilizing the proper terms where possible. Sill step, running board, single sheathed box car, etc. Interestingly enough, a similar discussion just popped up on the Steam Era Freight Car list.

In the railfan/hobby press I have seen a general use of the word spur to indicate a stub-ended track, and a siding to be a double-ended track. In some cases, they might only be referring to a passing siding. 

So what about "siding" and "spur?" (And should I be using commas when using quotes in this manner? How about I switch to italics instead...)

I don't recall seeing the term spur in any official NH publications, but I seem to recall industrial sidings and similar usage. So I'll take a closer look:

In the 1943 NH Rule Book it defines siding:

Siding.-A track auxiliary to the main track for meeting or passing trains.

That seems pretty definitive. Rule 42 includes the following:

42. Sidings and other tracks to the right of the main track...

So it does differentiate between sidings and other tracks, but no term is given for "other tracks."

In the Employee Timetable (this one is 6/8/47) it does have some notations in the Maximum Engine Permitted. Under Harlem River, Schorsch & Company (engines not permitted beyond frog on siding in lead 132nd St. and Brown Pl). But I don't know the location, so maybe that's the standard definition. And what should I find under New Britain? 

C.L.P track, engines permitted on lead track only. Spur track, engines not permitted.
P&F Corbin Company spur track.

So what do you know, there's spur track. Incidentally, I see bulk track, bulk delivery track, industrial tracks, private track, house track, and station track notated as well. There's even a runaround track noted.

But wait! There's more!

Here's another booklet (from 8/1/27): Instructions to Conductors Regarding Car Reports...also Numbers of Station and Side-Tracks with Distances from Terminals. Incidentally, the terminology matches the NYC in their book List of Industries with Private or Individual Side Tracks. On NH maps I typically see sidetrack (no space).

However, the PRR in Numbers and Names of Stations and Sidings (Form C.T. 1000) which lists all of the, ahem, (industrial) sidings. The instructions also use the term: 

14. When new Individual or Company sidings have been installed... and also throughout the document when referring to industrial sidings.

The Reading Freight Shippers Guide from 1942 also consistently uses the term "private siding."  


So, like so many things it appears that within the industry there isn't a standardized term. However, on the NH it looks like in general, the term siding is not used (often) for tracks other than what we would normally consider a passing siding. Side track, sidetrack, private track, industrial track, and spur are all used in various official publications. They are often referred to by the name of industry as well. So in the prior post I could have simply gone with Home Depot Tracks and for the most part the crew referred to them as the boxcar track and the flat car track.


This ended up being longer than I thought (not that I should be surprised). At some point I might dig into local/way/peddler freights, and I'm working on a longer article/clinic on AAR Standard Box Cars. And don't get me wrong, there isn't anything wrong with using terms that aren't in the official publications of the railroad. Many of the terms (or things like phases of diesel locomotives) have been created to help clarify exactly what we are discussing. And that's a good thing. But in some cases, invented terms have been used and confused with actual terms.

For example, the interim improved dreadnaught end as I've seen noted numerous times in the press. The problem is, it's in reference to a specific end marketed by SREM as the Improved Dreadnaught End. No interim, (although there were several variations dependent upon the height of the car, and further improvements to the design over the years). But the name refers to a specific, trademarked design.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Model Railroading Myths: Switching Time

One of the common truisms I often hear in model railroading, is that a fast clock is problematic for switching heavy layouts, because we switch in 1:1 or "real" time. Although I've disagreed with this assessment in the past, today I got a chance to put it to the test.

I spent the day on Tuesday working the CNZR with my buddy Dale. He's a conductor on the railroad, and I've always wanted to go out on a run with him. I got to do much more than that, throwing the iron, setting and releasing handbrakes, chocking wheels, and connecting the air hoses, among other things. It was great fun (and a lot of work!) to be a "real" railroader for a day. And it also highlighted how much longer it takes to actually switch out cars on the real railroad.

I didn't really take any decent pictures, a couple of short videos, but for the most part just enjoyed the experience instead.

The Griffins line has a single industry - Home Depot. They have two sidings, one holds 9 box cars, and the other 5 flat cars, plus room on the leads for another 8-9 cars if needed. There's also a storage track that will hold 11 cars, and up the line is a runaround that will hold another 11 cars. You can see cars on the storage track below on the left, and note the break between the first flat car, and the four other flat cars. That's crossing for the forklift.

The runaround is about a mile north. So this morning the railroad had:
Runaround - 9 loaded 85-foot center-beam flats (could fit 2, maybe 3 more cars)
Storage - 5 loaded center-beam flats, 4 (might have been 5) loaded box cars.
The sidings were full, but the leads empty.

5 flats were empty and to be pulled, but only 2 of the box cars were ready to go, but they weren't ready to take any new cars today. In addition, the oldest cars must be spotted first (so the inbound cars today won't be spotted for a couple of days). On the boxcar track, they also don't like new cars to be placed in front (at the lead end) of older cars in the back. And they sometimes take several days, even a week or more, to empty the boxcars.

And there were 16 (!) cars at the interchange in Hartford to come up the line.

We went out with two locomotives (A GP-9 and GP-20), and started at Home Depot:
Pulled the 5 flat cars and dropped them on the main.
Pulled the 2 box cars and dropped them on the main.
Moved the 5 flats to the siding.
Moved the box cars to the siding, leaving two of them on the lead.

These 4 moves took between 1 1/2 to 2 hours in real time. In addition to throwing the iron, it involves pulling the wheel chocks, opening a knuckle, coupling up the cars, connecting the air hoses, releasing or setting hand brakes (on three cars minimum), verifying that the other brakes are released when picking up, testing the brakes, along with the paperwork.

For example, to pick up the flat cars, we had to connect to the first car, pull the chocks, hook up the air, and release the brake. We then had to connect to the other cut of flats, connect the air, pull the chocks on the first car, release the handbrakes on three of them, and check that the last car didn't have the brake set, then pull them out. Then reverse the project to set out new cars. On the box cars, every car has chocks, since they need to stay in front of their spotting location.

On a typical model railroad those four moves might take 15-30 minutes. I've seen four moves like this take much less. With a 4x fast clock, that's 1 to 2 hours. We don't model all of the manual steps it takes, and even if we simulate some of them by taking a little time, it's still a pretty good match for a 3 to 4x fast clock.

This makes sense, though. Most of the operating sessions I've run on nearly any layout, a local freight is often expected to take the entire session to run, while the through trains operate following the fast clock schedule. We had to wait for clarification of the work needed for one car, so the whole day was from 9:30 to 4:00.

When watching others switching on a model railroad, I've come to the conclusion that there are two primary reasons why it often takes longer:

  1. Operators that don't know the layout as well as real railroaders that work the job every day;
  2. Trains that aren't blocked like the prototype, requiring more switching moves

Other contributing factors are often:

  1. The track layout and design;
  2. Running too many cars/switching moves

If you've followed the prototype track arrangement, that's not an issue. Traffic can be significant (as today showed). But, we only actually spotted 7 cars, and pulled 7 cars. All of the other moves were just to find someplace to store the loads to be delivered when they are ready for them. For my sessions, I have set my goal to have my industries at about 50% or so to capacity, and switch about 50% of those in a given session. This will vary, and with the right crews excess capacity like this week on the CNZR can be fun.

It also reminds me of Lance Mindheim and other modelers' small layouts. This is a a great example with one industry, two sidings, and two storage locations, but clearly enough work for a single crew of one or two to operate for a couple of hours.

I like to operate while keeping in mind my "men on the ground" and slow down at a turnout to let them off to throw the iron, and pick them up, etc. It adds a fun dimension to the operation, and something more than just "go ahead" or "go back" for the engineer. And I don't anticipate adding too many pauses, since even a 2-5 minute delay on a 4x fast clock isn't really noticeable.

The rest of the day was interesting as well, because of the amount of space to work in Hartford as well. With 7 cars going down, and 16 to bring back (and 1 that was there in error, so really 17 in that cut), we wouldn't be able to run around the new cut. So we pulled a locomotive at the end of the train, and used that as the locomotive on the way back with the cut sandwiched between the two locomotives. Since the delivery included only two flat cars, we were able to squeeze 13 cars on the storage track, and left the two flats with a box car between them on the flat car lead. Because of the blocking, we had to move a cut of box cars to the storage track, then the three cars to the flat car lead, then the remaining cars to the storage track.

So I had a blast operating 1:1 and, as always, learned more about how the railroad actually operates.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

DIY "clamps"

So the area Chris and I worked on has a seam between the masonite used on the helix and the new OSB, and a couple of tracks will need to run across that seam. While it's a location where people won't lean or put any pressure on it, I wanted to stabilize it a bit. These will be simple splice plates glued on since there isn't clearance for anything else. You can see the mockup of the sidings here while I test whether an Atlas crossing will work in this location. There are a number of commercial options, or I may just handlay it.

Since the OSB is thicker than the masonite, I need to glue a couple of spacers first, and then the splice plates. But the problem is the same - there's no way for me to clamp them that far from the other edge of the OSB.

It's not too big an issue, so I started looking for some scraps of wood to stack underneath them, and then thinking about getting some measurements to cut a few pieces. While thinking about it, I was also thinking about cleaning up the basement again, and looked at the pile of track I'd pulled off the west end.

Aha! Instant "clamps." And it works very well because the rail is flexible so I could cut it a little long and keep some pressure on the spacers while being glued in.

For a neater approach to the same thing (which apparently are spring clamps), check out Joe Smith's use of pieces of masonite for another option.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

More progress

Chris came over. How can you tell?

Oops. Wrong picture.

We added the deck inside the helix where tracks for two additional industries and East Main Street will be. East Main will run along the straight edge on the left, and add another grade crossing. The two industries it allows me to add are Miner, Read & Tullock, a grocery wholesaler, and D&K Coal, another small coal industry.

We also addressed what I'll be doing on the inside of the helix at Stanley Works, modifications on the west end, and adding the siding for Skinner Chuck. We also removed almost all of the backdrop. I needed more space where we had coved the corners, and we're coming to the conclusion that even the gray walls (New Haven Silver-Gray) might be all I need for the backdrop. We'll see. It was a very productive day.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


As further proof that I inflict the same things upon myself as my modeling buddies...

All of Stanley Works and the rest of the left side of the layout has been pulled up. And I've pulled out the backdrop. This has been operating well for probably 5 years now....

There are a few mockups for testing, but in the last photo you can see some of what I'm planning. I'd like a little more space (and a better-shaped space) for modeling Stanley Works. Most of that blue foam will be cut away in the middle, but the empty space to the right of it will be covered. It will leave an access pit about half the size of the inside of the helix. I'll be able to hide the pit with structures, and I'll also be able to put further structures around the far edge of the pit where the backdrop will be if I want to. I've found that where possible, the most effective backdrop (like one section on Jim Dufour's layout), is to have the backdrop separated from the layout with an empty space between them. The only two places I'll be able to do this is in the helix, but it will work well. In both places it will also allow more scenery on the railroad itself, and access from within the helix.

In addition, it provides a significant alteration in operations at Stanley Works. I'll try to explain it with this diagram:

The basic arrangement is on the top. When we changed the alignment a few years ago, we extended the runaround as far as we could. But because of the arrangement, it created two sections of working track, with essentially two yard leads. The three tracks on top use use the track labeled as #1, and the lower three tracks use the runaround as the lead.

What has complicated this arrangement is learning more about the actual arrangement, for example in this Thomas Airviews 1955 aerial photo:

The box cars along the building are on what is labeled as Track #1 in my diagram. The runaround is immediately next to it. Now my layout is much shorter, but if there are box cars spotted along buildings on Track #1, it cannot be a yard lead as well. Moving the end of the runaround to the right, as in the second diagram, it functions as a yard lead for all of the tracks at that end of Stanley Works.

Is it prototypical? As much as it can be. The reality is that there isn't a collection of tracks that looks like a stub-ended yard. Instead the track continues through the rolling mill, and the additional tracks are across Curtis Street. That doesn't fit, so instead the tracks are represented on the shelf to the left. Operationally they will function a lot like the prototype, though. The main difference being that you won't have to move any cars that are being loaded/unloaded in the rolling mill to get to them.

Another interesting consideration is that since Track #1 is usually occupied by cars, they will have to be moved in order to use the runaround to service the (prototypically accurate) single facing point switch in the complex.

In any event, reworking this area will add about a half-dozen more spotting locations, make the operations work better, and it's easy to do using the Microengineering Yard Ladder system (which is now available in Code 70).

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

PRR X37, X37A and X38 Box and Auto Cars

The PRR Pro Group has started a group build of these classes of cars. While I've been a lurker for a long time, and take advantage of the amazing catalog of information they've created in earlier projects, this is the first time I'll participate at the same time.

In addition to working on these cars, I have a lot of partially completed resin box cars, and I intend to work on those at the same time in an assembly line fashion.

Available Models

Funaro & Camerlengo offers the X37, X37A, X37B and X38 cars as one-piece body resin kits. They are excellent kits, and what I'll be using for my models.

What about the X38x classes?
There are 14 X38 classes. For my needs, only the X38 and X38A are really necessary. The X38B was a one car class, of a single-sheathed composite war emergency variation. The X38C and later classes were rebuilds starting in 1953 (or '55, I have conflicting information).

The 600 X38A class cars are basically the same car as the X38, but with an end door. It may be possible to cut the end off of the F&C kit and replace it with one from a P2k kit.

As a NH modeler, I probably don't need to worry about kitbashing one. But hopefully F&C will release it in the future.

Online Resources

Print Resources

  • The Keystone 14.4
  • The Keystone Modeler #62 (X37B), pg 6.
  • The Postwar Freight Car Fleet, pg 79
  • Steam Era Freight Car Reference Manual Volume 1: Box & Automobile Cars, pg 139, 204.
  • Train Shed Cyclopedia #17.


I currently only have an in-service picture of an X37 and X38A, so I'll probably have to work from lists and other's recommendations on the truck/brake wheel and road number combinations.
  • X37 PRR 65677 as pictured in service in the Postwar Freight Car Fleet, pg 79. The trucks resemble the coil/semi-elliptic trucks Bowser makes for their X31 cars. 
  • X37A I'm not sure of a road number yet, but several pictures show National B-1 type trucks, which are available from Kadee (50-ton), Walthers/ex-Life-Like, and Athearn (70-ton). This would need the 50-ton trucks, but I'll probably order all of them to compare.
  • X37B I'm not sure the road number I'll use, but F&C makes the Elsey trucks that was used on at least 500 of the cars. (I don't see them listed on their website).
  • X38 Don't know the road number yet, but on Jerry Britton's page he notes that Eric Thur recommends the Bowser PRR 2D-F8 trucks.

Other Parts

These are other parts that I'll use which are my current standard parts for any appropriate kit.

  • Kadee bracket grabs, brake wheels and "steel" running boards
  • Yarmouth Model Works sill steps, wood running boards, and eyebolts.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Fine Tuning Operations

My operating session is centered around the locally assigned switch crews. But the more I look at it, I think it should be focused on the Agent's shift. There's a good chance the switch crews were on duty for most, if not all, of that anyway.

That being the case, there are several questions I still need to find answers for.

I know the Station Agent is on duty from 6:15 am until 10:00 pm (10:15 pm after 1949).
The Freight House closes at 5:45 pm.

What I don't know:
  1. What time do the two switching crews start?
  2. Do they start at the same time, or are their start times staggered?
  3. What time does the Freight House open?
  4. Do the crews spot empties at the Freight house in the morning, or the evening before?
  5. Does at least one of the switch crews stay on duty to add cars to the through freights that come through in the evening? I think they might, since all freights picking up cars come through town before the Station Agent goes off duty.
I'm also not sure how long the Stanley Works crew would be on duty, so that's a whole different question. I know that at least into the '60s the NH switched out Stanley Works twice a day. For the most part, I will model the traffic to Stanley Works along the lines of the Freight House and the second interchange will be around 6:00 pm. The Stanley crew may have a little more work to do, and in theory there's an hour left in the session.

Through Freight Schedules

In most years, there are two cuts of cars left overnight, but this varies from 1-4. 
NY-4 comes through at 8:30 and drops off additional cars.
YN-3 at around 2:00-3:00 pm picks up cars.
YN-1 and AO-5 pick up cars between 7:00 pm and 9:00 pm.

From 1951 to early 1953 (during the Korean War) there's a pair of Maybrook freights (AO-3 around noon to 1:00 pm and OA-2 just before 6:00 pm) that may drop off and pick up cars respectively. 


I do think that at least one of the freight crews is still on duty when trains come through in the evening. The first clue is ANE-1. This was the Hartford to Bridgeport section of the Speed Witch. It protects the Freight House closing at 5:45ish and comes through town at about 8:00 pm. The Freight House is at Whiting Street, so the crew would need to pull the cars, then bring them to New Britain Yard. The cars are split into several blocks, which will need to be worked into the train, and I suspect that was enough work that the road freight crew probably didn't do it on their own. AO-5 would follow about 40 minutes later, and YN-1 would be stopping at Whiting Street about the same time as ANE-1. So it would seem to me that both crews would be needed at this time, unless the road freight crews did the work themselves.

Since the Whiting Street/Berlin branch hasn't been used in a session yet, I don't really know how long a "complete" session will take. But I'm not sure any session has completed where the NH switchers finished all of their work. The Stanley crew usually does. The sessions themselves have been about 3-4 hours, and a maximum 16-hour day with a 4:1 fast clock works out to a 4-hour session. So that's probably what I should shoot for. 

Through Freight Motive Power
NY-4, YN-3, YN-1
  • S-2s 1946-1949 
  • RS-2s 1949-1952
  • RS-3s 1952+
  • FA-1/FB-1/FA-1
All of these in the delivery schemes, except the FA/B/A sets which switch to a second scheme c1949. Dale and Bill are helping with the delivery scheme, and the P2k models were produced in the second scheme.

For simpler operating schemes, there are no cars dropped after the start of the session from through freights  in late '52, late '53, or late '54. There may be cars dropped by the local freight. 


One the time, the maximum work day for a railroad crew was 16 hours, with a mandatory 10 hours off after working 16 consecutive hours. Working 16 or more total hours over a 24 hour period required 8 hours off. So the problem isn't so much that the crew outlaws, but that they can't start the next day until two hours later than the first day. So their work day must be less than 16 hours. Based on what I've heard, and seen for other paperwork, the first trick typically starts at 7:00 am. So if the crew worked from 7:00 am until just after 9:00 and placing cars on AO-5, they'll avoid the issue with outlawing.

But if the crew starts at 7:00, and one of their first jobs is to spot empties at the Freight House, what time does it open? They don't necessarily need to start loading the cars the moment customers start dropping off freight, so it might open as early as when the Agent comes on duty, or maybe as late as 9:00 am after cars are spotted. 

The Agreement Governing Hours of Service, etc. ... for Clerks, Freight Handlers, and Station Employes of 1947 set their work hours at 8 hours, exclusive of the 30 minute meal period. So those positions are two shifts during the day. 

Research continues...

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A Little at a Time

Subtitled: You Don't Have to do Everything at Once
Alternately Subtitled: It Will All Get Done Eventually

I've probably mentioned it before, but I've been telling people I'm a "proof of concept guy." That is, once I work my way through a problem or challenge to the point where I know it can be done, I tend to move onto the next thing. So I have a lot of "next things" in progress (which I think drives Chris crazy).

For example, one week I decided I needed single sheathed box cars on the railroad to better represent the prototypical mix of cars in my era. So I pulled out all of my single sheathed box car kits at the time. Most of them were flat resin kits, so I assembled the kits and cleaned up the castings of the one-piece body kits. Then I drilled all of the holes on all of the cars for grab irons.

That was quick and easy because I had gotten a new cordless Dremel Stylus at the time. While Chris has a fancy footpedal to control the speed of his, I found that the torque is low enough on this model that I can just put my finger on the chuck to slow or stop it.

Anyway, since that was going so well, I pulled out all of the double sheathed box cars I had too. I started installing grab irons after that, and then something came up and they've been waiting for me to get back to them. Part of the issue is that I'll get to a certain point where I need to do some research, or develop a skill better, etc.

Another thing that happens is that I'll either come across some information I didn't have before, or a model will be released that I'll need, which also leads to more research, and then I'll figure out what I need to change or update, and new projects sprout. That happened from several different directions with hoppers. I was busy researching coal deliveries for Household Fuel, which led to coal deliveries for the city (that will be another post in the future) which pointed me to particular railroads, and then researching to see what models are available for those.

One of them was the LNE hopper. So Chris, Pete and I decided to do a group project, where we could each play to our strengths, and complete our roster of those cars. At the same time, I had gotten information on the CNJ/RDG welded hoppers and those became part of my plans for the project. I had also decided that I wanted to settle on the MTH USRA hopper, and got a good deal on those. Aside from those, I picked up what I needed from F&C's excellent one-piece body resin kits of a slew of B&O and PRR hoppers that Steve has been producing over the last few years.

Of course, once those are home, I want to take a look at them, and then start cleaning flash, drilling holes, install a few grabs...

You can see where this is going. I've now got a bunch of hoppers partially done on a shelf under the box cars (and gondolas and flat cars...).

LNE hoppers, and the Montour car is there for comparison.
CVMW, Owl Mountain and ECW flat cars.
Rib Side Cars Milwaukee box cars to rework.
An SP 12-panel box car with resin ends and door acquired from eBay.
A war emergency single sheathed box car shortened by 6" for one of several prototypes.
Bits and pieces plus two Intermountain FGEX cars.
P2k DT&I gondola to get the same interior treatment as the shorter Speedwitch kit.

(Mostly resin) Gondolas, single sheathed and double sheathed box cars on the top.
A mix of MTH, Atlas, Westerfield, and F&C hoppers on the bottom.

A variety of things, but most of the visible cars are the FGEX reefers.
The boxes are desprued IMWX, Red Caboose and Intermountain AAR box cars.

Then things get in the way, and stuff gets sidelined (work, family, trying to build a layout at the same time, etc.), and the projects wait. And then they often seem too large to pick up and start again.

Then I started working on the switch stands. They're kind of fun, but do get old after a little while. But it also showed me that with a few minutes here and there, I could get a lot done. So I pulled out my plastic box car kits and desprued everything. It went really quickly with the switch stands, and now those kits are ready to assemble more easily. And I've started on a few as well.

And it dawned on me. If I play to my "strengths" and just grab what's interesting and on hand at the time, I can make progress in small and large increments. And eventually all of these projects (and more) will be completed. When I was working on Harvey's layout, we would get a ton of work done in a 4, 6 or 8-hour shift. I can't always dedicate my time to that (and it did often feel like work, which it was), but over the course of a week I can easily spend that much time in between other things.

What I should really be working on (and it's what most of my modeling time is going to right now) is completing the layout itself. While scenery and structures are going to take longer, my goal in the next month or so is to get all of the track (new and old) fully operational.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Operations: Daily Check of Cars

So one of the most important pieces of paperwork on my railroad, and one that most other layouts don't need, is the Daily Check of Cars.

The railroad, of course, operates to make a profit (hopefully) and for freight that happens in three primary ways. The first is the charges collected for actually moving the freight. This is basically the same thing as the price paid to ship via UPS, FedEx or the USPS.

This, of course, is a primary business of the railroad, and for most roads through history comprised more than 50% of the railroad's revenue. The New Haven was unusual in that passenger traffic, much of it related to commuting to NYC or Boston, was a significant part of the railroad's revenue. Another reason, though, was the nature of the NH's freight business, since they returned a significant portion of foreign cars empty. That is, there wasn't enough originating freight business to fill the cars emptied at their destinations. The have to pay the expense of moving such cars off of the railroad, but don't derive any income from an empty car. Furthermore, they have to pay a per diem daily rate for any foreign car on the road after midnight. So the goal is to get empty cars off of the railroad as quickly as possible.

This is, of course, the case for every road. So you'll see a pattern in freight movements. Inbound through freights are made up starting just after midnight and, as much as possible, reach their classifying yards by early morning. Then local freights are assembled, to go out and back, so their loads and empties will make the outbound through freights by early evening. The schedules are designed so the outbound through freights will be able to hand off their cars to connecting roads before midnight, thus avoiding another day of per diem charge on all of those cars.

While the NH is paid a per diem charge on each of their cars that is on another road, car routing rules require that foreign cars must be given priority loading over home road cars for destinations off of the home road. While the amount of compliance varied over the years, it did mean that many roads like the NH had relatively small rosters (about 10,000 cars) because they always had a surplus of foreign road empties to fill.

The railroads offset the per diem charges with a demurrage charge. When a load or empty is delivered to an industry, they have 24 hours to load or empty the car. After 24 hours, they are charged a demurrage fee. In part this is to offset the per diem charges that the railroad will pay. But they were also in place because industries found that freight cars made good temporary warehouses, rather than building or renting such space elsewhere. Even with the demurrage fees this was an issue, because they were still considerably cheaper than the cost of warehousing elsewhere. The container business today embraces this business model, and by separating the car that moves the container with the container itself, the railroad doesn't find itself with a car shortage as often happened in the past.

Anyway, I have two NH forms that are designed to address tracking the cars that are located within a town (station):

The first is form 546-2, The Daily Yard Check. I got this page from George Ford, a former operator/agent on the New Haven. So I know it's a New Haven form, even though it has no railroad information. This is clearly a report to record when each car is delivered and released from the station.

In addition, I have form 1480-10, Report of Cars on Hand:

This has instructions at the bottom, that records all of the cars on hand on the 1st and 16th of the month, which is to be forwarded to the Car Service Department. At the time, of course, all car movements were recorded by hand and reported daily so the Accounting Department could report for per diems.

The information on both is similar, but you can see on the second report that the Car Service Department is particularly interested in cars that have been on the railroad for more than 48 hours. Of course, a report filed twice a month won't be used for accounting purposes, and this report isn't provided to the Accounting Department. I think it was used in much the same manner as the national 1% waybill sample, to find patterns and ways to improve the efficiency of the car movements. I don't recall right now where the statistic is, but I recall a report that indicated a freight car on the New Haven moved something like only 28 miles a day, on average.

Of course, on my layout I don't need to report to the accounting or car service departments. But I do have an agent that needs to know what cars are on hand in town, and which cars are ready to be picked up. Joseph has confirmed that the same type of report is still filled out today, at the end of the work day, ready to start the next work day.

And I was just able to get a book of the Daily Yard Check (546-2) and it's quite interesting. First, I got the title of the form from another booklet. But the actual title is the "Daily Check of Cars at..."

As you can see, there is still no New Haven name on it. In fact, it has a space to fill in the specific railroad. It's the same form, and the same form number as the individual sheet I already had.

It also provides the instructions on the inside cover:

Now you can see that this is to be done by 7:00 am, or as close to it as possible. But I think that since the switching crew was a one-shift job, that might have been done at the end of the work day, as Joseph said it is still done now.

But it does provide some interesting possibilities. First is that it takes the Agent 10-15 minutes to get settled and start providing work for the switching crews, maybe a little longer. In addition, the Daily Check of Cars isn't needed until after the inbound cars, especially the priority moves, are addressed first. That is, the Agent writes out switch lists for these cars so the crew can start sorting them, and deliver the priority cars right away.

One option, then, would be to have operators first take the job as a clerk, and fill out forms to be provided to the Agent about the cars on hand. A benefit of this approach is that the operators (who will soon be the switching crews) will also get a lay of the land, learn where the industries are, and see what work to expect during the day. By the time they finish that, the Agent will have work for them, and can then take those lists and compile them into the Daily Check of Cars, as the real Agents did.

Was this how it was done? Well, in New Britain it appears the Agent was on duty at 5:15 am, so the clerks could be busy compiling that report for the 7:00 am deadline. In the meantime, the Agent would have had time to get switch lists prepared for the cars left overnight. I don't know what time the crews started, although I know the first trick on the New Haven was 7:00-3:00. I'm trying to dig up more information about when the Freight House opened as well. This matters because it will need empties to load, probably before they open. Empties would be requested from the Card Service Department, and presumably be delivered overnight.

As I noted before, there is a pattern to the way freight moves on the railroad. It's quite efficient, and is done the same way pretty much every day. So would the report be completed at the end of the Agent's day, which in New Britain was 9:00 pm, or first thing in the morning? What time do the crews start? Do they start at the same time, or are the two crews staggered?

These need to work with the realities of operating a model railroad too. Most crews probably don't want to wait too long before they get to start operating. For example, if the two switch crews are on different schedules, and the second crew doesn't start until noon, but the session starts at 7:00 am, then I need to find something for the crew to do for an hour an 15 minutes while waiting for their job to start. So being a station clerk might work well.

Most likely the Daily Check of Cars was not used by the Agent for car movements. They have the waybills and Home Route cards that come in with the trains, and, while I haven't located New Haven forms yet, there must have been one for recording requests for empty cars, and also a process to release cars from an industry.

Part of the art of designing a model railroad operating session is in condensing the processes, paperwork, and people into something more manageable, and also something that ultimately translates into moving cars around the layout. But by learning how the railroad actually operates, rather than designing the processes for my operating sessions around other model railroad operation schemes, I can more closely follow the prototype, and also choose what compromises or changes work best for us.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

One Word Can Bring You Round...Changes

I already used the Bowie reference, so we'll go with Yes this time.

I mentioned briefly that I'm making some changes around the layout, particularly pretty much the entire west side of the layout. Chris recently asked whether he should alter the positioning of Wethersfield Lumber.

This is really the "art" of model railroading. We rarely have the space to do everything to scale, so compromises must be made. How to make those compromises and still make it look "right" is the art.

I'm clearly willing to make significant changes, at least at this stage where I'm not ripping out lots of scenery to do it. But like Chris, I've been operating these sections of the layout for years. So I know it will work operationally, and now it's really a question of whether it aligns visually. And in some cases, rather than new information, it's that a new approach that didn't occur before presents itself.


A lot of this decision-making process for me is identifying your purpose. I have two primary purposes. Operations and photography.

First is operations. I want the layout to work as closely to the prototype as possible. So that means attempting to have every siding and every switch in a prototypical arrangement. As it turns out, I'm going to be adding quite a few (formerly) missing sidings, but that's for another post. The number of sidings affects the traffic, and the arrangement the actual operations themselves. Sharing the layout in an operational capacity is more important to me than showing it off in an open-house arrangement for viewing only.

Second is photographs. The compromises we have to make to fit the layout in a small space is much easier to hide in a photograph than in person. For example, if you have a road heading into the backdrop, the illusion only really works from one angle. If you design it for the angle you will photograph it (typically one in which railfan photos are available of the prototype), then it will work in photos. In person, the illusion is easily broken. Furthermore, if I decide to use photo backdrops, they also work better in photos, since the photo squishes everything to 2-D, and you can't easily tell the transition from a 3-D model. Of course, the biggest reason is because more people will see the layout in photos online than will be able to see it in person.

But the other aspect is available photographs of the prototype. There are typically common places where photographs are taken of the railroad, and it's these vantage points that inform our understanding (and reinforce our memory) of those locations.

For those that do see it in person, I want it to look great, but I also enjoy the process of modeling. When visiting another layout, I'm always interested in seeing how things have been done. "Looking behind the curtain" is a lot of fun, seeing how a given modeler addressed these sort of compromises. Most of the time I'll have seen the layout in photos first, so this gives me an opportunity to learn new tricks.

Yes, I want to model the scenes as close to prototypically accurate as possible. But knowing that I can't, and understanding my own aims helps me focus in on how I'll model them.

Designing the West Side

The design of the west side has been based on the prototype trackwork, of course, but also upon two primary photos:

 Kent Cochrane March 1947

The first one is obvious, it shows an I-2 with train #131 in front of Lock Shop Pond, with a DEY-4 pushing a load of coal up the Russell & Erwin coal trestle. Corbin Screw is across Myrtle St. in the background. This is how the scene is coming together on the layout.

The second photo is key, though, because you can see the relationship of the smoke stacks of  Russell & Erwin in line with the mainline and at the end of one of their factory buildings. The reality is, though, that you can't see an entire between the factory building and the smoke stacks.

Thomas Airviews 1955

The actual layout of the area shows that you can't see the building between Washington and High Streets. The elimination of this block is probably the second biggest compromise on the layout (the biggest being the elimination of a chunk of the Berlin Line, including several industries, due to it ducking under the helix).

Note that most of the Corbin Screw building is now a parking lot in the aerial photo.

But also note that since there isn't an easy place to take photos between High and Washington Streets, that there aren't nearly as many photos of that building. You can clearly see the parking lot to the right of Washington St, and Kent and Tom McNamara took a great number of photos looking east at the corner of that parking lot and Washington St. So it's also a view that is well known from published photos, which makes it a location I want to model more accurately from a visual standpoint.


There have been a couple of things bothering me about how all this is actually coming together, since I've basically had to eliminate that block on my layout. First is that there is a siding along that building (actually a runaround and a siding off of that). Operationally, that second track in the complex makes quite a difference. So one solution I came up with was to put the siding alongside the building I could do, essentially replacing Washington St. This meant that I could build something resembling the missing structure behind the power plant, and have the two pedestrian bridges over that, since I don't have any Washington St.

Here's the general layout (I've already pulled out the extra track):

You can see how there's not enough space for a street, a large factory building, and another street. But, in part to make more room to the left for Fafnir Bearing, if I rotate the coal trestles closer to the factory building, I can still build a structure behind the power plant with the pedestrian bridges now over Washington/High St.

Date and photographer unknown.

And with a little modification to Lock Shop Pond, I can get the same scenes photographically:

I can also put a second siding along the front of the factory if I want to. It pushes the building back, but it won't change the scene significantly in regards to photos like this one:
Kent Cochrane March, 1947. Train AO-3.

Not much of this will be "right" but it will work for taking photographs in these locations.

All of the changes outside of Stanley Works on the west side of town are entirely due to the visual aspect of how things were fitting together. While driven mostly by the Fafnir Bearing section, it's given me the opportunity to revisit this section and how I'd like to do it. The only real operational improvement is that the coal trestle won't have as steep a grade to climb anymore. I'm hoping to move them as far to the left as possible, and/or shorten one or both to fit the structures in better. But overall I think that this scene will work much better than what I had before and will be worth the bother of ripping it all out to reconfigure.

More on the changes to Stanley Works to come...and modifications to the east side of town too!

Hmmm...since I've totally rebuilt the Berlin Line too, it appears the only section I haven't changed is New Britain Yard, between Main and Elm Streets...