Sunday, April 21, 2019

Track Scales and Westfield Routing Questions

Question: It the New Britain Track scale in use in my era? What about the Middletown one?

Answer: Unfortunately, probably not…

In the March 10, 1941 Office List of Freight Stations, notation #3 indicates: Stations at which Track Scale is maintained.

Stations that have this notation (including their Station No)
70 Harlem River NY
4765 Beacon NY
4985 Poughkeepsie NY
5060 Brewster NY
5145 Maybrook NY

Huh? No Cedar Hill, Hartford, or Boston?

In fact, no Scale Track listed on the New Haven outside of NY. That seems odd enough that there may be a reason for that. So I'll have to see if I can confirm this in a later document, just in case the scale tracks were reinstated for WWII traffic, but I doubt it. 

I actually don't even have a photo of the Track Scale House in New Britain. We do have one of the Middletown one in a John Wallace photo, so we know it was still there (and Chris has a drawing that indicates when the track was being removed in the '60s if I recall). So I don't know if the track/house is even still present in my era. The aerial photos are inconclusive, the 1951 one shows the runaround is still in place, but maybe not the track scale building or track.

The station numbers, incidentally, were used for routing to/from other railroads. Every state's stations were numbered and this is consistent across the country. So I can look at the N&W or NKP Routing Guide and they list the same station numbers. Also "station" is a technical term on the railroad, meaning "town." Obviously it refers to the freight/passenger stations within a town, but it also designates all traffic to that town. 

New Britain is station #3910.


In an unrelated subject, Joseph and I were trying to determine what, if any, traffic came to the NH via Westfield. He's a conductor on the Pioneer Valley Railroad, and since I have freights running to Westfield/Holyoke and back, it's also useful information for waybills and traffic on the layout.

The NH Characteristics Charts reprinted by NHRHTA in 1978 includes Density of Freight Traffic maps for 1912 and 1918 (one for 1966 was on eBay recently).

The 1912 one shows 6 trains with 4,076 tons avg daily from Westfield to Simsbury. Between Simsbury and Plainville (with a little math to remove the 2 New Hartford Branch trains) and it's 5 trains, 3,783 tons.

In 1918, it's 8 trains to Simsbury, 7.381 tons, and 6 trains, 10,204 tons. So this would seem to imply a fair amount of traffic could be coming from Westfield, and thus through New Britain.

As I was digging through some things for RPI (they are adding a NYC portion to the layout in their new location), I found this:
A NYC pamphlet that lists New Haven stations and the junction to be used when routing traffic to that station. Inside is a list of the junctions:

Including Westfield. The rest is simply a list of all of the stations, and which junction to use for loads from points west of Buffalo. I also found that the specific stations listed are also confirmed in the routing guides of other railroads. For example, routes for the same stations for loads shipped from the N&W go through Westfield. Although for the N&W this is one of over a dozen routes that could be selected (the N&W has 83 different routes to the NH in the 1959 routing guide, and that's misleading because many of those routes have options within the route itself. For example:

1 N&W, Bannon, Ohio (CL), Columbus, Ohio (LCL), NYC (W), North Findley (Mortimer), Ohio, NYC&StL, Buffalo, NY, LV, Jersey City Terminal N. J., Float, Harlem River N. Y., or LV, Easton, PA, L&HR, Maybrook N. Y., NYNH&H.

Note that CL and LCL traffic go through different routings, but it also has two different routings from Buffalo, via Jersey City and car float, or L&HR to Maybrook.

But I digress. The point is, by 1944 and later, it would appear that only the following stations received loads via the B&A/NYC in Westfield:
915 Avon
920 Simsbury
925 Floydville (No agent. Inbound Freight Charges must be prepaid. Private Siding. Carloads only when consigned to Connecticut Tobacco Company). So it appears this was the only industry/siding in town.
930 Granby
935 Congamond (Carloads only.)
940 Southwick
945 Westfield
960 Holyoke
975 Southhampton (Carloads only.)
980 Easthampton
985 Northampton
990 Florence
991 Leeds (Carloads only.)
992 Haydenville

This is helpful, because NY-4/YN-3 is essentially the Westfield local (from Avon and points north, Berlin, and Cremo Brewery in New Britain because it's on the Springfield line just north of Berlin). So I'll have fewer cars to/from those stations on those trains. Staging for this train is 14 cars outbound and 13 inbound.

It was also the train I thought would be bringing cars from Lane's and Cook's quarries for weighing on the track scale. Now it appears that may not be the case. And I might not even need to install the track or the scale house.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Quick fix - Power to the Points

One of the things that I planned to do, but didn't was to solder very flexible feeders to each point on the Microengineering turnouts. The points are a separate piece of rail that receive power from both ends, and the one end is through a rail joiner.

Since I don't love adding feeders, and I was laying track at a rapid pace, I skipped the step. For the most part I haven't had any issues, even in the fully scenicked portions of the layout.

But while I was running trains for an open house this past weekend, I did have a spot where the locomotive would frequently, but not always, stutter or stall. This is a location where two turnouts are connected points-to-points, so initially I thought that since there was no feeder in that location I'd add a pair.

Once I add a bit of ballast, the new feeders will be entirely hidden. But it didn't resolve the issue.

So I tested power on each separate piece of rail and found one of the two points is not receiving power. This is a scenicked and weathered turnout.

So I cut a small piece of stranded wire, stripped the end and wrapped all but one strand to get them out of the way. I left a small section of insulated wire as a handle.

I put a slight kink as a "hinge" in the wire, tinned it, and soldered it to the back side of the points, right above the rail joiner. It's almost entirely hidden behind the rail. If I need to to it on the front points, then I'd do it on the front of the rail to avoid issues with derailments, although it's small enough I'm not sure it would matter.

Once I tested the rail for power, I cut off the "handle."

Since I'm lazy, I'll only do this where it's actually needed, but it really took longer for the soldering iron to heat up (and for me to type this up) than to actually do the fix.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

More weathering experiments

Some more experimentation with weathering a reefer.

In an earlier post I had tried out Vallejo's Weathering Set for Yellow/Gray Vehicles.

For Christmas I had gotten the Vallejo Dust and Dirt Pigment Set and when cleaning up the basement tried it out on half of one side of the model.

 I asked for the set, because the weathering set included one bottle of a pigment. It's a dry powdered pigment that recommend you use dry, or using their airbrush thinner to wet the side first, or by using a pigment binder which lets you use more of the pigment to make a thicker layer of mud crusted on the model. I just used it dry to see how it would work. On the sides I used the Yellow Ochre and Desert Dust. On the hinges and around the framing that shows on the side sill I also used some of the black and Burnt Umber. I really like the way it looks.

You can clearly see the difference, with the additional weathering with the pigments on the right half. I particularly like the way the hinges came out. I have not tried a clear coat yet to see how much it might alter the finish.

You can see how the right side looks, well, dusty. It looks really good in person too.