Sunday, September 3, 2023

John Greene of Bethlehem Car Works

 When I got back from vacation a few days ago there was an unexpected package in the mail.

These trucks are in preparation for a new kit of the NH lightweight grill cars. The original CAD/castings that somebody else had provided had a lot of issues, so I provided feedback, info, diagrams, and brass and Rapido car sides. The new versions looked much better.

The trucks he's asking about are the three versions Chris and I produced for the NH De Luxe heavyweight  coaches, smokers, and combines. We have a new version that we'll have available soon to address issues with the first attempt (free replacements will be available to those who purchased the earlier version).

Sadly, the next day I learned that John has passed away. I'm not surprised, the last time I saw him his health had deteriorated, but I had hoped it was just an illness. He was always great fun to be around, and I was happy to be able to call him a friend in this great hobby for over a decade.

Before folks ask, I don't know what will happen to Bethlehem Car Works (including the grill car kit). He had announced that he was selling the company, but I don't think that had gone anywhere yet. For modelers of transition era passenger trains, his many heavyweight kits in particular are still greatly needed.

Chris and I will continue to work on our own releases, including the New Haven heavyweights we have planned. That will take time, as Chris is a new Dad, but they will come in time. I still need them!

In any event, I'm sure John is somewhere enjoying a ride in a heavyweight parlor car somewhere. Ride in peace, John.

Here's a link to his obituary (23 grandchildren!)

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

NH DEY-3 (ALCo S-1) Part III: Shutter Control and Water Fill

Continuing with the DEY-3 models. Units 0971 and later were delivered with automatic shutter controls, while the earlier units had manual shutter controls. The Proto 2000 model comes with parts for the manual shutter controls. It's a small plastic part that mounts near the fan housing, and a long pipe that goes to the cab. There are starter holes inside the hood to drill out for this part. I didn't have a drill bit long enough so Chris drilled them out for me.

The Precision Scale no. 3321 Hancock vertical check valve looked like a decent match to the small motor mounted on the fan housing with the automatic shutter control. On many roads there's a small rectangular box, which is simply protecting this motor. It would have been easier to model.

To start, I drilled a hole at an angle where I wanted to mount it. I also cut off the small round extension on one end and filed it flat, and filed away the mounting bracket that is around the post. I've been using these tungsten bits a lot and find that the large diameter shaft works well as a handle and often just use them manually like this.

While working on this part, I also drilled and cut out the plastic around the fan so it will be open for the speaker. Once I mounted the part, I soldered one strand from a 32 AWG stranded wire as the conduit.

I drilled the hole for the other end based on a photo.

Many earlier units received automatic shutters as well. This motor is on all of them. Some of them received the new radiator shutters, while others retained the original shutters when converted. Not all of the S-1s received the automatic shutter systems, so I'd recommend modeling from photos.

There's also a small water fill pipe missing on the model. I made one by using a piece of 1/64" styrene rod and gluing a piece of 0.035" styrene rod centered on the end.

I cut the larger rod to a thickness that looked good, then glued a second piece of the smaller rod on the other end.

I drilled a hole in the model on the center line roughly halfway between the fan housing and the first panel seam to insert the part.

Then I trimmed off the top and filed it until I liked the dimension.

I also decided I'd rather glue on the fan shutters before painting, so I removed the fan altogether so I wouldn't have to worry about how to mask that. I'll install it after the unit is painted. I also need to figure out what to use for the fan for the other unit, since it started with the round fan housing and I drilled that one out.

Here's how the shutters and shutter actuation systems look on the two units. They've been primed with Badger Stynylrez primer, which I am finding that I love. It's very easy to work with, and appears to be a perfect base coat.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

NH DEY-3 (ALCo S-1) Part II: Shutters and Whistle

It's been a while since I've been working on the DEY-3 (S-1) locomotives, but Mike Redden brought the new one-piece cabs he's 3D printing at home, instead of the flat kit he has available at Shapeways. In addition he now has the proper fan shutters and the low-profile radiator shutters.

I'm working on two units for HDX-5, nos. 0967 and 0994 for different years.

There are two versions of the Proto 2000 S-1, here's the one with the square fan housing. It comes with an etched fan grate, but unfortunately it should be shutters like an RS-1. Also note the radiator shutters, with 11 wide shutters and how they protrude a couple of inches from the hood. This was a later style of shutters, automatically operated. On the New Haven, this style was on the post-war DEY-3 locomotives, starting with no. 0971.

Chris started a chat with our CAD buddies Chris Zygmunt and Mike Redden last year to produce the correct cooling fan shutters. Mike has them available now, designed to fit the Proto 2000 models. I was able to provide photos and measurements from an RS-1 shutter, which are identical.

I'm not using a walk-over grate. Based on photos, it appears that the New Haven didn't install these until c1954 with the introduction of the "full balloon" paint scheme. Although there are a few photos in other schemes with them, all of the dated ones are 1954 or later.

One photo of 0943 in Hartford has the narrow walk-over grate and it's still in the Pullman Green delivery scheme. Its next documented repaint was April, 1954 in the "full balloon" scheme, and was obviously prior to 1943. But I haven't documented any others, and also not with the narrow grate. 

It's a see-through part with the shutters partially open, which is great because I've mounted the speaker up front. This is mounted on the second version of the Proto model. I drilled out the top and scratch built the square housing to the same dimensions as the other model. Why? Because that version of the model has flush-mounted radiator shutters. Unfortunately, it still has the 11 wide shutters, instead of the 24 narrow shutters on the prototype. Now that Mike has made the correct ones, I'll replace them.

To do that I just drilled a bunch of holes, then cut and filed away the old shutters so I could replace them with the new ones. Mike's part installs from the outside, and the flange covers hides the seam, so it doesn't have to be perfect. Here are a couple of pictures with the new fan and radiator shutters. This will be no. 0967.

Here's a shot of Mike's one-piece cab with the low-profile New Haven roof. I've also shortened the stack to the same height. The bell has been removed (it's mounted under the frame) and the New Haven used a 3-chime whistle instead of a horn.

I'm using a Custom Finishing no. 103 whistle, as it's based on the NH prototypes. It's slightly large/tall, but their shorter whistle is based on a NYC single chime prototype. I'm also using one of the pipes with an elbow from the Precision Scale no. 4839. It's marketed as O-scale parts, but will work well for this. The Precision Scale no. 3321 Hancock vertical check valve (a part that's no longer produced) will be used in the next post...

The pipe has an elbow that is already cored. I shortened the post on the whistle and soldered them together.

Although probably large, I used a strip of 1"x8" styrene because it was wide enough to drill for a Cal Scale no. 512 U-bolt to attach the whistle in the same way the New Haven did.

I scored a second piece of 1"x 8" styrene so I could bend it to make a handle for the other part of the whistle bracket.

You can see how I'm installing it here using styrene cement, and a picture of the prototype behind it. On no. 0967 it's mounted about a foot forward of the cab roof.

On the second unit, no. 0994, it is mounted about three feet forward. you can see the difference in spacing between the two below:

More to come...

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Designing and Updating Staging

Over time I had added additional staging/storage tracks where I had space. The primary purpose for these is to store locomotives when they are not in use during a session. As I've been preparing the layout for signaling, it occurred to me that it would be useful to minimize the number of turnouts on the signaled track. 

There were seven turnouts to staging/storage tracks along the run-through staging track, but by reconfiguring the arrangement, I can reduce that to two. While these weren't in my original staging design, they were dead space and I decided it would be useful to have storage tracks where locomotives not used during the session could remain on the layout. 

On this side I'll eliminate one turnout on the main, and the second one is moved to a new location. This will create a "lower staging yard" of four short tracks for the RDCs - three long enough for a pair, and the fourth for a single unit. For 1953 sessions, these trains can operate right out of this location. As usual on my layout, they terminate in the same track as they originate.

An additional two tracks will go around behind the Agents desk and will be on a grade. That's fine, because it's storage for locomotives. This replaces the turnout that is currently back there to access these tracks. They will be long enough for the A-B-A and A-B-B-A sets of FA-1/FB-2 locomotives.

I have a general idea of how I think I can fit this using Microengineering Yard Ladder turnouts. I did pick up an extra middle turnout (you can see it in the lower right) but came to the conclusion that it wouldn't fit.

If this were for a scenicked portion of the layout, I would have modified the regular No. 5 or No. 6 Microengineering turnouts so I could curve them to follow the main, but in this case a straight ladder is fine...provided I can get reasonable radius curves to enter and exit.

I have a further two yard ladder turnouts to fit at the far end, so I mock up some ideas there too. I've tried drawing things out like this, and spent some time in the past with some of the CAD programs designed for model railroads but have found that nothing is as good as just working with track, for me. In part because as I see where things lie, I see other options and can tweak the concept instantly.

I had some cork sheets left over from making the cork board at the Agent's desk and they were the correct thickness so I used those as the roadbed and started connecting track. I'm shooting for a minimum of 26" radius here, but 24" will work just fine if I have to do that. 

This process involves ensuring that the tracks not only fit for this section, but that I'll have enough clearance at the far end for the curve to the second part. At this point, it looks pretty good.

Of course, prior to gluing it down I want to test it with the RDCs too in order to make sure they are long enough.

Looking around the corner, I've switched to Woodland Scenics foam roadbed sheets, since that's what Roger had in stock, and also their 2% grade starters to get up to the higher benchwork as it goes around the corner. 

I have a window cut out in the utility room to access behind the Agent's desk. I need to fill in the track where I removed the turnout - easily accessible but hidden while operating from the layout room. Locomotives can be stored here from the clearance point of the turnout, and I took care (using 85' passenger cars) to ensure clearance around the corner of the desk and between the tracks. The main line track will run along the edge of the cork roadbed, and I can move it further out if needed, to ensure the storage tracks won't interfere with operations.

On the other side, I've already moved the main line turnouts. Like the other side, I had HO scale cork roadbed in the original track arrangement. I found it easier to rip that all out and use the foam sheets instead.

To make this side work, I have a couple of Walthers curved turnouts, one curved Peco, and the rest standard Microengineering ones that I had on hand. I've tried a number of configurations and landed on this. It eliminates 4 main line turnouts.

One track will be sized specifically for the Comet and another track for spare cabooses. That will leave two longer tracks for storage of diesel locomotives not in use. The track through the ladder goes to the Walthers turntable used to turn locomotives during the session. I went with the Walthers one because the controller has a button that will turn the bridge 180 degrees, which is really all I need it for. But I will have room to make storage tracks for the steam locomotives when the time comes.

I used insulated joiners to isolate these storage tracks, and may also add switches so I can turn them off during sessions. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Back from NERPM

The New England Prototype Meet was great fun as always. A few folks came over Wednesday to see the layout, two ops sessions on Thursday went very well, the meet was a blast, I presented the DL-109 clinic on Saturday, and a good turnout for the Sunday open house.

I have a small punchlist of things to fix on the layout, most completed or underway. In particularly we identified some things that will make it easier for the Agent/Yardmaster/Stanley Foreman to do while preparing switch lists.

One of the things that became apparent is that it was confusing when writing switch lists that involved Stanley Works. This was because a list would be written for the Stanley crew, for work they needed to do in plant. But when that was completed, a new list would be created for the cut of cars that was now to be handled by the New Haven crews. To fix that, I've created a switch list form specifically for Stanley Works crews, modeled after the New Haven one. I had intended to do this in the future (Stanely Works shouldn't be using New Haven forms), but didn't consider how helpful it would be.

The last couple of months has been focused primarily on getting the layout and the clinic ready for the meet. Now that I'm past that, and my schedule is opening up a bit, I'm working on finishing up many other projects. The layout, of course, will still be the priority. It needs scenery and structures.

But I also need more locomotives. Thanks to Mike Redden for the new one-piece cabs, I have resumed my work on the S-1s. One of them will be "leased" to Stanley Works for further ops sessions this year.

As usual, I've also been working on several smaller projects.

  • I want to get to the ground cover and ballast, but I need to finalize my process for weathering the ties first. 
  • For the ops sessions (and the foreseeable future as I wait for track), I have several industries delivering coal to the yards to be transferred to trucks. So I've built a couple of coal conveyors that I'll modify. I've also been practicing with the airbrush, and plan on trying the chipping medium on these.
  • I'm finalizing measurements and getting photos together to start structures.
  • Reassemble staging and finish rewiring for signals. I'm debating additional staging modifications, although they aren't entirely necessary and could be done in the future if that changes.
  • Once staging is fully operational again, I need to configure and weather the RDCs. Ops sessions will remain in 1953 for now so the two RS-2s, an S-1, and the RDCs will cover all of the power I need.

Other projects are planning ahead for when the Rapido 44-tonners are released. At that point I'll reprogram the RS-2s for regular throttles and add trains to operate other years. Those already in progress include:

  • Cabooses - first up is getting a color I like (because of a side project for Dick). I also need to finalize the decal art with Bill so we can get those produced. Once through freights are running I'll need these.
  • Passenger cars - any session prior to 1953 will have regular passenger trains.
  • RS-1s - these are the primary passenger locomotives, plus I'll need at least one DL-109.

I'm still working a lot of extra hours, but I try to post something over at Facebook periodically while I work on the projects and compile more substantial posts for the blog. Just waiting for a part to arrive this week to continue on the S-1s since I'd like to finish both at the same time.


Sunday, May 28, 2023

Preparing for NERPM

The 2023 New England Prototype Modelers Meet is coming up - June 16-18.

A lot of what I've been working on is in preparation for the meet.

1. Getting the layout operational. I'll be open for the Sunday layout tour for the first time in a while, and I'm also going to be hosting some casual ops sessions on Thursday just prior.

This has involved completing a lot of track work changes, completely rewiring the bus for additional circuit breakers and future signaling, and programming the locomotives for ProtoThrottles.

2. Expanding/updating a clinic covering the New Haven DL-109s (for Saturday night) - with still more new information since I presented the abbreviated version for Hindsight 2020.

Dale and Ryan ran some test ops on the tracks that are fully operational (the main line still needs power), and Alex and I tweaked 0502 and 0503 (the RS-2s) to serve as switchers for the ops sessions. The Stanley locomotive will be either the HH660 or the H16-44. 

I'm not sure which models to bring along this year. The majority of work has been on the layout itself rather than new models, which is where it has needed to be. 

I can hardly wait, though, I'm looking forward to it. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Livestock and Stock Cars

I started this post some time ago and never got around to finishing it. Something to do on a rainy/snowy March morning...

NH DERS-2c (RS-3) 517 on the Air Line at Middletown with a stock car.

Were stock cars common on the New Haven?

Looking through photos, these are the stock cars I've been able to personally verify on the New Haven. I've included the number of stock cars owned by that road, and rankings in parentheses for those roads that were in the top 15 owners of stock cars in 1950. 

  • CB&Q - 3,573 (3rd)
  • DL&W - 97
  • ERIE - 82
  • MILW - 3,690 (4th)
  • NYC - 1,675 (12th)
  • PRR - 2,315 (9th)
  • SLSX - 713 (Swift)
  • WAB - 594

The Swift cars (and Armour, below) would have been destined for their own plants, as photos of the Swift plant in New Haven have shown.

Other cars I would expect may have made it to the New Haven regularly:

  • ASEX - 200 (Armour)
  • B&O - 1,192 (14th) 
  • CGW - 150
  • CNW/CMO - 3,736 (6th)
  • IC - 1,100 (15th)
  • Mather - 1,444 (B&O, CNW, and CB&Q leased from Mather, may not be included in their totals)
  • RI - 1,207 (13th)

Of course, cars from other roads would be possible. The Santa Fe accounted for 13% of the North American stock car fleet in 1950, and of the 66 roads that owned them, only 18 roads accounted for more than 80% of that total.

But just because these cars were photographed on the NH doesn't mean they were common. How frequently did stock cars actually move on the New Haven? More often than you might think.

I touched on it briefly in an earlier post on commodities because I was surprised to find that swine (in double-deck cars) was the 17th largest group into Connecticut based on number of average annual carloads. This is calculated using the 1% waybill studies from 1950-54, and I was only looking at the statistics for Connecticut (which would also include traffic on the CV delivered to Connecticut).

Fresh Meats NOS (not otherwise specified) was the 6th largest group, averaging about 7,392 carloads annually. But Swine DD (double-deck) was 2,300, plus another 300 single-deck cars, and 250 single-deck cars of cattle/calves. No cars of sheep/goats were recorded. That's an average of almost 8 stock cars/day delivered to Connecticut.

Livestock Traffic

Where does the livestock originate? The cattle to Connecticut tends to come from a bit farther west than the hogs. Major stockyards in those states are listed below. The roads noted correspond to the cars noted above:

  • Illinois (Cattle - 100; hogs - 475)
    • Chicago - All except DL&W
    • East St. Louis - B&O, CB&Q, IC, NYC, PA, RI, SLSX, WAB
  • Indiana (Hogs - 775)
    • Indianapolis - B&O, NYC, PA
  • Iowa (Cattle - 50; hogs - 1,050)
    • Dubuque - CGW, IC, MILW
    • Sioux City - CNW, IC, MILW
  • Minnesota (Cattle - 25)
    • Austin - CGW, MILW
    • South St. Paul - CGW
  • Nebraska (Cattle - 25)
    • Omaha - CB&Q, CNW, MILW, WAB
  • New York (Cattle - 50; hogs 75)
    • Buffalo - B&O, DL&W, ERIE, NYC, PA
  • Ohio (Hogs - 225)
    • Cincinnati - B&O, ERIE, NYC, PA

Armour and Swift operated out of all of the major stockyards.

As for destinations? Middletown had a slaughterhouse, which is where the stock car in the photo is headed. Copaco in Bloomfield was another destination, as was Swift and Sperry & Barnes in New Haven. There were other industries and stock pens at Hartford, Providence, Boston, and other locations on the NH.

I have seen it mentioned several times that some of the movements were to the locations with large Jewish populations for kosher meat. That may account for the cattle, but certainly not the hogs. At least in the Bloomfield, Hartford, and New Haven areas there were a significant number of sausage companies. 


The majority of these roads can be modeled, including all but two roads that I have documented on the New Haven.

Plastic models have focused on the western roads - ATSF, SP and UP. This makes sense because they owned more than 27% of stock cars in 1950.

The Proto 2000 Mather stock car plays a big part in modeling stock cars east of Chicago/St. Louis. Otherwise, for accurate stock car models, you'll have to look to resin kits.

  • ASEX - none
  • DL&W - none
  • ERIE - none
  • IC - none
  • Mather - Proto 2000; Sunshine. Owned 1,444 cars, many leased to the following roads:
    • B&O - all Mather cars in 1950 (495 single-deck; 438 double-deck)
    • CB&Q (1948 - 60 double-deck)
    • CNW (1948 - 300 single-deck)
    • GSX (Mather reporting marks)(1948 - 4 single-deck; 19 double-deck)
    • MSCX. (Mather reporting marks)(1948 - 46 single-deck; 16 double-deck)
  • MILW - Sunshine; Westerfield
  • NYC - Westerfield
  • PRR - Broadway Limited; F&C
  • RI - Westerfield (kitbash)
  • SLSX - none
  • WAB - Yarmouth


The blocking information in the Arranged Freight Symbol Books includes some regular livestock movements. For example, SN-3 has a block of New Haven perishable & livestock. But it does not have a block that specified Hartford livestock. Nor does any other train, but cars for Copaco in Bloomfield would have been delivered by the Griffins local, originating out of Hartford.

Also, while many photos on the New Haven have stock cars behind the locomotives, the New Haven livestock block is the second block in the train. 

I think it's most likely that stock cars for trains originating in Hartford would have come via Springfield. But it's possible that they could come via Maybrook, and run through New Britain. So the few stock cars I might run would be on a Maybrook freight. Obviously the Mather and Broadway PRR K-7 are the easiest ones to model. But I'll probably build Westerfield MILW and NYC cars eventually, since I think those were among the most common.

There are no industries receiving stock cars (of which I'm aware) west of New Britain on the Highland or Canal Lines. So that's the only train that would potentially have any stock cars on my layout. When the Maybrook-Hartford freights aren't running at all, I won't need any at all.

NH DERS-2c (RS-3) with a Milwaukee stock car.

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Feeder Frenzy


In the past couple of weeks I have added more than 100' of new feeders. Where?

Stanley Works is a new track arrangement, the whole section needed new feeders.

Fafnir, Corbin, and Russell & Erwin off of Track 5, all new track arrangement, all of it needed feeders.

New Britain Yard, completely relaid with new track. Everything needed feeders...

You can see where this is going. Pretty much the entire Highland portion of the layout has been redone, and the feeders needed to be done too.

In addition, I'm adding more blocks, and decided to redesign the bus so each block is easily identifiable and uses a different color. This was needed for Track 1 and Track 2 for the new signal blocks anyway. I did the wiring (and track) a decade ago and can do much better than my initial design and installation.

Moving along...

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

No Rail Joiners

These are KV Models compromise joint bars. On the left is Microengineering Code 55 track, and the right is a Peco Code 83 curved turnout. The KV Models joint bars can be soldered to the rail, so I figured I could go a step further and eliminate the rail joiners at the same time.

You can also see one of the reasons I personally don't care for Peco track and turnouts - their tie plates and spikes are significantly larger (out-of-scale) than Microengineering. I'll be able to reduce this with painting and weathering and, of course, it would be less noticeable on a layout that is all Peco track.

Although I'm not doing this everywhere, I am using the approach throughout New Britain Yard and other newly replaced track that will be close to the fascia. Especially in cases like this where the rail code is different.

The basic process I'm using now:

  1. Use a Dremel with a wire brush to polish the backs of the joint bars while still on the fret.
  2. Tin the backs of the joint bars while still on the fret.
  3. Clean/use a Dremel with a brush to polish the rail.
  4. Apply flux to both sides of the rail.
  5. Apply solder paste to both sides of the rail.
  6. Apply solder paste to the back of the joint bars while still on the fret.
  7. Cut the joint bars from the fret and apply to both sides of the rail.
  8. I lightly squeeze the joint bars with a pair of tweezers in place, then touch the iron to the top of the rail.

I polished and tinned the entire fret at one time. I apply the solder paste only to joint bar just prior to cutting off the fret to install. The flux/solder paste is sufficient to hold the joint bar in place in the web of the rail, I squeeze them just to ensure they are securely soldered to the rail web. The extra tie in the photo above was to raise the Code 55 rail into the correct position. In addition to the shorter rail, Microengineering ties are shorter than Peco.

This is the only Peco turnout on the layout, and I have four Walthers turnouts too. Despite the enormous flexibility in modifying Microengineering turnouts, they can't be used for everything. The track geometry here needed a 28" radius diverging track, which is a close match for the Peco turnout. The Walthers ones are also on this track around the top of the helix for similar reasons.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

DL-109 clinic on March 4 Hindsight 20/20

 I'll be presenting a clinic on the details and paint schemes of the NH DL-109s on the Hindsight 20/20 virtual meet on March 4.

I've been unearthing additional information even as I finish preparing the clinic, so I'm excited to bring some new clarity to the pre-rebuild DL-109s and their many variations and paint schemes.

It's free to attend, sign up here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

The new New Britain Yard

Thanks to John Drake switching back to N-scale, I was able to get the turnouts I needed to rebuild New Britain Yard.

I covered the reasons I did this here, but I'll summarize in no particular order - 

  1. My modeling skills have improved, and the ground cover and ballast of this section (the centerpiece) wouldn't match or be up to the standards of what I'll be doing now.
  2. I wish I had used code 55 track for the yard.
  3. I need to add switch machines to the main track switches, which is easier to do when they aren't already in place.
  4. I need to separate track 1 and 2 into individual electrical blocks for signaling.
  5. I was very happy with the 1-7/8" track centers in Whiting St. Yard. which would also allow me to add the missing track to New Britain Yard.
  6. Other track arrangement issues, I was able to make more room for the crossing shanty, for example.

Here's a few in-progress shots. Because I tore everything up, instead of using N-scale cork roadbed I used the craft foam I used for Whiting St. Yard. Although just a smidge shorter than the N-scale cork coming into the section, it's not a huge difference. I can draw on it to lay things out easily.

To mock it up, I have 3/4" wide strips of masonite (left over from the prior layout when I had cut them for spline roadbed). I prefer to work from the edge of the track, rather than the center line. I think it's more precise (at least for me). The 3/4" between the edge of the ties sets the track centers to 13'3" with the NH standard at 13'. Close enough for me. I think it looks better too, with another bonus being that I can fit the missing Track 13 and have a slightly wider spacing before tracks 15 and 17. 

I didn't pull out the tracks in the asphalt. So Track 1 and Track 2 are still on 2" centers. Although by the time I was finishing this up I realized it wouldn't have been too difficult to deal with that, It will work fine as is.

The switch shanty has an appropriate amount of room now. Still tight, but not much more than the prototype. It also required reworking the engine servicing tracks, also code 55 now.

Is all this worth it? I think so. Here's a picture of the original arrangement:

Note that the yard proper is only 3 tracks. Track 13 should be a long track that crosses Elm St. Without the fourth track, the crossover between the two is missing too. Here's the prototypically accurate arrangement:

Not a huge change by itself, but operationally I think it may be. In addition, the yard tracks are now Code 55 rail. I'm also not using any rail joiners in this section. Instead, I'm using KV Models joint bars, which can be soldered.