Oil tank

I have almost finished the first scenery element: an oil tank by Faller. I will do some weathering in the tank and barrels and I must apply the decals on the oil pump (really stickers). Also, I want to add a filling hose to the tank. The HO model has one and it looks pretty good. As usual in Faller, the kit quality is good: good fit, good details, and easy to assemble.

Oil Tank

Computers and model railroading

Probably the main advantage of DCC is that the layout can be controlled and monitored from a computer. A conventional DC layout could be also operated from a computer but, apparently, if all the equipment is digital, it should be easier.

The computer has to be connected to the DCC system. It seems Lenz LI-USB-Ethernet is an interface for connecting a computer to the digital amplifier via USB or Ethernet. Then, the computer can emulate to a MultiMAUS. Obviously the computer needs to run a software. It seems JMRI is the most extended. JMRI stands for Java Model Railroad Interface

Besides the interface and the software I’d need to add a motor to each turnout and a turnout decoder. Otherwise, I might only operate the locomotive…

I will think about it.

Layout #12

I had to modify the last layout. I was having many troubles in the middle Inglenook Sidings spur when there were three cars. When the locomotive is over the turnout, specifically over the curved segment, the couplers are not correctly aligned and the locomotive is not able to connect with the car. Thus, I have added a short track in that spur.

Layout #12

Although this adding does not imply any change on functionality initially, as I had planned to put the oil tank where the new track is, I also must move the oil tank location… I am considering several possible places. The simplest one is parallel to the new track but it suppresses that loading/unloading spot… so I guess I will have to think about it.

Coal operations

I have already mentioned the Dawson Station layout before. Its operations are based on the Hull-Oakes Sawmill and it offers a realistic switching operation on an Inglenook Sidings layout. We could also define a new operating scheme inspired on those interesting operations.

The operations are related to coal distribution. A new train with an open wagon loaded with coal arrives. It must be switched in for its distribution by road and the empty open wagon must be switched out. This interchange is performed in the South Yard Track (SYT).

The train also includes an empty boxcar and a container wagon. The boxcar must be set out in the North Yard Track (NYT). There are two boxcars more: the first one, which is closed to the turnout, is loaded with scrap and must be picked up, and the second one must keep in the spur. As usual we will follow a FIFO policy so the new empty boxcar must be set out behind the second boxcar. The container wagon is the last car in the inbound consist and does not take part in the switching. It must be the last car in the train when finished.

All these instructions can be summarized as a switchlist, which are basically lists of what cars are to be dropped or added from a train. I follow the New Castle Industrial Railroad format.

 Tiny Trains Railroad
Train No.: 38
Date: March 30, 2013

INBOUND
Marks   Car No.   Type   Load       Destination
RENFE   1303      GB     Coal       SYT
RENFE   1308      XM     Empty      NYT
RENFE   1301      FC     Supplies   (Outbound)

NORTH YARD TRACK
Marks   Car No.   Type   Load       Destination
RENFE   1306      XM     Scrap      Outbound
RENFE   1304      XM     Empty      (NYT)

SOUTH YARD TRACK
Marks   Car No.   Type   Load       Destination
RENFE   1305      GB     Empty      Outbound

I have been using this switchlist and others similar ones for operating my layout. I always keep the container wagon as last car in the consist but the positions of the others cars are selected at random. And I have also added the following restrictions: the main line can hold up to four cars while the spur capacities are two cars each. A session lasts for 10-12 minutes.

Making up trains

Although as Inglenook Sidings operations as other shunting puzzles are not considered like real railroading operations, it is one of the operating schemes I want to use in my layout. The object of this puzzle is to form a train of five cars selected at random from eight cars in the sidings. The train must be made up of the five cars in the order in which they are selected.

The capacities of the sidings are predetermined. The longest siding has a capacity of five cars and the two others hold three cars each. The headshunt needs to hold the locomotive and three cars. All this is shown in the figure below. Notice that the headshunt is longer than really needs to be and the North spur —where the industry is located— is not used.

Inglenook Operations

I was playing the game these days and I am able to solve the puzzles in 12-15 minutes. It is easier that it seems. I try to slow down all the locomotive movements in order to adding realism, mainly when coupling cars together.

A freight house and a couple of details

Although I have not decided yet all the buildings that I am going to use, some Faller kits have always been in my mind in practically every layout that I have designed. This freight house is going to be part of the industrial area. Probably it will be a secondary dock because I am thinking of a bigger building for the factory.

Freight house

For the team track I am going to use a couple of items that can add some realistic operations. One of the spurs will have a small gantry crane for loading and unloading the cars and trucks. It is a very usual element in team tracks. Also I want to put an oil tank. It can be a destination for tank cars and it also add some variation to the operations.