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Industrial siding off the mainline at an incline

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Industrial siding off the mainline at an incline
Posted by Yannis on Monday, May 15, 2017 8:31 AM

Hi everyone,

I am in the process of finalizing some parts of a next/future layout track plan (which includes part of the Miramar hill, San Diego). At a part of the mainline there is an incline of 2% going to up the hill top and then a decline of again 2%. I am trying to figure out if it makes sense to add an industrial siding off the mainline where the slope is 2%.

The siding would start at 2% matching the mainline while going off from the turnout and then given a vertical transition it would become horizontal before reaching the industry and associated car spots. So i figure that spotted cars at the industry are fine, but what about the cars of the train that are parked on a slope while the engine(s) do pickups and setouts to the said industry? Would the prototype do this or they would avoid this situation?

I understand that with respect to layout operations i can "put brakes" on the parked cars using some short of mechanism so that is not a major issue at the moment. What i initially care about if it looks/is plausible to have a situation like this.

Many thanks in advance for your time and replies

Yannis

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Posted by lifeontheranch on Monday, May 15, 2017 9:00 AM

I can't speak to how prototypical it is although one would imagine it must exist. The world isn't flat everywhere!

Best I can do is offer a working example of what you are describing. It is likely a worse case example construction-wise. The main is on a 1.5% grade through a super elevated curve. The lead comes off in the middle of the curve easement. A Walthers 83 curved turnout was shortened to accomodate integrating it into the curve easement. The lead then transitions to level tangent track.

Even with all the funky geometry it works well. Making the transitions sufficiently long I believe was key to success.

A Tortoise actuated popup stiff brush axle brake holds cuts on the grade while switching the mine loadout.

Details are here: http://www.lkorailroad.com/module-11/

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Posted by dknelson on Monday, May 15, 2017 10:34 AM

Not unlike a situation on the C&NW line in West Allis WI that branched off the main at Belton Junction (part of a large wye although the east end of the wye is a few blocks away and thus not obviously a completed wye when you were at ground level).  The main line at Belton makes a 90 degree turn from east/west to north/south, and the main headed north up to Butler Yard, and east to Mitchell Yard, Chase Yard, St Francis, and, eventually, Chicago.  The 90% turn itself was at the summit of grades going both directions.

The branch west originally went all the way to Madison WI.  There was an elevation change up to the main on that north leg of the wye, perhaps between .5% and 1%, and off that leg was a siding that went down at a considerable grade (far more than 2% I am sure, perhaps as much as 4%) to a sort of small valley next to the elated rights of way above, with industies at either end of the lower track (so the crew would have to plan for which cars would be at which end of the locomotive). 

The caboose would be left on the leg of the wye, I am sure with brakes firmly applied, so there is that aspect of your question.  But what was interesting is that sometimes they would park a freight car on the steepest part of the grade - it made for an astounding photo.  You'd have to ask a railroader why they did that but my own hunch is that they did not want to park a freight car at the bottom of that steep grade because they were never sure about their aged GP7's ability to climb that grade so they wanted the car for the pick up to be as close to the turnout as possible.  Again just my hunch.  On a model railroad you'd need a "Hill Holder" of some kind (I have seen choke cables used effectively, but as someone has pointed out, it helps to have a light on the fascia or elsewhere telling you that the hill holder is up or down).

I hope I am making myself clear with my description but I believe I am describing situations very like what you ask about.  There were in essence two grades involved and they parked rolling stock on both grades.

You might be able to see this situation on Google satellite view but while the main and the wye are still in place, the siding is removed as are the tracks down below and the scars visible on satellite view are very faint. 

Dave Nelson 

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, May 15, 2017 10:46 AM

My first thought was "Why obstruct the main?"

Unless there's a good reason, I would think the train of interest would leave the un-related cars at the nearest siding, and go directly into the industrial siding.

That way, you don't obstruct the main.  And you don't run the risk of the parked train running away should someone have, uh, "made an oops".

 

That said, if ya gotta, ya gotta.

 

Ed

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Posted by Yannis on Monday, May 15, 2017 12:25 PM

Alan, you give me the opportunity of congratulating you for the layout work you ve done. I ve been watching this evolve in the last year or so. Great work. I think i understood the situation you describe and i am glad that it works fine operationally in HO, that is reassuring.

Dave: I think i understood the concept, i also think i found the wye on google but i can't see the rest. Makes sense to avoid having to start a heavy freight train on a steep slope if you have the option to do so with a much lighter incline. This is something i will have to consider in combination with what Ed mentioned (leaving the rest of the train in a siding).

Ed: That makes sense now that you mention it. My closest siding is not that far and it would make sense for the train to just take with it the relevant cars for the climb and just leave the rest of the train in the passing siding. You would still need to leave some cars on the main though doing the switching moves. For example take loaded cars off the spur, park them on the main, back into the spur to spot empties. Right?

I am posting a track plan to have a picture of what i am talking about. The industrial stub ended siding in question is on the peninsula where the "fruit packing" label is. The peak of the hill is more or less where the "Miramar Hill" label is. The entire single track part of the mainline on the hill is at a 2% slope going to and from the peak at "Miramar", starting from the coast, and ending where the industrial area begins.

The "nearest siding" i mentioned is the one on the coast. The idea is that a local freight southbound, will leave the rest of the train at this siding and continue to do switching on the "fruit packing" and then return to get the rest of the train and continue the trip towards San Diego.

Fruit packing will actually be a granite quarry (loosely based and representing Santee) and this is the industry to be placed at the industrial siding in question here.

I hope i understood your very useful information/posts correctly and many thanks for the help so far!

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Posted by lifeontheranch on Monday, May 15, 2017 1:46 PM

Yannis, thank you for the compliment.

7j43k

My first thought was "Why obstruct the main?"

Unless there's a good reason, I would think the train of interest would leave the un-related cars at the nearest siding, and go directly into the industrial siding.

That way, you don't obstruct the main.  And you don't run the risk of the parked train running away should someone have, uh, "made an oops".

That said, if ya gotta, ya gotta.

Ed

The option for both exists. The layout operates much like a branch line when I am operating lone wolf. The cut can be left on the main. With multiple operators and trains then what you describe applies. The cut is dropped on the Kitzmiller siding. The Lapeer siding is considered to be "many miles away" conceptually so not using the Lapeer siding while doing mine switching is simply an enforced rule.

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Posted by jjdamnit on Monday, May 15, 2017 1:59 PM

Hello all,

Looking at your proposed track plan I would suggest a crossover (two turnouts back-to-back) to the siding with a spur track running parallel, at the same elevation, back to where it says Miramar Hill.

With this track arrangement the cars can be spotted off the mainline and pulled or pushed up the incline.

This would also provide a spotting area for the industry on the elevated section.

A double slip crossover where the single turnout is located would also provide more operational opportunities.

However these can take up a lot of space and, by your diagram, there doesn't seem to be much space between the curve and the siding as drawn. 

Take a look at the "Double Crossover or Two Single Crossovers? thread: http://cs.trains.com/mrr/f/11/t/262946.aspx

Hope this helps.

"Uhh...I didn’t know it was 'impossible' I just made it work...sorry"

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, May 15, 2017 2:13 PM

Yannis

 

You would still need to leave some cars on the main though doing the switching moves. For example take loaded cars off the spur, park them on the main, back into the spur to spot empties. Right?

 

 

Not necessarily.  You could make two trips:  one to pick up and one to drop off.  It would depend on which choice is the most efficient and safe.  And what management "thinks".

Ed

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, May 15, 2017 2:20 PM

Alan,

I was talking about Yannis's question.

That said, an examination of the problem from various viewpoints and on different layouts is undoubtedly helpful.

 

Ed

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Posted by Bayfield Transfer Railway on Monday, May 15, 2017 3:36 PM

Real crews leave part of their train on the main all the time.  Making two trips would waste a tremendous amount of time.

 

 

Michael Mornard

Bringing the North Woods to South Dakota!

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Posted by 7j43k on Monday, May 15, 2017 5:31 PM

Thinking on it, I am wondering why you have to leave the train out on the main.  Just leave the existing cars coupled to the loco, and sort things out later.

You could pick up the loads on the outbound leg of the local, and drop off the empties on the inbound.  The cars could be rearranged at another location.

 

Ed

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Posted by Yannis on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 12:21 PM

Thank you all for the very useful points noted!

Ed: Wouldn't you have to leave at least the caboose on the main (or siding) in order to do the switching? I imagine the train arrives, it leaves part of it (or just the caboose) either on the main or at a siding. It gets to the spur, it pulls loads, gets back to the rest of the train to leave the loads and then backs to the spur a second time to leave empties.

So in any case some cars will be left at a siding or main, and at least 2 trips to the spur will be needed unless one train deals with loads and then another spots empties. The latter i suppose could happen if the frequency of the trains and demands/output of the industry matched (Granite quarry here).

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Posted by 7j43k on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 4:01 PM

Yannis

 

Ed: Wouldn't you have to leave at least the caboose on the main (or siding) in order to do the switching? I imagine the train arrives, it leaves part of it (or just the caboose) either on the main or at a siding. It gets to the spur, it pulls loads, gets back to the rest of the train to leave the loads and then backs to the spur a second time to leave empties.

 

As has been mentioned, there are several ways one can switch this industry.  IF one does not wish to park any equipment (including a caboose) on the main, there are various options. 

If the industry is being switched as a trailing movement, then cars can be picked up by just backing the train in (caboose first), coupling to the cars, putting a flag on the last car, and leaving.  Cars to be resorted later at a siding.  For dropping off cars, the same thing can happen, except in reverse.

Switching facing the industry isn't so simple, because the inbound/outbound cars would have to be placed ahead of the locomotive.  This may or may not be an approved operation.  If it is not, then one would be back to using a nearby siding for temporary sorting and storage before going to the industry.

I have been saying that not leaving cars on the main is one of the options for switching this industry.  Another is LEAVING cars on the main.  I see both ways as options.

 

Ed

 

(Later additional comment)  IF the main were "lightly" used, and the track was flat, I certainly agree that spotting cars on the main while switching would almost surely happen.  BUT.  If tying up a heavily used main line is a problem, and/or if parking cars on a slope violates company policy........

 

 

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Posted by Yannis on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 8:36 AM

Ed, many thanks for informing me about these extra options!!! They will come in handy for sure when switching!

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 1:24 PM

Bayfield Transfer Railway

Real crews leave part of their train on the main all the time.  Making two trips would waste a tremendous amount of time.

 

 

 

And as Ed later notes, with a trailing move, leaving the train on the main is a quick option that the dispatcher will like, too. Leaving the train at the last siding and then having to go back and forth to service this one industry is liable to tie up the main longer than a trailing drop would.

This also adds the complication that an industry will usually be served by a local in only one direction in most cases.

Ideally, the physical plant would allow for a nice flat spot to park the train out of the way at every customer, but it's often not so, Same thing with the grade and grade changes being less than ideal. They are made to work.

Mike Lehman

Urbana, IL

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Posted by Yannis on Wednesday, May 17, 2017 1:50 PM

Mike many thanks for the reply and info! Ideally, I would rather not have an industry at an incline but that would mean that my entire hill area would be scenic run only devoid of any industries. That could happen, but i would have to push the quarry down to the coast where it looks less plausible though.

If needed, I could also consider extending the passing siding from the coast up to the quarry on the hillside seing how close is the siding to the quarry. I could even double track the entire layout, but in both cases i think i end up adding too much track to the layout and loosing the visual benefits of single track (in addition to not being prototypical).

I tried on this track plan (for my next/future layout to have flatland with a passing siding everywhere there is industrial switching involved (main industrial area and the coast) with the exception of the hill.

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, May 18, 2017 8:31 PM

7j43k

My first thought was "Why obstruct the main?"

Unless there's a good reason, I would think the train of interest would leave the un-related cars at the nearest siding, and go directly into the industrial siding.

That way, you don't obstruct the main.  And you don't run the risk of the parked train running away should someone have, uh, "made an oops".

 

That said, if ya gotta, ya gotta.

 

Ed

 

Ed,That's part of railroading also the nearest siding may be miles away and you'll tie the main traveling to and from.

What would happen the local will cool it heels in that siding waiting for clearance been there done that.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by 7j43k on Thursday, May 18, 2017 9:03 PM

I don't doubt that the local does a lot of sitting--get paid for that, too.  By the way, that siding don't look all that far away to me.Big Smile

I've been trying to point out there are various options beyond just one.

I'm going to speculate that if the cut of cars that was parked on the main got away, that management would decree that cars could not be parked there again.

 

Ed

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Posted by BRAKIE on Thursday, May 18, 2017 9:29 PM

7j43k
I'm going to speculate that if the cut of cars that was parked on the main got away, that management would decree that cars could not be parked there again. Ed

Management has little say in every day railroading..

Not while the local crew is switching a industry..Now to leave them standing on the main while the crew went up a short industrial lead to serve a industry the DS would need to give that permission.It would be done if necessary but,not likely if there is room to drag the train up that short industrial lead.

There's no cut and paste in railroading.

Now if those cars did get away there will be firings. That's why you are trained to set enough handbrakes to hold the cut and if you don't and everything went South..Your railroading career will come to abrupt  end.

Larry

SSRy

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Posted by Yannis on Friday, May 19, 2017 7:32 AM

Larry and Ed, I am reading your posts with great interest with respect to the different options and operating practices for dealing with this industrial siding! I bookmarked this for using the info during my operating sessions! Many thanks for your feedback, info and time!!! Much appreciated.

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