Saturday, February 26, 2011

Staging Compromise

Sometimes the ideas are right there in front of you but you just need someone to give it to you straight. And there's nothing better than getting that from someone who's well versed in pseudo-prototype route creation in an IM session around midnight. After some much needed refocusing, I came through my series of IMs with Ed that the line I'm representing would really only have enough traffic to support the line itself and would not have the quantity of "run-through" traffic I was trying to build staging for. For me, this meant my manifests would be 1 from each direction to terminate/originate on layout. If an extra is needed, I'll have an extra track in staging to use during operating sessions. I also looked at the other "special" type of trains like TOFC/COFC, coal, multi-levels, etc. I came to the conclusion that only one each of TOFC/COFC, multi-levls, and a grain train (due to the importance of agriculture in areas my layout's line would go through) in both directions would be needed. As for coal trains, I have areas for 4 trains so I figured the empties for this should be accounted for off-line, unless I have an online customer like a power plant. For the makeup of the train, I was thinking of something like this:

Direction Start End
East 6 6
West 6 6
On Layout 8 8

For more detail on the break down, I have a Google docs spreadsheet. What this lead me to was developing a 6 track staging yard with a 7th track for extras or continuous running. Here is what I came up with:

Each of the stub ended tracks is between 110" and 104" and there are three that are continuous that are obviously longer. Mirroring this on the top and bottom levels will give me the 6 staging tracks plus 1 extra to meet the operational needs. Also, like my post yesterday, I decided to do the run around the layout again. Here was that breakdown:
  • Overall Time to travel staging to staging: 12 minutes, 5 seconds
  • Percent time on actual operating layout areas: 93%
  • Percent time in the loop area: 27%
  • Percent time to stage train: 7%
So the on-layout time to run across the layout from staging to staging is similar to the mid-run helix plan, this one has all but the time it takes to stage the train at the end of the run on the actual layout. Now all I need to do is connect the turnback loop climb with each staging yard and I should be good. Oh, and my next "progress" update will have some exciting developments I think.


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