From the depths of the Pecos archives!

On July 23, 2014, I ran a post of B. Smith’s Pecos, TX maps.  Well, B. Smith has found another treasure–a hand drawn map of almost the entire Pecos Valley Southern RR (c. 1970-2012).

North part of PVS RR.  Map by B. Smith

North part of PVS RR. Map by B. Smith

North part of PVS RR.  Map by B. Smith

South part of PVS RR. Map by B. Smith

Astute observers may have noticed two RSD 4 locomotives on the map.  In case you wondered why there is RSD 4 noted in two places on the PVS map, there was an RSD 4 in Pecos for awhile.  It was the Rustler Springs sulphur plant switcher and someone planned to rebuild it.

It was first located at the west end of Pecos, as seen above.  Jan 1981

It was first located at the west end of Pecos, as seen above during January 1981 ©B.Smith photo

It was then moved…

It was then moved to the east end, as seen here September 1981 ©B.Smith photo

It was then moved to the east end, as seen here September 1981 ©B.Smith photo

That's the MP station in Pecos on the right.  The engine was never rebuilt but scrapped instead. ©B.Smith photo

That’s the Missouri Pacific RR station in Pecos on the right. The engine was never rebuilt but scrapped instead. ©B.Smith photo

Stay tuned, rumor has it that B.Smith photo documented a PVS RR run a few days before Christmas of 1978.  Likely more Pecos goodies to come!

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Delaware Revisited (and conclusion of Delaware Roadtrip Series–at least for now)

May 24 through June 8, I ran a series of posts on a cool, small state known as Delaware.  In case you missed them, check them out–Introduction, Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV-a.

I had anticipated a potential layout design and more coverage of cars and locomotives.  They may come in futures posts, but for now I’d like to conclude the series with a brief update (as of July 18-20, 2014) of action in Delaware and touch on another great aspect to Delaware–microbrews.

Harrington

Action in Harrington July 18, 2014.  --photo by C. Hunt

Action in Harrington July 18, 2014. –photo by C. Hunt

NW 176823 in harrington, DE july 18, 2014.  --photo by C. Hunt

NW 176823 in Harrington, DE july 18, 2014. –photo by C. Hunt

TILX 638190 in Harrington, DE july 18, 2014. --photo by C. Hunt

TILX 638190 in Harrington, DE july 18, 2014. –photo by C. Hunt

Venturing to the east side of Harrington we see a Norfolk Southern local servicing Mountaire Farms just as the Delaware State Fair was getting underway nearby.

NS #6735 towing a string of cars bound for Mountaire Farms july 18, 2014.  --photo by C. Hunt

NS #6735 towing a string of cars bound for Mountaire Farms July 18, 2014. –photo by C. Hunt

 

Three NW covered hoppers now spotted and waiting to be unloaded at Mountaire Farms.  --photo by C. Hunt

Three NW covered hoppers now spotted and waiting to be unloaded at Mountaire Farms.  Note tan colored snow plow to the right resting on spur to LPG dealer. –photo by C. Hunt

More on the above business in Part I of the series.

Milford

Venturing further east, we come to Milford, the home of Mispillion River Brewing company and two of the businesses we visited in Part II of the series–Growmark FS and United States Cold Storage.  No action was witnessed here.

Milton

Going to the end of the line, Milton, there was rail activity.  I did not cover this business in the earlier post–Baker Heating Oils.

Aerial of Baker Heating Oils.

Aerial of Baker Heating Oils.  Green dots indicate location of new spur.

I didn’t include it before because the aerial did not clearly indicate the presence of rail activity.  Below is what was there July 20, 2014.  Obviously, a spur has been constructed.

Two tank cars spotted at Baker Heating Oil near Milton, DE, July 20, 2014.  --photo by C. Hunt

Two tank cars spotted at Baker Heating Oil near Milton, DE, July 20, 2014. Delaware Coast Line locomotive apparently holes up at end of line at this business. –photo by C. Hunt

Baker Heating Oil near Milton, DE, July 20, 2014. --photo by C. Hunt

Baker Heating Oil near Milton, DE, July 20, 2014. –photo by C. Hunt

DCLR 19 on October 8 2013 in Milton DE --photo by Doug Miller.  Image courtesy of http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

DCLR 19 on October 8 2013 in Milton DE –photo by Doug Miller. Image courtesy of http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/

Milton is also home to a famous brewery, Dogfish Head Brewing Company.

If you are in Milton, it is worth a stop over.  The brewery is a fun place to visit with free samples, tours and you can grab snack there as well.  Bocce balls can be checked out to play on their nice courts on the grounds of the brewery.

Dogfish Head brewery in Milton, DE

Dogfish Head brewery in Milton, DE

Tree house at brewery.  reportedly, the Board of Dogfish head holds its meeting inside it.  bocce ball courts to the right of picture.

Tree house at brewery. reportedly, the Board of Dogfish Head holds its meeting inside it. Bocce ball courts to the right of picture.

Lots to pick from inside!

Lots to pick from inside!

In addition to Dogfish Head and Mispillion River, there are many great microbreweries in DE including the nearby 16 Mile in Georgetown and Old Dominion in Dover.  Delaware is a great place for beer aficionados.

Hope you enjoyed the Delaware roadtrip and update.

 

 

One more trip to Pecos (via maps)

PICT0002_3

August 1982. ATSF line in Pecos. ©B.Smith photo

In late June and early July of this year, I did a three part series on operations around Pecos, Texas in the 1970 and 80s.  The series proved to be a very popular set of postings with hundreds of views.  Here are the links to the posts–Part I, Part II and Part III.  On July 21, 2014, 81 views were logged for this series on a single day.

As B. Smith was capturing the rail scene around Pecos, Texas in the 1970 and 80s, he did something really great–he drew the rail scene as well to give context to his superb photos.

DSC_6937

Overview on street map. All of these maps courtesy B. Smith.

This hand drawn map shows some of the industries.  He added a couple of things on the one below.

This hand drawn map shows some of the industries. He added a couple of things on the one below. (Click on to enlarge.)

With additions...

With additions…

Making maps such as these often provides valuable information to give your photos context and aid modeling and realistic operations.

 

Another Patch!

I recently discussed patch jobs on the LCN RR.  See “Patches!”

Well another patch job just arrived on B. Smith’s LCN RR.

DSC_6931_2

UMP 20767 on B. Smith’s LCN RR.

Side view near the elevator.  It is 1990 on the LCN RR and more and more patches are starting to surface.

Corner view near the elevator. It is 1990 on the LCN RR and more and more patches are starting to surface.

The inspiration for UMP 20767 was…

Upper Merion & Plymouth RR #20767 captured in Ontario, CA by Chris Butts in April of 1990.  Copyrighted by Chris Butts and courtesy Railcarphotos.com.

Upper Merion & Plymouth RR #20767 captured in Ontario, CA by Chris Butts in April of 1990. Copyrighted by Chris Butts and courtesy Railcarphotos.com.

Here’s another example of a patch from the UMP RR…

UMP 20750_Belleville, Ont ON_William Crago_1993-07-17_37728

UMP #20750 in Belleville, Ontario on July 17, 1993. Photo copyrighted by William Crago and courtesy of Railcarphoto.com.

Likely more patches may surface in the future on the LCN RR or even the ATSF in Roswell in the 1990s.

 

Patches!

Patches are when a car’s reporting marks and often numbers are changed on a car through the use of blacking out (or patching) the old information and painting over with the new information.

Patches offer modellers a way to individualize their cars and often enhance their realism.  At least a few patch jobs are essential for layouts, say about, 1990 forward.

Below are a few examples and then an HO example from B. Smith’s LCN RR.

 

PLCX 28132 in Mobile, AL January 7, 2009 --photo by Todd Templeton (Coutesy http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/)

PLCX 28132 in Mobile, AL January 7, 2009 –photo by Todd Templeton (image courtesy of  rrpicturearchives.net)

PLCX 28188 in Stockton CA March 10 2003 --Photo copyrighted by Chris Butts (image courtesy Railcarphotos.com)

PLCX 28188 in Stockton CA March 10 2003 –Photo copyrighted by Chris Butts (image courtesy Railcarphotos.com)

 

PLCX 28138 at Palmer Lake, CO.  April 16, 2004.  Kent Charles

PLCX 28138 at Palmer Lake, CO. April 16, 2004. Photo copyrighted by Kent Charles (image courtesy Railcarphotos.com)

Recently, PLCX 28138 surfaced on the LCN RR.

Exactrail car patched by B. Smith.

Exactrail car patched by B. Smith.

DSC_6929

Model and photo by B. Smith.

For all you modellers of more recent eras, happy patching!

 

A Primer on Setting Out Cars (and advocacy of “Slow Operations”) — Part III

All right, let’s wrap up the East Job.  

In this concluding post (also see Part I and Part II), we will get the train together to conclude the East Job.

During the narrative offered by Jim, Director of Operations for the LCN RR, think about how pulling pins, connecting air hoses, setting brake wheels, pumping up air brakes, brake tests, unlocking derails, tugging on couples out of kilter, all can (with a little imagination) enrich your scale operations on your layout.

A Primer on Setting Out Cars (and advocacy of “Slow Operations”) — Part II

Last bit of work is picking up two empties at the Sanderson Wholesale Food Distributor. This spur has a derail that must be unlocked and swung into the dirt before we can couple into the cars.

Coupled in, stretched to insure a good joint, laced up, hand brakes knocked off, brakes pumped up, a look around to insure no unloading ramps have been left in place, we see the conductor making sure the brake piston extends when the engineer sets the brakes before pulling the cars out of the spur.

Coupled in, stretched to insure a good joint, laced up, hand brakes knocked off, brakes pumped up, a look around to insure no unloading ramps have been left in place, we see the conductor making sure the brake piston extends when the engineer sets the brakes before pulling the cars out of the spur.

Everything out on the main, switch lined, derail back on, we are ready to back down the main to the rest of our train.  Better hurry, the skies are threatening a bit.  We are beginning to smell a little rain in the area.

Everything out on the main, switch lined, derail back on, we are ready to back down the main to the rest of our train. Better hurry, the skies are threatening a bit. We are beginning to smell a little rain in the area.

"That'll do", CRASH, "stretch'em", That'll do", "set and center" (tell the engineer to set the engine brakes and center the reverser handle because you are going between the cars), connect the air hoses, open the angle cock SLOWLY.  Let the brakes pump off.  "when you're ready take'em ahead".

“That’ll do”, CRASH, “stretch’em”, That’ll do”, “set and center” (tell the engineer to set the engine brakes and center the reverser handle because you are going between the cars), connect the air hoses, open the angle cock SLOWLY. Let the brakes pump off. “when you’re ready take’em ahead”.

When the rear car gets close have the engineer stop the train and set the brakes.  The brakes should set up on the rear car, insuring the trainline is connected all the way to the last car and no angle cocks are closed, except the very last one at the end of the train, unless an end of train (ETD) is used.  Sophisticated ETDs can radio the rear end brake pressure to the engineer and save the conductor the walk to the head end, but the LCN has not sprung for those expensive devices figuring the conductor can walk as the trains are pretty short.  Release the brakes, make sure the brakes on the rear car release, walk to the head end, checking all the cars as you go to insure the brakes have released, all the wheels are on the rails, everything looks good.  And watch out for junk, trash, cactus, anything that may trip you, and snakes that may bite you.

When the rear car gets close have the engineer stop the train and set the brakes. The brakes should set up on the rear car, insuring the trainline is connected all the way to the last car and no angle cocks are closed, except the very last one at the end of the train, unless an end of train (ETD) is used. Sophisticated ETDs can radio the rear end brake pressure to the engineer and save the conductor the walk to the head end, but the LCN has not sprung for those expensive devices figuring the conductor can walk as the trains are pretty short. Release the brakes, make sure the brakes on the rear car release, walk to the head end, checking all the cars as you go to insure the brakes have released, all the wheels are on the rails, everything looks good. And watch out for junk, trash, cactus, anything that may trip you, and snakes that may bite you.

All right, it’s a train.  Enough time spent in Sanderson for a day.  Hope you enjoyed this run on the LCN loaded with a lot of operational tidbits thanks to B. Smith and his layout, the LCN RR.

(For another site that discusses “slow operations” principles see Lance Mindheim’s excellent site — Voodoo and Palmettos.) 

I say we head to town.  The rain is getting closer and there are a couple of low spots between here and Marathon!  

A Primer on Setting Out Cars (and advocacy of “Slow Operations”) — Part II

Let’s continue on the East Job.
 
But before we set out, a little more explanation on how air brakes work is in order than I gave in the last post. An alert reader pointed out that I left out some details. A more detailed explanation is offered at the end of this post.
 
Picking up where we left off from the July 13, 2014 post
 
The conductor lines the engine over to the main line to pick up the two empty box cars. Besides coupling into the box cars, connecting the air hose between the engine and the first box car, turning both the angle cock on the engine and the box car (it was closed when the cars were brought into Sanderson as it was the last car then), the conductor has to go back to the end of the second box car and close its angle cock and lift the pin lifter to uncouple it from the covered hopper. Never reach over the coupler to close or open an angle cock, cross over the end of the car to get to the side the angle cock is on and prevent body parts from getting caught in the coupler should the car move.

The conductor lines the engine over to the main line to pick up the two empty box cars. Besides coupling into the box cars, connecting the air hose between the engine and the first box car, turning both the angle cock on the engine and the box car (it was closed when the cars were brought into Sanderson as it was the last car then), the conductor has to go back to the end of the second box car and close its angle cock and lift the pin lifter to uncouple it from the covered hopper. Never reach over the coupler to close or open an angle cock, cross over the end of the car to get to the side the angle cock is on and prevent body parts from getting caught in the coupler should the car move.

 
The engine pulls the two empty box cars clear of the switch to the passing track.  The rest of the train from Pecos waits on the main line.  We've been switching for some time now so it's good we didn't block any road crossings with those cars.

The engine pulls the two empty box cars clear of the switch to the passing track. The rest of the train from Pecos waits on the main line. We’ve been switching for some time now so it’s good we didn’t block any road crossings with those cars.

Shoving the empty box cars into the Lazy W Ranch spur.  Yeah, the angle cock on this end of the box car should be closed, but don't those scale width wheels under the box car look good.  Plastic ones that came with a car kit from a long gone manufacturer back in the 1980's.  The LCN wishes it could  have obtained more--  never had derailment problems with them.  However, Exactrail and Athearn do make pretty good scale wheels today.

Shoving the empty box cars into the Lazy W Ranch spur. Yeah, the angle cock on this end of the box car should be closed, but don’t those scale width wheels under the box car look good. Plastic ones that came with a car kit from a long gone manufacturer back in the 1980’s. The LCN wishes it could have obtained more– never had derailment problems with them. (However, Exactrail and Athearn do make pretty good scale .088″ wheels today.)

The conductor sets the hand brakes on the empty box cars before cutting away.  Those high brakes wheels tell you how old you are getting.  Can't believe all box cars and hoppers had them back in the good old days.  Close the angle cock on the engine, lift the pin lifter, and lets go pick up a couple of loads of volcanic rock down at the other end of Sanderson.

The conductor sets the hand brakes on the empty box cars before cutting away. Those high brakes wheels tell you how old you are getting. Can’t believe all box cars and hoppers had them back in the good old days. Close the angle cock on the engine, lift the pin lifter, and lets go pick up a couple of loads of volcanic rock down at the other end of Sanderson.

The volcanic rock loads were shoved in from this end so the angle cock needs to be closed, might as well do that as we go by on our way to the other end.

The volcanic rock loads were shoved in from this end so the angle cock needs to be closed, might as well do that as we go by on our way to the other end.

We back into the loads from the other end.  If there is any doubt about the coupler pins dropping we'll tell the engineer to stretch them to verify a good joint.

We back into the loads from the other end. If there is any doubt about the coupler pins dropping we’ll tell the engineer to stretch them to verify a good joint.

Once the cars are laced up (air hoses connected, angle cocks checked for being open) and the hand brakes knocked off, we pump the brakes up on the cars, then do a brake set to verify the brakes on the cars are working before pulling them out to the main track.

Once the cars are laced up (air hoses connected, angle cocks checked for being open) and the hand brakes knocked off, we pump the brakes up on the cars, then do a brake set to verify the brakes on the cars are working before pulling them out to the main track.

In Part III, we will finish the run.  However, before I finish this post, below is a chance to learn a bit more on air brake operations.  Spotting a car and making up trains is hard work in the real world! (I haven’t even mentioned about lugging on couplers when they aren’t lined up.  Talk about hard work!  Those things are heavy.)
__________________________________
 
How do air brakes work?  (A more technical primer)
 
The brakes on a railcar apply when there is a reduction in the train line air pressure, a break in the train line occurs, or the car is being uncoupled from because air in the air reservoir on the car is directed into the brake cylinder by the triple valve and pushes out the brake piston.
 
If you bleed all the air out of the air reservoir on the car, the brakes release and cannot be reset until the air reservoir is charged up again.  So if you want to kick cars (the engine shoves them up to a speed judged fast enough and someone running along side the car lifts the pin lifter, the engine slows, the cars will continue to roll into what ever track the switches are lined for, stopping either when they hit cars already standing on that track, or someone on the rolling car sets the hand brake, a very common technique in a flat rail yard) you have to bleed the cars off so they will roll.  A good switch crew can have three or four groups of cars rolling simultaneously into different yard tracks when kicking cars.  Before radios the hand signals for signaling how many cars in the cut and into which track they were to go was pretty elaborate. 
 
A car spotted on a siding can bleed itself off gradually as air seeps around the brake system seals.  If the seals are in poor condition or there is a lot of dirt around the seals the brakes can release in a matter of days, or hours, or even minutes.  The hand brake is an independent mechanical system from the air system.  Setting the car’s hand brake will keep the brake shoes on one axle from releasing even if the air brake system bleeds off.
 
Pumping up the air when a car or cars have been coupled into is filling the air reservoirs on all the cars and the triple valve releasing any air pressure in the brake cylinder.
 
The triple valve is described as being so named as it performs three functions: Charging air into an air tank ready to be used, applying the brakes, and releasing them.
 
  • If the pressure in the train line is lower than that of the reservoir, the brake cylinder exhaust portal is closed and air from the car’s reservoir is fed into the brake cylinder to apply the brakes. This action continues until equilibrium between the brake pipe pressure and reservoir pressure is achieved. At that point, the airflow from the reservoir to the brake cylinder is lapped off and the cylinder is maintained at a constant pressure.
  • If the pressure in the train line is higher than that of the reservoir, the triple valve connects the train line to the reservoir feed, causing the air pressure in the reservoir to increase. The triple valve also causes the brake cylinder to be exhausted to the atmosphere, releasing the brakes.
  • As the pressure in the train line and that of the reservoir equalize, the triple valve closes, causing the air pressure in the reservoir and brake cylinder to be maintained at the current level.