The Limpia Canyon Northern RR, part III (Sanderson)

On our way to Magdalena from Pecos, we will pass through a couple of towns.  Next up, is Sanderson.  Now to kind of understand a model for what B. Smith is doing in Sanderson, you may want to read the recent Pecos Vally Southern series.  Click here to read part I.

Here is my favorite quote from the series–

“Out in the middle of nowhere, a single car to pick up, light rail, little ballast, just laid back easy going railroading.”–B. Smith

 

My beautiful picture

A load of river rock headed to Pecos, TX, 1978.  Laid back railroading.–©B.Smith photo

Sanderson is all about what I think is the golden era of railroading–late 1960s to the end of the 1970s.  Sanderson gives B. Smith a chance to connect with a type of railroading that he initially fell in love with–Alco, F units, 40-foot boxcars, cabooses and lots of road names.  He occasionally will even break out some steam when the owner of the line is nostalgic.

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Here is a close up of the track plan for Sanderson–

LCN Trackplan with color and shippers total Sandy

Here is an overview–

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Here’s another overview–

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Let’s check out some of the individual businesses.

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Above is Lazy W Ranch (where the MP hopper is spotted) and RJ Fuels.  Lazy W Ranch also leases the old LCN station to receive shipments usually by boxcar and has a small molasses operation to the right of the station.  The Lazy W Ranch is a big ranch and generates some rail traffic, but it also supplements its profits by selling feed, molasses and receiving goods for other ranches in the area.

Below is an image of the Lazy W Ranch molasses receiving facility.

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Below we see some feed being unloaded for the Lazy W Ranch.

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The team track down from Lazy W also sees some action.  Below we see another area ranch receiving feed.

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Below we see the highway department receiving some asphalt for an upcoming project.

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Here is Western Wool and Mohair at the end of a long spur on the edge of Sanderson.  It is a regular customer for receiving bagged feed.  Occasional shipments of wool still depart by rail as well.  This is one of my favorite shippers on the layout.

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On the same spur as Western Wool and Mohair is a Safeway warehouse.  This business was inspired by this story.

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Lava Rock is a fairly frequent shipper.  Here we see a scene when the LCN has fired up the old steam engine to run the line.

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I love this little town set in the late 1960s/early1970s.

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It alone is a lot of fun to operate.

 

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Sanderson, 1968

By B. Smith

(Note: B. Smith is embarking on an exciting new chapter for his LCN RR layout.  Rather than just operating in 1990, he will be embracing multiple eras while maintaining reasonable efforts to present prototypical rolling stock, vehicles, etc.  He and I have been having numerous philosophical chats on this as we explore ways of thinking on the subject.  I too am experimenting in this area, but with a smaller range of years [1979 and 1981, pre-Rock Island shutdown, post-SLSF-BN merger].  Likely much more to come on this, but meanwhile, enjoy a recent session on his LCN.  Don’t be surprised if you see a glitch or two as we work the kinks out. )

We arrive in Sanderson just as the LCN local arrives.  The year is 1968.  The LCN still operates a steam locomotive.  Today’s consist are two box cars for Big Bend Wool and Mohair and two empty open top hoppers for scoria loading.  (I have the wrong side of the fourth car facing the camera.  The consolidated lube plate shows.  I’m not used yet to considering which side of the car faces out.)  (Note:  We are experimenting with dual era cars being detailed for different eras on different side.)

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The crew cuts off the caboose and two empty hoppers.  The LCN is having problems getting open hoppers from the class ones and operates an eclectic assortment of second-hand hoppers to serve the scoria shipper.  The empty hopper when the train departed earlier in the day has been loaded.

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The two loads for Big Bend Wool and Mohair are run to the east end and cut off on the main.

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The locomotive then backs to the water plug to fill its tender.

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After filling the tender the locomotive backs down the siding to the loaded hopper after the brakeman flags it across a crossing.

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In Part II, we’ll complete the run and tie down for the evening.

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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!  

The Sanderson Turn, March 23, 1990 (Part I)

The LCN has invited us back to accompany a run down to Sanderson.  It is a brilliant 75 degree day.  The H.W. Green grocer distributor, Budweiser Distributor, scoria loader and Lazy W Ranch Operation all need service.  It promises to be busy but easily manageable run.

(Note: this series is detailed, but an excellent overview of prototypical operations.  All too often, modellers just race around dumping and picking up cars without slowing down and really emulating prototype operations–thinking about dropping off the brakeman, walking to open turnouts, attaching brake lines, opening derails, etc.  If you really think about what is involved in operations, you won’t need a such big, maintenance intensive layout to have rewarding operating sessions.)

Here we go…(The captions will explain what is going on.)

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The Sanderson Turn has arrived in Sanderson with two loads of beer, an insulated box for the grocery distributor, and two empty open top hoppers for scoria loading, being cut off on the main here.

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The beer and grocery cars are pulled further down the main. Two loads of scoria on the right await being picked up on today’s out bound train.

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The beer and grocery cars are cut off.

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The light engine proceeds into the beer siding to pull an unloaded beer car.

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The empty beer car is out of the siding now and the engine shoves just it through the switch.

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With the beer car in tow the engine proceeds down the passing siding…

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…and into the Lazy W Ranch track to couple into a tank car of liquid cattle feed. It’s not empty yet and will have to be re-spotted.

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Two loads of bagged manure and an empty covered hopper are coupled into next.

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Having grabbed everything from the track, the train pulls out of the Lazy W track and puts the cars on the passing track.

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The tank car is re-spotted.

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The empty covered hopper and two loads of manure are shoved down the passing track. The conductor flags the road crossing.

Well there are some additional movements to perform here in Sanderson on this beautiful afternoon (scoria, beer and groceries), but they’ll come after lunch.

Hope you brought some lunch. If not, Jiménez Cafe just across the tracks serves some pretty good enchiladas.  See you after lunch…(Part II)