Modelling the Magdalena team track on the LCN RR

I asked my friend B. Smith to share some teamtrack operations on his LCN RR set in the West in in 1990–

The team track photos below are taken in the town of Magdalena, population of about 45,000.  Industries served by rail located in Magdalena include the Coop Elevator, feed mill, beer distributor, wholesale food warehouse, newspaper printing company,  bakery, specialty cotton finishing plant, scrap aluminum bailing operation, and a team track.

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The team track is regularly used by the local building supply for inbound shipments of lumber, brick, and bagged cement.  Other occasional shipments include asphalt for the highway department and parking lot paving, pipe for the expansion of the city water and sewer systems, farm combines and heavy construction equipment, rebar, and poles and wire for the electric power company.

Pipe is a frequent inbound.

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All shipments are pretty much inbound loads, I can’t remember an outbound load from the team track.  When a box car is spotted, if you aren’t there to see it unloaded you usually can’t tell what it carried.

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Some loads are more obvious.

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The highway department frequently receives material.
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Gons loaded with asphalt.  They are not on the team track yet where they will be unloaded.  Three gons loaded with asphalt were spotted near the ATSF station in Alpine, TX in the late 70’s/early 80’s.  That was about the only time I ever saw rail cars spotted for unloading by the ATSF station in Alpine.
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As you can see, that short 2-3 feet of track has offered the LCN RR a lot of interesting and diverse operations.

Rail Memories, Part IV

Adjacent cars.--©Photo by C.E. Hunt

Mykawa Yard team track, July 1978. —©photo by C. E. Hunt

The last few posts, I shared some vignettes or scenes that evoke special memories that I may seek to at least partially evoke through modelling in the future (somehow).  This post will conclude this series and touch on teams tracks and diversity of road names.

Team tracks

I really like team tracks.  Team tracks are typically small railroad sidings intended for the use of area customers to personally load and unload products and merchandise, usually in smaller quantities.  I love the way almost any kind of car can show up.  They are great for model railroads because they don’t need a lot of space and you can spot a wide variety of cars and road names there.  No building is necessary.  Just a flat spot where customers can load or unload freight cars.

There were a number of team tracks around where I grew up in Houston.  The two I kept the closest tabs on were near the corner of Griggs and Telephone Roads and at the Mykawa Yard not far away.

Griggs Road team track

Modern day remnants of the Griggs Road team track on the old SP in Houston. Green dots show the track I saw being used often as a kid.

Modern day remnants of the Griggs Road team track on the old SP in Houston. Green dots show the track I saw being used often as a kid.

I saw a wide variety of boxcars and gondolas (gravel) being unloaded over the years growing up.  Not once did it dawn on me to record it with my camera.  It’d be there forever, right?  Even though it was on the SP, I vividly recall a very old mineral red UP gondola (complete with a “Be Specific Ship, Union Pacific” logo in yellow.) being loaded there with old tires one afternoon.

Mykawa Yard team track

KCS boxcar on team at Mykawa Yard Nov 1978–©photo by C. E. Hunt

KCS boxcar on team at Mykawa Yard Nov 1978–©photo by C. E. Hunt

I loved this team track because it let me see cars from many railroads and a wide variety of loads.

Mykawa Yard team track, see green dots for approximate location. Modern day photo.

Mykawa Yard team track, see green dots for approximate location. Modern day photo.

I recall many boxcars, refrigerator cars, tank cars and some heavy equipment on flats.

 

 

The team track was behind the BN locomotives exiting the yard.

The team track was behind the BN locomotives exiting the yard. –©photo by C. E. Hunt

MP freight leaving Mykawa Yard Nov 1978 IV

MP freight leaving Mykawa Yard Nov 1978. Note engine and boom that had been unloaded at the team track. Note the debris in the foreground that one often finds at a team track.-–©photo by C. E. Hunt

MP freight leaving Mykawa Yard Nov 1978 III

Caboose of the MP freight leaving Mykawa Yard Nov 1978. Note crane, engine and boom that had been unloaded at the team track and the likely flat car that helped deliver them. -–©photo by C. E. Hunt

Mykawa Yard, Houston, TX 1978--©Photo by C.E. Hunt

Mykawa Yard, Houston, TX 1978–©Photo by C.E. Hunt

Above is possibly my favorite car that ever came in for some reason.  The other side was open.  The car had been emptied.

Team track are great opportunities for modellers.  They offered a lot of operation possibility with very modest modelling required.  One rule though is keep them messy!

Diversity of road names

Railroads used to put a lot of thought into how they decorated their rolling stock AND there used to be a lot of large to medium sized railroads.   This makes modelling the 1970s and 80s a bit more interesting.  A lot of the iconic railroads stayed independent until the early 1980s.  Just check out the diversity in the following pictures from that era.

Here is a sequence from a 1979 ATSF freight train.

ATSF Freight leaving Mykawa Yard Jan 1979 II

ATSF Freight leaving Mykawa Yard Jan 1979. –©Photo by C.E. Hunt

ATSF Freight leaving Mykawa Yard Jan 1979 III

ATSF Freight leaving Mykawa Yard Jan 1979. –©Photo by C.E. Hunt

ICG Shreveport LA Jan 1978 X

ICG Bossier City Yard, LA Jan 1978. Note plethora of road names and paint schemes. –©Photo by C.E. Hunt

MP freight leaving Mykawa Yard Jan 1979 III c

Lots of icons from the pre-Burlington Northern days! –©Photo by C.E. Hunt

 

CBQ Covered hopper near Milby St Roundouse Jan 1979

CB&Q Covered hopper near Hardy St Roundouse in Houston, TX Jan 1979 –©Photo by C.E. Hunt

Arkadelphia Aug 1978 III

Rock gondola at a team track in Arkadelphia, AR, 1978. (My poor, patient cousin was waiting in the Cordoba as I thoroughly documented this team track and pulp yard.)  –©Photo by C.E. Hunt

I could go on and on, but I just wanted to give a glimpse into the diversity.

Ah, these are great memories!  Memories can be a big part of why we model.

Hope you found them great too!