Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Upcoming Operating Session

Greetings Blog Followers,

The New York Central Train Layout will be hosting it's first operating session in about two weeks. I have been busy making preparations for a smooth and simple session with little to no paperwork. I was also able to consult with a fellow modeler and friend Neal M, C.E.O. of the A.P.R.R. who was generous with his time and knowledge. Thank you Sir Neal for the wise tips you have provided.

Some of things I have been doing to make the operating session hopefully go smoother are actually running the proposed trains to and from there destinations. A little tweaking was definitely needed and the pre-planning will hopefully pay off. One potentially embarrassing issue that has since been solved comes to mind. I was running a string of covered hoppers through my Cargill Grain Elevator as I have some numerous times over the years. Well, the first few batches of five rolled through w/o incident. On about the fourth batch a crash was heard. Seems some the Athearn BB 56' ACF covered hopper round covers sit just a bit higher than all the other cars I have and did not clear the loading shed. Situation corrected by raising structure slightly. Didn't need that to happen during the op session!

Another item on the to do list was labeling all the control switches on my switch panels. As I run in DC there are several panels with DPDT switches. Even I was beginning to forget what switch controlled what track. So I tested each DPDT switch and labeled them. A track diagram was also added to assist the operators.

Industry City (needs better name) on shelf portion of layout will be a busy part of the ops session. 

Looking at the Hudson Coal lead. 3 tracks can handle about 12 cars. The basic empties in and loads out. Loads will head to North Side Yard for scaling. From there to Staging.

T&R Gravel should see some action. The ore cars were upgraded with body mounted couplers so no more slinky effect during shove moves.

West Side Industrial Area. Hudson Coal is on back wall. Staging Yard is in adjacent room to left. Industry City is on back wall to right.

A trio switchers work the West Side. The old Heileman distributor is now Neubaum's Coffee Importers.

A close up of some of the West Side rail served industries. Pay no attention to that man next to the bar.


  1. Best wishes for the ops session! I've only had the opportunity to host another modeler running my layout once and it was a lot of fun. Like you, I did some prep work to make sure things went as well as possible. It surprised me how many impediments to smooth running I was simply putting up with and accommodating instead of fixing. Knowing some one else was coming over to run trains really motivated some improvements! Sounds like you're ready to go! I'm sure folks will enjoy the long trains you run and the many switching opportunities! Looking forward to hearing how it goes.


  2. Thank You Ralph for the best wishes! As a beginner in this aspect of the hobby I am glad to know you handled your op session with the same type of pre-planning. Makes me think I'm on the right track so to speak. I will continue with the tweaking this week. An After Ops report will follow. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. John