Monday, June 07, 2010

How switching the sawmill in Talheim grew into another headache

The facing point turnout arrangement for the machine factory and the sawmill and the respective need to run around the train for switching the sawmill is giving me some headaches, since the run around requires use of the double-slip and regular turnouts that make up Abzweig Talheim and are likely going to be the heaviest used turnouts on the layout, since all traffic leaving and entering staging runs through them.

I'm trying to come up with a solution that avoids adding additional pressure to this area from switching moves in Talheim.

One option is to keep the trackwork in Talheim as is, and run switching as what is often called a "turn", i.e. the train comes up from staging (say originating in Hausach), switches the machine factory in Talheim, then continues through the long tunnel to Emsingen for some local switching. In Emsingen the locomotive runs around the train and leaves towards where it came from through the tunnel. I.e. the return trip takes the train back to Talheim with the locomotive now facing staging and if the engineer planned ahead in Emsingen, the car(s) going to the sawmill will be at the head of the train. The train takes the siding in Talheim, uncouples, the locomotive runs through the double-slip turnout, and zig-zags to the sawmill, switches out the old cars, drops the new cars, and zig-zags back. This move will block the main and siding in Talheim for a considerable amount of time.

The other option is to modify the trackwork in Talheim, by adding another turnout between the first and second turnouts on the southside, so that the sawmill siding is directly accessible from the main track. The track would merge with the machine factory siding, and dead-end into the sawmill, creating a runaround, that also leaves the house track available for through traffic (including passenger trains that should stop at the house track anyways). In order to fit this in, I need to move a signal mast, extend and realign the existing flextrack segment of the house track by an inch or so, and add the new turnout to the control panel. If I arrange it properly, I should be able to run around cars in the freight siding with just the locomotive and without having to clean out the sawmill track first. However, since that's the point of this move, I'm willing to forgo some track length for better scenery integration.

An alternative I considered was to replace the regular turnout in that area with a double-slip turnout, and otherwise do the same arrangement. For switching moves this is equivalent, but they occasionally block the main when using the double-slip, and due to how track lengths and angles work out, I don't have nearly as much usable track length for the saw mill track. It would be much easier to get this installed, though, since I don't need to realign the flextrack segment.

Sigh. So many choices on how to spend my time. I'll come back to this later when Emsingen station also exists and I got a chance to experiment with various approaches to operate the combined setup. E.g. for more visual interest and a longer intermediate run, I could operate this train from staging via Abzweig Talheim to Emsingen, then on to Talheim through the tunnel, switch Talheim including the required run-around in this case, back to Emsingen, pick up remaining cars, and down the hill passing Abzweig Talheim back into staging.

No comments: