Sunday, October 31, 2010

Revisiting the Emsingen freight area

When switching trains in Emsingen a few problems became apparent over time, that I didn't really think of when designing the freight tracks:
  • Most of the industries face the yard tracks, so the run-around gets a lot more use than I envisioned when planning the station tracks.
  • The run-around was designed for one or two car operation. This is too short. Yes, I kinda knew that going in, though didn't expect that it would be this annoying.
  • After moving one yard track to Track 3 when building Emsingen, I realized that Track 3 is used much more often for switching moves, than Track 4 and its dedicated pull-out extension, which turns out to be too short. 
  • Due to the way the track arrangement worked out, I had to plan the loading ramp of Track 3a into the triangle between 3a and the pull-out extension. This one always bothered me since there isn't really that much space to model anything interesting around the loading ramp.
  • There's a wicked S-curve when switching cars to Track 4 and 5 (the "yard"), that caused some trouble with a few short-coupled freight cars.
In other words, enough reasons to revisit the track arrangement in Emsingen once more. While I did build out the cork roadbed already, and parts of the approach are already glued down, most of the track is not. 

Here's my latest experiment. First the left hand side, then the right hand side.

Track 1, the house track, is at the top of the picture (with the slim platform), and will be used mainly for passenger operations, and as passing siding. The "switch to nowhere" will eventually connect to the engine service facility.

Track 2 is the mainline track. All through trains and most freight trains will use Track 2.

Track 3 is the arrival/departure track for local freights that begin and end in Emsingen. Freights that pick up or drop cars might stop on Track 2 and block the main while cars are switched out, and dropped on Track 3 (either by the road engine or a switcher. The right hand half of Track 3, including the extension on the right is used as yard lead.

Track 4 at the bottom of the picture serves as round-around in the middle, yard track on the left, and will have the loading ramp on the right (near the green tank car).

Track 5 is the yard track on the bottom left of the lower picture.

The changes compared to the previous arrangement can be seen by looking for empty cork roadbed, and temporarily placed track.
  • On the left-hand side, I will extend the yard track length of  Track 4 and 5 by replacing the two left-hand switches with a double-slip switch. This increases capacity by 30% on those two tracks to about 33 inches total track length (or 7+ cars each), and gets rid of the double S-curve when switching Track 5 from Track 3.
  • A side-effect of that change is that I need to build up a little bit more plywood to support Track 5's curve at the switch. Otherwise, the track hangs in the air...
  • On the right hand side, the changes are even more severe. I dropped the dedicated yard lead completely (empty cork roadbed at the bottom of the picture), flipped the direction of the run-around switch, and installed a double-slip switch replacing the switch on Track 3 towards Track 2.
  • The loading ramp track now runs parallel to the other tracks and becomes an extension of Track 4. The loading ramp itself will now sit at the bottom of the picture (right where the little cardboard sign "Rampe" is located), and I can make use of the freed up space to model some loading scenes (whatever that's going to be...)
I think the revised track arrangement flows a lot better, looks more prototypical, and is even more practical. I will find out if the latter is true by switching a bunch of trains on these new tracks.

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