The Little Rock Line

Bendtracker1 Dec 31, 2011

  1. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Greetings everyone,
    My name is Allen.
    I’ve been readings the posts here for about a year and thought I would introduce my layout if I may.

    The Little Rock Line, in N scale.

    The layout is loosely modeled on Rock Island’s southern division from Little Rock, AR. to Alexandria, LA. More affectionately known as “The Little Rock Line”.

    In my basement, it’s the spring of 1983, a little over three years after coming close to an imminent shutdown.

    I started on it in 2002, took a short break to start a custom wood shop and then got back to it over the holidays in 2008. Over the last three years I’ve made some pretty good progress. In April of this year I drove the golden spike. Since then I have completed most of the track work & wiring, enough that we were able to hold the first operating session in October.
    Earlier this month I finished completely rewiring the yard and the layout is now 100% operational. The layout is all DCC using the Digitrax system.
    I‘m also in the early stages of getting the car routing system fine tuned, and I just started a blog on the layout.

    Here is the track plan and the link to the blog.


    layout plan 04-11 1500.jpg
     
    Kurt Moose and Joe Lovett like this.
  2. nscalerone

    nscalerone TrainBoard Member

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    Greetings :)................& WELCOME to "TrainBoard". Lots of helpful info here and nice folks. Great looking blog!
     
  3. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Very nice, I like all the switching and running opportunities that are presented here. And the bench work design suggests a lot of other track layout possibilities that could be incorporated into this space and design such as a logging line, a sawmill, and then a paper plant, with a lot of mainline running between all of them. You may have just come up with a classic design here.
     
  4. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for the welcome and the comments.

    John,
    Not sure how much more track I will add as there was no operations of logging or sawmills that I'm aware of. I suppose I could squeeze in a small paper mill or paper warehouse somewhere. But I appreciate the input.

    I was actually going to make the bench work narrower than it turned out to be. Sometimes looking at it now, I feel it's almost over crowded as it is. My original thoughts were to keep it simple and not much industry to serve. I wanted slow moving trains that wobbled down the line at a snails pace.

    But since I had other trains that I collected over the years that I really wanted to run, like stack trains [even though they are too new for my era] and even other railroads like the CNW & MKT. So I concocted the story of other roads wanting to help improve the line so they could use it as well. This meant better track work and less wobbling. With improved track, come the possible chance of more business along the line. So I started adding a few here and few there. Before I knew it, the towns were almost touching each other!

    Most of the scenery will be lush vegetation with low rolling hills covered with Kudzu!

    The operating session we had, took 6 crew members and 6 trains, 3 hours to complete. I'm sure things will speed up once everyone learns the ins & outs of the layout and the Wheel Report gets refined.

    As far as adding more industries, I must back up a bit. I forgot that there will be a couple of single car industries in the actual town of El Dorado once the town gets built. The track closest to the backdrop in the yard will eventually run a switchback to get up to the town [about 3"] and hopefully will have a little street running to deliver the cars on.

    #9.jpg

    I have always loved street running!

    Something I forgot to add in the first post. The blog is viewable, but I have not yet got all the gadgets setup properly. I still need to turn on the comments and responses and email notifications.

    Allen...
     
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  5. Ghengis Kong

    Ghengis Kong TrainBoard Member

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    Are you modeling the use of the line with the Trustee running on it as well?
     
  6. 3DTrains

    3DTrains TrainBoard Supporter

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    Although I'm not too familiar with the Rock (I only recently start looking at the Ft Smith and Van Buren areas - tons of industries), I believe this a terrific subject for a layout! I like the pictures you have on your blog showing the overall set up of the room with benchwork, and the plan looks like a good one that should keep you (and friends) busy for years to come. Great stuff!
     
  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Looks like the track plan has come together very nicely.
     
  8. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    That's a good question!
    IIRC, this portion of the line was actually cut loose from the main system for a short time near the end, they established a "Quasi-Independence. I think it was around '77 or '78.

    I guess to answer your question simply: Nope. Honestly, I never even gave that a thought.
     
  9. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Marc,
    Ft Smith and Van Buren areas would be indeed be a great source of inspiration. Whether you model the Frisco, BN or the modern Arkansas & Missouri with their wonderful ALCo's, especially with the C-420's that Atlas released several years ago.
    I seen in a magazine sometime ago, someone modeled the A&M in N scale [I think it was in N Scale Magazine] but can't remember for sure what part of the line he modeled.

    Thanks for the nice compliments!
    We held one ops session so far, and after the session we decided to make a couple of changes. The way it was, we only had two manifests that fed the yard at El Dorado. Then both locals were assembled and shipped out. This was kind of tough since the yard was almost at full capacity. The yard crew quickly seen how the two trains overwhelmed the yard immediately. So we decided to break the two manifests into four trains. This shouldn't fill up the yard and should give us room to shuffle things around a bit easier. By the time the first two manifests return to the main yard and gather the required cars for the second two manifests and return to El Dorado, all of the switching needed to get the first local ready and on it's way should be done. We hope!

    If we can get the bugs worked out of the car forwarding system, then seeing how well it worked on the first session, it should keep us as you stated: "Busy for years to come".

    I'm working on the next entry of the blog as we speak. I am going to attempt to explain the car forwarding system that Jim Hediger used on his Ohio Southern: The Wheel Report.

    Allen...
     
  10. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks,
    So far so good! Only one major change was needed and that was at Haskell for the Riceland plant.


    Allen...
     
  11. OC Engineer JD

    OC Engineer JD Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Looks like a great plan and hope you post more pictures as the layout progresses! A big New Years Welcome to Trainboard too! :)
     
  12. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks for the compliments JD. Also thanks for the info on threads vs blogs awhile back.

    I need to get some tweaking done to a few sections of track and then install a couple more UP5 panels.

    Then hope to start turning the track brown and the surface green. Might be awhile, but definitely keep posting some updates as I go along.

    Allen...
     
  13. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Well I see it’s been a while since my last posting.
    I’ve been busy working on the layout still, but not with anything visually at least. We just had our third operating session last month and I’m pleased to say things are starting to mess together.

    The changes that I’ve made to the main yard has helped with the traffic flow in and out of the yard with both the manifests and the staged through trains.

    The powering of the UP3 & 5 panels has cured the drop in power in the Loconet since we are using more throttles. Next I need to get some good re-chargeable batteries so I can make better use of the radio ability of the system. This should also reduce the power needed in the Loconet.

    As mentioned in the previous post, the car routing has gone through some minor changes as well. We are starting to learn better ways to move the cars as well as train scheduling. The latest posting on my blog explains the system that we are using and some of the changes that I’ve made to the Wheel Report.

    The other thing that has held my attention in the last month or so has been learning to speed match my locomotives. What a difference this makes! No more trying to match up locos that run at or near the same speed, no more run-aways, no more rail grinding or jerky starts and stops! The best thing about DCC next to the ease of wiring a layout, is speed matching! It’s the best thing since sliced bread!!!!


    I hope to cover my method of speed matching in my next blog posting.
    That’s all for now.

    Allen…
     
  14. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Allen-

    The "Wheel Report" article by Hediger you mentioned in the blog, is that where he had two different color cards? They're roughly the size of a 3 by 5 index card?
     
  15. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Yep, that's the one! It says his cards were Yellow and a Pale green, one for each direction. Not sure of the size but they look like they could be the 3x5's or 5x7's

    That's the one thing I forgot to mention. I printed them out on a full 8.5" x 11" sheet in landscape format. They are a little big, but you don't need to squint to read them. I've thought about printing two sheets on one page: 8.6" x 5.5" sheets.

    I have a copy of the original article that I scanned to a PDF file, if you'd like a copy of it [it's not the greatest copy, but it's legible], PM me.

    Allen...
     
  16. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Allen, great to see your progress! The yard looks great...

    I want to thank you again for your generous deal on that Walthers flour mill. It has served on the layout proudly for months now! It's temporarily off layout while I wire everything up but I'll hopefully have some good pics to share soon.
     
  17. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Ah, good. I was on the "right" track. Ha ha. I, too, have a copy of that article. It's kept in my scrapbook of ideas. The cards are indeed those colors. I believe they are actually 4" by 5". I was able to get a pair from Jim many years ago. He mailed them, so had sliced a little off their top edges to fit the envelope.
     
  18. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow, I'm jealous! You have a piece of history there, did you get it autographed ;)

    Not knowing if Jim is still with us or if you still have contact with him, but if he is and you are.......Pass along a word of thanks for me for a great little idea!
     
  19. Bendtracker1

    Bendtracker1 TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Doug!

    Hey, I'm glad I could help out and that it found a good home!

    How's your layout coming along? Haven't seen hide nor hair of you on the other board for quite some time now.

    I've seen "Doug A." several times here on TB and always wondered if it was you.

    I thought of you several months ago. I was scrounging around the net trying to dig up photos of some KATY's Duces [SD40-2's] and come across a picture of a huge Grain Elevator somewhere in Texas. The more I looked at it, the more I started to recognize it. A few pictures later I came across another one that showed the head house in the middle of the silos. and then it dawned on me! That is the same elevator that you posted once before.

    Did you ever get it built yet? LOL Love to see some progress photos.

    Good to hear from you!
     
  20. Doug A.

    Doug A. TrainBoard Supporter

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    Allen, wasn't intending to hijack your thread about your layout to talk about mine, sorry. I sent you an e-mail with an update.
     

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