PLANNING, CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF MY 1/48 SCALE RAILROAD



OPERATIONS ON THE NCIR

The NCIR  classifies inbound cars off CSXT and spots them as requested by customers.  The NCIR is one division of parent company Pioneer Railcorp, and crews are dispatched to work the various lines as required.  The best way to get a feel for operations is to picture yourself as a conductor working the line: 

Packaging Corp. of America requested a 7:00 am shift this morning.  They are anxious for a couple hot cars that came in overnight off CSXT, along with a couple more loads from the storage track.  They also have an empty car to be respotted for scrap paper loading. 
 
Here again is the layout of the branch line:













Here is a picture of your morning's work:

Start:













End:













And here is your work in switch list form:























Note that there are no cars for Premier and Dal-Tile did not request a shift today.  You'll only be drilling PCA.  Now it's up to you to get the work done.  No pressure, but remember the day shift manager at PCA is waiting for those hot cars...:-)

I've been operating the NCIR, in its final form, for about a month now.  Most sessions average 1 hour. ..just what I had in mind.  There are so many variables (e.g. number of inbounds, spots, respots, cars on/off the holding track, loaded scrap paper cars that must be held because billing is not completed etc.) that no two sessions are ever the same.


**Thanks to FrogRail for the GIF's!** 

23 comments:

  1. This is the best laid out example of using a switch list I've seen. I'm thinking of laying it out virtually like I did with Dawson Station (http://dawson-station.blogspot.com/2010/04/virtual-scale.html) just to see how it works.

    With the exception of the starch car, does it matter what order the cars are placed in the warehouse or at dock, interchange, or storage track?

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  2. Thanks Ken. I appreciate that!

    To answer your question, only the starch cars have specific instructions for spotting at the PCA mill (due to the location of the unloading hoses). PCA's dock runs the length of the warehouse interior and they have these neat, electrically powered dock plates that can traverse the length of the dock. These plates run on small rails at the edge of the dock and are simply aligned with the boxcar doors to allow fork trucks to unload the paper rolls. The boxcars are shoved in and PCA unloads them in the order they want.

    At the mill we switch, there is no specific order to cars on the storage or interchange tracks. We try to make sure that we list the cars in order on our wheel report; so the next crew will have an easier time locating a specific car in the string.

    JH

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  3. I am a locomotive engineer on the NS, and work a paper mill switch engine. You have an excellent idea for a model railroad, and I can tell the operations were well thought out. A super job!

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  4. Thanks for the compliment Tom! Glad you enjoyed the site. Be safe out there...

    Jack

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  5. Jack,
    Keep up the good work! I hope you will continue your updates during the summer. I need some inspiration!
    Any suggestions for us non-railroad types, on developing a switch list for our model industries?
    Thanks,
    David Henderson

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  6. Thanks for allowing us to follow along. I'm 'borrowing' a few of your ideas with the paper plant for a small N-scale railroad that I'm planning to build this winter.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas with us!

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  7. can you elaborate more on car types and materials in and out this seems like an excellant industry to model with a lot of switching in a small space

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  8. you mention a car of caustic soda what is this used for and where is this car spotted as i dont see anything about it other then where you talk about inbound cars is it unloaded at the same spot as the cov hop?

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  9. Sure thing,

    For the corrugating plant: boxcars of pulpboard and linerboard in; boxcars of scrap cardboard out; hoppers of starch in; tank cars of caustic soda in.

    The plant uses different grades of pulpboard and linerboard to manufacture cardboard boxes. If you look at a cardboard box in cross section, pulpboard is the ziz-zag, inner material. Linerboard is glued on either side of the corrugated pulpboard to form a sandwich, giving the box strength. Corn starch and caustic soda are mixed together into an adhesive used to bond the layers together.

    My plant receives linerboard from mills in Marquette, MI and Tomahawk, WI; with pulpboard coming from Counce, TN and Valdosta, GA. Scrap or waste material is shipped back to the mills for recycling into new material.

    My plant will receive occasional tank cars of caustic soda, unloading them at a platform at the very north end of the dock. When a tank car is spotted here, only 1 boxcar can be spotted at the dock behind it (between the tank and the warehouse).

    Hope that helps.

    Best,

    Jack

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  10. Jack,

    What are you using to generate/create your switchlists?

    Best,
    James

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  11. Hi James,

    I simply make up my switchlists by feel before each session. I've never found another method/program that completely meets my specific needs. Thanks for following along!

    Jack

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  12. Hi Jack,
    In your example of what makes an operating session take longer you mention how billing isn't finished and how it can delay a car move. This is the kind of real-world operating detail that us non-railroad employee model railroaders crave. What other reasons lead to delays in being able to execute a switching move can you think of? ...if you don't mind letting us know. I am a software developer and I would love to develop an app that generated switch lists but then threw these kinds of "curve balls" at an operator as he tried to work through that list.

    Thanks for any response...Matt

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