Monday, August 3, 2020


The beginning of August marks the anniversary of construction start on my SP Cascade Line.  I mark the occasion each year with a photo survey of the railroad.  Last year's survey may be viewed at:   One can work back from there in prior posts to see what I have accomplished over each of the past eight years.  While Year Seven represented a bit of a construction pause, this past year has seen considerable filling in of previously open space with terrain at Cascade Summit and Cruzatte and a major structure effort in Eugene and Springfield.  

While the outside world shutdown this spring and summer, my model railroad world has seen considerable visible progress.  The construction start anniversary was an appropriate time to very carefully reach out to the first small group of regular operators.  Five of us met to hold an afternoon gathering, mostly on our patio for "Show and Tell" with distance and masking protocols observed.  We eventually went into the basement for about an hour's worth of operations.  Trains were moved and cars switched in Eugene.  This was the first time anyone other than myself or my wife has seen the positive production produced by "Safer at Home" policies.

Follow along with the 02-EUOAY (Eugene to Oakland Manifest freight) as we travel the full extent of the mainline.  Along the way, we will see my limited operating crew productively doing what the railroad was designed for--moving (simulated) traffic!

Our journey begins at the Eugene Arrival-Departure Yard.  The turntable was installed this past Fall and approach tracks laid.  Temporary roundhouse and garden tracks help show what is yet to come.  Sharp eyes might even spot something else on a roundhouse track pointing to the eventual goal of an equipment era shift.

Properly masked, regular operator Rodger C. pulls the 02-EUOAY out of the Oakland departure track and across the new double slip switch onto what is now labelled the "West Main."  An operational check of the new track alignment is this area was a prime goal for this limited operating session.

Rodger C. proceeds past the Eugene Depot with the 02-EUOAY.  Several new structures fill what previously were blank spots along the wall.  The Eugene freight house is in the distance, beyond (left of) the Eugene depot.  Our locomotives are running alongside the Zellerbach Paper warehouse and are about to come alongside the mock-up for the Eugene Planing Mill.  

With the departure of the 02-EUOAY, Santa Clara Tower Operator Dave H. pulls a long string of cars out of the Arrival-Departure Yard as Eugene Yardmaster Craig L. watches.  Yet another route through the new trackwork received an operational test.

Later on, Yardmaster Craig L. works on that string of cars, classifying them for the several local freight jobs served by this yard.

Tom D. pulls one of those locals (made up by a previous yard shift) through Springfield on his way to Oakridge.  Some of the roofs of the new Rosboro Lumber complex are in the foreground and National Metallurgical is at center-right.

Back to the 02-EUOAY and Engineer Rodger C.  Here he is running the train past the Rosboro Lumber complex at the RR-West end of Springfield.

Swinging around the broad turn-back curve at the end of Springfield, our train passes the developing Neste Resins (Chembond) on the Marcola Branch.

Our train passes the Western Lumber mill at Westfir on its way to Oakridge.

In Oakridge, our train takes the habitual track for RR-Westbounds.  The train is broken in two and the helper locomotives are being inserted mid-train.

The 02-EUOAY leaves Oakridge and starts the climb toward the top of the Cascades, here crossing Salmon Creek.

Our train continues its climb, passing Montieth Rock.  This scene is much brighter thanks to a string of LED lights installed this past year.

The 02-EUOAY continues the climb through McCredie Springs and over Eagle Creek.

The climb continues through the mid-point siding at Wicopee.  Company structures and water towers--mostly an anachronism for our 1984 equipment--have appeared.

The 02-EUOAY crosses the Salt Creek Trestle--a signature scene on the railroad.

Our train crosses Noisy Creek Trestle and enters Cruzatte.

Terrain at Cruzatte was installed this past year and the company village now has the context of an isolated spot high in the Cascades.

The 02-EUOAY is strung out through Cruzatte and is approaching the third large steel viaduct--Shady Creek Trestle.

Our train exits Tunnel 5 and one of the signature rock and snow sheds that protect the tracks on the Cascade Line.

The 02-EUOAY passes the section gang housing at the RR-East end of Cascade Summit.

The helper locomotive set is pulled off at Cascade Summit near the water towers, Train Order Operator housing and station.  Terrain rises up behind the track, filling in a major gap on the railroad.

The 02-EUOAY has been put back together after removing the mid-train helpers and completes the journey by entering the RR-West staging at Crescent Lake.

Looking back on the past year, I am pleased to report accomplishments include installing the turntable and approach tracks in the middle of the reverse loop staging and arrival-departure yard at Eugene, adding quite a few structures in the Eugene and Springfield area, and nearly completing the base terrain forming with efforts at Cruzatte and Cascade Summit.  The railroad has industry to serve and mountains to climb.  I celebrated this construction anniversary by carefully hosting a small group of model railroad friends for the first time since March.  The railroad benefitted from the break in operations.  I just kept building structures through periods that otherwise would have been devoted to preparing the railroad for operating sessions.  It also benefitted from the clean-up and maintenance that prepared for this anniversary.  Finally, the new trackwork received its first operating test by folk other than me, the builder.  Onward!

Saturday, July 25, 2020


With the sustained down-time of this Spring and Summer (no operating sessions), I finally tackled a long-planned track arrangement change in the Santa Clara Tower throat complex (Eugene Arrival-Departure Yard).  Comments made by two of my professional railroaders during the first operating session on the full mainline in June, 2015, caused me to reconsider and then redesign the throat track arrangement for Santa Clara Tower.  This throat area is the space between the RR-East end of the Eugene Depot and Classification Yard and the reverse loop staging yard which serves as the Arrival-Departure Yard. 

My original track arrangement necked down the mainline and WP Siding from the depot area to a single track main.  This single main split to access both ends of the reverse loop.  A short section of additional track provided an auxiliary "East Main" in the original formulation that accessed only the five reverse tracks closest to the wall on the "right hand" side of the loop.  

Original Santa Clara Tower track arrangement.  Only A-D Tracks 1-5 and the Halsey Branch can access the "East Main"--the right-hand track in the foreground.  All other tracks had to use the original mainline which splits at the throat switch in the middle foreground.

My professional railroader's comments about "extending the WP Siding" lit an "understanding light bulb" in my brain immediately.  I had been staring at Ed Austin's Eugene track diagram in his and Tom Dill's Southern Pacific in Oregonbook (PFM, 1987) for a couple of decades, but only by that comment did I understand what SP had done with track in the Eugene terminal.  Starting at the RR-West switch just beyond (geo-south) for the Eugene Depot, the WP Siding extended as an additional track with several crossovers all the way out to Irving--the RR-East end of the Eugene terminal.  What I had missed was the flexibility that additional track gave to the entire terminal.  Trains, switch moves, and light engines (often returning helpers) could use either track past the depot to get to their destination within the terminal complex.

Studying my existing track, I recognized I could never achieve the complete solution which would have involved two tracks accessing all tracks in my reverse loop area.  I could, however, achieve most of the benefits by providing full access to the "right-hand" switch ladder, adding A-D Tracks 6-12 to the connection to the "East Main."  This could be achieved by replacing the single switch that connected either the "throat switch" and the nominal main or the "East Main" with a double slip switch.  Continuing RR-westward toward the depot, the rest of the project requires three more double slip switches to create two "main" tracks extending from the depot to the Arrival-Departure Yard.

Double slip switches are something to be considered VERY carefully.  They are complicated bits of moving track.  Further, their routing is not intuitive, even to experienced railroaders.  They are known as "puzzle switches" for good reason.  One can think of a double slip switch as two opposite acting switches jammed together in the same space.  The points controlling the pair of routes on the right side of the switch are located on the left side of the frogs.  

I knew by the summer of 2015 that I needed to install four double slip switches to achieve the desired track rearrangement.  At the National Train Show at the end of the NMRA Convention in Portland (PDX2015) that year, I sat down with the folk from Fast Tracks to order assembly tooling for a Number 8 double slip switch.  My mainline switch standard is a Number 8 so that seemed the right way to go.  Unstated at that time, though, was that a Number 8 double slip switch needs moving frogs.  No instructions for such an arrangement were forthcoming and such an arrangement screams mechanical complexity.  When I discovered that fact a year ago as I was getting serious about this project, I decided I needed to take a fresh look at my options.  I settled on Peco SL-U8363 Number 6 double slip switches.  My track arrangement was adaptable to the sharper frog angle.

With the first of my Peco double slip switches in hand, I began laying out the revised yard tracks.  I am happy to report the Peco Number 6 fits my track arrangement very well.  I decided the overall project logically fell into two phases.  The first phase involves the installation of a single double slip switch to provide full access to the "right-hand" side of the reverse loop Arrival-Departure Yard.  As operations on my railroad have developed, this is the westbound departure end of the reverse loop.  As a consequence, all of the tracks in the throat area are being re-named to reflect their actual uses.  What had been called the "East Main" is now the "West Main."  The former "Main" becomes the "East Main."

With no operating sessions in sight and having all of the materials I needed, I began the rework by removing the old "throat" switch and the switch for the old "East Main."  I also removed the switches for tracks 6 and 7, as the new alignment would focus on Track 6 instead of 7.  For the past five years, I thought I would continue the compounding switch arrangement for Tracks 6 and 7 I originally built, but as I began removing track, I realized I had a far better option.  I could begin the switch ladder with a left-hand switch breaking off of the Track 6 alignment and then have all right-hand switches in the switch ladder.  This is what a full-sized railroad would do.  I also discovered I could add a connecting track to the engine lead, previously accessed only from the left-hand side of the reverse loop.  This new connecting track provides a West engine lead.

Removing the old track helped open my eyes to a better track arrangement than originally envisioned.   This view shows the original location and alignment of the switch for Track 7.  This switch was removed and replaced in the final design.

As I began placing the new switches, location of switch throwbars was a concern with regard to benchwork stringers under the roadbed.  I drilled exploratory holes on the prospective throwbar locations and then stuck bamboo skewers through the holes.  Sure enough, one switch needed to be moved a bit to provide adequate clearance from an underlying benchwork stringer.  

Bamboo skewers inserted in exploratory holes for throwbar locations.  The skewer and hole on the right was a bit too close for comfort to an underlying benchwork stringer.  Fortunately, I could move this switch closer to the double slip switch to clear the nearby support.

Final track arrangement.  Note the double slip switch has a straight-through route connecting the new "West Main" to the alignment of Track 6.

Wiring the new track arrangement was both straight-forward and frustrating.  First, the double slip switch was very easy to wire.  Peco provides feeders for the two frogs and the outside rails.  The outside rails are electrically connected to the correct rail segments within the switch.  A simple wiring diagram is provided on the packaging.  I re-purposed the switch machines for the former "throat" switch and the former "East Main" switch.  Similarly, I moved the switch machines for Tracks 6 and 7.  New switch machines were required for the two ends of the new West Engine Lead.  

The wiring frustration came first from trying to reuse as many track feeders as I could.  This saved on making more solder joints to the track bus wires--a process for me that requires using my resistance soldering rig.  Beyond that, it was a matter of locating the correct pair of bus wires under this very complicated throat area--lots of wires for a variety of track segments.  Finally, getting the frog polarity connections right resulted in the one for Track 6 needing to be reversed--something I discovered with the first test train.  

I rearranged toggle switches on the control panels for Santa Clara Tower.  Two toggle switches had to be moved and another one added.  The track lines were redrawn.  I chose to activate the engine lead switch closest to the engine facility as part of a crossover from the switch off the new East Main.  This saved one toggle switch.  Although the pair of toggle switches for controlling the double slip switch appear "logical" to me, I know these controls will remain a puzzle for many.  I augmented the toggle handle directions with light emitting diodes (LED) to indicate the route selected through the double slip switch.  Following color conventions on my railroad, the RR-East side uses blue LEDs and the RR-West side uses amber LEDs.  My long-term plan for this panel will replace the toggle switches with pushbuttons for two-button (Entrance and Exit) control.

Modified control panel for the "Westbound" end of the Arrival-Departure Yard.  

Finally, it was time to run the first train or cut of cars through the new switches.  This is when I discovered the reversed polarity of the frog connection for Track 6.  That was an easy fix.  This new track arrangement awaits testing by some of my regular crewmembers.  Once I pass that test, I will consider doing the second phase of this overall project, with three more double slip switches.  For now, I am happy to at last provide an alternative access to the full RR-West end of the Departure Yard.  A bonus was providing a path from this West end trackage to the engine facility.

First train (cut of cars and locomotive) crossing the new double slip switch.

Sunday, July 12, 2020


Continuing my documentation of operating jobs on my railroad, I will describe the activities of the first of three Springfield area switching jobs.  Known as the "Springfield-A" in my operating scheme, this job serves industry on the depot side of the mainline in Springfield.  The other jobs are the "Springfield-B" which serves the aisle side of the mainline and the "Marcola Turn" which serves that branch off the RR-West end of Springfield.  Follow along with the photo captions as I work the Springfield-A.

Our work begins at Eugene as our power backs on to the train on City Yard Track One.  The conductor is checking his train documents and thinking about how he will work the train and industries in Springfield.

The Dispatcher has been kind today and allowed our train to switch the bulk oil dealer on the way into Springfield.  Our crew uses the house track, which loops around behind the depot, to gain access to the bulk oil dealer's spur.  We exchange two tank cars as the rest of our train hangs out on the mainline from Eugene--the "Judkins" track block.

Our crew left the cement covered hoppers on the house track and ran back down the depot track to gather the rest of the train and pull it into Springfield on the depot-drill track.  All remaining moves will stay off the mainline until we are ready to return to Eugene.

Our Conductor has chosen to pull all the loads from Rosboro Lumber as the second major task in town.  Here, the wood chips have already been pulled from Rosboro Track One and set over to the drill leading to the Marcola Branch.  We next bored into Rosboro Track Two to pull the finished lumber and plywood loads.  All of the outbound Rosboro loads will be shoved on to the Marcola Branch.  These will then be joined by the pair of tank cars pulled as we came into town.

As we arrange the empty boxcars and a flat for spotting at Rosboro (the flat needs to go into the spur first), our Conductor chose to switch the team track in front of the depot.  Right now, the depot is only indicated by a photo, but I expect a new kit for the required SP Standard Depot Type 18 due soon from the Southern Pacific Historical and Technical Society.

Returning to Rosboro Lumber, the correct order of empties is being prepared to be shoved into the lumber loading spur, Rosboro Lumber Track Two.

As we work our train using the tracks on the depot side of the mainline, we find a convenient point to shove our caboose onto one of the Marcola Branch tracks.

Running around our remaining train and working off the house track behind the depot, we now are spotting a pair of good quality empties at Clear Fir for outbound loading.  The loaded bulkhead flat and Milwaukee boxcar have inbound loads for Clear Fir that will be spotted on the tail of the Tilbury Cement-Clear Fir Track One spur in the background.

While we are working in this area, we make the pull of a covered hopper empty from National Metallurgical.

Next, we serve that Tilbury Cement and Clear Fir Inbound spur.

We finally get around to serving the cannery spur at the RR-East end of town.  The inbound empty Railbox was toward the end of the train as we arrived in Springfield.  The Dispatcher did not give us enough working time upon arrival to serve the cannery as well as the bulk oil as we came into town.  As seen here, we could have waited to serve the bulk oil spur in a similar fashion if the Dispatcher needed us to clear the mainline quickly when we first arrived in Springfield.  This really is a Dispatcher option, negotiated by the Conductor of the arriving local freight train.

Finally, we assemble our train, most of which has been out on the Marcola Branch.  We reclaim our caboose and prepare to return to Eugene.

The Springfield-A Turn is a bit of a switching puzzle, but it has a couple of run-around tracks and has access to the Marcola Branch. It may take a couple of moves with cars to get all of them into the right order and places, but the job can be accomplished without occupying the mainline or the siding on the aisle side.  Those tracks are needed by the Dispatcher to keep mainline traffic rolling.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


The Marcola (Wendling) Branch leaves the mainline towards the geo-east end of Springfield and initially follows 28th Street north, serving several industries before arriving at the interchange with the Weyerhaueser Corporation.  Weyerhaueser's forest products mill in Springfield remains one of the larger shippers on the Cascade Line, but is simply rendered on my model railroad as the interchange tracks.  Several other industries along the line contribute significant traffic as well.  One of those is Neste Resins, formerly Chembond and originally Central Processing Company, beginning in 1960.

I chose Neste Resins as one of the industries on my Marcola Branch both for its interesting chemical processing equipment and the fact that it remains in business.  The company was identified as Neste Resins in the 1977 SPINS (Southern Pacific Industry Numbering System) diagram, so that is what I have been using on my freight car forwarding waybills.  The Springfield Chamber of Commerce book I often refer to pegs the shift from Chembond to Neste Resins later than that SPINS diagram, so I may revise what I call this industry in both operating practice and the car movement documents.

The wood chemicals business represented by Borden Chemicals and Neste Resins (Chembond) on both ends of my Springfield area extracts resins from wood for use as adhesives and bonding agents.  Think plywood glue and bonding agents for hardboard, chip board and oriented strand board.  The wood chemicals business is an important part of the forest products business served by the Cascade Line.

My Chembond/Neste Resins plant occupies significant space within the turn-back loop at the end of my Springfield peninsula.  With the long break from operating experienced this Spring, I have been filling blank industry spots such as this.  Indeed, this one is the last major space needing something more than a folded index card sign.

Chemical plants such as Chembond are both visually interesting and challenging modeling subjects.  For the similar Borden Chemical plant at the other end of Springfield, I was able to adapt refinery structures and cracking towers from Walthers and Vollmer.  I needed something different for Chembond/Neste Resins.  Once again, I looked to petrochemical refinery models.  This time I selected kits from Walthers (United Petroleum Refining, 933-3705), Pikestuff (various structures), and Plastruct (various tanks and a refinery kit).  

The size and complexity of this wood chemicals facility dictates my model efforts will stretch over considerable time.  This initial report covers the core of the processing facility and a start at the rail interface.  A major modeling resource was found in Google Earth.  I used both the satellite view for overall layout of the plant and the street view to get a better sense of the shape and size of various components.

Chemical Engineers will need to suspend their technical knowledge of plant processes and understand that my model effort is directed at being "representative and impressionistic."  For this first effort, I used the Walthers refinery kit mostly for the refining towers, piping, and intercooler.  I cut down the central refining tower of the kit to better match what I was seeing in the street-view pictures.  I eliminated the tall stack of the kit and will use Plastruct parts to fill that spot at a later date.  My cut-down refining tower led to changes in the use of the kit tower platforms, ladders, and piping.  

Overview of the initial core of my Chembond/Neste Resins plant.  Sample photos from Google Earth for the satellite view and street view are in the foreground.  The green structures on the right appear to be for covered hopper loading. The initial central tank farm is in front of the modified refinery model.

Refinery elements are on the left.  The central refining tower was cut down and the platform and piping arrangement modified to fit the reduced structure.  The intercooler is between the refining towers and the tank farm.

The Walthers refinery kit includes etched brass handrails for the refining tower platforms.  This is a nice touch as it provides for fine detail that is not easily destroyed by an inadvertent sleeve or elbow impact.  Following the kit instructions, I found it easy to establish the desired curve for the handrails to fit the curved platforms.  I attached the brass handrails to the plastic platforms using canopy glue which has become my favorite way to join such dissimilar materials.  

Handrails being applied to the refining tower work platforms.

Ladder cages were attached to the ladders before the parts were painted and then removed from the casting sprue.

The central tank farm for my facility was built using Plastruct "oil" tanks.  Plastruct kits are a bit of a throw-back to an earlier era of model railroading.  They are mostly a bag of raw parts and shapes.  Think of these kits as a collection of scratch-building materials one can use to fabricate the desired structure.  The tanks are nothing more than PVC (or ABS) pipe to which various parts are attached.  The first step in building the tank models was to scribe the weld lines.  I found my old X-Acto miter box quite handy for the scribing process.

Scribing a Plastruct tank tube.  I could insert a knife blade into the saw kerf of my miter box to make the horizontal scribes.  The wall of the miter box was used as a guide for the vertical scribes.

Plastruct appears to be in the process of moving from their long-time location in California to an address in Illinois, perhaps signaling a company ownership switch.  Unfortunately, this shift has interrupted the supply of Plastruct kits such that I could not obtain a third kit for the larger tanks I used.  Fortunately, I had that same diameter PVC tube in a different Plastruct tank kit that I could claim for this project.  I was able to scratch-build all the other parts I needed while claiming a pair of valve castings from the Plastruct refinery kit I will use for parts for one more refining tower and associated tanks and parts.

The central tank farm for my wood chemical facility.  

The final element of my initial construction for Chembond/Neste Resins was the covered hopper loading shed.  My references for this were the Google Earth satellite view and what I could see of other structures for the facility that were closer to the street.  I used a pair of Pikestuff structures--their small engine house (541-5000) and the pre-fab warehouse (541-4).  These kits are intended to be modified by the user although I generally followed helpful wall opening outlines cut into the inside of the walls.  

Covered hopper loading shed and attached warehouse.

Overview of the initial core of my Chembond/Neste Resins wood chemical plant.

I finally have made a start on modeling the Chembond/Neste Resins facility on the Marcola Branch.  There are lots of tanks, a bit more refinery gear and several structures that are needed, but the core already shows this area of previously blank plywood is now the home of a chemical plant.

Monday, June 22, 2020


At the center of individual car movements on my railroad are operations in the Eugene Yard.  The Eugene terminal area includes the Arrival-Departure Yard which is controlled by the "Santa Clara Tower."  Contained within the Arrival-Departure Yard is the still-developing engine facility which includes tracks for servicing diesels and now includes the turntable originally installed to serve steam locomotives.  Located in parallel with the Eugene Depot tracks is the Classification Yard, the subject of the current discussion.

My Eugene Classification Yard is double-ended and eight tracks wide.  It roughly corresponds to the historic Bailey Street Yard along the Coos Bay Line in the Eugene terminal area.  This yard served the local industries in Eugene while the hump yard classified cars for outbound trains and broke down in-bound trains for most of Western Oregon.  One of my layout design decisions was to choose not to model the major yard complex, but instead concentrate on serving the on-line industry of the modeled railroad.  That led me to my eight-track Classification Yard.  

A normal full crew working my Eugene Yard consists of a Yardmaster and two switch crews who work the Classification Yard.  They coordinate operations with the Arrival Departure Yard which is usually staffed with the Santa Clara Tower Operator who serves as the Yardmaster of that part of the yard complex and a switcher who assists in making up and breaking down the road freights.  As my engine terminal develops, I expect to add a hostler for locomotive movement duties.  

The Eugene Yardmaster plays a critical role in managing the overall activities of the yard, choosing classification designations for the eight yard tracks, changing those designations as needed for the current classification work.  With only eight tracks, the Yardmaster never has the luxury of permanent destination designations for the tracks.  Indeed, there are times when multiple destinations will be assigned to a single track.  The Yardmaster can use label tabs which fit between the rails.

Classification underway with Track 5 designated for Los Angles cars and Track 6 for Roseville.  These are the two largest destinations for outbound cars on my railroad.

The Classification Yard builds local freights and breaks them down when they return to Eugene.  It also classifies blocks of cars which arrive in road freights at the Arrival-Departure Yard. Activities ebb and flow as trains arrive or depart.  The photos below illustrate a typical cycle of movements.

The Eugene Yard at the start of a shift.  Two locals have arrived on the City Yard tracks and await break-down by the yard.  Small blocks of cars for local jobs are gathered on several yard tracks.

We will do most of our yard work with the RR-West Switcher, with SP3851 assigned today.  Full operations include an East Switcher as well.  Assignments for each are determined by the Yardmaster.

The first order of business for our switcher is to remove the caboose from each train.

The inbound local train's power pulls away from its train and heads to the engine facility for servicing.

Our switcher works the RR-West end of the Classification Yard, switching cars onto appropriate designated tracks.  

As the cars are placed on their classification tracks, the Yardmaster ensures their movement documents--the car cards and waybills--end up in the correct sorting box.  When the inbound trains have been sorted, classified blocks of cars are transferred to the Arrival-Departure Yard.  That yard has tracks habitually designated for the major outbound destinations.  The A-D Yard Switcher usually switches the sorted car blocks from the Classification Yard onto the proper destination tracks.  

An important move in and out of the Classification Yard is the wood chip traffic for the Halsey Branch.  Construction of the Branch is underway yet.  For now, the wood chip cars are handled as block swaps of loads for empties.

Another important block swap concerns the outbound classification blocks previously noted and the inbound block of local traffic.  The local traffic includes both loads and empties for the modeled industry on my railroad.  This move typically comes off of A-D Yard track 12, nominally identified for Eugene cars, but lumber empties are also gathered on that track by the A-D Yard crew.

The A-D Yard inbound cut has been split between tracks 6 and 7.  The A-D Yard switcher will couple to the outbound cut on Track 5 and will take it back to the A-D Yard to build trains for the major destination yards such as Los Angeles or Roseville.

An important task for the Yardmaster is to ensure all cars included in a local train packet have a "Spot Card."  A "Spot Card" ensures there will be a spot for that car at the designated industry spur.  If a car destined for an industry does not have a "Spot Card," it needs to stay in the yard until the next cycle--there is insufficient space at the industry for it.  This is a system I adapted from my friends in the Willamette Model Railroad Club.  They in turn adapted it from Lee Nicholas, a significant model railroad operations innovator in Corrine, Utah.

Finally, a pair of local freights have been built up and moved over to the City Yard tracks for departure.  The two trains there have their cabooses attached and are awaiting power and crews.

I have found a good balance of local train sequencing as well as road freights that fits the capabilities of my Eugene Yard and crew.  The yard crew is kept fairly busy for most operating sessions.