Monday, August 19, 2013


As I build the SP Cascade Line, I find the layout “speaking to me” about track changes.  My past experience with layouts prepared me for this, so it is expected.  Forma planning and drafting for the layout focused on the major features impacting the mainline: location of towns or sidings , mainline curves (maintaining minimum radius), and a general sense of where major trackwork with switches fit.  More detailed planning at full size was done for critical trackwork such as the throat and yard ladders at Eugene.  Details of where industry spurs would be placed and what industries were to be served was left for the construction stage, knowing that I had allotted “adequate” (there is NEVER enough room!) space. 

Once the primary trackage was laid for Eugene Depot and Classification Yard, I stepped back to survey the scene for additional possibilities.  Meanwhile, I have been studying books on dispatching as part of training on Time Table and Train Order (TT&TO) operation.  Reading through Thomas White’s book: “Elements of Train Dispatching,” reminded me of yard activities beyond basic origination, termination and classification.  Specifically, I was reminded of the need for a R.I.P. (Repair In Place) track for maintenance of freight cars.  I recalled that RR-author and retired SP engineer Tom Dill includes a R.I.P. track and a track scale in his regular model railroad operations.  Clearly, adding a scale track and R.I.P. tracks would enhance my own yard operations.  That led to investigating the possible addition of those features on my layout.

I grabbed several switches and began looking at likely spots beside my Eugene Classification Yard.  I quickly determined I had space for both at opposite ends of the yard, tied to the run-around track.

 RR-East Eugene Classification Yard.  Space for a scale track might be created with a table addition to the right of the run-around track off the switch lead.

RR-West Eugene Classification Yard with a long run-around track segment providing space for a pair of R.I.P. tracks.

I set to work making the track changes.  Along the way, I went back to core reference material:  “The Southern Pacific in Oregon” by Ed Austin and Tom Dill.  (See Research Resources Blog Post:  Ed and Tom include a pair of track diagrams for Eugene for 1930 and 1969.  Since I am not modeling the hump yard represented by the 1969 diagram, I find myself often referring to the 1930 diagram for inspiration.  In the case of the R.I.P.-car shop, I spotted an additional spur along the car shop, presumably used for stores and supplies for the car shop.   A bit more fidgeting with switches found a way to add that track, as well.  Now I have places for additional switching in my Eugene Yard.

Eugene R.I.P. tracks and stores spur.

Eugene scale track.  Plastic base for Walthers scale track kit (933-3199) is in place underneath the temporary scale track.

I recently added a tab for track schematics to this blog’s home page.  These schematics augment the full track plan, providing better track and use detail for the three towns/stations laid so far.  Industry names are provisional, though most are based on actual industries served by the SP in their respective towns in 1977.

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