Thursday, December 22, 2016


A missing important physical feature of my layout has been an operator platform for Crescent Lake—the upper level staging yard.  We have made do for the past year and a half with step ladders.  I always intended replacing these with a more permanent solution, but the design of the eventual platform involved several compromises.  I needed operational experience for the Eugene Arrival/Departure yard, down below and the developing job of “Santa Clara Tower Operator.”  Though the Eugene engine facility is incomplete, sufficient experience has been gained with the intended operation to proceed with changes to the physical arrangements in the area. 

A pacing task has been placing the Dispatcher’s Desk on wheels so it can be moved into our Exercise Room when needed, but otherwise stored out of the way.  The previous post documented that shift.

The new operator platform is eight feet long and follows my standard construction design for such platforms.  The platform occupies half the space between the Eugene A/D Yard below and the stairwell wall.  It necks down as it approaches the stairwell pass-through—a busy place.  Nonetheless, the narrow end sits even with the pass-through wall.  Using a short stool, I can reach the far wall and the in-bound switch ladder for Crescent Lake.  The platform depth does not extend all the way to being under the upper level layout edge, but all of the key areas are within easy reach—at least for me.  Compromises. 

New operator platform for Crescent Lake (upper staging).  The papers taped to the wall at the stair end show where the Dispatcher’s Desk has been located.

The new platform is the same height as Cascade Summit, 30 inches above the floor.  This, too, is a compromise.  A bit more height might be useful for some of the shorter members of my operating crews, but I have consistently maintained a seven feet overhead clearance for the layout.  This height is a nod to my own height and friend John B, who stands even taller.  We have had plenty of adaptation in our lives for doors and ceilings not quite high enough.  Shorter folk can use stools.  Our adaptation is a lot more difficult!

End view of new Crescent Lake operator platform.  The width compromises can be seen in the floor level aisle width versus matching the platform to the overhead layout edge.  That speck of blue tape on the floor in the foreground is directly under the corner of the overhead layout edge.

The pair of projects represented by the Dispatcher’s Desk (now on wheels!) and the Crescent Lake operator platform received active requests from my operating crew.  The two-month break between operating sessions (November to January) gave me a great opportunity to tackle both.  All of us are looking forward to the operations enhancement they make possible.

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