This past week, several friends and I were trading e-mails detailing all of our latest model railroading exploits. While I certainly haven't accomplished as much as they have, I thought I'd post an update to show what's taken place since the tipple at McHenry Coal was rebuilt.
Operations on the layout are finally at a point that we're using three of the four tracks in west staging and three of the six tracks in east staging. The remaining three tracks in the east staging yard are shorter than all of the other staging tracks by several feet due to their position on the yard ladder. This is something I've wanted to fix for some time. I remember thinking when I originally built the staging yard that I might have to come back and address the shorter tracks at some point. But once again, it was a case of building something today versus taking a little time to plan first.
The photo below shows the extension of the east end of the east staging yard. All of the tracks are at least 15 feet long now and several are considerably longer. One or two of the longer tracks will probably hold a caboose hop in addition to a staged train at some point in the future.
In one of the e-mail exchanges, Anthony Hardy asked if the top deck was going to be extended in the same manner. The short answer is yes, and this will potentially provide another six east end staging tracks. But the question started a discussion about how many trains in total the layout will be able to handle during a session. I really have no clue at this point but it will be fun to see how this develops over time. The question also started a discussion about extending a couple of staging tracks along the wall to right in order to accommodate a few more tipples. This is a definite possibility- more to come on that in the future.
At the end of the last op session it became apparent that one of the point rails on the turnout between west staging tracks 9 and 10 was misaligned. Since I would have to get all of the tools out to fix it, I decided to go ahead and build the turnouts for tracks 6-8. The photo below shows the progress so far.
Once tracks 6-8 are in service on the west end, the railroad will have 6 fully operational staging yard tracks on the east end and 7 on the west end. Time to get busy building some more locomotives and rolling stock. And time to take the box back over to the K&LE in order to "acquire" some nicely weathered freight cars...