Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Demise of Laurel Jct.

I finally got the nerve to cut through the wall separating Laurel from Laurel Jct (staging) on the DC&L Ry. Laurel Junction was never in the original plans and was born from the idea of adding staging below Collins when the Collins extension was built. At the time, I imagined that Laurel Junction was the standard gauge interchange just a few miles below Laurel. This allowed me to limit the opening into staging to one three rail track. I felt strongly that a larger opening would have been an eye sore. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Operations proved otherwise. Building trains in a space where it was difficult to get one's hands was troubling. Also, the tracks were located where I had space and were not ideally located for switching and staging. While staging definitely added to operations, in the sense of more cars and placed to put them, it also REDUCED operations in that trains were staged and ready for operators to leave Laurel Junction and head towards Deer Creek. I never liked this aspect of the staging yard. For such a small layout, I think it is important for operators to be able to make up their trains and head out. Gives them more work to do and assembling one's train is one of the basics of operation, especially on a point to point narrow gauge.

For the last few years, I have been looking for a location for the coal transfer. I finally gave up on trying to find the perfect spot and just decided to located it right at the end of the Laurel yard. The tipple will serve to block the big hole into staging, I hope. We'll see how it all looks. I already like the fact that I can now make up trains in Laurel to head out on the layout. I also now have better staging for the passenger equipment and cabooses. We'll see how it goes over at the next operating session, which of course, means I need to hold one..........





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