Modelling what might have been in southeast BC and northwest Wasington

First operations under a new scheme

Following the “Fateful Friday” test operating session debacle, I did some deep thinking about how the layout should be operated now that Carson and Curlew had been added. I wrote a number of posts about the problems and what we should try instead:

After all of that, I designed a simplified train operating scheme without a dedicated switcher at Grand Forks. During the week, I ran numerous simulations to fine tune it until it seemed very workable.

The following Saturday, July 27, 2019, and still smarting from the previous session, my brave crew agreed to try out the new operating scheme. This meant that each train was just a way freight that switched its portion of the layout’s industries, with very little interchange of cars between the trains. I tried hard to keep the trains in different areas of the layout so that we would not have too many people in one place at the same time, and that seemed to work out pretty well.

Afterwards, everyone agreed that it was much more relaxed and enjoyable, even though there was still lots of work to be done switching all of the industries. What a difference from one week earlier where we had to abandon the session because it was just impossible to continue. Same guys, same layout, same number of trains, just a different approach to what the trains did. Thank you for not giving up after the previous week!

Thanks once again to John for capturing the day in photos and for his captions.

(Most of) The brave crew!
The S&BC northbound way freight crew pauses to permit the passage of the UP passenger train at Curlew.
Tom runs the first mine turn to the Morning Star Mine near Curlew. The S&BC main line connecting Carson to Curlew is visible in the lower right corner under the cardboard web.
Tom runs the mine turn back to Curlew.
Northbound S&BC way freight passes the Rock Candy Mine near Archibald BC. Notice how few freight cars there are in Grand Forks yard compared to the old scheme when it was always full of rail traffic congestion.
Ken and Colin operate the CPR way freight at Carson BC, while above them the S&BC way freight enters Archibald siding en route to the S&BC North Staging yard.
The CPR westbound way freight meets the S&BC southbound at Grand Forks, something that was not possible under the old scheme as the passing track always had cars on it. With only two cars on the interchange tracks in the yard, the tone of this session was much more relaxed and enjoyable.
Gordie and John have finished interchanging and spotting cars at Grand Forks and are heading west to Archibald and West Staging.
Ken and Colin are leaving Grand Forks en route to the border crossing at Carson, BC, while on the upper line the CPR way freight is switching at Archibald BC.
The southbound passenger train approaches the Grand Forks station.
The passenger train slows for a station stop at Grand Forks. Interestingly in this session, no cars were switched by either way freight at the Grand Forks sawmill, while most other industries were switched by the CPR way freight.
The southbound UP passenger train makes a station stop at the virtual station at Curlew, while the passengers put their passports away after passing inspection by US Customs agents at Carson, BC / Danville, WA.
Following the interruption by the passenger train, Ken and Colin continue to switch cars at Curlew according to their computer generated switch list.
Journey’s end with the UP passenger train entering the South staging track around Darestof Station & Yard.