Saturday, September 8, 2018

A Day on PDX-2: Part 3 - Essex & Old Saybrook

Essex is the largest town on the south end of the Valley Line and has the most customers. It also has the most track real-estate, so there's plenty of room to switch & sort cars. Additionally, all the stub-ended sidings are trailing point southbound so best practice is to work Essex on the return trip from up the river.
PDX-2 southbound, arriving back in Essex.
Once the train clears the Middlesex Turnpike, it's time to head to the station and get our work to do.

There's a lot to do in Essex, between delivering 3 cars that we brought from Fort Yard, delivering 4 cars we picked up in Old Saybrook from PDX-1, and picking up a whopping 10(!) cars - one of which is going back to Fort Yard on PDX-1 (in addition to the two we got from East Haddam). The rest of the cars continue with us to Cedar Hill Yard.

Here's the situation in Essex when we arrive. The six cars on the passing track (track 5) are destined for Essex customers. The seven cars on the bulk track (track 7) and the two cars on the house track (track 6) are all pickups (an empty hopper pickup at Burdick coal is off-picture to the right).

Here we've pulled the house track cars and are delivering a car to the feed mill at the end of track 8.

We've delivered the two hoppers to Burdick coal and are spotting cars on the house track.

Tracks are pretty crowded here - house track has 3 cars and we're making up our outbound train on tracks 1 & 5 (mainline and passing track, respectively). Note the two Canadian cars and GTW car - those will need to be left in Saybrook for PDX-1 to take to Fort Yard and the Central Vermont interchange in New London, so we're putting them on the engine's pilot.
The last move is to spot a hopper on the bulk track (track 7).

Having finished our work in Essex, using all the track here to block & assemble our train, we're ready to depart southbound for Old Saybrook with a whopping 16 cars(!).

Putting the cars destined for PDX-1 & New London on the front of the train pays off in Saybrook. Here, we've left the remainder of our train north of the Mill Rock Road crossing . . .

 . . . . so we can continue south, along the west leg of the Saybrook wye . . .

. . . to spot the cars on track 7 for later pickup by PDX-1.

If there were any cars left in Saybrook that were destined for points west, including Cedar Hill, we'd pick them up at this point. There being none, we reverse our moves back up the wye to pick up our train.

And then, provided we have clearance from the dispatcher, we head down the west leg of the wye onto track 5 and proceed west on the Shoreline to Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven.

Looking south on the old Middlesex Turnpike (grade crossing long-since closed).

Final view of PDX-2 heading westbound toward New Haven.
I hope you've enjoyed this (long-ish) glimpse at operations on the Valley Line. PDX-2 is only one of four local freights I'm able to model - in addition to all the Shoreline traffic. Depending on the response/interest, I may "railfan" the other locals at some point (hopefully after doing some more scenery work!).

While the locals operate similarly (since I try to operate them all according to the prototype), you may want to check out some additional links for more detail on how I do ops. You can find more information at the Valley Local website - - by clicking on the "Operations" link on the left side of the homepage. Enjoy! And I hope you'll weigh in with any suggestions on how I can do ops more prototypically.

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