Friday, December 16, 2011


One of the goals to the new layout is to make it operationally sound.  By this my hope it that it will both be much more reliable than my previous layout (I made alot of mistakes in designing and building it especially in track laying) and have a realistic feel to trains running with a purpose.  The San Juan Central is beautiful but was very limited in my opinion to any type of realistic operations.  Like most I suspect, running trains in a circle gets boring fast.

Requirements:  Able to operate with 1 -3 operators, could expand to more if needed.  Due to size of building Dave suggested an outward opening door onto a small deck where people could relax, have a drink, and talk without being confined to the layout itself.  Plan on building a short walkway from our home deck to this small deck so you don't have to walk in dirt of mud.

To that end lets look at traffic flow:
  • The primary traffic is ore to mills, concentrated ore to smelter and to a lesser extent finished minerals in ingot form to Denver to market.  This lends itself to alot of Gondola and Box car traffic.  Starting with deck ore will flow from Silver Plume (and beyond) and Central City by Gondola.  I'm not sure the ratio of raw ore to concentrated ore, will have to research, but I would expect at least 3 times.  The Smelter is sized for about 18 box cars of concentrate daily.  this should drive at least 54 loads of ore to the mills.  So at this point we should be able to realistically run many loads from mines to mills.  From Mills we will have 18 loads minimum to the Smelter in W. Denver.  Total flow 72 cars with associated return of empties, so about 140 cars.
  • Supply traffic.  When I went to the 31st NNGC in Hickory there was a great class on prototype mine operations.  Along with many great ideas, one item really stood out, according to the presenter, for every 1 load of ore out, there were 3 loads of supplies brought in.  This included items such as timbers for reinforcing tunnels, chemicals, tools, machinery and additionally personnel.  If that ratio were to hold true, this would generate a small amount of passenger traffic, reefer traffic (food), and box car, flat car and gondola traffic.  Using the 54 car ore load figure from above, this generates about 150 car loads of varied traffic.
  • Secondary Traffic - it appears from various sources that considerable traffic flowed into the upgrade cities in the form of food, supplies, clothing, and people.  Other traffic included cattle and tourist excursions.  This adds alot of varied traffic and gives opportunities for specialized trains heading to Georgetown and beyond.  It was not unusual to have 3-8 car passenger trains making the long climb to Georgetown with traffic proceeding to Silver Plume and Mt. McClellan.  Coors also did a thriving business sending beer both upgrade, and to Denver.
All told there seems to be enough traffic t support many more cars than we can realistically run.

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