Track Plan 20 – Thoughts on Operation

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 20
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 20

I’d like to have two full spots on the layout at anytime. One full spot at the industries and one full spot in the yard. A full industry spot is 214″, I only have 192″ of dedicated yard tracks. I don’t have enough yard space to store a full second spot.

I’ve tried different methods to extend yard space, but they all result in a shorter lead or S curves in the yard ladder. The lead is 92″, the longest yard track is 76″. With these lengths, I should be able to pull out the longest yard track and maybe foot-board one car.

Maybe a 2nd full spot isn’t necessary. I plan to run the operations with sure spots and a full pull and spot would probably never occur.



How to play the Industrial Lead.

Session Start

  • Full or nearly full spot at PCC Logistics
  • Full spot at Cargill
  • Full or nearly full spot at Franz
  • Zero or one car on spot
  • Yard 1 full with corn syrup cars
  • Yard 2 full with boxes, hoppers, flats, reefers
  • Yard 3 full with boxes, hoppers, flats, reefers


  • Line up spots for PCC Logistics
  • Line up spots for Cargill
  • Pull Cargill
  • Set Pulls on Odom Lead
  • Pull and spot PCC Logistics
  • Pull and spot Cargill
  • Pull and spot Franz
  • Pull and spot Terminal 115

Some sessions will only spotting Cargill “the Hole”, which can be a wicked puzzle in itself.

Track Plan Changes

  • Slimmed bench-work. 14″ West. 16″ South.
  • #6 turnouts for yard ladder. old ladder used #5 turnouts
  • Code 70 track used beyond Cargill turnout.
  • Added cars to yard tracks to get a better idea of what fits where.
  • #5 turnout to Franz. Was #8 turnout.
  • Drew in slide out drawers (black rectangles). These will be for laying your switchlists on.

Switchlist Program

I’ve started working on a switch-list program. The initial database is written for Open Office. It’s OK, but not great (I like Access better). I can’t figure out how to store cars in a track yet. I’ve also started to look at using Easy Model Railroad Inventory. The program looks great for storing car data, but I need to learn the operations functions to see if they will do what I want.

Car Kind Codes

I’m thinking about using my own code for car types. It’ll be semi prototypical in that B is boxcar, C is covered hopper, F is flat car, T is tank car. But the next two characters will indicate length. For example T44 will be a 44 foot tank car. This is similar to the BNSF system which classifies by type, length and property (ex. T4I = Tank Car 40′-49′ Insulated). I think my new coding system will be most useful to operators looking to stash cars on the layout.


Author: Greg Amer

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