No. 124: Ackley Layout Ops Session (New York Central)

Last week I got the layout plugged in and running again, and after cleaning track and polishing up a few wheelsets, and testing operation of all the switch machines and points, I ran a little ops session.   While I was at it I took a few photos with my son’s iPhone 10.  

I ran this session with New York Central equipment.  Power was provided by a single Kato RS-2 with Loksound and DCC installed by my friend Mike Christianson in Albert Lea.  And old Alco Models NYC caboose was on the back end carrying the markers.  The engine model is still under construction—you can see there’s no window glass or details or weathering, but it sounds great and runs beautifully and I enjoy using it, finished or not.

Below.  Here is our train, Extra 6219 South, heading into town.  I’ve already made a plan to work the town and have left about half the train and the waycar out on the mainline so I can switch the cannery first.


Below.  You can see the rest of the train on the mainline (see the tank car in the background, in the “tunnel”?).   First, I’ve pulled three empty 40-foot box cars consigned to the cannery into the passing track.  I’m going to pull the four loaded cars from the cannery first, then shove these three empties into position.


Below.  The iPhone 10 does a great job with close-up photography.   This is my favorite picture in the whole set.  The cattle pen is a new addition to the layout.  I kitbashed it using the Walthers kit.


Below.  We’re pulling the loads…


…and now shoving them back to the rest of the train, and out of the way.


With the cannery track clear we can shove our three empties into position.  The crossover switches here are handlaid Code 55 using Proto87 Stores components.  These are the first Code 55 turnouts I’ve ever built and they work well.


I’ve pulled the loads ahead so I can bring the rest of the train into town.  The train wasn’t blocked so now I have to do a little work and sort some of the cars at the back end.  This is a perfect spot to do it.


Below.  Now I am running around to bring up the rest of the cars.  The rest of the train can be seen in the distance.


Below.  I’ve brought the rest of the train and left it next to the station on the main track.  After switching a few cars to get them in the right order I pulled a Burlington gon loaded with coal and a GATX tank car loaded with gasoline for delivery on the City Track.  Here’s our engine crossing the IC, which is required to allow us to reach the switch.

I’m still working on scenery here.  I’ve made a mess of the ballast work in the foreground.  The foundation for the interlocking tower is on the right.


Below.  This photo shows me running the engine up the City Track to pick up a loaded box car at the grain elevator.  To save a few moves I’m taking the tank and gon with me.  When the box car is out of the way I’ll be able to spot the gon and tank.  The main track and siding are temporarily full of cars.   


The box is picked up and we’re pulling it south across the dirt road.  The box, by the way, is an old NYC USRA single-sheathed car.  It’s 1950, and that old car’s days are numbered…


I’ve kicked the NYC box car back to the train, and now I’ve gone back up the City Track to drop off the tank car at City Oil.


Below.  Next, we cut off the CB&Q car at the Roosevelt Brothers coal house.  That car doesn’t look very full…I think the Roosevelt Brothers might be losing a lot of money.


The last car we need to deliver is CMO 31248, a box car with a load of bagged feed consigned to the old city elevator.  I don’t want to waste time switching out that reefer so we’ll take it along for the ride.


Here we are, shoving the box into position at the old elevator.  This is some of my favorite trackwork on the whole layout.  It is Micro Engineering Code 55 flex track.


We’re carefully putting it into position…


…and now pulling away.


Below.  After that last drop, I brought the engine and reefer back to the main track and reaassembled our train for the next station south.  


Once the train has been reassembled, and the air tested, and everybody is aboard, we’ll give five short blasts on the horn to request signals from the tower operator.

The staging yard on the south side of the layout hasn’t been connected yet, so we have to end our ops session here.  Once it’s connected we’ll be able to actually run the train off the layout and into staging, simulating the run to the next station south of Ackley.  For today, this is as far as we can go.


Maybe a Seaboard Air Line scenario next time???  – John G




6 thoughts on “No. 124: Ackley Layout Ops Session (New York Central)

  1. Hi John,

    As always great modeling and I am happy you are showing more shots of the layout. Your layout evolution and construction has been very informative over the past year or so and I have learned a great deal. As for a future SAL session, I am not sure having everything derailed would be all that interesting. You might want to consider an Atlantic Coast Line session which I think would run much more smoothly. Or maybe C&O.

    Keep up the great work and keep the blog posts coming


  2. John
    Great post, loved the photos and explanations. I vote yes for a SAL session next a nice weathered Alco 🙂
    Blessings and thank you for serving our nation. Happy Fathers Day.
    Bill Michael


  3. Is that a Big 4 caboose? Reminds me of the presentation on the Hojack Line at the recent NERPM – canneries, grain elevators, coal dealers, fertilizer dealers and Alcos.


    • Hi! Yes, that’s a beautiful Big Four caboose. I love ’em! I figure that my layout can be a nice stand-in for a location in central Indiana, so that would be a Big Four line and a Big Four caboose would be appropriate. I’d like to see that presentation sometime–I bet there is a lot of great stuff in there. John G


      • What is the make? The ladders make it look like AMB but I didn’t think they ever did this one. I want to add a plywood side version to my roster at some point. No need to take that project on anytime soon though.


  4. The caboose is a super old Alco brass model. I bought it online from Brass It came in an Overland box, and was advertised as an Overland model, but right there on the bottom was a brass plate that said Alco Models. Those criminals. It’s a nice car still, so I just kept it and painted it. I still need to add a few more windows. – John


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