No. 132: Ackley Layout – Last M&StL Ops Session

In October I moved from our big, old house in Albersbach to a smaller, newer, more efficient house in Ramstein-Miesenbach. I took an entire week off from work, rented a large moving van and moved almost everything myself.  I hired a moving company to move the big stuff.  Then I had to completely clean the old house, to include patching holes, painting, and doing other routine maintenance I had put off over the years  The process took 12-14 hours a day for nine straight days, but I got it done.  Whew!
Here’s the crew from the moving company, having a break while moving some of my train room stuff.  They were good guys.
Before disassembling the Ackley layout I ran one more ops session.  That session was on September 29th. To be honest, I didn’t prepare for the ops very well and the session kinda broke down about halfway through.  I kept moving cars around and enjoyed it, and took a lot of photos.  Here’s a run-down.
Below.  The layout prior to the final session. Everything looks good—the layout is clean and ready to go.  There are a few cars left from another train that we will have to clean up as we go.
This was an all M&StL session, with two Atlas RS-1s leading the way.  Below.  Here I’m setting up the consist, which is a super-simple process using NCE.
Here is the train coming into town.  I didn’t notice it until later, but someone has positioned a dried-out insect on top of the tank car at right…
First I cut off the train and set the two meat reefers into the passing siding to get them out of the way.
Then I pulled two box cars out of the Carsten’s track and put them in the siding too.
Here are the engines passing the dirt road next to the depot.  I used my son’s iPhone 10 for most of these photos, by the way.  The close-up capability of that device is outstanding.
Next, I sorted a few cars in the train, then pulled three loaded cars from Marshall canning…
…and then spotted four empties in their place.  The car next to the engine is the mini-kit from Cocoa Beach RPM, around 2006 or so—a KCS rebuilt box car.
I got distracted a few minutes and took some freight car photos.  The ATSF high-side gon is an Intermountain kit that I finished in 2008 while I was living in Little Rock for a month.  The Staley and UTLX cars are recent Tangent releases.  The Mobil tank car is an old Proto 2000 model from the early 2000s.
I re-sorted the cars again and then pulled the reefers and hoppers left on the city track, and put them in the passing siding with the rest of our pick-ups.
Last time on the City Track.
I didn’t take a photo of the train reassembled and leaving town. But I hope you enjoyed a few more photos of the layout in operation.
And one final photo, of the layout being taken apart in its component pieces for the move.
Below.  Here’s a photo of the new room.  It is 19 x 12 and has a sloped ceiling on one side, with a window on one side and a skylight just off to the left.  It is a bedroom, and we had it set aside for my son, but he decided he wanted the attic room instead so I took this one.  It’s not a bad room—it is small so that’ll keep me from building anything too ridiculous.  And it’s got floor heat!
In the photo shows the computer desk along the short wall on the right.  My modeling workbench is behind me on the right.  You can see the Ackley layout at the extreme left.  This configuration leaves me a clear 5 x 19 space for a new layout.
I’ll share some more thoughts on layout planning in a future post.  – John G

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