Well, its been a very long time since I last posted a blog entry on this site. Mostly that is because not much changes have taken place on the Dolton / Illinook / Dolton Junction / Blue Island HO scale model railroad modules. The layout seems to have reached that point where there is no planned or even desired expansion needed, and I have just been enjoying the operation and virtual car forwarding. As with all model railroads, the way this layout is operated now has changed from what it was 6 months ago, with a better understanding of the best way to operate it and a better defined set of operating rules which dictate what functions different railroads perform on the layout and when. For example, the home railroad is the Dolton Industry Park Transport (reporting mark DIRT) railroad, which performs most business hours switching (M-F, 9am-5pm). All foreign road trains can switch the various spurs and industries if they are able and if they are operating outside business hours (which they often do). Any cars that the foreign road trains cant switch are simply placed in an empty spot for the DIRT switch crew to move later. Here is an example of how a foreign and a home railroad train might work together to get the job done:

  • Train WCCH32, a Conrail local freight, has picked up cars from BN Cicero,Il and IHB Blue Island and arrives at the Dolton Industry Park Transport trackage around 2:10am. The train has 2 reefers for Jaxxs Snaxx in the Illinook Industry Park, 1 box car for the Dolton Team Track, and a covered hopper for the Midwest Foods bulk transfer shed at Dolton Industry Park. The train arrives at Illinook and as there is a trailling point configuration to access Jaxxs Snaxx the train switches the two reefers for Jaxxs Snaxx into one of the Jaxxs Snaxx spurs.
  • Train WCCH32 continues on to Dolton Industry Park, where the loco runs around the train and the switches the Team Track. As there is currently no space in the Midwest Foods bulk transfer shed spur, the covered hopper for that location is switched into an available empty spot elsewhere in the industry park. The train picks up any cars outbound for BN (via Cicerol,Il) and CR (via Ashland Ave,Il) trains and then proceeds back through Illinook industry park and on to its destination.
  • Train DIP SWITCHs crew arrives at 9am, and gets the switchlist of their work for the day. This includes swapping 2 empty tank cars in the Midwest Foods bulk transfer shed spur bound for the B&OCT yard at Riverdale,Il for the covered hopper spotted at Dolton Industry Park by WCCH32 earlier in the day. It also includes positioning a grain box car from South Chicago Flour and Grains into a better position for the B&OCT Barr Transfer due later in the day to pick it up without having to run around the car. The DIP SWITCH job then proceeds to the Illinook Industry Park and picks up 2 box cars loaded with general freight and proceeds back to Dolton Industry Park (the only place where there is a run around track) and runs around the 2 cars and places them in a better position for the B&OCT transfer to pick them up. After various other switching and local runs the DIP SWITCH crew clocks off at 5:02pm.
  • Train B&OCT DIRT-TR, the transfer from Barr Yard at Riverdale arrives on DIRT trackage at 18:05 with 2 covered hoppers for South Chicago Flour and Grains at Dolton Industry Park, and 1 covered hopper for PFM at Illinook Industry Park. As the PFM spur is a facing point when travelling towards Dolton Industry Park. Before it arrives at the run around track it spots the 2 covered hoppers for South Chicago Flour and Grains in the spur via the switchback, then proceeds to the run around track, and runs around the train. After that it makes up the train with the 1 covered hopper for PFM as the first car, then the 2 box cars, grain box car and the 2 empty tank cars from the locations the DIP SWITCH job left them in.
  • Train B&OCT DIRT-TR departs Dolton Industry Park at 19:15, and proceeds to Illinook Industry Park where it spots the 1 covered hopper for PFM into the correct spur (now a trailling point switch) then re-connects to its train and continues on to Barr Yard.

Even though there has not been any blog enteries for a while, doesnt mean there has been no progress on the scenery front. The Dolton Junction module, which acts as a corner module between the Illinook and Blue Island modules has scenery that is now pretty much complete. And here is the the proof…

Above: A B&OCT Barr Yard transfer eases through the tight curve at Dolton Junction on
its way from Dolton Industry Park to Barr Yard
Below: A birds eye view of the Dolton Junction module.


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