Our layout’s Clermont yard is simplified to its bare bones: a single runaround with a small storage track. Seriously, I had a lot of doubts over this design this week, feeling it was ridiculously simplistic. I mean, the real prototype has 4 double-ended tracks and a small storage track. All sidings are equipped with derail near each turnout, a nice thing to model to add realism to operation. Let’s see how everything would work during a normal session.
First, consider Donohue switcher left a cut of loaded cars for pickup in the siding. The incoming daily train will pick up them and replace them with empties for the paper mill.
We will break the operation into many steps:
1) Incoming CN train stops before entering the yard. The crew unlock the turnout, throw the bar and open the derail.
2) The entire train start entering the siding and make coupling with the cars in the siding. Brakeman start to release all manual brakes set on the cut of cars.
3) Brakeman walk until he reach the other derail which he opens. He unlocks the turnout and throw the bar. Tests are done to see if the cut of cars trainline and air brakes work properly.
4) When the test is completed and successful, train push the said cut of cars out of the siding until all the inbound cars are on the siding. Brakeman set need manual brakes on the inbound cars to be stored on the siding and move the west turnout into normal position. A brake test is performed until everything stay in place. Locomotives are decoupled from the inbound cars. Notice caboose is kept on the siding.
5) Locomotives and outbound cars exit completely the siding and brakeman activates the derail, moves turnout back in normal position and locks switch stand. Outbound train is almost done.
6) Locomotives and outbound cars moves east and moves over east turnout to pick up caboose. Brakeman throw turnout into siding position and train back off until it couples the caboose which is then uncoupled from the stored inbound cars.
7) When mandatory brake test are done, the train exit the siding and brakeman can activates the derail, throw back the turnout into normal position and lock the switch stand.
8) Crew can rest and take lunch in Clermont until departure time.
9) Outbound train is ready to leave Clermont and will reach Quebec City in a few hours after a long and slow ride along majestic Charlevoix’s mountains and capes.
This operation will probably take at least 20 minutes. Nothing spectacular happened, no switching. And we know the same amount of time will be needed at D’Estimauville – the western terminal. If you take in account the train will travel slowly at 20 mph between each point, it should take about 5 minutes. You get a total of 45 minutes just for simulating a basic freight train. And remember, this train will have probably to switch Dominion Textile which – from actual experience operating it on the layout – can take easily 30 minutes of your time. You now get an operation session taking well over an hour of your time. And I didn’t say you could have to leave or pick up a few cars at St. Lawrence Cement in Villeneuve. This would make a full blown session taking at least an hour and a half. More than enough for a regular evening session.