When you start to figure out how many cars are needed to make a railway run properly, it quickly skyrockets. Just to give you a few insights, here are preliminary numbers. I take for granted you need about 2 cars for one industry spot.
Ciment St-Laurent is the largest plant on the layout. At once, it can hold 2 bagged cement boxcars, 10 cement hoppers, 5 coal hoppers and 5 gypsum hoppers. This means at least 22 cars at the plant and 22 cars in staging, thus 44 cars. To that, you have to take in consideration the fact extra cements cars are needed according to production. That means another 10 hoppers. Add a few odd cars like flat cars needed to bring machinery parts and you quickly get almost 50 cars to feed this behemoth.
Dominion Textile is a mid-sized industry with about 4 car spots. This means a minimum of 8 cars are needed. In fact, to take in account some variety, you can bump up this number to 12 cars.
Béton Charlevoix is a small concrete plant. At most, it will need 3 cement hoppers in captive service.
Câbles Reynolds doesn’t ship a lot of goods but you need at least 2 gondolas.
M. Grondin & Fils is a mid-sized sawmill. Most production is trucked but a sizeable part is moved on rail. Expect about 2 bulkhead flatcars in captive service.
Coop Agrivoix is hard to figure out. This farmer’s co-op receives a large array of products by rail on an irregular basis. Feeds, grain, fertilizers, building supplies, oil and LPG are the main goods. It means many covered hoppers are needed, about 3. About 2 boxcars for building supplies and 2 tank cars for combustibles. That means 7 cars x 2, thus 14 cars.
Finally, Donohue – second largest customer – can handle up to 10 cars at once: 4 woodchip gondolas, 4 newsprint boxcars and 1 chemical tank car and 1 kaolin tank car. Multiply this number to get at least 20 cars. Then, add about 10 cars for variety and you get 30 cars.
Total amounts to 121 cars, not including MoW cars and 3 required cabooses! Quite impressive when you know this is only small point-to-point layout running only two scheduled trains and one extra. Am I surprised? A little bit. Do I have to buy more cars? Eh! Not that much! I’m a model railroader, I’ve got already more than I can handle!
One other thing... this means a normal train on this layout will anywhere from 15-20 cars most of the time. When I think my first design criterion was 10 cars train! No problem, we've got the place and the new track plan can live with it.
By the way, recent findings helped me definite the real nature of train movement over Murray Bay Sub, particularly the cement trains that travelled only 5 miles from Villeneuve to Quebec City Harbour (Pier 53 at Beauport Flats to be exact).