Primary power to the railroad is DCC, with four separate power districts. The indoor turnouts are controlled by DBDT toggle switches using slow motion constant DC power. The outdoor turnouts are thrown by functional switch stands. Motive power is a combination of Accucraft Trains, Berlyn Locomotive Works, and Bachmann Spectrum. Rolling stock is a combination of kit, scratch-built, AMC, Accucraft, Berlyn and other. Because It is hard to keep the track clean on the outdoor portion of the layout and running DCC outside can be a problem, mostly because I lose the signal (for several reasons), I’m starting to convert some of my locomotives to battery power using AirWire. So far I've converted an Accucraft K-27 and K-28 a Bachmann C-19 and two Bachmann K-27s. As I still have at least eight locomotives with DCC, I will continue to use DCC indoors for switching operations. Fortunately, running DCC and AirWire at the same time does not present a problem. If I had to do it all over again I probably would use AirWire in all my locomotives. AirWire costs more because of the battery.
I justify having logging trains on my layout as the actual Chili Line had a spur that went to Caliente, also known as La Madera (madera meaning timber). Also, as you can see from the map below the track plan, my Chile Verde Line had an extension that went from Chamita to Chama. At mile 359.1 there is a branch that went to Enzo Dulce & Tierra Madre Lumber Company. Not sure if I will ever get around to building that branch.
The indoor portion of the railroad just encompasses the village of Chamita. The outdoor portion heads towards Los Alamos Junction and on to the village of Chile Verde. Actually, there is nothing that is currently out there that even remotely represents the village of Chile Verde or Los Alamos Junction. As soon as the out door track is relaid I will start the village and Los Alamos junction.
Looking at the "NOT TO SCALE" layout drawing below you would think that it had minimal operation potential. I guess it comes down to what is considered to be enough for operations. When having friends over for an operating secession, folks that fall in or around the age we call boomers, it takes about four of them four hours to make up and/or break down trains based on prepared switching orders. Truth be told, a couple of ten year old kids can do the same operation in significantly less time. I do not use a "card system" for train operations. Before an operating secession I generate switching orders (waybills). I perform the functions of yard master and dispatcher. Just to make sure that we are all on the same page: The Yard Master coordinate activities of switch-engine crews within a railroad yard, industrial plant, or similar location. The Dispatcher directs and facilitates the movement of trains over an assigned territory, which is usually part, or all, of a railroad operating division. Typically when operating my railroad I have two switch-engine crews each composed of an engineer and switchman. I also have a road engineer that runs a consist from the indoor Chamita yard outdoors and back. When the Los Alamos Junction is complete it will require a "local train crew". The village of Chile Verde will not require a separate crew as operations will be handled by the road crew.
As we know, railroads had/have several ways to control train movement, but the most basic is to have a fixed schedule of trains. A timetable containing this schedule is published, and train crews are required to follow the schedule exactly.That's great for the real thing but for small branch line layouts it doesn't lend itself to much operation potential. For large layouts that operate mainline trains timetable operations works well except certain freight movement requirements aren't compatible with regularly-scheduled trains. To accommodate these situations, railroads developed train orders. A train order contains direct instructions from the railroad dispatcher to a train crew. It might grant the crew authority to run an extra train (not listed in the schedule), direct the crew to meet another train at a designated station, or cancel a scheduled train entirely.
For small branchlike layouts such as mine, I believe that waybills are best used for train operations. Waybills are forms used on railroads to help route each car from its point of origin to its destination. They ensure that the loaded car will arrive safely in the right place at the right time and be handled properly along the way. Good railroad operations also mean getting the empty car to its next loading point as quickly as possible. Waybills are used in conjunction with train orders and time tables.
Currently there is two approaches to operating trains on the Chile Verde Line:
Switch-engine crews make up two consists for for outbound operations, and
Switch-engine crews breakdown two inbound trains and place cars in designated commercial sidings and yard tracks.
Switch-engine operators are forced to plan operations strategically for numerous reasons. They include:
To prevent fouling the main.
When making up trains for outbound destinies cars are required to be placed in a pre determined order. This requires the use of the "runarounds" and at times the wye. Cars can come from yard tracks or commercial sidings.
When breaking down trains for local spotting the locomotive must be on the return side (in front of and not behind) of the cars being dropped off. This requires the use of the "runarounds" and at times the wye. Inbound trains can can be staged on the outside yard or the indoor yard track A or B.
Of course this is all going to change when the Los Alamos Junction and the village of Chile Verde are complete. At that point trains will be operated by way of waybills and train orders.
Chamita Trading Post
Maestas Carriage Shop
Cattle Car Cafe
Shop Keepers Cabin
Railway Express Agency
Railroad Workers Union Hall
Tres Amigos Cantina
Whiting's Guns & Taxidermy
15. Martin's General Store
16. Gallegos' Produce & Farm Supplies
17. Water Tower (15K gallons)
18. Water Tower (30K gallons)
19. Yard Masters' Office
20. Chamita Volunteer Fire Department Water Storage Tower
21. Tool Shed
24. Stock Pen and Ramp
25. Adobe Ruin
26. CONOCO Gas Station
27. Gazette News Paper Office
A1 Main Outbound
B1 Holding Track - three 30' cars
C1 Holding Track - four 30' cars
D1 Stock Pen Siding - five 30' cars
S1 Commercial Siding - five 30' cars
S2 Holding Track - five 30' cars
S3 Railway Express Agency Siding - one car
A Yard Track - Seven 30' cars
B Yard Track - Six 30' cars
C Yard Track - Five 30' cars
D Yard Track - Eight 30' cars
E Yard Track - Eight 30' cars
The outdoor railroad is being rebuilt. The track plan on the left and below is a working concept. The elevated yard is ~45" inches above grade where it enters the building. At one point the yard is 64 inches above grade. At the far end its about one foot above grade. The elevated yard is about 45 feet long. The shape of the elevated yard in the picture is very approximate. It's approximately 8" to 54" wide.
It's roughly 150 feet from the building to the far end of the loop. The extension on the loop is about 20 feet.
When completed, the Los Alamos Junction and the village of Chile Verde will add significantly more train operation. On the layout, as many as 17 cars can be "picked up" and the same number can be "dropped off".