Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Industry Spurs For Orogrande and El Paso and a New Name for El Paso Yard

I've been quite busy over the past month. I finally have come up with a name to replace El Paso Yard. The name for the yard from this time forward will be Reddington Yard. I have also added industry spurs to the town of Orogrande and started industry spurs for El Paso too.

I will first start off with how I came up with the name change for El Paso Yard. I started out scouring for catchy names by looking at street names, businesses, parks, and any kind of name that caught my eye on the Google Map of El Paso Texas. I found a few possibilities and added them to my Apple Notes list on my phone so I could contemplate them over and over in my mind for a few days. In the meantime, I had started watching a streaming program on Netflix called The Blacklist. I was so intrigued with one of the main characters, Raymond Reddington played by James Spader, that I decided Reddington was a possible rename for El Paso Yard. I liked the way Reddington Yard sounded so I went with it. Along with changing the name I had to go through the process of adding the track names and other details along with a few new routes to the JMRI car forwarding program Operations Pro.

Newly renamed Reddington Yard in El Paso loaded with rolling stock.

Next, I have added industry spurs to the town of Orogrande. Orogrande will have three maybe four industries on the railroad. I have decided on 2 of the industries and thinking about the third. One of the two will be a canning company and the other will have something to do with grain. Below, I found a grain facility while looking around Google Maps and I would like to duplicate this in some way for the grain industry for Orogrande. The location is Hartline Washington. Unfortunately the street view is limited so the only reliable photo I have is what is seen from the top. I guess I need to plan a trip to Spokane WA and drive to Hartline and get some photos.

Orogrande looking from the north.

Orogrande looking from the north. I had to tilt the camera a little to get the spurs in the shot.

Looking at the photo above the two spurs to the right would be the grain facility mentioned earlier and you can also see the canning company spur with the footprint of the building.

Moving on, I have started spurs for El Paso and have also completed the run-around track which is fairly long. In the photo below, you can see some rolling stock occupying the run-around track at the south end. The track the run-around extends from performs double duty as the lead track for industries for Orogrande and El Paso and as the main for the reverse loop for the continuous run option. El Paso will have two industries one, fairly large, called El Paso Paper Box and I have not decided as of yet for the other industry. Possibly something to do with aggregate or cement.

The beginnings of El Paso.

Here is the satellite view of El Paso Paper Box 

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Sunday, May 15, 2022

A Reverse Loop Headache, Problem Solved!

Well after trying to run some double headed power with a train around the reverse loop, I was still having intermittent problems with a short in the location where the turnout off the main leads into the short section of track and the crossing for the interchange track. If I ran the locomotives uncoupled but, still consisted, there was no problem and then sometimes with them coupled there were no problems. I thought maybe a short through the couplers and the locomotive frames may have been a possibility. There were no problems with a single four axle unit or six axle unit running through. With more discussion with a friend, it was determined that there was just to much going on in that area and the DCC Specialists auto reverser couldn't keep up with it all, plus the transition from the turnout to the crossing isn't the most favorable one. This makes a case for me to learn how to make a hand laid crossing here sometime in the future with the correct angle to further smooth out the transition. It was kind of tough to get that short little section of track to curve the way it needed to. After the discussion, it was decided to move the insulated gap from the turnout just off the main to just before the open ended turn out a few feet from the crossing. With fingers crossed, the move was made. The picture below shows the change. The red circle was the old location for the gap and the yellow circle shows the new location for the gap.

After the gap was moved and a little rewiring underneath....success! Everything worked like a champ. Problem solved!

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A Reverse Loop Upgrade

I have finally had something that was worthy of posting in the blog. Wiring is one thing that isn't much worthy for posting. Over the last few months that's all that has been taking place on the railroad since the last post. Wiring for power districts 2 and 3 on the bottom level has been completed. For review, power district 3 is the part of the railroad that exits at the bottom of the helix. Power district 2 consists of the trackage with the over and under loop that leads to the expanse over El Paso Yard. If I recall, in a past post I mentioned I wanted to rename El Paso Yard, wellll....I have yet to come up with a name that suits me. Some more research on my part needs to be done. With the beginnings of wiring the final power district on the botton level, (power district 1), I had connected a few drops to the main buss feed and had a short circuit after activating the power in that district, even though the reverse loop trackage was isolated. Turns out the isolated section needed to be expanded or reworked. This turned into a conundrum and a little confusion for me to get the wiring for the track that had been laid in it's at that time configuration.

The photo below shows where the reverse loop trackage comes back to the main with the yard lead,  and the arrival/departure track leads off the turnout ladder which was not part of the reverse loop isolated section. That's where the problem occurred. The ladder along with the turn out back to the main are circled in red. I should have taken a better picture but the trackage is no longer in this configuration and this is the only photo I had before changes were made.

The short occurred on the short section of track between the double slip turnout and the turn out off the main circled in blue in the picture below.

I knew that I had to extend the reverse loop isolated section to this point but the other problem was that then the lead track to the yard and the arrival/departure track leads would have to be isolated as well. It occurred I needed some advise, so I gave a good friend of mine a call to explain my confusion and predicament. After a few hours of discussion a solution was born. What needed to be done was remove the double slip turnout, circled in blue in the picture above, and replace it with a regular turn out for the interchange yard, in the foreground of the picture, thus still allowing access to the interchange for the yard operator's switching duties. The turn out off the main would be moved down, toward the camera, and a new track would diverge from it with a crossing at the interchange yard lead. 

The picture below shows the configuration as it is now with the added section circled in red.

This configuration allowed for the yard lead and arrival/departure leads to be separate from the reverse loop both physically and electrically. The track extending out of the red circle diverging off the turnout to the left of the photo is a whole new loop added to makeup the reverse loop. 

The next three photos show the new trackage that make up the reverse loop. The new addition is the innermost track.

The new trackage will serve double duty, not only will it serve as the reverse loop for the continuous run option but, also will be the lead track for industries in this area, which means all trackage connected to this will be part of the reverse loop eclectically. I don't foresee any problem with this as there will only be one operator making switching moves at one time.

The start and end of the reverse loop isolated section are shown in the photos below marked with a red circle at each end of the isolated section.

Hopefully the wiring in this district will be completed soon and trains can traverse the entire layout and efforts can be dedicated to the town industries. 


Friday, November 12, 2021

Mainline Track Installation Complete

 I have to say there has been plenty of progress since my last post.

I have run Romex and installed double ganged plugs for 120 volt power at points under the bottom level. This was done to supply the power to the command station and booster power districts power supplies, and layout lighting. This also makes it possible to turn on/off power to the entire layout with one wall switch. I also had to modify the boosters power supplies with a "delay on relay" and setting them to activate the boosters power supplies ten seconds after the command station came on. Digitrax boosters have known to confuse the command station if every thing were to come to life at the same time. 

On October 27, 2021 at 9:39 pm, the last section of track was installed on the Colorado & Rio Grande Central Railroad's mainline. Yeah!! Party On!!! The last section of track was installed in the town that will be known as Orogrande, NM. From what I figured using figures from XtrakCAD, the total mainline run and mainline only is 476.5 feet, give or take three feet. For a total run, not bad, I thought. The double track helix has 210 feet of track all together making the helix single line 105 feet roughly. 

Along with completion of the mainline I was able to complete track work for El Paso yard lead, arrival/departure tracks and related turnouts, caboose track, tracks for locomotive servicing facility, the return track to the mainline and southern turnout ladder for the arrival/departure tracks that make up the reverse loop. There was a track installed with a crossing on the main to represent an interchange with Southern Pacific along with two tracks for an interchange yard, and a siding for Orogrande which runs to El Paso. 

Picture of the El Paso yard throat along with the finished yard lead, the arrival/departure tracks with a locomotive escape track just left of the yard lead, the stub ended caboose track to the left of that and finally the mainline on the Woodland Scenics foam elevation sections to the farthest left.

A closer look (in order from the left) at the mainline, caboose spur, arrival/departure and yard lead. 

Pictured here (from the left) is the stub spurs for the El Paso locomotive facility, next to it, the yard lead and the next three tracks are the south end of the arrival/departure tracks with the turnouts and a double slip turnout to make the return to the mainline and complete the reverse loop. The far right track is the mainline from the north. Also pictured is the uncompleted, (at the time of this picture) track for the Southern Pacific interchange lead. The turn out in the middle of the page not joined will be a
spur for industry for the city of El Paso. 

Mainline and siding with open turnout that will lead to industry for El Paso.

Lower peninsula loop mainline and siding between El Paso and Orogrande.

The town of Orogrande with mainline and siding and open turn out for town industries in the back ground.

North end of Orogrande.

Another look at Orogrande looking railroad south.

I took this picture to show how the mainline's (back ground track) final descent and transition with the road bed. The arrival/departure and yard lead tracks in the center and the tail end of the locomotive facility track in the foreground are also seen.

Pictured here is the descent of the mainline with the caboose, arrival/departure tracks, and some of El Paso yard to the left.

Shown here is the completed Southern Pacific interchange yard with the Southern Pacific track crossing the main leading to points off the layout. Far in the background is the yard lead, A&D ladder and the El Paso locomotive faciltiy trackage.

Next project, with the completion of these sections of track in place, comes the tedious task of dropping feeds and district buss wiring along with wiring the reverse loop section with an auto reverser. Like mentioned before in other blog posts wiring is not very photo worthy or in my case not the most appealing part of building a railroad but it is very necessary. Other things to be completed are installing all the ground throws for the turn outs that need them, along with temporary ground throws for the mainline turn outs. The SP interchange yard will get uncoupler magnets and I will mount lighting under the upper peninsula for the bottom peninsula.

I'm excited about getting wiring done so I can start trackage work for the towns, expanding, and planning operations to include these towns. I'm also looking forward to shifting gears and getting involved with building structures for the towns and devoting some time to installing decoders in the CRGC Railroad's locomotive roster that need them and devoting time for signals. I also need to do some research and have some custom decals made with the railroad logo, after all I need to custom paint and decal a few locomotives with the logo. That's a topic for another post on the blog.

I'm also contemplating on changing El Paso Yard to something else since the yard is part of El Paso I thought a name to distinguish it from the city of El Paso would be fitting. Hmmm....(scratching my chin) to think of something unique. 


Friday, June 18, 2021

El Paso Yard

Over the past several months I have been taking on the task of getting the bench work prep for El Paso Yard, and El Paso Yard installed so the mainline could be continued. I also modified an unused automotive creeper to be an under the layout creeper.



 The first step was getting the subroad bed installed and painted so track and turnouts for El Paso Yard could be installed.

After painting was finished, track and turnout laying took place. I realized that I had run out of Kadee  under the track uncoupling magnets (the black squares) so the yard sat partly finished in the photo above as I waited for those to arrive. 

Here is El Paso Yard completed. The 4 yard tracks curving to the left are for roadbed supports and in the future bridge supports for the mainline to curve over the yard.



The next weekend after completing the yard I was able to cutout the curved sub-roadbed for the mainline and install. The picture above shows the cuved portion of the mainline and the mainline decent, to the right, being held down with a few weighted objects to hold things in place as the glue sets up.

After the glue had set up, I was able to continue installation of the cork roadbed and mainline track. Both the approach and decent from the bridge were made easy with Woodland Scenics 2% riser sets. The above photo shows the main line approaching the bridge to span over the yard.



The above 2 photos shows the curved mainline roadbed support. Which someday in the future will have a scratch built bridge to replace the plywood support shown here. It may be some time before this is completed for the fact that I have never scratch built anything and don't have a clue as how to accomplish it.

The completed yard with the mainline decent to the right. Next project will be to clear off the misc. building materials on the other lower peninsula so the mainline can be completed with the reverse loop, the city of Orogrande, and connections to El Paso yard. After all this is completed, the tedious task of wiring will have to be done. Ugh!



I took and an unused automotive creeper and turned it into and under the layout creeper. I needed one of these or something close to it to make it easier to wire and perform other activities that will need to be attended to under the layout on the lower level with out having to crawl around on the floor. This is what I came up with.


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Sunday, April 04, 2021

C&RGC Railroad MAP and LOGO

 I have spent some time over the last month or so deciding on a logo for the C&RGC RailRoad. Between layout work sessions, I've tried to get my creative juices flowing so I could come up with a system map for the railroad and to incorporate the logo also. The system map was created in about two to three weeks, with tons of re-dos. Thank goodness for Google maps and Microsoft paint programs which made the creation easier than I thought and I had some fun doing it too. 

The first project was creating a logo for the railroad. After about a week of trying different free logo creation programs on the web I settled on It was able to let me establish a logo for the railroad. I wanted a logo that was simple and different at the same time. I finally decided on the logo below.

With the logo created, I was able to move onto the next project, creating a system map. I used Google maps to create the routing. I used the print screen function on the computer and pasted it into Microsoft Paint. With Paint, I was able to erase all the map details except the routing and town names and added text where needed, the two railroad logos, and other details. I was also able to copy and paste the routing for Yrbi. I'm not sure if this will be the final version but it gives me a little satisfaction to have a system map. If future updates are made the final versions will be posted to the blog. The system map is shown below. Note: The town names are actual existing towns on a google map except for Yrbi which is my fictitious branchline town.

I would like to have these printed on a brochure along with the railroad back story when I have visitors to the railroad. As always comments are welcomed, so let me know what you think of my map and logo creations.

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Friday, February 26, 2021

Progress Continues


It's been a while since my last post to the blog so, I'll dive right into what has been happening on the layout. I have decided on names for the towns on the layout including one town I changed the name of, that has appeared in earlier posts to the blog. Note: Besides Santa Fe, El Paso, and Yrbi, unless otherwise mentioned, it has not been decided as to the types of industries or the number of industries that will occupy these towns. I'm trying to focus on getting mainline track completed so as to have a continuous loop without having to reverse a train in the opposite direction. 

First, Santa Fe, NM, the northern most town along with Denver and Salt Lake City represented by long staging tracks near Santa Fe Yard. I have also mentioned these towns in earlier posts.


Continuing southward is Clines Corner, NM which is just a town name on the railroad with no services provided by the railroad. I thought it would be a clever play on the name since the track sweeps through a left hand turn in the corner of the layout room, in essence it's just a name of a block of track on the railroad.


Town names continuing southward are as follows: Encino, NM, then Duran, NM, which will have Yrbi Junction interchange for interchange traffic to the branchline town of Yrbi along with a couple other undecided industries. 

Next is Carrizozo, NM, which is the town I changed the name of. This town used to be called Summit. This town will have spur tracks for trains to pickup or drop off dummy helper locomotives to traverse the helix as to enhance operations along with other industries. 

Next is Oscuro, NM, which is located halfway down the helix or halfway up the helix depending on the direction of train travel. No services provided by the railroad.


Tularosa, NM is the next town's name and is on the bottom level to the right of the helix. This town will also have spur tracks for pickup and drop off of dummy locomotives to traverse the helix. This town will also have way freight industries along with a large industry on the left side of the helix underneath the upper level branch line town of Yrbi.


The next town is Alamogordo, NM, then Orogrande, NM, then finally El Paso, Texas. One project I would like to tackle is to make a map drawing of the railroad so that I have something to reference. When this is completed I will post it to the blog.


Track construction continued with the beginnings of construction on the bottom level at the bottom of the helix in Tularosa, YAAAY!! Mainline track was installed with turnouts for the helper locomotive spur tracks and turnouts for the lead track around the outside of the helix to the large industry just left of the helix. There will be a spur for an industry along the west wall of the layout room. 

The double track mainline coming from the helix combines into one track via a turnout at the north end of Alamogordo. The track continues and reaches a curve at the end of the peninsula and starts to gain elevation to go over the mainline, and over the to be constructed southern end of El Paso yard.

Tularosa, at the bottom of the helix. You can see a jut in space in the wall just to the right of the mainline and just past where the sub roadbed turns from brown to a lighter color. This will be the location of a building front to represent an industry. This will be a lift out building front for access to the window which is part of the room construction. There will also be a storage spur along with the spur for the industry. Also seen is the lead track for the large industry that will be to the left of the helix disappear in the background.

Mainline curving to the right where it meets the turnout to combine into one track in Alamogordo. In this photo you can see the foam riser where the main will cross over itself.

Alamogordo with foam riser in the background. In this photo, El Paso yard will be to the right of the chair. Alamogordo is located beneath Duran on the top level.

End of the peninsula and the south end of Alamogordo.

Beginning of the foam riser.

More photos of the foam riser. This riser is a 2% incline riser by Woodland Scenics.

Foam riser at the point where the mainline will cross itself.

In this photo you can see how the mainline will proceed and just to the right of this photo will be where the main will cross over the open ended part of El Paso Yard and continue along the north wall of the room back down to bench work level via another set of foam risers. Note: The foam riser end in this picture was not glued in its final position thus making it look like it would not line up with the curve representing the curvature of the mainline.

Next for mainline continuation is to get some bench work modifications made before sub-roadbed can be installed for track work of El Paso yard. El Paso yard has to be installed before mainline continuation. Wiring for Tularosa and Alamogordo needs to be installed as well. One other project I want to tackle is installation of infrastructure for bottom level lighting.


Yes! I have been able to operate trains from Santa Fe to the branchline town of Yrbi. At present I have a grain train and a mixed manifest that runs between the two towns. I also have a local that switches out the Grain elevator and the feed supply store in Yrbi. I have timed the operation of these three trains and it has come close to three hours to complete, from make up in the yard to switching in Yrbi to breaking the trains down at Santa Fe and running the local in Yrbi.
This may be the reason why progress has slowed. Haha!

 One thing I have not as yet tried is running a grain train or a mixed manifest from Yrbi to the two staging towns of Denver and Salt Lake City. Future thought and experimentation needed.

 The one thing I have discovered after a few operating sessions, is the need to install turnout motors and supporting electrical for the entrance turnouts for the yard leads and arrival/departure track turnouts near Santa Fe Yard. This will enable the Yardmaster to operate these turnouts from the Yardmasters position. As it is now, I have to keep walking back and forth from the Yardmasters side of the upper peninsula to the opposite side in order to operate these turnouts when needed. 

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