I have now done a little more work on Benson and am reasonably happy with the placing of the structures. I have found it very interesting to operate using two tracks as a fiddle yard. I have made no attempt to hide or disguise them in any way, they are just tracks in the yard. I think they work quite well myself. There is still a lot of detailing to do but overall it is coming on.
I have photographed an operating sessions to illustrate how the layout looks now.
It is mid morning and we see a work stained SP SD45 #8803 arriving at Benson with a mixed freight. The SD45 leaves the train in loop and runs into the head shunt behind the yardmaster’s grounded caboose. This gives the crew a chance to walk to a nearby diner for an early lunch while the yard goat, I&W # 6 a chop nosed geep spots the incoming cars.
The I&W orange geep #6 couples up to the Illinois Central and the GM&O empty pulpwood cars and propels the whole train into the fiddle yard siding. The two pulpwood cars are uncoupled and then pulled out and spotted on the long siding at the back of the East yard. There they will be loaded with lumber that is already piled up there and some more brought in by trucks. Note the car deck is covered with a mixture of saw dust a fine wood chippings to replicate the bark and debris found on the real cars.
The geep then heads for the rest of the incoming train and couples up to the two covered hoppers, a Southern and a Santa Fe car that are loaded with cement. These are pushed into the cement loading plant and coupled to an empty North Western covered hopper that is sitting under the unloading plant at the Medusa facility. The empty car is then spotted on the fiddle yard track ready to make into an outbound train.
The geep returns with the Southern and SF covered hoppers and spots them at the cement unloading facility. These are both Atlas models, but I have removed the awful couplings the models came with a fitted KD’s
Next the geep picks up a loaded Railbox car from the team track. The outward bound load in this instance being palletised drums of drilling mud which is sourced locally it is used in the oil industry for sealing the drilling bit. The car is pushed into the fiddle yard siding and coupled to the North Western covered hopper already waiting there.
The empty SP car is then spotted at team track to be loaded with more palletised drilling mud.
The orange chop nosed geep then runs down to the King Midas Flour mill and picks up a Union Pacific covered hopper of flour and a Frisco box car of palletised sacks of flour for ultimate delivery to smaller bakeries. These are propelled to fiddle yard and coupled to the two cars waiting there. The whole train is then pulled back into the long loop in the west yard, the geep uncouples and returns to the four mill head shunt to await its next job.
The crew of the SP SD45 return from their lunch break and leave the head shunt and run round the train waiting for them in the loop. They couple up and do an air test, then set off out of town to make their way to the SP main line.
Benson is part of a U shaped switching layout that has now been dismantled leaving only the Benson section. It was in the HO / OO scale section under the title A Tour of Colonel’s Crossing and Benson.
The car weathering is done using thin acrylic washes building them up a little at a time. Rather like nature weathers things over a long period. I find it easier to add another wash rather than trying to remove something you are not happy with because it is too dark for instance.
I don’t have a scanner so I can’t draw a plan but I will take a series of pictures looking down. This will help give an idea of siding lengths and positions.
I also intend doing a few more pictorial operating sessions as well as time goes by.
Thanks for your kind words Woodie and Herb they are most encouraging.
Benson West yard showing at the top of the picture three different industries served by the railroad. They are left to right, Talbot Valley Farmer’s Coop, R.E. Lee Farm Supplies, and the Bantex Box Company.
The yardmaster’s grounded caboose can be seen at the bottom left. In the centre are the minimal engine servicing facilities, sand house, oil tank, and sanding tower. This is where the yard goat is usually spotted at night.
At the bottom right is the KAP lumber garage and Smith’s general store next to the grade crossing