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Operations Department

Enfield Local Part IV

Okay, so we’ve switched Caspian Mills, now we’re ready to drop B&M 76004 off at Wayne Feeds and spot MEC 1250 at the Freight House.  Once that’s done we can wrap up this series.

B&M 76004 was already in town, we had it on the front of the locomotive when we shoved our boxcars onto the Caspian Mills spur.  B&M 76004 is dragged onto the passing siding, the locomotive is run around it, and a B&O wagon top is pulled away from the freight house and onto the main.  With the wagon top on one end of our locomotive, we then couple onto our B&M boxcar, drag it south onto the main, and shove it onto the freight house spur in front of Wayne Feeds.



The locomotive and B&O 381822 were then pull back onto the main and head north to retrieve the remainder of the train, which had been left in the cut by the lake.  Once coupled on, the train is then pulled into town.


The caboose is left on the passing siding, the train is cut at MEC 1250, and the locomotive and two boxcars pull onto the main.  MEC 1250 is then shoved into placed in front of the freight house dock.


Having finished with our drop-offs, it’s time to assemble the outbound consist.  B&O 381822 is coupled back onto the front of the train, the locomotive is run around to the rear of the caboose, and what will become the front of the outbound train is then shoved south onto the main, where it is coupled onto the outbound cars from Caspian Mills (the ones we left there early in the last post).


With that done, the caboose is uncoupled from the train, dragged back onto the passing siding, and parked in front of the station.  The locomotive is uncoupled and run south on the main to retrieve the outbound consist.  The train is pulled back north, past the caboose, and is then backed onto the passing siding where the caboose is hooked up to the rear.  The whole train is then backed onto the main and then pulled in front of the station where paperwork is finalized before departure.


With everything complete, the train departs north back to White River Jct.



We leave our local, on the north shore of Mascoma Lake, heading back to White River Jct. via Mascoma/East Lebanon, Lebanon, and Westboro.  Now that I’m finally done with this series, I can move onto something else in good conscience.


Operations Department

Enfield Local Part III

Ahhhh, the long awaited Part III of my Enfield Local post.  I want to clarify ahead of time that I understand that I am mixing prototype operating schemes around.  Right now I run all of my trains on train orders, because it’s easier for me to keep track of operations on my small layout using one form.  While this post is titled “Enfield Local”, since I currently lack an attached yard, I am actually running this train as an extra (WJ-01), rather than an appropriate train from the timetable I presented in the last post on this subject.  Bear with me; this is all a work in progress.

So, for this operating session I used the train order shown below (they’re normally hand written, but my writing is often barely legible, so I typed this one for clarity).  Aside from the basic information, we see that train WJ-01 needs to pick up three cars and drop off five to various customers in Enfield.  I always list pick-ups, drop-offs, and assigned power for each train.  Typically, I try to use the P/U section as a guide for building the train for the return trip; however, as I said, I’m still dusting off cobwebs.


The session begins with train WJ-01 entering the layout south-bound by passing under the “Rt 4” bridge.  Whoever built this train in White River did a terrible job as the B&M coal hopper towards the middle is actually the first car needing to be dropped off.


WJ-01 then enters Enfield proper by passing through the cut which is just railroad north of the Main Street overpass, the rear of the train will be left in this cut while Caspian Mills is switched.


The front half of the train is dragged onto the passing siding across from the Enfield depot.  GP-7 1557 is run around to the rear of the shortened consist and B&M 7199 is plucked from the rear.  The locomotive and inbound coal load are now run around on the main and switched off to the Caspian Mills spur.  The outbound Rutland and Missouri Illinois empties are backed out of their spots on the siding and placed further south on the main.  B&M 7199 is then spotted on the coal dump for the mill power plant.  NOTE:  Yes, I realize I forgot to empty Rutland 10006 before pulling it from the coal dump.



With Rutland 10006 and MI 96599 parked safely to the south on the main, the locomotive is then run around the cars on the passing siding again and they are pulled north, over the Mascoma River.


This string of cars is then shoved south, through Enfield, onto the Caspian Mills spur so RUT 351 and VTR 341 can be spotted at the Caspian Mills loading dock.

That concludes switching for Caspian Mills and Part III of this series.  The next installment will feature switching for Wayne Feeds, the Enfield Freight House, and hopefully conclude my coverage of this specific subject.

Vintage N Scale B&M Rolling Stock #13

Bachmann 70 Ton 40’ Quad Hopper –

To begin with, this is my first post in well over a year, so I suspect I’ll need to knock off some cobwebs.  I’m running out of vintage B&M N scale stuff to cover, the pickings are getting slim, but I have one or two locomotives to cover and maybe four to five more freight cars before the vintage B&M stuff runs its course.  In the meantime, let’s press ahead.


By all appearances, this Bachmann car is an oddball.  I think it’s supposed to represent a 70 ton ARA quad hopper, B&M did actually own quite a few cars matching that general description, numbered 8000-8999.  Interestingly, the black paint and rectangular herald with B&M reporting marks appear to be appropriate for a late-1930s paint job on one of these cars.  It’s starting to seem like Bachmann might have nailed it… that is, until you check out the road number.  If you dropped the 56 from the front, you would indeed have a correct road number for one of these 1920-1930s built cars, and the authenticity would almost be complete, especially for an N scale car dating back as far as the 1960s or 1970s.  Bachmann just couldn’t handle coming so close to historical accuracy, and thus, missed the boat.

The build date printed on the car side is 6-24, which means June of 1924… that would have been early for the B&M cars which apparently began showing up around 1929.  Those printed build dates are typically nonsense on these early N scale cars, so I’m actually a little surprised Bachmann was so close.

I’m not sure that these cars count as rare, there are normally one or two available on the auction sites and those normally sell for around $10 USD, not too pricey.

My overall opinion is that the car is a typical, early N scale, generic freight car.  Early N scale operators probably weren’t overly picky, this car breaks up the monotony of blue dip offerings from other manufacturers.  Like most of these classic N scale items, I recommend picking one up for display and/or operation.

Historical Information:

As stated above, B&M owned around one thousand of these ARA 70 ton hoppers, numbered 8000-8999.  Boston and Maine’s fleet of these useful cars was acquired between the late 1920s and the early 1930s.  It appears some quantity was sold to DL&W in the 1950s and a few soldiered on with B&M into the 1960s.

Operations Department

Shaking Out The Cobwebs & Trying Out Some New Power –

BMSW1_1_webNo, I haven’t forgotten about my ongoing series regarding Enfield Local operating sessions on my layout.  I am working on the next installment for that, but I did want to show that there is some activity.  Over the summer I acquired some new motive power, to include the Arnold SW-1 featured here, and I thought I would take some time to break them in.

As an aside, these Arnold SW-1s are really sweet locomotives, they are pricey, but I highly recommend picking one up if you are in the market for a decent switcher that’s a little different.  I operated a short local and did some switching during the break-in period and experienced no issues at all.  In fact, despite DC only control, this little locomotive can crawl so slowly that it’s movement is barely perceptible.  Arnold really knocked it out of the ballpark with this release.

BMSW1_2_webFair warning: There will probably be some more maintenance posts (i.e. Vintage Rolling Stock, Motive Power, etc.) before I get back to “Enfield Local Part III“.  I hope you don’t mind but I have to manage what little time I have to balance posts with actual responsibilities.  Thank you for your patience.

Operations Department

Enfield Local Part II

For the first “meat and potatoes” installment of my discussion of operations on my modified loop, based on Enfield New Hampshire, I thought I would get some paperwork out of the way. Below is the timetable for local service on the section of the B&M Northern line modeled on my layout from White River Junction, in Vermont, to Enfield New Hampshire, which lies on the shores of Mascoma Lake, where I spent my early childhood. The timetable reflects regular freight service (EN-10 weekdays only) and two way, morning and evening, passenger service (Nos. 5 & 10 on weekdays and Nos. 25 & 35 on weekends).

Enfield Timetable

Obviously extras aren’t reflected on the timetable and that is where we find ourselves today. Without staging, or the planned East Lebanon / Mascoma section, much of what occurs on the timetable cannot happen. I’m not lazy but my layout currently lacks adequate space to switch trains around and I am not about to muck about replacing EN-10 with a passenger train as needed. My solution to this dilemma is to operate a mixed train as an extra with a Train Order.  Below is a blank example of the train orders I use:

trainorder-1Completing the train order is relatively self-explanatory and straight forward. Drop-offs and pick-ups are hand written and the passenger combine must be worked around during switching moves.

Hopefully this information will be helpful, or maybe give you some ideas. My way of operating is not prototypical but it works for me. In the next installment I will walk you through how I complete a train order and stage a consist for the next day. If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments.

Operations Department

Enfield Local Part I –

So I just wanted to throw a teaser up here, in the near future I am going to outline an operating session on my “Enfield, NH” layout as it exists right now.  We are still in the process of unpacking boxes and getting settled so there are still a lot of things yet to be done on the layout, which I have discussed previously in my blog.  No I haven’t given up on modeling the Northern with some of my new found basement space, but that is a project for the future, when space is sorted out, time is more readily available, and the needs/wants of a new home are met.

For the meantime I am using my modified loop, loosely modeled on Enfield, New Hampshire, to fulfill my model railroading needs and thankfully, my original design allows for some decent operations.  The plan is to add a small staging yard and a short finished addition which will represent the East Lebanon/Mascoma section of the actual Northern (which will be a little out of order due to the way Rte 4 runs on my layout).  For now, here is a quick shot of the Enfield Local just railroad-north of Enfield:


Stay tuned for Part II of this series, where I hope to discuss some paperwork and how it applies to operations on my Enfield layout.

Operations Department

Back Up and Running –

To say it’s been a while since I ran a train would be an understatement. Well, the move is over and I have a small corner of the basement temporarily set aside for operating my modified loop layout. So, without further introduction, I give you a snapshot of the first B&M freight to run on the line since my layouts all went into storage.


I’m looking forward to getting back into the operating and blogging game now that I have something to write about again. Stay tuned.