Jul 2009

P&EBR Workflows: Hauling Supplies

Piedmont-Standard Soapstone Company depends on its railroad, the Piedmont & East Blue Ridge, to haul the supplies necessary to do maintenance and repairs.

Supplies are picked up at the green track in Winwood and set out at the red tracks in Ariel Church, Shops, or Piedmont

The daily operation of the Company requires a wide range of repairs and maintenance. The quarries require new drill bits and cable, pipe and pumps. Trucks and cranes working at the quarry sites are in constant need of repair due to the extreme wear and tear of working with stone. Piedmont Mill requires new gangsaw blades and sand for cutting stone, as well as bandsaw blades, hydraulic fluid and pumps. And the railroad itself requires everything from lube oil to paint to railroad spikes in order to keep running.

Parts and supplies are hauled where they are needed in narrow gauge boxcars.

Supplies might be handled in regular boxcars or smaller, 4 wheel boxcars

Winwood Transfer Warehouse is where barrels of lube oil, kegs of nails and railroad spikes, buckets of paint and pitch, and cases of hardware and plumbing fixtures arrive on the C&O Railroad and are transferred to the P&EBR Railroad.

Winwood Transfer Warehouse

Supplies are forwarded from Winwood to three destinations:

Piedmont Mill is where parts necessary for the cutting and polishing of stone, and assembly of finished products are consigned. Sand, saw blades, pitch, bolts, and belts to run the machinery from overhead shafts are just a few of the many things needed at the Mill.

Piedmont Mill

Supplies needed for operation of the quarries are delivered to the Shops Platform track. At Shops, parts and supplies are stored until needed either for repair and maintenance of the railroad locomotives and rolling stock, or for a repair at a quarry site, in which case the necessary parts will either be loaded in a truck or railroad car for the trip to the quarry.

“RIP” track and platform at The Shops

While repairs and maintenance of locomotives and rolling stock are done at Shops, the supplies needed for work on the right of way itself are kept in a storage area at Ariel Church. Here is where the railroad stockpiles rail, crossties, rail joiners, and spikes.

Ariel Church “house track” and maintenance sheds

When the train crew picks up a loaded boxcar of supplies at Winwood Transfer Warehouse, they will have to check the switchlist to determine whether that car is to be set out at Piedmont Mill, the Shops Platform Track, or Ariel Church Maintenance Shed.

P&EBR Workflows: Hauling Fuel

Another routine task for the P&EBR Railroad to perform is hauling fuel. The soapstone operation would require both coal and oil fuels for day to day operation. Fuel handling is focused primarily on three areas; the fuel transfer track in Winwood, the Shops fueling facility, and the Boilerhouse of Piedmont Mill.

The red track in Winwood is where fuel is transferred to the P&EBR, which delivers it to the green tracks at Shops and Piedmont.

Coal and fuel oil are delivered by the Cheaspeake & Ohio to an elevated track in Winwood where the standard gauge cars are emptied. Narrow gauge cars are loaded on a lower, parallel track and the fuel is delivered to either Shops or Piedmont.

Coal is loaded into small, one bay hoppers for transport on the P&EBR. Oil is handled by a fleet of home built tank cars.

The pickup point for fuel is in Winwood. It is a visually and operationally interesting facility, which, unfortunately, I do not have space on my layout to model.

Winwood Fuel Transfer

A curved track running through a tight alley between Winwood Mill and the Transfer Warehouse represents the Fuel track. Empty hoppers and tank cars will be set out on this track, then picked up later as loads.

Shops Fuel Facility

Both coal and oil are delivered by the P&EBR to the fuel facility at Shops. Locomotives are fueled here, and trucks can be loaded here to deliver smaller quantities of coal or oil to outlying points.

Piedmont Mill Boilerhouse

While Shops takes delivery of both coal and oil, only coal is delivered to the Boilerhouse at Piedmont Mill. Coal is used to generate the steam which powers most of the machinery at the mill.

Delivering fuel requires the crew to make a pickup at Winwood, then determine from looking at their paperwork whether the load is to be set out at Shops Fuel Facility, or Piedmont Boilerhouse.

P&EBR Workflows: Hauling Lumber

Setting up operations for my P&EBR layout is similar to operations on layouts representing standard gauge railroads. But there is one fundamental difference. While a standard gauge railroad is part of a nationwide network, with only a small part of the whole represented on the layout, my layout represents the entire railroad system. There are no “beyond the basement” staging yards where freight cars appear and disappear. Both the loading and unloading point for every car on the P&EBR is on the layout.

The P&EBR exists to provides a means for Piedmont-Standard Soapstone to move people and materials. Tracks have been placed to allow the trains to access the points that need transportation services.

Overall trackplan of the Piedmont & East Blue Ridge

In generating work for the railroad to do, I came up with a series of “workflows” that represent routine tasks the railroad will perform. One of the simpler workflows is the delivery of lumber to Piedmont Mill.

Lumber workflow involves pickup at Winwood and delivery at Piedmont.

Piedmont Mill requires a lot of lumber so crates and cribbing can be fabricated for packing the finished soapstone products the mill assembles. The lumber is delivered to Winwood by the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad. There it is transferred to the narrow gauge flatcars of the Piedmont & East Blue Ridge (green track). The P&EBR then delivers the lumber to the Mill in Piedmont (red track).

Train crews handling lumber would be moving flatcars between Winwood and Piedmont.

The Transfer Warehouse at Winwood is where freight moves between the narrow gauge P&EBR and the standard gauge C&O. The narrow gauge tracks actually run under the roof of the building where an overhead crane facilitates the loading and unloading of freight.

The Mill at Piedmont is where quarried stone is cut, polished, and assembled into appliances and fixtures for commercial and residential construction. An overhead crane is used at the Mill to unload cars.

Delivering lumber is relatively straightforward for the crews. It involves a pickup at the Transfer Warehouse, and a set out at Piedmont Mill.