Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Boston and Maine Manifest Freight MP3

In my previous two posts you watched as the Lowell switcher blocked the traffic at Lowell Junction for outbound B&M manifest freight MP3.  You also witnessed the crew in North Dover ready traffic for this train in advance of its arrival.  Let's head to the duckunder location of the train room where Lowell Junction is located.  The hostler has placed this beautiful looking trio of F-units on the head end of the train in Lowell and the crew has boarded.  They are snaking through the yard ladder on their way to North Dover, NH.

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Let's examine the train orders for MP3.  These are similar in appearance to the real orders the B&M crews would have used with the only difference being the smaller papers I've chosen to use.
We read our current location as being Lowell Jct.  Our train is MP3.  The date is always May 27, 1958, my date of birth.  I've also added additional information up top for my operators that we are an outbound manifest freight.  When we arrive North Dover, we have three drops (or setouts) and two lifts.  We have a short order restriction at Marshall Cut (Milepost 39).  Finally, the paper clipped addendum tells us that we will meet Maine Central train #390 "The Oil Can" at the Interlocking.

These are the three cars that were added to their train at Lowell.

The train winds its way through the staging tracks that surround the layout.
MP3 gets its designation due to the fact the train originated in Mechanicville, NY and is destined for Portland, ME.  The number three indicates that it is outbound along the Western Route of the B&M.

MP3 finds daylight as it exits the tunnel below the main street of town.

Looking down the track from the station we spot MP3 approaching with bells ringing as the train slows to pass the station.

Looking out over the station parking lot, we see the engines in front of the large Wingate Wholesalers/Scodras Grocers building.

There is lots of activity on the station platform on this morning.

Because the layout is in an 11x13 room, I have had to use many interesting artistic devices to create the illusion that the layout is much larger than it really is.  I have purposely angled the streets in the lower section of North Dover to help create this illusion.  Another trick I used is to place some of those background buildings on hidden shelves.  To the viewer, some of the background buildings appear to be about seven or eight storeys tall when in fact some are only three and four storey wall sections.

Train MP3 rolls through the yard.

I've pulled back even farther from the photo above.  Another trick to create the illusion of "bigness" is to have the land vary in elevation.  The waterfront area to the far left is about an inch below track level, but it really creates an effective illusion that the landscape is large.  

The crew pierces the two sidings as it slows to a roll on the mainline.

Looking back at North Dover from a rooftop near Boundary Road.

The train blows the crossing at Boundary Road.  The schoolhouse on the other side of the tracks is a replica of the two-room schoolhouse I taught in for eight years in a remote fishing village near the Quebec/Labrador border.  Sure, the building does not exist in New England, but on my layout it does!  I built this structure from a cereal box and a file folder with some Grandt Line windows and doors added over twenty years ago!  It's a little crude by my standards today, but, heck, it's a sentimental piece!

The constraints of a smaller layout mean that the mainline must be used as a lead for switching the town.  No problem as dispatch tells us that there are no trains approaching for a while.

The crew steps onto Stanley Bridge which spans the Salmon River.  Soon, the locomotives will be in the state of Maine while the remainder of the train will be in New Hampshire.

The train rolls to a slow stop.  Another illusion to make the visitor forget they are in a small room is having the trains pass behind scenery, be it buildings, rock cuts or stands of trees like the ones you see to the right and left of the train here.

The crew have made the cut behind the last of the three cars that will be set out in town today.  That's the B&M car you see to the left.  You can also see the Grand Trunk Western 50' boxcar on the north siding.  It is one of the cars that will be lifted from the town that the North Dover's switch crew earlier spotted to the outbound end of the siding to help facilitate MP3's moves to the best degree possible.

 MP3 slowly pulls ahead.

It's drops must first clear Boundary Road before they can be placed on the North Siding track.  Here we see the crew has backed up far enough and the switch has been thrown to the far track.  They've already begun their shove back.

The setouts have coupled onto the lifts.

The engineer pulls the train ahead where the cut is broken behind the last lift, the Nickel Plate gon.

The lifts are now place on the train on the mainline in town.  For switching moves on a smaller layout, the main simply becomes another yard track.

The crew has split the lifts from the setouts.

They've now placed the setouts on the North Siding in town.

Uncoupling from the setouts.

They pull ahead and back onto their train and with a blast of the horn the crew will be on its way out of North Dover.

Meanwhile, Maine Central Train 390, The Oil Can has arrived the interlocking. 

 They must hold at the junction for their meet with our B&M train which is superior.

What a gorgeous sight capturing two EMD-inspired paint schemes on these F-units from both roads.

MP3 blows the horn for the crossing of the diamond with the MEC.
It ducks under the Howard Street overpass.

This aerial view showcases this scene located above the duckunder entrance to the room.

At the spur to Conley Lumber and Coal.

The trees frame the shot nicely.

Heading into Marshall Cut at Milepost 39.

A nice "going away" shot.

Exiting Marshall Cut outbound.

MP3 on its approach to Haney Gorge.

Tiptoeing onto the New England River Bridge.

Heading into Haney Cut and the hidden portal to staging.

We spot the lifts in the train.

The sun went behind a cloud temporarily.

The buggy tells us that that's all we'll see of this B&M manifest freight for this day.
I hope you enjoyed this little analysis of one of the many trains that ply my little layout!
Have a great train day!
Mike Hamer - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Monday, August 10, 2015

North Dover B&M Crew Assembles Traffic for B&M Train MP3

In my previous post, I shared with you how Train MP3 was being readied at Lowell Junction.
That train will arrive North Dover later in the morning.  The North Dover crew must assemble traffic for MP3 before its arrival.

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The switching orders above pertain to the crew stationed at North Dover.  They will search the yard for the two cars required for the next outbound train.  Outbound, in B&M parlance, means the train is  travelling"outward" or "away" from Boston.  It is for this reason, the town crew will block these two cars and deposit them to the outbound end of the yard for ease of pickup by the crew aboard MP3.

They will conduct their work aboard B&M Alco product number 1170.

Our switching orders tell us that two cars will be lifted by MP3 today.  A quick search of the yard tells us that both cars are on the north siding, quite a distance from each other.  We spot one of the lifts for the train, this Nickel Plate gon.

As well as this 50' Grand Trunk Western boxcar..

Our switch engine is on the south siding.

So, the crew will pull out onto the main.

In front of the station.

They will head to the outbound end of the yard because they will want to place their traffic to the outbound end of the north siding.  They do this as train MP3 is an outbound train.

They round the big curve in town.

Nearing the outbound end of the yard.

The crew approaches Boundary Road.

They cross the road where they will take the turnout onto the north siding.

Now on the north siding, they pull the long cut of cars from the siding.  That GTW is one of their lifts, but it is not the deepest in the cut so they won't worry about it yet.

Aha!  The NKP gon.  Now the crew can stop their train.

They make the cut.

The locomotive now is across the Salmon River and in the state of Maine.

While their traffic is still in New Hampshire.

With clearance from dispatch, they push their furthest lift onto the main and leave it there.

They return across Boundary Road to shove the other traffic back onto the north siding.

Make the cut at their second lift, the GTW 50' boxcar.

They've isolated their two cars.

Now they pull them back.

Straddling the Salmon River on Stanley Bridge they prepare to push the two cars back onto the north siding in town

The two cars are now deposited on the outbound end of the north siding where they will be an easy pick-up for train MP3 when it arrives heading outbound.