In Conclusion

This layout at first glance may seem pretty simplistic compared to other layouts of similar size, but looks can be VERY deceiving! Even though Eric models a “branch” line with only two scheduled through trains each way per day (freights 85/86 and motorcar 133/134), six of us were kept quite busy for the entire evening.
A lot of modelers (including your author) might have been tempted to build another multi-deck railroad in this space and attempt to model all or a significant portion of a much-busier main line division. Eric’s approach of doing less, but doing it extremely well, has produced a layout that satisfies his desire for operation, yet is not so complicated that it never reaches a reasonable state of completion.
Eric’s careful selection of a prototype he knows well, combined with his homework on car routings and interchange has also paid off with extremely realistic traffic movements, which adds to the satisfaction of operating this layout.
Operationally, the railroad uses EasyDCC, the prevailing system in use among DFW-area modelers and the car card/waybill system from Old Line Graphics. Movements are governed by a 6:1 fast clock. All the prototype trains of the era ran within an 18-hour window, so the clock ratio permits everything to run in a 3-hour session.
The through trains do run on timetable authority (which the other trains must respect), but for now there is no Dispatcher and the locals and extras run on “smoke orders”. Perhaps once a bit more work is completed on the layout Eric might try running full TT&TO operation, although this is not a high priority…things are running just fine as they are!
Well, I hoped you enjoyed this look at Eric’s layout as much as I enjoyed visiting it! I had a great time operating the Roustabout and the motorcar trains (# 133 and 134). My photos were shot before and after the session so as not to disturb the proceedings. When I got home I wished I had shot some more photos of some of the equipment, like the Q motorcar and the triple-headed GP7s on the Fox River Wayfreight. Oh, well, maybe next time. Thanks to Eric for providing photos to fill in some of those gaps, and for having me over!

Harold Krewer