EVANSVILLE WESTERN RAILWAY v2.0 - The West Franklin Branch
Session 1: Wye Be A Dispatcher?
Wye be a dispatcher? The West Franklin Branch departs the EVWR main line in a southerly direction about half way between Evansville and Mt Vernon. The intersection of the main and the branch takes the form of a wye. Traffic to and from the branch includes coal and grain in bulk quantities conveyed by unit trains. The grain is bound for Abengoa Bioenergy, the coal is destined either for local consumption at the AB Brown Generator Station or for export via Cline Mining's huge coal stockpile waiting for barge loading and conveyance down the Ohio River and then ultimately to India. Both coal and grain arrive from the East conveyed either by the local line or CSX and both coal and grain arrive from the West conveyed by NS and Savatran for coal and BNSF or CN for grain.
Wye not add further complication by considering also South Wind Maritime Centre? SWMC departs the main via a second wye junction, and again bulk commodities in unit trains form most of the traffic. Grain is bound for either the new Aventine Energy Ethanol plant or Consolidated Grain's barge loading depot. Coal is headed for Alliance Energy's stockpile. Like the West Franklin Branch, traffic bound for SWMC originates both East and West of the modelled line.
Just to add to the merriment, luck would have it that most of the traffic bound for West Franklin (the easternmost destination) originates in the west, and conversely most traffic bound for SWMC at the western end of the line originates in the east. This means that both loads and empties are concentrated on the single-line section between the two wyes. In reality traffic on the line is not heavy, but what if it was? What luckless buffoon would land the job of Dispatcher on a heavily trafficked line dominated by four single line tracks converging on two busy wyes?
You are about to find out!
Running the Session: The session is completely open-ended with new trains being generated regularly from Portals at both ends of the route. There is no 'Goal' other than having fun! You can play railfan and just watch - there are tracking cameras covering the entire route. You can play Dispatcher and try to make things run as smoothly and as efficiently as possible within the limitations of whatever random trains the Portals deliver. You can take over a train as Driver and try to follow it's intended route manually - or take it anywhere else you want! A real challenge is to grab the short manifest freight and try to drop cars at appropriate industries without grid-locking the Main in the process, but how you run the session is entirely up to you. There are also two Drivers with locomotives ready to go but no set instructions. You can take over either of these loco sets and make up appropriate trains to go wherever you wish.
However you decide to run the session the main challenge is simple - just keep it all moving! The session starts with half a dozen trains on the route and portals add a new train at both ends of the route on a regular basis. Trains are selected on a random basis from several possibilities at each end of the route. Sometimes the selection makes sense, sometimes it will throw out three identical trains in a row. The goal is to get every train to its intended destination. The trick is to watch ahead and anticipate trouble spots. You can't fix a four train grid-lock after it happens, but you can certainly take steps to avoid the grid lock if you see it coming! Trains can be diverted to several spots on the line - there are several loops at both ethanol plants and the real Alliance coal loop has seen at least one BNSF grain train diverted into it! In desperation trains can be diverted to a similar destination - if its hectic in the east, grab an eastbound coal train and divert it to Alliance. Traffic can also be diverted to simply run portal-to-portal but watch out - the total operating capacity of the main line is only a half dozen trains! Three or four will run smoothly with hardly a glitch, five or six will creep along under 'Caution' signals, and that's when they move at all! Getting trains off the main line speeds things up - putting more trains on the main line slows things down.
Things to Watch Out For:
Multiple Trains to One Destination: The Portals generate trains on a random basis and in general it's all good, but on occasion you might get the same train generated two or three times in succession. Some destinations also have trains generated at both entry Portals. In general destinations on the West Franklin Branch will each cope with two trains simultaneously. SWMC destinations on the other hand tend to get gridlocked! Be specially careful of the Alliance Coal unloader at SWMC. Two trains there will be a problem. To avoid potential gridlock simply re-direct duplicate trains either to an alternate destination (somewhere is almost always empty) or simply run them thru to the opposite exit portal. A more challenging (and realistic!) solution is to hold trains somewhere, again you will work out what loops can hold what trains. I know for a fact that on the prototype BNSF grain bound for Abengoa on the West Franklin Branch has been held in the Alliance coal loop at SWMC. It happens to them too!
Permissive Signals: The main line and the West Franklin Branch have 05 Permissive signal blocks to increase train capacity. These scripted signals allow a second train to follow another train through a single track block but prohibit oncoming traffic from entering. Be careful though - if you get a run of more than two or three west-bounds through a succession of blocks there is a very fair chance that you will have three or four east-bounds stacked up at successive red signals. If the queue gets back to the entry portals it's game over! Same thing applies in the other direction. Keep traffic balanced if necessary with 'Wait' commands to force a gap to let something come through in the other direction. A related issue is...
Long Trains in Short Blocks: In some locations - particularly through Mt Vernon and around the wyes - train length exceeds block length. The Permissive Signals mentioned above will allow a following train to enter a block containing the rear of the train ahead. It will be Ok - the conductors are aware of the situation and the following train will proceed slowly and if necessary stop to maintain a safe working distance between the two trains till the next absolute signal is encountered.
REQUIRED NON-DLS ASSETS
LOCOMOTIVES from RRMods:
Kuids 138423:113164; 113166; 113168; 113170 - SD80MAC: Click here and get these skins: CSX YN3 Dark Future (113164), NS (113166); CSX YN2 (113168); and CR/CSX Patch (113170). DON'T FORGET the THREE dependency downloads at the top of the page!
Kuid:138423:113155:2 - EVWR SD40-2: Click here.
Kuid:138423:115260:1 - EVWR SD60: Click here.
LOCOMOTIVES from slabay:
Kuids:528206:100577:3; 100693:3; 100694:3 SVTX ES44AC: Click here to download direct from checkrail.com. Thanks to slabay, n8phu and Sp_Or_Bust for these locos.
ALL RRMods freight car trucks are here. Get the lot!
Kuid:55290:1200x. H62R Open Hoppers: Click here and get the 'Sureshot' pack a bit down the page. DON'T FORGET the dependency links!
Kuids:137823:318, 137823:320, 137823:321. 60' Boxcars: Click here and get CSX1, CSX2 and Burlington Northern.
Kuid:138423:1100228. 60' Boxcar: Click here and get the BNSF skin.
Kuid:338228:100143 Centre Post Bulkhead Flat: Click Here and get the CFMG skin, and don't forget the dependencies.
Kuid:341856:1xxx. H62R Open Hoppers: Click here and get the 'Lookseek' pack at the top of the page. DON'T FORGET the dependencies!
Kuids:620621:100033; 100034; 100131; 1000132; 100035; 100182; 100184 Various Hoppers click here and click here and click here and click here. (Four downloads)
Track Arrangement and Lever Settings at the Wyes: I don't like the track arrangement on the western leg of both wyes. I don't like one lever set against the main line on the eastern leg of both wyes. The AI however loves both arrangements. During testing ANY other arrangement produced either SPADs or stand-offs. Change things at your peril!
Aventine Bio Energy - Not so much an 'issue' as a comment: With the sole exception that one double slip switch on the model replaces two heel-to-heel turnouts on the prototype (I simply ran out of space!) the track arrangement at Aventine is almost exactly proto, and it's a total nightmare! Although the plant looks like a series of continuous bulk train unloading loops, it isn't. There's one track in and the same track out but no wye, which means everything that comes in needs reversed before it leaves. In reality arriving trains are run into one of the loops, then broken down and run through the unloaders in cuts and the empties are taken to one of the stub tracks on the west side of the complex outside the loops. For AI use though there is just one of the six possible loops that can be (sort of) used for unit train unloading. The other thing that is exactly proto is the south entry road crossing all six tracks at grade. Did I mention it's a nightmare.....
Run Around Moves: There is a run-around move in the session and a reversing move at Aventine where the locos move from the head of the train to the rear. In both instances the locos will pause at the last signal and generate a 'Train Occupying Block Ahead' message. This may be followed by a 'Manual Assistance Required' message. If you leave things be for a while the AI will normally pluck up the courage to eventually move forward and couple to the train. Mostly! A related issue is....
FREDs: Flashing Rear End Devices are fitted to the rear of most trains. Don't be tempted to add them to the short Mt Vernon Manifest train or the Aventine grain train though. On both these schedules the locos change ends and you can't couple to the 'rear' of a FRED!
InstantUnload: is used at the grain unloaders because the hoppers load a different default commodity than the unloaders handle. If you want to be more realistic you are gonna have to edit configs.
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© Andrew Turnbull 2013/14/15