Car floats and tugboats
I've been doing alot of reading and research on carflaots and tugboats. Along the way I found the Sylvan Models produces both a car float and a tugboat in N-Scale. They aren't exactly cheap nor are they exactly what I have been looking for but as they say beggars can't be choosy. Or can they?
The Sylvan tug has possibilities but the carfloat is too small for what I have in mind. If you've been following my posting, you'll remembet that I am going to model the operations of the New York Connecting Railroad as far as car float operations are concerned. The tracks owned by the NYCR didn't extend to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where the car float operations were. Those tracks belonged to the Long Island Railroad. Until 1985 the LIRR belonged to the Pennsylvania Railroad and it's successors and since the Pennsy was one of two owners of the NYCR (the other was the New Haven) operations on LIRR tracks were obviously not a problem.
Conrail did want to have anything to do with car float operations and they redirected the trains that once went to Greenville, NJ for car float transportation to Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, to Selkirk Yard which is south of Albany, NY. In effect, what Conrail did was to remove 95% of the traffic that flowed thru Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx to other places. My assumption is that didn't happen nor did the sale of Conrail to NS and CSX, So what I have is still a viable operation though not at the same volume (the line once handled 1,000 cars a day). So what I do I need from car fdloat operations? Here's what I have come up with so far.
I Googled the Bay Ridge yard to see whats there. Currently there are two new and unused aprons in place of the original 4. Historically the Bay Ridge car float operations were based on 4 aprons which operated virtually 24 hours a day at peak periods. These car floats could carry 19 40 foot cars each on 3 tracks (7 - 5 - 7) and seem to have been brouht over two at a time. So you had two aprons receiving cars from Greenville and two loading cars cars bound for Greenville. I am not going to try to have such an operation because I think it would be too much for one individual to handle. So what I plan to do is to have two aprons with each handling two car floats simultaneously (one tugboat load). The person assigned to handle the car float operation will then have to get these cars into the yard for sorting and block int a train bound up the line.
After unloading the carfloat, that same individual will have to load another 15 cars onto each car float for transportation of the line and into staging. When loaded, the car floats will be removed form the aprons and put into a storage rack and another taken two loaded car floats take from those storage racks and attached to aprons and the cycle will reapeat. Meanwhile the cars taken off the first set of car floats will be sorted and blocked into trains that will depart for the specific points up the line. I haven't toatlly worked out the scheme and ther are probably things I haven't considered but I'll need to have the tracks down and the car floats built and made ready for use.
So what are my car floats going to look like? To answer honestly, they will not be 100% realistic sice there are only two real ones left. One is 290 feet in length and the other is 360 feet in length. Mine will probably be somewhere in between. They'll still have three tracks and they'll have to be loaded with locomotives equipped with idler flats just on the real carfloats. However I have concluded that to create fwere design and operation problems, each apron will operate 3 tracks with the center track being joined to one on the right before entereing the yard. This way I don't have to deal with special trackwork either on the car float or the apron. It isn't prototypical but I think I can live with this after all it's my railroad.
So what will that actual car float itself consist of? Well my thinking is take a 1/2 inch basswood plank and cut it to size and bevel the front end. I'll then put Code 80 N-Scale track on it and cover that with either thin plastic card or balsa wood or some combination of the two so that it looks like the track is installed directly on the car float's deck. It may not be elegant but I think it'll be workable. I don't know how long or how wide the plank will be yet because I have to work that out.
I still need to figure out how long an interval I need to allow between the departure of car floats and the next ones arrival will be. That'll be determined by how long it takes to sort out the arriving cars and get them on the appropriate yard tracks. I am thinking that 15-20 minutes should suffice but I'll try it with 1/2 hour of actual time do as not to put too much pressure on the operator of that section of the layout.
So, reader, what are your thoughts?
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