Operating In a Small Area with Paul Dolkos

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One of the most coveted operating positions on Paul Dolkos’s Boston and Maine layout is the mill job, like that on the White Mountain Paper Company. This represents a sulfite mill in northern New Hampshire and is comprised of: a warehouse with two tracks leading in on the other side of the main line, a coal drop for the powerhouse, a spot for the chemical tank cars, a scale for weighing cars, an unloading building, and the spot for the pulp wood. This industry only takes up a space of about five by three feet of layout. The full operating session for the mill job takes about four hours, the first in and the last out for operators. Typically there are about 15 cars inbound and 15 outbound.

Another area of operating interest is the passenger station, with six passenger trains coming in, either terminating or adding cars. The number 9 train comes in, carrying milk, baggage cars, and a coach. The engine will be cut off and run to the engine terminal, the milk car will go to the Barre and Chelsey turn, the second car goes on the Canadian Pacific comes down from St John’s Ferry, the third car goes to the local creamery. The movement of this train plus the movements of all the other cars coming in and out keeps the station switcher busy for four hours. The 44 tonner handles all the switching of the passenger trains, and also switches out the freight house and the dairy siding. Paul goes on to discuss how he separates scenes on his small layout. For more on running model railroad switching operations on a small layout, visit the Model Railroad Academy archives.