Monday, December 26, 2011

Ballard, Part 3: first train

I have posted before about the town of Ballard on my layout. There was a general description of the town and its industries, under the title “Layout design: Ballard,” which can be viewed at the link: , and I also have described the role of Ballard in my layout scheme, in the post entitled “Layout design: locale” (that post can be found at: ).
     Placing the town on the layout required installing the track board, which was a landmark event in reassembling the existing parts of the layout, since Ballard is one of two major components in my layout design. I related this installation process in the first two posts with this title, “Ballard-1” (at: ) and “Ballard-2” (at: ).
     With the track board installed, the backdrop repaired and retouched, and some industrial buildings repaired and reinstalled, it was time to address operation. Track and wiring connections have now been completed, and I was able to operate a train into Ballard for the first time. Here it is on arrival:

This train is small, just SP Consolidation 2836, C&NW box car 65114, and PFE reefer 73617, with caboose 783, but it was still fun to operate. In this photo, the staging transfer table can be seen as a level below Ballard. At the moment, Ballard is only operated with DCC, and I may continue to make that the case.
     More needs to be done, but now that I can switch Ballard, waybill operation will become more relevant to the layout, and I can expand the things I can do. I have always enjoyed switching, so having more of it handy is fun.
Tony Thompson


  1. The ART reefer is next to what I think is the winery in Ballard. I'm familiar with the ex-milk cars and the one to six-dome tank cars that were used to ship bulk wine but I'd like to know what your research has revealed regarding other car types - such as RS reefers - used to ship bulk or bottled wine.
    Jim Lancaster

  2. Yes, Jim, that is indeed the winery. I've been preparing a post about just the topic you raise, so a very timely comment! But in brief, both in the 1950s when I model, and equally today, an important part of the wine business is grape growers and winemakers who essentially provide blending wine or bulk wine for others. My winery at Ballard is such a winery, and accordingly ships out in bulk (for example tank cars) and in barrels (in RS reefers). Some such wineries also packaged "jug wine" in gallons for custom labeling or relabeling by liquor stores, supermarkets, or other businesses in states which permitted that. An RS car would be the logical shipping medium.
    Tony Thompson

  3. Great series on Ballard and your layout. Enjoying it immensely. I'm planning on incorporating some of your ideas into my layout.