With the finalizing of the trackage in Morrison, tie laying began. Morrison is the site of the large coal preparation plant and hopper storage and classification yard.
Vince and his young apprentice, Kingston, work on the first of two ladders at Morrison.
A pair of hoppers test early trackwork and provide inspiration for the project. Vince is a Frisco modeler.
The completed yards of Morrison. On the left are four tracks that will service the prep plant (yes, that's another 3-way switch), and on the right is a five track hopper storage and classification yard. Hopper cars were still billed and classified as individual loads in the 60's as opposed to the unit trains of the 70's to the present.
Attacking more of the basement, construction of the Ricksburg yard begins.
Mark Linn helped add the Micore to the plywood deck. He is facing a new stud wall which defined this new area (see phase 6 photos).
Laying out the track lines in Ricksburg. Ricksburg is the main coal marshaling yard on the A&O with trains of empties departing to the mines of the Kayford Coal Branch and inbound loaded coal trains moved to the adjacent Morrison Coal Prep plant. The original yard design had been changed significantly for better flow of hopper traffic as well as for regional merchandise trains.
The engine service was also relocated making the turntable easily accessable- that's a good thing. The tail of a turning wye can be seen piercing the new stud wall. Operations and scenery should be greatly improved in this busy West Virginia hub of activity.
Vince was assigned the job of building the wye switch. He is sitting in the newly formed Kayford valley. The town of Brooks and the operating King Coal loader will reside directly above this wye tail.
Viewed from the Ricksburg side, Vince is finishing up the wye. This opening will be disguised by a coal conveyor passing overhead from a truck dump to a nearby loadout The center area will have some trees and the TA Yard tower (Tres Amigos). Some dim lighting a scenic treatment will surround the tail a ways for those curious enough to look.
After much thought, Morrison and Ricksburg were divided into two scenes. As was done at CM Tower, a hanging viewblock was constructed following the contour of the tracklines below. Vinyl shower material was used to create the curve of the sky on each side of the viewblock.
The viewblock hides the operator fron seeing into the florescents as he rounds the corner from Morrison into Ricksburg.
Likewise, the lights are protected from view looking towards Morrison. An operator tunnel will be built extending the wall at the end of the yard across the aisle, hiding the lighting in the distance.
Looking into Ricksburg with the lighting now in place and valence painted.
The wall unit also serves a place for a couple of control panels, card files, and work area. A LED light strip illuminate the shelf area for work and night ops. And another LED strip lights the track area below. (See "Electrical" construction page for photos.)
Ties have been laid for in/out bound coal tracks in Ricksburg. These feed the operations at the Morrison Prep plant. Pencil lines mark the yard throat into Ricksburg.
From pencil lines and ties have become completed trackwork coming into Ricksburg from the south. The benefit of defining tracklines with splines with their natural easments, followed by handlaid track and switches is evident.
The opposite end of Ricksburg yard has been laid out. A turning wye has already been laid in, the tail of which lies under the town of Brooks in the Kayford Branch (see above). I chose to do some fancy switchwork to conserve space for yard track capacity (see below!).
The rails are in place. Two three-ways and nary a straight switch to be found.
The engine facility is at the north end of the yard. Ricksburg features both a wye and turntable.
The completed Ricksburg engine facilities, caboose track, and switching lead.
An overhead shot of the north end of the Ricksburg yard, a/k/a, TA Tower shows the very condensed "pinwheel" design of the ladder. This allows for greater length of the branching yard tracks.
As with Sobol Springs, I chose to use pull-out drawers for three of the four Ricksburg control panels. Note that the drawer corners have been cut to 45 degrees for operator safety. A storage "cubbie" in the foreground holds throttles for drop-off/pick-up of Ricksburg train crews.
An overview of south Ricksburg coming from Morrison. Now for the mountain hillsides and buildings of this Bluefield-like town.
The Ricksburg yard features main and passing siding, several thru and three stub-ended yard tracks. Ricksburg is the interchange point for Bob Sobol's NR&W, Rick Bacon's A&D and the N&W. The A&O's Logan Turn and Valley Local also originate here, as well as the NR&W's Atomic Turn mine run to Sobol Springs. Throw in a constant flow of empty hoppers returning to the coal fields and this will be a busy place! Morrison and Ricksburg will require 2-3 operators.
The completed engine facilities of Ricksburg. The skyboard extends to separate this scene from the adjacent river gorge scene which begins with Joel Beach at the other end of the tunnel. The plastic grid of the lighting over the short enginehouse penninsula helps hide the florescents from operator view, and provides a filtered, hazy day look to the scene.