Fenwick Central: Virtual Layout Tour

South Gap Turn


08:00 - Departure
After backing down the west yard throat and coupling onto it's train, Fenwick Central GP-9 #423 is ready to depart westbound with today's South Gap Turn with a consist that contains 5 empty coal hoppers, 2 boxcars filled with supplies for the mine and an empty bulkhead flat, which will be loaded with lumber at Unity Lumber. After talking to the dispatcher, #423 highballs out of the yard.

South Gap Turn departing Merrit Yard

9:25 - Arrival at Brookfield
Emerging from the tunnel at Brookfield East, the South Gap Turn meets the extra TH&B 71, which is exercising it's running rights on the FC as it heads eastward. 71 has cleared the west switch at Brookfield and the dispatcher has given the South Gap Turn clearance straight through to Jamestown. The grade to Jamestown is quite stiff, so the engineer opens up the throttle to get some speed up.

South Gap Turn meets TH&B #71 at Brookfield

A vantage point from a local highway overpass allows #423 to be captured emerging from the natural rock tunnel just east of Jamestown. The summer is in full swing and all of the trees are in full foliage.

Emerging from natural rock tunnel outside of Jamestown

10:45 - Arrival at Jamestown
As #423 rolls down the mainline, it passes FC RS-1 #300 (Train 373, Jamestown turn) as it switches local industries at Jamestown.

Passing the Jamestown turn at Jamestown

The South Gap Turn rolls straight on out the west end of Jamestown. The tail end crew whistles at the crew of FC #300 as they pull out on the siding to get back to their train. #300 will depart as soon as #423 is safely clear of Jamestown, following the train to Ridgeville.

Leaving Jamestown

#423 slows it's approach to Ridgeville to 10MPH over the old wooden trestle. Railroad funds have not been sufficient enough to replace the aging structure, so the engineering deparment has reduced the speed to 10MPH as a precaution.

Turn at Bridge

12:45 - Arrive Ridgeville
An intercity passenger train slows to a stop at the Ridgeville passenger station, as #423 approaches the connecting track switch which will lead through the North yard and then onwards to the South Gap mine.

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In the north yard at Ridgeville, #423 passes a leased TH&B NW2 used as power for the local switcher. To the dissappointment of #423's crew, the local switcher has tied up for the day. Usually the local will dig out the cars from the mine and lumber company for the South Gap Turn and drag them to the North yard for the turn to pickup. Looks like the Turn will have to head down the branch themselves, adding several hours of switching to their day.

Turn at Bridge

#423 crawls across the branch line trestle. In the background, the Jamestown Turn rumbles down the mainline on it's way back home.

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#423 creeps down the branch seen exiting a large rock cut. The cut was blasted out of the limestone by the Fenwick and Fort Erie a long time ago, as a tunnel was unable to be built due to the unstable nature of the limestone. It's downgrade from here to the mine, so the engineer in #423 works the brakes to keep the train under control.

Through the Rock Cut

In the mining town of South Gap, the locals are enjoying a few drinks when #423 breaks the quiet blowing for the crossing. Employees of the mine take up residence here, and the local bar is place to be on a Saturday night.

South Gap Mining Town

The head end brakeman makes the cut in the train in preparation to switch Unity Lumber. The tail end crew ties on a few handbrakes to prevent the rear of the train from rolling down the grade. Today, the crew has to pick up the 2 cars at the loading dock next to the warehouse and spot the two empties that are on their train.

Making the cut for Unity Lumber

Pulling the lifts out

Their work complete, #423 prepares to enter the mainline at Ridgeville and head for Merrit to tie up for the day. A TH&B freight has just cleared the connecting track switch, while a CN through freight hammers down the siding. #423 will have to wait until both trains are clear before the dispatcher will let him onto the main.

Waiting for a clearance at Ridgeville

Almost back at Jamestown, #423 rolls across a steel trestle located just past Milepost 18. Once again the train is moving downgrade and the engineer will have to keep a mindful eye on the brakes.

Trestle at Milepost 18

A member of the local model railway club waves at #423 as it glides past. Club members can often be found at the back of the club snapping pictures of all of the trains that go by. They couldn't have asked for a better location.

The Club

20:00 - Arriving Merritt Yard
A highway overpass provides a good vantage point to catch #423 as it emerges from under another overpass entering the yard limits at Merrit West, just before leaving the mainline and entering the yard.

At Merrit West

The South Gap Turn has cleared the mainline and is preparing to drop it's train on the arrival track. Meanwhile, yard engine #145 waits patiently for the turn to clear the yard lead so it's crew can finish marhalling it's cars. After dropping it's cars, #423 heads for the engine facility where it will be prepared for the next day's assignment.

On arrival at Merritt Yard

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