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Thread: Powder River Basin

  1. #1

    Default Powder River Basin

    Just curious. Has anyone ever done an OR timetable for the Powder River route particularly the Orin Sub?

    Thanks
    Basil

  2. #2
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    I know there's an activity template but I don't believe I've seen a timetable. Aren't timetables more suited to passenger than freight? Although the coal trains probably ran on a schedule like passenger trains?
    Cheers, Gerry
    It's my railroad and I'll do what I want! Historically accurate attitude of US Railroad Barons.
    Forever, ridin' drag in railroad knowledge.


  3. #3
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    I hope, the Community can understand my posts.

    Michael

  4. #4
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    I can almost guarantee there has never been a schedule to coal train operations in the Powder River Basin. Coal demand fluctuates, the return timing of empty trains from around the country into the basin can vary by days, and crew availability is in constant flux. For the majority of US railroading (I am most familiar with the western RR's i.e. BNSF and UP), the only somewhat "scheduled" freight trains may be local freights that have a regular on-duty time each day, and some high priority intermodal trains, but those are more "general timeframes" and can easily vary by hours based on day-to-day occurrences along the route.

    That being said, making an OR timetable for empty train moves would amount to essentially just creating random timings all around the clock, while for loads it would still be semi-random but taking into account the amount of time to load an individual train at a loadout (I could go on and on about rail system capacity modeling!). I believe the PRB route came with a pretty detailed document describing approx. numbers of trains per day from each mine, but train volumes today are dramatically different (coal heading for US power plants has dropped considerably, while coal for China that goes out the north end of the basin and towards Robert Bank is much higher than 13 years ago).
    ~Sean Kelly~

    MRL Mullan Pass for ORTS
    https://www.trainsimulations.net/mullanpass

  5. #5
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    Thanks Sean, informative, I was wondering about the drop in coal usage. I did some looking around since I posted and there are some discussions about using timetables for freight ( random timing as you suggested ) -- and it appears to work just fine.
    Cheers, Gerry
    It's my railroad and I'll do what I want! Historically accurate attitude of US Railroad Barons.
    Forever, ridin' drag in railroad knowledge.


  6. #6

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    The adaptation of PSR by most US Class 1 railroads is bringing back quasi-scheduled unit and manifest trains, so a timetable might not be as crazy as you'd think ten years ago.

    Coal is still handled as a just-in-time commodity because many plants didn't have room for huge stockpiles. Neither do some of the export facilities.

    Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  7. #7

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    The mines have slot times for empty trains, so the PRB was a somewhat scheduled railroad in the fact of what empties would make their slot time or not. There were also constraints for the amount of trains that could be on the subdivision at any given time to keep it fluid as well. The following quote is taken from an STB filing in 2002, that mentions the slot and schedule system:
    "This is contrary to the real-world agreement between BNSF and UP, whereby they schedule and stage their trains to fill every available mine
    loading slot so as to maximize a mine’s loading capacity."

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