Some track changes have taken place at Brookville in recent years. One of two leads to the old enginehouse has been severed and another turnout has also been removed. I suspect both moves reflect some economizing on the part of the railroad.
The photo below shows the enginehouse tracks as they used to be in the early 2000s, while the 2011 overhead photo, shows the current conditions.
Hopefully, you can make sense of the changes. You can see the ties of the missing turnout in the oil soaked mud along with the frog and the remaining rails going into the stall to the right of the hopper car. I’ll get to the piles of colored material in the middle of the tracks in a moment.
The track arrangement in Brookville once consisted of a lap siding. Essentially two passing sidings, one on each side of the main running track, that overlapped each other. The railroad kept the south portion, while the northern portion on the opposite side of the main track was cut and used as part of the shingle plant trackage. That track is the one where the enginehouse turnout was removed. Where the southern siding returned to the main, there was a #10 crossover. The second turnout branched off to a team track and industry siding behind the old depot. Both of those tracks are long gone but the crossover remained until recently.
As you can see in this April 2011 shot, the second turnout is gone completely, the track patched and freshly ballasted. The rail is still very light through here. The mainline was/is the middle track, and the other track is the remaining portion of the north siding. Both tracks dead-end just a few yards behind my position.
The trackage at Brookville is as simple as it gets. Most in-plant switching utilizes a trackmobile for moving cars about. I have only witnessed sporadic train operations here. Inbound trains have the loco on the front end and I alway assumed they used the runaround to free it. Nope. There are often cars on it waiting for pick-up or to be spotted for unloading. All this trackage is often filled to overflowing with cars when the plant is busy (below). Crews tend to use a flying switch maneuver at the south end of this siding. Not what I would have guessed had I not seen it myself.
I’ve always been curious as to what is in all those covered hoppers. I speculated it was the grit that covers the fiberglass layers of the shingles and I was right. That’s what the piles of colored material in the middle of the tracks are. Most cars spotted here are Wisconsin Central 2-bay hoppers. I assume the grit is sourced up in that part of the country.
However much larger three and four bay cars also appear frequently like this one.
The black stuff all over the roof is spillage of the grit. I was surprised at how fine it is, although I shouldn’t be. Looking at a real shingle, of course the grit is fine textured. This car was one of several lined up on the south siding and all had large amounts of cargo spillage on the roofs. I’ve never seen this before in all the years I’ve taken photos from this bridge. It doesn’t seem to matter whether trough or round hatches are used, as both as seen here.
I learn some new almost every time I visit. I’ve modeled this line in two different scales since the late 1990s, and I’m now convinced that modeling a small branchline need not get old or boring. There’s alway something to learn or study if you keep an open mind, and eye.