Layout Reverse Engineering

Donstaff Oct 23, 2020

  1. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    For what it's worth...the current track configuration in West Hanover looks very much like the remnants of a classic small (3'x4'??) twice-around or maybe a 5'x5' twice-around for West Hanover and Hanover. Maybe the original twice-around was expanded (Layout Phase 2?) by adding the main loop around the Hanovers, New Oxford, and Berlin Jct, and then Abbitstown, the Yard and Pigeon Mountain. Or maybe the Yard was first and the towns came later.

    Regardless of how this plan came to be, it looks like it would be fun to operate.
    The three towns (New Oxford, Hanover, West Hanover) and the industries along the mainline (at New Berlin, Abbitstown, Switch 77, and Switch 18 (and Switch 9?) provide ample road-switching opportunities, and thru freight and passenger service could depart the yard, orbit clockwise or counterclockwise and arrive at the other end of the yard.

    I agree with Mr. Trainiac, that the yard seems small, and at some point in the future, as time/finances/motivation allow, you may want to consider reconfiguring the East Berlin Yard and also widen the 3 foot section between Abbitstown and the Yard from 1 track width to 3 track widths:
    1. Relocate the Main to by-pass the yard...all the way from Abbitstown (eastward through the straight leg of the East Berlin Yard North Switch, which would be the right turnout Switch Y1 relocated to a position near Switch 1), southward along the east (right) side of the shelf parallel to the track that presently runs from Switch Y1 to Switch Y8 and curving westward parallel to the track that presently runs from Switch Y8 to Switch 14. The relocated Main would then connect directly to the base of Switch 13, continuing clockwise around Pigeon Mountain and, near where Switch 14 is currently located, would curve to run parallel inside the curve of the relocated Main and connect directly to the track that comes south from Switch Y8 in the Yard. To increase length of the Arrival/Departure track(s), left turnout Switch Y8 could be shifted south to where Switch 14 is currently located and would become the East Berlin Yard South Switch. This new configuration would eliminate the reversing loop around Pigeon Mountain; however, if you still want to have a reversing loop so you can turn an entire coal train or passenger train between operating sessions without backing it or removing cars from the track, it would be possible to leave the Pigeon Mountain block wired as an automatic reversing block and put in a crossover between the relocated Main and the track into the revised south end of the yard to accomplish this.
    2. Run an Arrival-Departure track that runs parallel to the Relocated Main southeast from a right turnout near the east end of the 3 foot narrow section, south to the relocated Yard South Switch Y8 (near current Switch 14).
    3. Run a yard lead eastward parallel to the Relocated Main from relocated Yard North Switch Y1 near Abbitstown Switch 1 until it curves to run southward parallel to the Arr-Dep track(s). There would be a left handed crossover (made of a right TO and a left TO) from the yard lead to the Arr-Dep track, and, immediately south of the crossover, there would be a right turnout on the yard lead that provides access to the engine facilities, rip track, and caboose track, followed by another right turnout that starts the 4-track stub-ended yard ladder. (The stub-ended yard could potentially allow 11 to 15 cars per track depending on how far north you start your ladder, AND how far west you extend the north end of your yard lead. [Note: Length of yard lead should equal length of longest yard track, and Arr-Dep Track should be able to accommodate all cars from longest yard track plus 1 caboose and 2 locos (if you plan to use multiple units of power).]
    4. Run an engine running track parallel to the stub ended yard tracks and, at the north end of the yard, tie it into the yard lead near the crossover from the yard lead to the arrival departure track, and at the south end, tie it into the yard lead about 2 loco lengths from the end of the yard lead, so either locos or a caboose can be added to or removed from the south end of a train on the arrival-departure track without having to foul the Main.
    5. The engine facilities, turntable, and roundhouse may need to be shifted a little more northward, so there is enough space at the southern end of the yard for both the clockwise/outside portion of the loop and the counter-clockwise/inner portion of the Pigeon Mountain Main.
     
  2. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    My $0.02 regarding the proper wiring and insulating of tracks for the two reversing loops:
    Reversing Section #1: insulating gaps on the diverging legs of Switch #2, Switch #3, and Switch #7;
    Reversing Section #2: Option a) insulating gaps on both the straight and diverging routes of Switch #14 (if you keep the current teardrop-shaped reversing loop around Pigeon Mountain), or
    Option b), insulating gaps on the south end of the track going south from the straight leg of Switch #18 where it meets the inside turnout of the Pigeon Mountain crossover, between the two turnouts that form that Pigeon Mountain crossover(and, thus, the reversing loop that encircles the Pigeon Mountain area), and the westbound end of the Pigeon Mountain crossover turnout that forms the outside (closest to the bottom of the track plan) portion of the Pigeon Mountain crossover.
     
  3. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    To get a better picture of operations, it is possible to "unwind" the track plan, so a schematic of the towns may be made to show an operator which towns will be encountered along the way, in sequential order. Below is one possible "northbound" route that exits from the north end of the yard, goes around the loop(s), and re-enters the yard from the south.

    Operations for a local train departing the Arrival-Departure track at the north end of the East Berlin Yard via Switch #10 and onto the westbound Main from the diverging leg of the relocated Switch Y1:
    Westward on the Main through Switches 1,2,3.
    Southward on the Main through Switch 4. Work the New Oxford industries.
    Southward on the Main through Switches 5 and 6.
    Eastward on the Main through Switch 61, and through the diverging route of Switch 62 to work the industries at Hanover.
    North, West, and then South through Switches 70,71,73,74, and 75 to West Hanover. Work West Hanover industries.
    North, work industry at Switch 77.
    South through Switches 72, 73,74,75,76.
    East through Switch 61 and through the straight leg of Switch 62.
    North on the bypass around Hanover to Switch 7.
    North to Switch #2, East to Midland Intermodal Facility; work the industry at Switch 1.
    East, South, and West on the relocated Main to Switch 13 at Pigeon Mountain. Work the Pigeon Mountain logging camp and the industry at Switch 18.
    East and North into the Yard through Switch Y8.


    If you don't mind passing through the same scenery multiple times, you can increase the length of running between towns by repeatedly looping counter-clockwise from New Oxford to West Hanover to Hanover to Berlin Jct (or clockwise)and only working one town on each repetition of the loop before working Abbitstown, Pigeon Mountain, and returning to the Yard.
     
  4. ppuinn

    ppuinn Staff Member

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    In your original post, you wrote: "What do you think the designer might have had in mind for operations on this layout?"

    It looks like, before you added Pigeon Mountain, the track plan had evolved to the West Hanover loop (Switches 72,75,77), inside the Hanover loop (Switches 61,62,63,68,70,71,76), inside the Hanover by-pass loop (61,7,70,71,76), inside the New Oxford Loop (Switches 3,4,6,61,62,7,8), with the yard wye-ing off of the New Oxford loop at Switches 8 and 3.

    Do you know if the yard was originally located immediately to the right of Abbitstown? Did you add the 3 foot section between Abbitstown and the Yard, so you could add Pigeon Mountain? When you got it, was the yard stub-ended or two ended?

    Possible jobs for operators:
    1. Local Switcher
    This layout track plan provides lots of opportunities for switching local industries in each town. "Operations" could have easily included a local switcher departing the yard, working all the towns and returning to the yard.
    2. Manifest Freight (all switching occurs in the main yard)
    There is a 4' long passing siding on the loop at New Oxford that could accommodate 2 short locos and a caboose (total 12 inches), and 9 4" cars or 12 3" cars. This passing siding could also serve as a staging track for a freight train. At the start of an op session, there would also be a Local Switcher staged to depart from the Yard as the first train in the session. As soon as the Local clears Switch 4 (or Switch 2, if working the New Oxford loop clockwise), the Manifest Freight would depart from the passing siding/staging and proceed east to the Yard. In the yard, the operator would set out the cars on the arrival track and move the loco(s) to the engine facility tracks for refueling/maintenance etc, then park it for the next operator.
    3. Yard Switcher
    Primary responsibilities are to:
    a. break down arriving Manifest Freight trains, classify the cars by local destination (New Oxford, West Hanover, Hanover, Berlin Jct, Abbitstown, Pigeon Mountain) and build/block the local trains for efficient switching; and
    b. break down arriving Local Freight trains and build the Manifest Freight Train (which would be sent out to the New Oxford passing siding/staging track at the end of the op session.
    4. In-Plant Switching Job (and/or Industry Transfer Job from the Yard)
    With minor additions and tweaking of industry trackage (probably in West Hanover and Hanover, but also possible in New Oxford), it would be possible to set up an industry with multiple tracks and sufficient capacity to spot 8 to 12 cars. A second Yard Switcher could transfer 8-10 cars from the yard to the industry and bring 8-10 cars back to the yard. You could have an industry "critter" perform all in-plant switching from industry spots to an outbound track and from an inbound track to industry spots. This critter could also take the outbound cars to the yard and bring back all the inbound cars, or the transfer from/to the yard could be performed by a loco(s) from the RR (NW, B&O, WM?). (And, if you don't have a loco painted in the company colors, you could permanently station a RR loco at the industry to perform all in-plant movements and also the daily transfers to/from the yard.)
    A similar arrangement might be choreographed for the logging camp. The logging company loco brings loaded logging buggies from upper Pigeon Mountain down the switchbacks to a saw mill to be cut into planks, and empty logging buggies are taken back up. The RR's Local Switcher (or, my preference, the RR's Paper Mill Job, if you feel there is enough rail traffic to justify it) picks up 4 loads (2 wood chips in high-sided gondolas and 2 loads of cut planks in box cars) and sets out 4 corresponding empties, and then delivers the planks to a lumber yard and the chips to a paper mill (along with tanks of Koalin and other paper processing chemicals, sliding-door box cars with waste paper/cardboard bales to be made into recycled paper products, empty plug-door box cars to be loaded with finished paper products, and coal hopper loads for the paper mill power plant, which will all be picked up in the Yard and delivered to the paper mill and lumber yard or furniture manufacturer). The Local Switcher (or the Paper Mill Job) returns loads and empties from the paper mill and lumber yard/furniture manufacturer to the Yard or Logging Camp, as appropriate.

    To maximize the number of different jobs that operators could run simultaneously, I'd suggest that the in-plant job with company critter or permanently stationed RR loco and the paper mill job be deliberately designed as TWO separate jobs, and not just jobs added to the Local Freight train. You can always combine one or both of them with the Local Job when you are operating alone, but if a visiting operator is less familiar with your layout, it might be easier to have any paperwork or switchlists for the three jobs default to separate job descriptions rather than having the operator trying to figure out how to add one or both of the industry jobs into the Local Job. Another reason to keep these 3 jobs separate: If the Local gets longer than 10 cars, it will be not be possible for it to clear the main anywhere on the layout for a meet or pass with any container or passenger trains.
    5. Intermodal Service
    If the Intermodal Service you want to model is only 1 or 2 trailers or containers on flat cars, then you could include them as pick-ups or set-outs for your Local Freight Job. If you want to model an eight-car long express Container train, then you should probably add some hidden staging tracks along the north wall, accessed near Switch 4 on the west end and at the north end of the yard on the east end. Depending on how many tracks you add, you could hide them behind easily removable 2 to 5 inch high vertical tree flats or building flats. On the lower deck of my N scale layout, there are 2 tracks hidden behind the pic of the river and the shorter tree flats, and, about a foot to the right, the tracks continue behind the yard office and the shorter tree flats. In both pictures, the taller tree flats are behind the 2 tracks.
    On the visible main, for the container train, you probably should add a turnout just north of Switch 7 that is a lead into the intermodal business and then curves to run parallel with the main that goes from Abbitstown to the Yard. Switch 1 would be moved from the main to form the other end of a 4 or 5 car long intermodal siding, on which the intermodal critter (or rail-capable tractor or truck) would spot outbound cars. From the relocated Switch 1, the intermodal track would run east parallel to the Main and then curve south to run down the west side of the yard and then curve west to connect into the main on the north side of Pigeon Mountain. From there, the express would follow the main south and then east past the saw mill/logging camp siding, then north on what I called the relocated Yard Main in an earlier post, and then, where the main curves to the west, would take a turnout into the east end of the hidden staging. If you have 2 tracks in hidden staging, you could stage an eastbound express and a westbound express.
    6. Passenger Service
    Passenger service could be handled just like an intermodal express, except instead of stopping at the intermodal facility for pick-ups/set-outs, the eastbound passenger train would stop at New Oxford, Hanover, West Hanover, the south end of Berlin Jct, and would take Switch 8 to--and then through--the Yard without stopping (unless you want to put a very small station at the north end of the Yard), then around Pigeon Mountain to the saw mill/flag stop and then take the relocated Yard Main north to enter the east end of staging. Like the intermodal express, this would be a relatively short job. If you want, you could add staging tracks for an eastbound and a westbound passenger train. Please note, this new intermodel track from Switch 7 to the Pigeon Mountain tie-in, would need to be a reversing section, double gapped at both ends!

    Because the length of the mainline limits how long it takes a train to complete its run at scale speeds with little or no switching, the manifest freight train, passenger train, and intermodal train will each only occupy an operator for a few minutes. The Local freight will take longer...perhaps 20 to 30 minutes, depending on complexity of the switching movements, and how rigorously the engineer follows prototype practices. Yard switching will take about 5 to 10 minutes for the arriving Local, and for the arriving manifest freight, it might take perhaps 15 to 30 minutes for blocking and building the local train.

    I think a maximum of 2 operators would work best; but, if everyone is okay waiting a few minutes between trains, then three could work out well.
    Please note that all the times are based on the assumption that there won't be any delays caused by electrical, mechanical, or other/unknown gremlins.

    If you want to model Passenger Service during an operating session, you may want to add another hidden staging track, or two.

    Note that the by-pass track around Hanover would allow a second train to meet or pass a train working in Hanover...as long as the local train did not foul the main at Switch 62 or Switch 70. The West Hanover loop is very small, and a second train on the New Oxford loop would have to go around both Hanover and West Hanover in order to meet or pass a local train while it is working West Hanover. As currently configured, the mainline may be too short to support two trains simultaneously operating on the main (but, moderate rearranging of some passing sidings and controlling train length might permit a carefully choreographed meet or pass).
     
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2020
    BNSF FAN likes this.
  5. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    Here is what I originally proposed, red lines are insulated joints on each rail.

    The risk with this is if you have a train meet at Berlin Jct. You can have two trains over the insulated joints at the same time. It doesn't have to be just engines, it can be metal wheels on cars too.

    One way to avoid this is to exclude the siding at Berlin Jct from the reversing section.

    Regarding the question about making the whole wye a reversing section, increasing the size tends to increase the chances that trains will be crossing boundaries at the same time. The situation with the orange and purple trains would still be a problem. Another option that might be simpler it to pick a leg that has fewer options, such as the bridge track:

    That leg, since its single track means that it would be unlikely that two trains would be entering it at the same time. By stopping the section at the far end of the bridge, you could still work the ramp and ahave atrain pull out of the yard without crossing both ends of the section.
     
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  6. Dave1905

    Dave1905 TrainBoard Member

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    Wow. Two "Dave H"s responding to the same thread. :)
     
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  7. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    I have been reviewing messages on the Layout Design portal in Train Board (October 25, 2020, (see below)). I wonder if Sumner meant using literally the same reverser for both loops, or the same model reversers separately, one at each location? And if only a single reverser is used, would that mean that both reversing loops would activate simultaneously, and if so, what issues might arise from that?

    Don
     
  8. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I wouldn't use a reverser for two reversing sections although it could work if you don't have more than one train crossing the reversing boundaries at the same time and one of them is inside the boundaries when the second is crossing into or out of the reversing section. A lot to keep track of.

    Being able to buy a quality reverser for $35 I think I would never go down that road unless I was a single user only running one train at a time and then why have DCC ;).

    Sumner
     
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  9. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    I went with the DC Specialist Posters for the logging loop because it has the capability of automatically throwing the switch back to proper alignment when the train reaches the exit point of the loop. I plan to replace the MRC520 reverser that currently serves the wye on the opposite side of my layout for the same reason.

    Don
     
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  10. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    My real question was to do with whether a single reversing modules, with both the wye and the logging loop you circled in black, both wired in parallel, could be satisfactorily hooked up.

    Don
     
  11. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    [​IMG]
    Sorry but I'm having a hard time with the question. We are talking about the reversing loop (black) and the wye (red), right? Is the reversing module an electronic auto-reverser or a physical section of track? Do you want to know if they can use the same auto-reverser? Sounds like you have two auto-reversers so I'm guessing not.

    Sumner
     
  12. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    So here's the issue: auto-reversers fail when multiple trains (or both ends of one train with metal wheels) try to cross the boundaries into or out of the reversing region at the same time.

    By increasing the track length of the auto-reversing region more than necessary to hold the longest train, you are also increasing the likelihood of more than one train transiting the boundaries of that region at the same time. Likewise, if you have two reversing regions on the same auto-reverser, then you will have failures whenever more than one train crosses into or out of any of those reversing regions controlled by the same auto-reverser.

    Note that, in addition to each of the regions being large enough to handle the longest train without tripping multiple ends of it, the track length between any two regions would also need to be long enough to contain the longest train, so it does not trip the two regions' boundaries at the same time.

    Given these restrictions, it is highly recommended to dedicate a separate auto-reverse controller for each auto-reversing region.
     
  13. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks Sumner and BigJake. My question about using a single auto reversing unit to service two separate reverse sections was answered by BigJake's last sentence. I will use the DC Specialist PSX-ARSC snap coil auto reverser that I have for the mountain loop (Sumner's black circle in the picture) and buy a second one to replace the MRC520 that I now have on the wye (Sumner's red circle.). I am attaching an updated version of my full layout track plan along with a closer view of the mountain loop. In them, I have added tiny circles to denote the locations of the insulated track joiners in the two reversing sections.

    Don
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 12, 2022
  14. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

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    Donstaff, Is that DC Specialist PSX-ARSC used on DC layouts. If so I had heard of them when they first came out, way back. When we just used switches and a human controller. I've tried looking but can't find such. Where would I find them if I decide to go that way?
    You have an interesting layout planed but it would be too much for my antique DC mind.
     
  15. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    Don I can't see the circles. Maybe I can't blow the images up enough. The other day I looked at the track plan again and here is what I'd do where I'd put them but I didn't spend a lot of time so would for sure be interested in your thoughts or those of others...

    [​IMG]
    At the top I'd make the one leg of the wye longer to hopefully fit the longest train that you would run through it (the blued line). I moved the turnout at the bottom of the blue line down to the turnout at the bottom of the red circle. It would be better if it could even be moved down to the next turnout or even further down to the next one or past it. The further down it is the longer the train could be that would be in the reversing section.

    I also marked where I'd put them in the reversing section by the logging Co. I noticed you have changed other elements around to some degree. Above I showed the change you made to the siding just above the left yellow mark. That use t be a passing siding. If you still wanted a passing siding there then put two isolation gaps in both tracks where the yellow mark is and you could keep the passing siding like it was.

    I think I have all of these right but please someone else check it out also,

    Sumner
     
  16. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Well, since you ASKED...

    What Sumner suggests is correct and will work, as long as you don't want to run a train that is longer than the blue side between the isolation cuts (gaps).

    There are so many ways to slice this layout WRT reversing loops and control...

    You could treat the region between the wye and the black loop as a reversing section, and wire the black loop and the entire left hand loop together without any reversing control. Gap the two wye connections to the left hand loop, and the two entrances to the black loop. But that means it is much more likely that two trains could unknowingly, simultaneously hit the opposite ends of the reversing section, so I would not recommend it.

    But if this were my layout, I would treat the entire left side loop as one big reversing loop, and gap top and right sides of the wye triangle (in one place each, preferably near the upper right switch.) The black loop would still be a reversing loop, gapped as shown. This would be by far the best choice for running/reversing long trains. The proximity of both entrances to each loop makes it very unlikely that you would unknowingly, simultaneously run two trains across both entrances to the same reversing loop.
     
  17. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    Shortround,

    Copy the information below and paste it into your brouser to get information on the DCC Specialist reverset that I am using:

    DCC Specialties PSX-ARSC Power Shield Auto Reverser / Circuit Breaker.

    Don





     
  18. Donstaff

    Donstaff TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks again,
    Attached is a sketch showing the current insulated joiner and buss connections on my wye. I think that this is the Wye4 suggestion made by Dave1905 on Nov 3, 2020. Does this look ok? Also, the way BigJake indicated in the black circle for my mountain loop is the wah I have it wired.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Sumner

    Sumner TrainBoard Member

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    I forgot Dave's suggestion. I think it is a good one. I'd maybe think about moving the right end cut all the way down to the turnout at the entrance of the yard there to make the section as long as possible.

    Sumner
     
  20. BigJake

    BigJake TrainBoard Member

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    Donstaff,

    Thanks for the credit for the marked up picture, but Sumner posted it.

    As I said in my reply above, the only caution I would have about the existing location of the right-most (per Sumner's view's orientation) end of the wye reversing trackage is that when you have a loco pushing/pulling a long cut of cars to/from the top of the yard at upper right (again, Sumner's view), it will trip the wye reversing module, which could cause a problem for another locomotive crossing the other end of that section boundary at the same time.

    It's curious how we all instantly recognize the wye, and assume it must be wired for auto-reversing like a wye. Further inspection though, reveals it is also the entrance/exit from a reversing loop that happens to allow continuous running within itself (via the left side of the 'wye'). The good news (if you want to wire it as such,) the two existing insulating joiners in the wye will work as is. You can remove your third insulating joiner that is closer to the yard. Then connect the supply for the whole left-side loop (Sumner's view) to the auto-reverser's output.

    Nevertheless, what you have will work, albeit with the caution noted above if two locomotives are operating around the boundaries of that auto-reversing section. I can imagine a loco swapping ends on a short train at Berlin Junction via the wye, while another loco is shoving/pulling a cut of cars into/out of the yard, creating this problem.

    YMMV; Closed Course, Professional Driver; Objects in mirror may be closer than they appear... Yada, yada, yada.
     

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