My first encounter with The Downtown Spur was in February of 2006 where I caught GP38-2 #2639 (above) heading light back to Hialeah Yard. Clearly it was a shuttle of some sort, the details of which I have no clue. I think it’s safe to assume he had a car (or several) that needed to be taken down the line to be spotted and had nothing empty to take back on the return trip.
Frequently operating our layouts keeps the rolling stock in shape and allows you to uncover any maintenance issues that may be out there. Copying this type of shuttle move is a good way to keep the wheels shiny. It’s also a way to keep yourself engaged with the layout when you may not have a lot of time.
In the above image I’ve taken two empty reefers out of staging, run them to the end of line to be stored, and then ran the unit light back to staging. Not a complex op. session by any means but, even so, it took over twenty minutes, and uncovered some dirt patches on the rails that needed to be addressed.