D-Day (June 6) was the day battle was joined between gravity and trains on my HO scale SP Cascade Line. The full mainline was placed in service, albeit with crude turnout control. A dozen operators showed up to give the completed mainline grade and staging tracks their first test.
All of the time spent over the past two months under the layout paid off as the basic track wiring performed well and the trains rolled. The initial “Smoke Test” earlier in the week resulted in---NO smoke! Even more, crossing between power districts for the four new boosters added to the layout went flawlessly the first time. There were no out-of-phase boundaries as I successfully maintained the wiring pattern for all boosters.
The railroad remains un-signaled (“dark” territory) so a Direct Traffic Control (DTC) system was employed per Southern Pacific practice in the 1980’s. Former Dispatcher for the SP, Rick Kang helped adapt the system to my HO scale railroad and performed the first Dispatcher duties. The system worked well. It was a joy to see meets between opposing trains develop on the mountain grade. All of us got a rush seeing this happen even with bare plywood or spline roadbed and no scenery. Our minds filled in the blanks.
Herewith some photos from the day.
The Eugene yard is busy with road and yard crews.
David B. brings a train to a halt in the upper staging yard at Crescent Lake. Dispatcher Rick Kang is busy at his desk down below.
Dave H. brings a train upgrade through McCredie Springs.
Later on, Dave brings his train out of Wicopee and around the loop at Salt Creek trestle. I am eager to build this signature scene.
A meet takes place high up at Cruzatte. The planned operator platform is needed!
Conductor Bob S. watches as Engineer Dave C. bring their RR-East train past the RR-West train in the siding at Cruzatte.
Conductor Rick A. calls the Dispatcher with an OS report while David B. and John B. await further clearance. Down below, Robert Y. guides a train over Salmon Creek and starts up-grade, RR-westbound.
Although the railroad has a few rough edges, and much work yet to go, it passed this first test of something approaching full operations. Whew!