Coming back after a “vacation” from the model railroad
following the NMRA National Convention in August, I held the fifth operating
session using the full mainline November 7. We had a full crew of twenty on hand. Based on the convention operations
session (ops session 4), I concluded the layout could absorb up to twenty
operators. From my initial call
list, I received several additional requests for invites. Figuring I could use up to twenty folk,
I agreed and made those invitation additions. This railroad has become living proof of the statement:
“Build it and they will come.” I
had no idea it would happen so quickly!
The wonderful operations organizing assistance provided by
former SP Dispatcher Rick K. made it possible to keep everyone fairly
busy. In addition to crew
training—Dispatchers—Rick added a Crew Caller position. I have envisioned this role belonging
to my “Santa Clara Tower” operator position, but it helped to have an
additional person performing this role.
We used two-man train crews—a conductor and an engineer. Two-man crews helps with the
communications load and provides for two pair of eyes watching the ends of the
train. I had always figured
two-man crews would be good with the local switch jobs, but we have seen it is
useful with the road crews, as well.
Ken R. and Dave H. work the first Springfield switcher
job. This job works on the depot
side of the mainline. A second
Springfield switcher works the aisle side of the mainline.
With the Crew Caller position created, we could manage crews
off of several “Boards.” The first
was the regular road crew board for the road freight trains. A second board was set up for Amtrak
and the helpers. Both of these
jobs were declared to be single man crew jobs. An “Extra” Board had crews that could be called when the
regular road crews were fully engaged or if the helper and Amtrak Board needed
augmentation. Additional jobs on
the railroad included the Eugene Yard crew: Yardmaster, west and east switchers
and the Santa Clara Tower Operator.
Finally, we had a Dispatcher (plus a trainee or observer), the Crew
Caller, and finally, the “Superintendant”—me! Especially true of large model railroads, but also very true
of most any model railroad in its infancy and development, the layout owner
ends up taking care of all sorts of tasks (trouble-shooting) and providing
overall direction or explanations.
The railroad was quite busy throughout the session. A few crews got stuck in sidings for a
while, but that is real railroading.
One helper engineer noted he made six trips up and down the mountain!
A meet at Oakridge.
Jim M. looks at Oakridge as his RR-East train descends into town behind
him. Greg. P. has a RR-West train
in the yard (yard track four) waiting for the RR-East train to clear so he can
pull out into the Salmon Creek block and have his helper entrained. Helper Engineer Jordan D. is pulling
his helper power set out of the Oakridge engine facility. John B. is the engineer for the Oakridge Turn, still working in the
yard with cars on yard tracks one and three.
An earlier view at Oakridge with the Oakridge Turn crew of
Mike B. and John B. strategizing on how best to get their work done.
Jim M. looks on as his train rolls through the RR-East end
Meanwhile, up on the Hill. Dave C. guides Amtrak Number 14
down grade toward Cruzatte.
Overseeing all, “first trick” Dispatcher Mike Y. receives an
OS (“On Sheet”--train location report).
Crew Caller Rick K. confers with Eugene Yardmaster David B.
while Eugene East Switcher Pete J. works and Santa Clara Tower Operator Jan K.
assists with switch routing.
Former Conductor Dick K. reprises that role on my railroad
as his train drifts down through McCredie Springs.
The important mid-session break for “beans”—literally, as we
usually serve chili.
Engineer Gene N. guides his RR-West train into RR-East
Springfield as his conductor, Jim M. confers with the crew of the Oakridge
Turn. The Oakridge Turn is on the
Springfield siding and awaits the passage of the westbound train.
By late afternoon, we had a happy but tired crew. Though there are potential schedule
issues during the holiday period, the crew strongly desires continued
operations. It brings me great joy
to have a large group of folk arrive to help bring my vision into reality,
especially for the “raw” state of the railroad. I have mostly built it and they are coming!