Friday, September 23, 2016


The three-day model railroad operation event in Utah known as Great Basin Getaway (GBG) was a wonderful experience for me and about 75 other guest operators.  It was a great opportunity to operate on some wonderful layouts and to renew friendships and acquaintances from all over the country.  Guest operators came from both East and West Coasts and points in between.  We had a sizeable group of Oregonians as well as a similar group of my friends from the San Francisco Bay Area.  Many of the others I met last year during the NMRA National Convention in Portland.  GBG was a great chance for me to meet and talk with folk in a far more relaxed mode than last summer! 

My prior two posts documented my first two days of operation.

For my third day, I drew the layout of Pat B.  Pat served as a conductor for the SP out of Southern California and then went on to training other train crewmembers.  I have met Pat at a number of SP related events.  On one of those occasions, a decade ago, Pat took note of the flat car “XMUG” (empty freight cars to Eugene) that left Los Angeles every night.  This was a solid train of flat cars headed to Eugene.  That was the first I heard of that particular operation.  It immediately impacted the design of my SP Cascade Line, as I knew I needed to plan for that very distinctive train as one of my RR-East trains.  I looked forward to operating on Pat’s condensed version of switching in the Los Angeles Basin.

As we arrived, Pat and his local crew were cleaning locomotive wheels.  This is a necessary task for such intensive switching operations.  Our operating crew was very glad he took the time to do so!

A local crewmember cleans track at the SP Bull Ring Yard.  Though condensed, landmark features of this yard have been captured including the S-curve layout and concrete viaduct.

The harbor district.  Both SP and ATSF switch the piers.  I drew the SP job and had a great time.  The lift bridge on the right was an impressive bit of engineering and modeling.  It was lowered when trains needed to cross.  Noted fellow SP modeler Tony Thompson is inspecting the port area, as “Daylight Dave” of Daylight Sales passes behind him.  Dave H. did a special polo shirt for the event.

The foundry alongside the harbor district.  My SP harbor job switched here, as well.

SP’s Taylor Yard—greatly condensed.  Eric D. works in the foreground, while Seth N. works the other end of the yard and Ray D. works the ATSF Hobart Yard behind him.

Pat models four yards in the Los Angeles Basin:  SP’s Taylor and Bull Ring yards, ATSF’s Hobart Yard, and UP’s East Yard.  The industry jobs take cars to and from at least one of those yards while yard transfers work among the yards.  My SP harbor job took its cars through Taylor Yard and around to the Bull Ring Yard where I picked up a new cut of cars to take back and spot at the harbor.

Pat D. works a Santa Fe job.  His moves could conflict with SP harbor district tracks in this very congested area.  Coordination was crucial!

Dave S. works the citrus groves with a Santa Fe job.

We wrapped up on Pat’s layout by mid-afternoon.  This gave us time to go back to the hotel and clean up for dinner.  Dinner was a marvelous catered prime rib affair.  It was a great chance to meet with our hosts and all of the visiting operators, many of whom were off operating on the other four layouts supporting the 2016 edition of Great Basin Getaway.  I returned home “happy-tired” after an intense three days of model railroad operation and additional rail fanning (more on that later).

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