Monday, March 6, 2017


The winter of 2017 will go down in the weather record books as a hard winter in the Willamette Valley.  Where we might experience a couple of snow storms a winter, we have now had five with measurable snow that sticks and two more snow events where it did not stick.  Our normally mild and soggy climate has been colder this year.  I posted about an early January storm that forced cancellation of my regular operating session that month:
The current storm (it is snowing as I write this) has dumped modest snow.  Fortunately, it happened after I held two operating sessions this past week.

Early March 2017 snow.

Even the daffodils felt the impact of the snow.

The first of the two operating sessions this past week was held on Tuesday evening.  A health event for one of the regular hosts of our mid-Valley operating group provided me an opportunity to invite that group up to operate my railroad.  I have long sought to host this group for a session.  I would rather not have the reason for the schedule opening, though.  Nonetheless, the dozen guys who came were provided a chance to experience my SP Cascade Line.  The photos and captions tell the story.

As usual, the Eugene yard and depot were active.  Rick K. (left) runs the Eugene City Switcher, while yardmaster Pete J. (right) confers with his RR-West switcher.

The rest of the Eugene crew works the classification yard.  Gene N. (near) ran the RR-East switcher.  Chuck C. (far) ran the RR-West switcher.  Victor N. (with hat) ran the Santa Clara Tower position which supervises and coordinates activities in the Eugene Arrival/Departure yard.

Mike L. did the First Springfield Turn.  He is reassembling his train using the House track behind the depot area.

Gary N. controls his RR-West (uphill) train at Wicopee, assisted by helper engineer Scot B.  In the background, helper engineer Craig P. brings his light helper set down through Cruzatte.  Ralph J. (left) watches the action as he awaits a helper for his train down at Oakridge.

Out on the mainline, Gary N. pilots his train into Cascade Summit while helper engineer Scot B. watches the slack point for the two power sets on this RR-West train.

John B. Dispatched both this mid-week ops session and the later Saturday session.

The second operating session of the past week was held on Saturday, my normal position in our North Oregon operating rotation.  Health and other issues trimmed this crew to only a dozen, but all were experienced operators.  That allowed most trains to run with single man crews.  In spite of the reduced manpower, we ran most of the train line-up and all of the locals did their work.

Mike B. runs the First Springfield Turn.  Yardmaster Rick A, Switcher Scott B, and Eugene City Switcher Mike L. work the Eugene area.  Rick and Scott performed yeoman service at Eugene, accomplishing what normally takes four crewmen to do.

A WCEUE (empties from the Los Angeles area to Eugene) slips into Cascade Summit overhead, while Greg P. and Buzz A. run their train toward Roseville on the Eugene depot main below.

Steve C. brings the KFEUY down hill into Wicopee.  The block of cement cars are a clear indicator of this Klamath Falls train.  Those cars have come from Gray Rocks, north of Redding, California, and are destined for Tilbury Cement in Springfield.

Steve C. with his KFEUY train meets Rodger C. and helper engineer Norm A. at McCredie Springs with a RR-West train.

Rodger C. brings the LABRT around the curve at the end of the Springfield-Marcola peninsula.  This was the first time the LABRT actually had trailer flats in the train!.  Sorry about the background “horns” Roger.  This image of a signature train was just too important to not post it.  Roger is a prince of a fellow and does not deserve those “horns.”

I have developed a re-staging plan that passed the test of getting the railroad ready in there days for the next operating session.  I am working on some operating scheme changes (expansion of the train line-up to a full twenty-four hour operation) that should trim that re-staging effort further.  Contributing to the re-staging effort is the re-configuration of trains at Crescent Lake to reflect their appearance (blocked by car types) for RR-East movement.  That effort pays off by my easy identification of trains on the line based on car types in train (e.g., the LABRT) or by the obvious blocking of a train (e.g., the WCEUE).  This is a signature look I have sought for my trains and railroad.

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