Sunday, April 2, 2017


My regular First Saturday operating session fell on the First of April this year.  Undeterred, I pressed forward with the session anyway!  Who knows what April Foolery might take place?

I hosted twenty-one operators for this session—nominally a full crew, but we still could have used another couple of operators.  We had three operators new to the railroad (paired with more experienced operators) and another couple still learning the system.  That “system” includes the Direct Traffic Control (DTC) employed for dispatching.  DTC uses track blocks for mainline occupancy authority issued by the Dispatcher.

Assistant Chief Dispatcher Rick K. (L) confers with Trick Dispatcher Dave H. (R).

Eugene Yard was fully manned, with a Yardmaster, Switchers at both ends, and the City Switcher.  YM Rick A. (red shirt), West Switcher Scott B. and East Switcher Chuck C. (near-right) work the Classification Yard.

Scott B. (near) works the Eugene West Switcher.  Pete J. (middle) works a mainline train RR-West out of Eugene.  Eugene City Switcher Rick K. (rear) has gone into a hole while the road freight passes.

Meanwhile, back in the Eugene Arrival/Departure Yard, Santa Clara Tower Operator John B. works with Chuck C. hostling a locomotive out toward the Classification Yard for use on a local freight.

Uh-oh!  The first bit of April Foolery has shown up in Eugene.  The “back of the bus gang” from a railfan trip many years ago created Oregon Pacific WM-1 for service with my “private railroad” of years gone but it took three decades for John B. to find a suitable occasion to inaugurate service of OP WM-1.  This April 1, 2017, operating session certainly qualified.  “Thanks” guys.

Here is a closer look at OP WM-1, passing through West Springfield.

Meanwhile, the rest of the railroad was very active.

The Oakridge Turn is working in Oakridge on the main level.  Engineer Tom D. (middle) and Conductor Craig P. (near) are organizing their train, having already pulled the cars from the Pope and Talbot mill at the RR-West end of Oakridge.  This allows them to use the P&T spur as a switch lead.  Helper engineer Steve C. (near right) is conferring with his through train crew, just out of the picture on the right.  A meet is underway up above at Cascade Summit.  Dick K.(blue shirt) and Mike L. (green shirt, back) are awaiting the RR-West train piloted by Dave C. (hands interacting with the train) and Dick E. (right-upper).  Just visible on the Beattie Spur on the aisle side of Cascade Summit is a pair of locomotives with the flanger, now ready to return downhill to Oakridge.  The flanger was called out for some early spring snow and ice removal.

Craig L. (L) and Rodger C. (R) guide their RR-East train downhill through Cruzatte.

Their RR-East train is meeting a RR-West train crewed by Dick K. (center) and Gary N. (right).

Dick E. (L) and Dave C. (R) work the second Springfield local.  This job works the aisle side of the mainline at Springfield.

Rodger C. (L) and Craig L. (R) have worked their way down to the Natron DTC Block with the OAEUY (Oakland to Eugene Manifest).  This train is recognizable by the block of PFE reefers at the head of the train, bringing fresh produce up from the Watsonville and Salinas, CA, area.

Mid-session, we broke for lunch.

A special treat was prepared, but it looks like our dog Phreddie might have used it for other purposes! <wink>

Phreddie says: “Who, me?  Where’s the food?”

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