Wednesday, March 23, 2022


As mask requirements and related group gathering protocols finally give way, it is time to get back to hobby gatherings, including operations.  The month of March 2022 benefitted from timing as mask and gathering restrictions came off in Oregon just as several major RR hobby events appeared on the calendar.  My friends in the Willamette Model RR Club were able to hold what had been an annual swap meet on what turned out to be the first day in Oregon without mask requirements.  It was with great joy we finally could see full smiling faces of our fellow hobbyists.


The next event was Winterail, the major West Coast rail photography exhibition, now held in the Corvallis High School Performing Arts Center.  Winterail features shows with projected images set to music in the main auditorium and a companion railroadianna show held in the cafeteria space alongside the auditorium. This year’s Winterail featured a full standard Saturday program followed by a part-day program on Sunday.  The Saturday program was the show held over from 2020, which was cancelled at the last moment as the pandemic impact first hit.  New material for 2022 was shown on Sunday.  Producer Vic Neves reported ticket sales around 280—down a bit from pre-pandemic numbers, but decent enough.  As usual, the shows were of high quality with a couple of standouts.  Most notable was “Into the Light: Photography of Erik Lundgren” that had particularly striking lighting in images mostly around Colorado.  Images and music were particularly harmonious in this production by Tim Tonge.  Another takeaway from this year’s Winterail is the increasing use of camera drones helping photographers achieve a new perspective on railroading.


Taking advantage of several folk travelling to the Pacific Northwest for both Winterail and the next weekend’s Soundrail model railroad operations regional gathering, I scheduled a “Boomer” operating session on my railroad while my friends at WMRRC schedule one the following day.  Ten out-of-town “Boomers” were joined by a similar number of my local crew for a full operating session on my SP Cascade Line.  Shown below are a sampling of images from this fifty-second full operating session on my railroad.


Boomer Seth N. dispatched.  He has done so in prior visits and kept the railroad fluid.


Regulars Dave H. and Craig L. managed the Eugene Arrival-Departure Yard.  This combines both staging and A-D Yard functions.


Rodger C, (Boomer) Jim B, Craig L, study action at the RR-East end of my Eugene Classification Yard as “Santa Clara Tower Operator” Dave H. looks on.


Yardmaster Rick A. manages the Eugene Yard as RR-West Switcher Bill M. works his end of the yard.


Boomers Dave H. and Brian F. work the Springfield-A local job.  This job works Springfield industry on spurs on the backdrop side of the mainline.


Boomer Jeff F. brings a RR-East road freight around the curve into Springfield.


Dispatcher Seth N. has set up a major meet in Springfield with Jeff F.’s Eastbound road freight on the main, the out-going (RR-West) Oakridge Turn on the siding, and the Springfield-A job on the depot and drill tracks.


Jim B. pilots a RR-West freight around the curve past the Marcola Branch at the RR-West end of Springfield.


Jeff F. brings another RR-East train past Westfir.


Boomer Jim P. services the company fuel and maintenance of way tracks at Oakridge as part of the Oakridge Turn’s activity.


Oakridge Turn engineer Jim P. watcxhes as Helper engineer Boomer Dave A. cuts his helpers off the point of a RR-East train as that train’s engineer Boomer Ed S. watches.  Dispatcher Seth N. chose to bring most helpers back down to Oakridge on the point (front) of RR-East (downhill) trains.


Jim B. works a RR-West uphill with help from Jim L. as engineer on the mid-train helper at McCredie Springs.


The Dispatcher has set up a meet at Wicopee.  Jeff F. brings a RR-West uphill and into the siding as Dave H. and Dave A. hold their RR-East downhill train on the Main.


Meet accomplished, Road Engineer Jeff F. and Helper Jim L. check block authority with the Dispatcher as Helper Engineer Dave A. prepares to work further RR-East.


At the RR-West end of Wicopee, Boomer Greg W. checks his block authority as he works another train RR-West (uphill).


The 9363 drifts downhill over Salt Creek Trestle.


Ed S. and Dave A. bring another freight RR-East down over Salt Creek Trestle.


A priority meet at Cruzatte!  Greg W. (left) holds the main with the RR-East LABRF while Amtrak Number 11 works uphill (RR-West) under the guidance of Norm A. (right).


Boomer Jeff F. gets a procedural assist from local Jim L. at Crescent Lake as Jeff prepares to take a train out of Crescent Lake and RR-East downhill toward Eugene.


It was great to have a full crew run my railroad after two years of limited operations.  I was happy to open up the RR to out-of-state visitors, taking advantage of rail events nearby on successive weekends.  This was a great way to celebrate a return to group activities.

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