Tuesday, June 27, 2023

WOOPS 2023 – 2

In early June, we held our regional model railroad operating event, WOOPS 2023 (Western Oregon OPerationS).  The event featured fifty “Boomer” (travelling railroad workers) Operators from around the West operating a dozen of our local model railroads.  I conducted two sessions for the extended weekend event.  Friday’s session was covered in the previous post:  https://espeecascades.blogspot.com/2023/06/woops-2023-1.html

After a scramble to re-stage my railroad on Friday evening and Saturday, I held my second session on Sunday.  


I had a full “Boomer” crew scheduled for Sunday.  One last-minute drop-out cleared way for a last-minute gain of a young man from Switzerland who was touring railroad sites and activities in the West.  I was glad to slip him into this operating session.  A neighborhood young man also showed up (as previously invited to do when he visited a regular operating session with his mother).  One of my “Boomer” crew members took him under his wing and began teaching him the art of model railroad operations.


Follow along with photos from my second WOOPS 2023 operating session.


Attached to the Dispatcher’s panel was Rick Kang’s crew nameplate.  Rick taught us much about dispatching a railroad.  We dedicated WOOPS 2023 to Rick Kang, Chuck Clark and Tom Dill, three gentlemen who contributed much to our area model railroad operations.  All three passed in the last three years.


My in-briefing included description of the Direct Traffic Control blocks on my railroad.  Rick Kang set up the mountain grade blocks in a way that allowed an up-hill train to advance without Dispatcher instruction to the next siding up hill.  This has been useful when traffic (on railroad and on the radio) gets heavy.




Seth N. (rear) dispatched the morning half of the session, with mentoring by regular Dispatcher John B. (front).  Seth operated here before and fell right into the dispatching rhythm.


The Eugene Yard crew discusses their duties.  Jim B. (background) describes the yard work to my young neighbor, E.S.  Keith S. (seated served as the RR-West end switcher.  Mark S. (center, facing) worked the Eugene City Switcher, which serves the industries at Eugene against the backdrop.  Jim R. (light blue shirt with back turned) served as the Eugene Yardmaster.  Jim drew a high-numbered crew chit and ended up with the Yardmaster job.  He did well with my limited instructions.




John W. was drafted as the Arrival-Departure Yardmaster.  He did well, even without a full switching crew.  Thanks John!

Traffic got quite congested at Springfield on occasion.  Dave H. (black WOOPS shirt) looks on as Ollie F. (red shirt, our Swiss visitor) moves a train through Springfield.  Dave H. had the Marcola Turn which at this point was occupying a Drill track at Springfield.  Meanwhile, another through train occupies the mainline in the middle of Springfield.  I understand why the SP eventually developed the Judkins siding between the Eugene Depot (RR-West end of Eugene) and Springfield.  It was an important safety valve for heavy traffic in or out of Eugene.


Dave H. works the Marcola Turn with a significant block of cars exchanged on the Weyerhaueser Interchange tracks and other local work on spurs off the branch “main.”


Ed S. drew the Oakridge Turn.  He has organized his train and has just pulled cars from Pope and Talbot in the distance behind him.


Mike C. (blue shirt) is the helper engineer assisting road engineer Doug L at McCredie Springs.


Doug L. and Mike C. have gotten their train up to Cascade Summit as local crew mentor Pete H. (black shirt, middle) looks on.


As with Friday, another happy crew on Sunday.  A couple of crew members had to leave to catch airplanes home before we took this group photo.  Al D. (gray shirt on the left) dispatched the afternoon part of the session.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

WOOPS 2023 -- 1

At the beginning of June, we held our regional operating event:  WOOPS 2023 (Western Oregon OPerationS).  We had about fifty “Boomers” (traveling railroad workers) join us for operations on a dozen area layouts.  I held two sessions with the first on Friday and the second on Sunday.  A mad scramble by me re-staged my railroad on Friday evening and Saturday.  Fortunately, my Eugene Yard crews on Friday did a great job so my re-staging was considerably easier than often is the case.  

As one of the founding layouts for WOOPS and as one of the larger layouts, our scheduler used my layout and the similar-sized Willamette Model Railroad Club layout (also a founding layout) as the assignment “float” wherein crew size adjustments could be made to balance the rest of the layouts with desired crew sizes.  That resulted in a modest-sized “Boomer” crew on Friday and a full crew on Sunday.  Fortunately, my half-dozen local helper/mentors filled remaining crew slots on Friday.  


As it happened, my last regular session in May had ended close to the stated start time for one of my standard train line-ups.  This made my staging for the event very direct and gave me the assurance that this part of the line-up would work well for the WOOPS session.  We had done this time slice before.  


Follow along with photos from the first (Friday) session.


Especially important with a guest crew was the in-briefing to start the session.


The in-briefing was followed by crew assignment selection using numbered poker chips to establish “seniority.”


Two of my local helping crew manage operations in the critical track throat between the Arrival-Departure Yard and the Classification Yard and depot area.  Bill S. (gray shirt) served very well as Eugene Yardmaster.  To the right, Eugene West Switcher Bruce M. confers with another crew- member.


Operations in the track throat area between the two Eugene yard areas took a b rief pause as necessary railfan photography was done.


The Springfield-B local freight job was performed during this session.  This job performs the local industry switching on the aisle side of the mainline at Springfield.  Meanwhile, a through freight rolls through Springfield RR-Westbound using the depot and drill tracks—a routing option provided to the Dispatcher by keeping the local freight switching on the other side of the mainline.


A RR-East train heads to Eugene as it rounds the curve at the end of the Springfield-Marcola peninsula.  In the distance up on the mountain grade, a train is in the siding at Cruzatte with a helper crew engineer taking a break.


Mid-train helpers have been entrained at Oakridge to assist the climb up the 1.8% grade to the summit of the Cascades.


Later, the Oakridge Turn is in town, rearranging the train for efficient switching.


A RR-West train has made it to Cascade Summit and its helper has been cut out for return to Oakridge.


The smiles tell the story of the Friday session!