Operations Report – Jan. 20, 2008
Wow! What a weekend! I spent most of it cleaning up the mess that had accumulated in the train room after a month of scenery making and throttle bus wiring. I also finished putting the tiles down on the floor. What a difference those make – both in comfort and warmth!
The first part of the evening was spent in conversation, as usual, while we waited for everyone to arrive. Mark had called earlier in the day to say he wouldn’t be able to make it, and a quick call to Ken and Bruce proved they weren’t coming. But, even though we lost a couple we gained a couple as well.
Tom Gaudet is a newbie to the hobby. He called me out of the blue one day wondering if I could give him a hand with a few things. He had unpacked his old Tri-Ang stuff and immediately got hte MRR bug. He’s been operating with us the past two sessions. He’s still in the brakeman stage, but he’ll be operating like a pro in no time.
My daughter’s boyfriend, Curtis, did a little bit of operating over the Christmas holidays with my son, John, and his friends. Curtis loved operating and wanted to try his hand operating a full session. So he and his friend Johnathan spent the evening with the old guys.
We got things underway about 8:00 after the crew picked their jobs. Brian, being first to arrive, jumped at the chance to try operating the Stevenville local. We let him out of the yard a while ago and he tried his hand at running on the main line. I guess he likes the restrictions of being confined to one geological area.
Derwin and Tom took the East Bound Wayfreight, Greg took the West Bound Wayfreight, and Curtis and Johnathan worked the local job in Chappellton. I took the Wholinthal Turn and Transfers, which turned out to be less work than I originally anticipated, so I also filled in on the helper service over “The Ridge” and official photographer. I forgot to charge the battery in the camera, so even that job was limited.
The session started a little differently this time. The wayfreights “began their day” in Stevenville and Chappellton heading into their respective yards. The wayfreights had to go to the yard, put away their train, and assemble their return train. This gave the local crews in those towns a little more time to get their outbound pickups together before the wayfreights came through on their return runs. This seemed to work out quite well.
Brian gets to work pulling the west bound pickups while Greg (background) is busy putting away the previous sessions’ cars. Brian had about 5 or 10 more minutes to get the west bounds together before Greg came through with the wayfreight.
Derwin and Tom, running the West Bound Wayfreight, only had one car returning to Tidewater, so it didn’t take them long to head back out with the East Bound train. Curtis and Johnathan (almost visible in the background) being newbies barely had time to get the east bounds assembled in Chappellton. Later in the evening they said they moved the same car 6 times before realizing that it would eventually be picked up by the West Bound Wayfreight. They could have saved themselves a lot of extra work if they had studied their switchlist (they’ll learn).
Meanwhile, I made it to Tidewater with the Wholinthall Turn (on the back track). The way this session turned out, there was nothing to go back to Wholinthal with, so the same consist was used for the transfer to Bayside.
Greg has the West Bound Wayfreight built and is ready to leave Bayside.
With the East Bound train out of the way Curtis (shown) and Johnathan (hands lower left) are finally getting into the swing of things picking up the west bound freight and doing a few local moves. Looks like Curtis is having fun!
Derwin and Tom had some extra work to do this session. Normally either the Chappellton local crew works Kenville or there’s someone else not too busy to do it. Not this session! Since Derwin had a helper I figured they could do the job as they were going by. It seems like he doesn’t mind too much.
In the meantime, not pictured, I passed by with the Transfer to Bayside and arrived without too many incidents. However, upon arrival in Bayside, I discovered the West Bound Wayfreight had departed with the cars for the Transfer to Tidewater. I had no more work to do! So, I put the caboose behind my consist and headed back to Wholinthal light.
Brian’s doing the local moves in Stevenville while he waits for Derwin and Tom to show up with the East Bound train. The sidings are looking pretty empty at the moment. That’ll change!
Greg and the East Bound had a little extra work too in Derwin’s Drop. While Greg was waiting for Derwin and Tom to finish up in Kenville, Brian couldn’t get in to do the dropoffs or pickups there, so Greg did them. He didn’t have much else to do!
Finally Derwin and Tom are done in Kenville. I was so busy after that I didn’t get pictures of the events as we tried to get the wayfreight over “The Ridge”. We had to split it into sections with 3/4 of the train going ahead and me with a lone S4 struggling up the hill with 5 cars. I have another Alco that I’ll station in Kenville for these times. Anyway, we finally got all the cars to Derwin’s Drop and the Wayfreight crew went to work putting cars away.
Meanwhile, my little S4 and I helped the West Bound down the hill to Kenville. The downgrade helper is required to prevent the train from surging forward too quickly due to the weight of he train behind it. It can be tricky to maintain a slight tension on the cars without stringlining or pushing too much and making an accordion with them.
Meanwhile, The West Bound arrives in Chappellton and Curtis and Johnathan are given a ton of work to do. By now, though, they are getting used to it and don’t take long to clear the siding.
The end of the workday is close. A few more cars to put away and the shift will be done.
And so ends another operating session on the BS&T. Things went fairly smoothly. We had a few shorts caused by either loco wheels out of gauge, turnouts not throwing completely that ground throws will fix, or out of gauge turnouts. I have some work to do before the next op session.
When we were done we had a discussion about how I could make Derwin’s Drop more workable. Right now there is quite a reach to get at the mine tacks. After some brainstorming I think we’ve come up with a workable solution. Even more work to do before the next op session!
I hope you enjoyed this ops report!