A Great Day in Saint John!

We made our annual trip to Saint John, NB for a day of operating with friends.  This year a crew from Moncton joined us to round out the operating crew.  Only Derwin, Ken, and I were able to make it from the Island.  We met up with Jim, Milne, John, Murray, Doug, and Ben just outside Moncton.

The ICR Crew - Feb. 20, 2010

Our first stop was to Doug Devine’s Island Central Railway.  An operator with considerable seniority on the Island Central, Bob Kane, was on hand to help keep things under control.  I guess Doug expected to be a little too busy to look after everything on the layout.

After a brief introduction for the newbies, and refresher for the ones that hadn’t operated there in a while, we lined up to sign up for morning job assignment.

Derwin worked with John in McAdam Yard – a decision that apparently bought them a lot of free time.  At one point I took a moment from my very busy work schedule to grab a quick snack in the crew lounge.  There weren’t many cookies left, but plenty of evidence of the amount of work Derwin was doing!

Their first (and possibly only) task was to get my train, a fast freight heading to Saint John, assembled and ready to leave.  I could not believe how long this train was!  The four locos assigned as power for the train were barely able to handle it.  After a lot of work climbing the slight grade out of McAdam I was on the ICR main heading for Saint John.  This train was quite a sight as it snaked around the room.  I had to keep a close eye on it as it would gain considerable speed on downgrades and would require more power to climb.

When I finally pulled into Dever Road Yard in Saint John I was sure there would not be enough room for the train.  As it arced around the end of the yard and headed toward the passenger station I was doubtful it would fit.  But the end of train cleared the yard throat with the locomotives only inches from the end of the line.  Whew!  Then, with the guidance of the Yard Master, Bob, we split the train up into the proper classification tracks.  That’s when I became the Dever Road assistant – and any hope of free time to beat Derwin to the cookies vanished (not to mention ability to take some pictures)!

I lost track of what the other guys were doing.  Jim was in West Saint John pulling the local cars – and generally making an annoyance of himself.  Especially when he ran smack dab into a cut of cars we had pushed onto a siding from Dever Road.  He tried to blame us, of course, but when Bob reminded him that he should be watching where his train is going he got quiet again.  Jim’s always a little more tolerable when he is quiet!  HA!

Ben apparently worked in Mill Street since he arrived in Dever Road with a cut of cars at one point, that we swapped for a fresh cut heading for Mill Street.  I’m sure Milne was able to grab a passenger run.  Doug (C.), Murray, and Ken ran a mix of through freights and way freights.

At one point someone asked when we were supposed to arrive at Steve McMullin’s Carleton Railway.  I looked at my phone and was shocked to see it was 12:30!  Where had 2-1/2 hours gone!!??  The old saying that time flies when you are having fun is very true!  Anyway, we had to finish up so we could get to the train store (Valley Hobby) and get some lunch to be at Steve’s for 2:00.

We managed to arrive at the Carleton Railway shortly after 2:00.  We were greeted with a warm welcome from Rosalie since Steve was in the basement frantically making last minute preparations.  Again, after a brief intro we signed up for operating positions.

I wanted to redeem myself in South Newbridge after the last trip when Jean and I put everything leaving there onto the same train (thinking “Well these cars are supposed to go west, your train is going west, here you go”) making for the longest train in Carleton Railway history.  The Steve asked if I had read the operating instructions,  Ummmm…. No.

Derwin caught again!

Anyway, I was so intent on making sure I did things properly in South Newbridge I lost track of what the other guys were running.  I think Derwin was helping John in the yard at Avondale.  I’m sure he thought it would be another slack job like McAdam on the ICR.  He was lounging around later in the session.  Steve caught him and suggested his time would be better spent running a wayfreight (the Newbridge Turn).  Then he made a very big mistake and assigned Jim as his brakeman.  Steve, Steve, Steve….  tsk tsk!  You’ll know better for next time!

Milne and Doug (C.) ran a couple passenger trains.  Jim was having fun derailing, err… operating a wayfreight.  Ben took the Nortondale job.

I vowed that I would “follow the rules” this year and do the job properly, but apparently everyone else was about to make that very difficult for me.  Murray decided to leave early (4 hours!) with his train.  Now this really messed things up in South Newbridge!  I had one train in 4 hours early, Ben arrived with the Nortondale train, a First Class passenger train had to get through and there was another freight train waiting to arrive.  Things were very disorganized for a little while while I tried to clear mainlines for all this traffic.  Igrabbed cuts of cars that were destined for my yard, shoved out the cars that were supposed to go on the particular trains (trying to follow the proper instructions this time!) and tried to get trains moving again as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately there were some delays and a few cars got onto the wrong trains.  But at least I didn’t make any extremely long trains this time!

The last train on the line was the one Steve assigned Derwin and Jim – The Newbridge Turn.  Good thing I checked the cards for the cars they brought in.  There was a tank car with no card that was supposed to have been left at another industry along the way.  They had dropped it off there, but then proceeded to pick it up again.  Then there was a stock car with a card that said it was supposed to have stayed where it was.  So, back on their train with them to be put back where they belonged.

Jim gets caught!

The witnesses

The tank car was going to be tough since they were facing the turnout the wrong way.  Jim was going to use one of his favorite switching tricks to get the car spotted at the industry but he was caught.  You can see the mischievous look on his face!  But there were too many witnesses.  I got back to work putting cars away in South Newbridge so I’m not sure how the car made it to its spot.  When I looked up again they had placed the stock car back at the meat plant and were about to head on to Avondale.

The last train of the day.

While we were having fun in the basement Rosalie was busy preparing a wonderful meal for us.  When these two finally arrived in Avondale we headed upstairs to talk about the days activities and enjoy some great food!

We want to thank Doug, Steve and Rosalie for being great hosts and allowing us to operate their incredible model railroads.  I hope we’ll have an opportunity to operate on their railroads when we are in Saint John for the MFMR Convention in May.  Hopefully we will see you there!


No Responses to “A Great Day in Saint John!”

  1. Ed says:

    Great post Scott, very interesting grin on Derwin’s face. Were you holding up a cookie to make everyone smile LOL



  2. Great report Scott. Sounds like everyone had a fun time. That poor Derwin fella – he sure gets picked on!!Trains were also rolling this weekend on Dougs WRS as well…no cookies though. Doug are you listening HA HA.

    “Poor Derwin fella”! You have met him, haven’t you? He brings it all on himself.

    No cookies at Doug’s! How is he going to maintain employees if he doesn’t provide compensation equal to, or better than, his competitors in the region. His employees will start quitting and moving to greener pastures, like PEI where we compensate mrr employees with cookies, cake, chips, and pop!

    Doug, you had better change your ways or you will be moving all that freight yourself!


    Later Wayne!


  3. Doug says:

    First, Scott thanks for the report. Looks like all had a good time, even Derwin and Jim.

    When Scott starts providing supplies for his crew that I did himself and did not contracted out to others. the WRS may also.

    It is strange when the WRS started, Timbits where there for the Crews, but no one was eating them, so it stopped since I was not allowed to have more then one or two of them…


    Ummm…. lets see if I can translate the second paragraph (always fun when Doug’s brain is not in direct communication with his fingers).

    When I start providing food for my crew that I made myself – not contracted it out to BS&T catering (aka Kim) – then Doug may do it too.

    Well, I hate to break it to you, Doug, but I have made cookies a few times for the guys. Funny though, after they’d eaten them and said they were good they spit them out when I told them I made them. Strange.

    So all you need to do, Doug, is buy some Pillsbury cookie dough and shove it in the oven shortly before operating. There will be the smell of fresh baked cookies through the house and you crew will think you slaved over a hot stove all day! Oh yes, throw some flour on your face just before serving them for the full effect.



  4. Doug says:

    Yes, there is a problem. Not sure if it is my fingers not obeying or my eyes lying to the brain.

    A couple of things. If I bake before the operating session, I will not have the option of hiding the dirty dishes in the oven. Also then I would have to give the Crew a break in their busy hour and a half shift. Then they will want a break area. Then there is the issue with their SWMBO and supper.

    Yes, Scott I have seen you busy in the Kitchen.

    Looking for the list of stuff to make brownies.

    Re. dishes in the oven – buy a dishwasher. It’s a great place to hide dirty dishes. Oh, and guess what! It’ll even clean ‘em for you (but you have to turn it on).

    True, you don’t want them eating over the layout. Cookie crumbs play havoc with locomotive gears. So you make bibs that extend in front to catch the crumbs. Or make them step bake from the layout and eat real fast. That way you don’t have to provide a lounge.

    List of stuff to make brownies? Did I not say “Pillsbury”? Open the package, put it on a tray shove it in a hot oven and come back before they are burnt! No list required.



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