Finally, after several years of visiting layouts in Saint John for operating sessions and inviting them to to come here to return the favour they took us up on our offer. On April 20th Steve, Lou, Bob H. and Bob K. made the trek across the Confederation Bridge (a first for Lou) for a fun day of operating on P.E.I.
As is the case with most operating visits we started the day at Derwin’s on Canadisle Rail. The guys were very impressed with how much operating can be included in a smallish layout. Derwin’s layout is about 20′ x 12′ but there is enough work to keep 5 operators busy for hours.
After lunch and another shift of operating on the Canadisle Rail we headed over to the Bayside & Tidewater. After a brief tour and explanation of the operation the guys picked jobs and the session got underway.
Lou chose the Stevenville local switch job. It was one of the busiest sessions for Stevenville in quite a while so Lou had his hands full.
Steve chose one of the wayfreight jobs. The nice thing about wayfreights is that the operator gets to travel the whole railroad and has a nice mix of running and switching.
Derwin ran the interchange trains, as usual, and Ewen was the Bayside Yardmaster.
The two Bob’s are both in Chappellton right now. Bob K. is the local crew in Chappellton and Bob H. is running the other wayfreight.
Chris pulled double duty as Tidewater Yard Master and running the Mine train.
We have been having a few challenges with WiThrottle since adding virtual signal panels in Stevenville. (More about the virtual signals in a future post) Paul Bender suggested that it might be due to a flaky router. The old Dlink was replaced by a new Western Digital router and it seemed to have resolved the issue since we had no WiThrottle problems at all during the 3 hour operating session.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I may post more frequently, but it is hard to find the time. A few of us drove to Halifax yesterday to operate on a couple layouts there. We operated on the Fall River Eastern Railroad and the White River Southern and had a visit to Nottingham Subdivision. All are very nice layouts and we had a great time. Here are some photos from our day….
Jim, from the Codiac Operators Group, contacted me several weeks ago wondering if any of the Half Nuts Model Railroaders would be interested in joining them in an operating session on Doug Devine’s Island Central Railway (ICR). I jumped at the chance, as did Derwin, Greg, and Ken. Unfortunately none of the other Half Nutters could make it.
We were on the road in the wee hours of the morning – well, 6:30 is the wee hours of the morning for me. We met Jim and Mike (#1) at the Big Stop just outside Moncton about 8:30 and had time to stop for a refill of coffee before we got to Doug’s at 10:00.
We weren’t there long before the local reinforcements arrived. Lawrence and Mike (#2) came to give Doug a hand, or maybe it was to keep us in line? If it was the latter they failed miserably!
After Doug gave everyone the corporate line it was time to choose work assignments. I had a brief stint of operating Dever Road Yard the last time we operated on the ICR and really enjoyed it. I wanted to see what the task would be like for a full session so I grabbed it. There wasn’t really much of a fight over it since not many people seem to want to do yard work (except Chris and Brian).
Once I got down to work I lost track of most everyone else, except when they would come around to take out a train that was ready to leave or (laugh) as they arrived with a @$#% load of cars for me to deal with. I managed to get the work done without many stressful moments and even had some downtime to take a few (very few) photos.
Photo: Jim working (wrecking?) Mill Street.
I don’t think there were too many mishaps, other than the few that happened in Mill Street (behind me at Dever Road). Jim worked that job for about half the session. In that short amount of time I’m sure he racked up quite a few demerits, but since I wasn’t the layout owner I couldn’t hand them out. Doug never seemed to be around when anything happened in Mill Street. I heard a lot of talking and laughing in the other parts of the layout but I have no idea what was going on. It didn’t matter, I was having fun in Dever Road.
Derwin, Greg, Ken, and Mike (#1) got a lot of road time in. Between fast freights, wayfreights, passenger trains, and yard work on other parts of the layout they were pretty busy. I heard that they had some sitting time but Doug and Lawrence were keeping a close eye on the crew lounge to make sure no one sat for too long.
Greg and Ken took turns working West Saint John – a small area with enough switching to keep one person busy for hours.
Photo: Ken, Derwin, and Mike (#1) running trains. Ken’s running a freight on one of the upper levels, Derwin’s taking some video (hopefully we’ll see it later on his site), and Mike’s obviously having fun as he leaves Grand Bay heading for Dever Road.
The 45 car fast-freight was quite a sight it was as it slowly left Dever Road. It seemed to take forever for the end of the train to go out of sight. Jim was at the throttle and did a great job pulling it out. It was quite a sight as it snaked it’s way down the line past Grand Bay and beyond. We were all amazed that such a long model train could run the entire layout without something going wrong. Somewhere between there and McAdam all that changed. The video below was taken along the main line not long after it left Dever Road. It’s about midnight on a fairly dark night. Double click the video to watch it in full screen.
On most model railroads there is a rule that you should keep an eye on the head end and rear end of your train. If something changes you should stop and find out what’s wrong. Well, apparently the fast-freight left some cars on the main line and the operator didn’t notice that the rear end had changed. Since Jim handed over controls part way through the run there was some dispute over who was actually responsible. Long story short – never sign anything! Double click the video below to watch it in full screen.
The last train of the night (session) arrived about midnight (or 2:30 pm real time) as Derwin pulled the Pan Am into Dever Road. I ended up doing more work than I had to. There was still work happening on the layout so I figured I’d sort these cars and leave a clean yard. Doug told me later that normally this train marks the end of the shift and is left for the morning crew to put away. Oops! Oh well, the regular crew will be ahead of the game at the start of another day on the ICR.