Operating on the Island Central – Nov. 13, 2010

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.

If you haven’t read my reports of operating on the ICR then you may not know that this is one of the finest operating layouts in the Maritimes.  You can get more information about the layout on Doug’s web site.

Photo: Mike (#2) having fun working in McAdam.

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.

We had a great time!  Thanks for opening the ICR to a bunch of Half Nuts and Codiacs!  Thanks to Lawrence and Mike (#2) for giving Doug a hand!


No Responses to “Operating on the Island Central – Nov. 13, 2010”

  1. Doug says:


    First, nice to see a report again :-)

    Looks like you and the gang had a great time. Enjoyed the videos

    Question, how did working so close to Jim did not rub off?


    I know. After working on web sites all day the last thing I want to do is more web site stuff. So my own blog has suffered. I hope to do more, but I can’t make promises.

    Re. Jim not rubbing off… I tried to ignore him as best I could, but it was difficult. Fortunately I am very set in my ways and it takes a lot for someone else’s bad habits to rub off on me. I have enough bad habits of my own! HA!


  2. Ian Dryden says:

    Wow, looks like you guys had a great time — I gotta get down there again someday – there seems to be parts of the railway that I’ve never seen before, eg, the crew lounge extension —


    Yes, he extended McAdam Yard around 2 other walls of the lounge. He also removed the carpeting and got rid of the old chairs that were no longer good for his health (allergies).


  3. Great report Scott – really enjoyed the videos – they make a nice addition to a post. Its a good thing those errant cars were noticed before another train unexpectedly encountered them….


    Ha! That would have been something! “Hey, where did all these cars on the front of my train come from?”

    Thanks Wayne!


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