Thursday, July 6, 2017

Shore Line Shake Down #2

Hope you all had a great Independence Day Weekend/Holiday! While many of you are on vacation this week, the Missus and I had a little "stay-cation" which resulted in some progress on the layout. So much to catch up on over the next few days, but we'll start with last "Friday Eve" (Thursday).

I hadn't had an ops session since April and just realized I never posted about it. Not a lot to report though - it was Shore Line Shake Down #1 and it was all about dialing in the 33 trains that go through the Saybrook Scene in a given session. As I've mentioned before, friend BillC graphically laid out the prototype timetable I'd transcribed for Old Saybrook and since then - with some additional help from Randy, Bill, and Tom - I've been ironing out any/all remaining wrinkles in the choreography. Last April's session was the first run-through/shakedown using BillC's sheet and there was no ops session in May due to my work schedule.

But I was able to get in a June session, right under the wire. It was another Shore Line Shake Down, but this time I added the two Shore Line local freights (PDX-1 & 2) into the mix to see 1) how they'd interact with all the mainline trains, and 2) how the extra personnel would manage with my aisle space.

Verdict? Success! Things are still working out well, despite the addition of a "permanent" guy/crew at Cedar Hill Staging (Tom's our biggest guy, so yeah I figured he'd be the best guy to put in a narrow aisle to really test capacity LOL!). There's still a bit more to learn: I had only 1-man crews on the locals, and I didn't end up running the Air Line local at all (which also occupies the same room as Cedar Hill staging and most of PDX-2's run), but so far so good. At least no big problems emerged and I plan to try a "full capacity" ops session at the end of this month. That should really test things out.

In the meantime, I got another session under my belt, learned some more, added a few more punch list items, and had a lot of fun. If the photos are any indication, I wasn't the only one. . .

PeteL - crew for PDX-1 - has just arrived from the west on Track 6 in Saybrook (aka the "Balloon Track") behind DEY-5 (S-2) #0615 and is figuring out his moves.

Randy played the role of A/O, Tower Operator, and Dispatcher for the session.

PDX-2 rolls into Saybrook from the east behind DERS-1b (RS-1) #0669 with Pieter as crew. You can just make out the "Fort Yard/New London/Points East" crew (aka "Bill") there in the far background.
When both locals are in town, it can get pretty busy - and crowded! - especially with all the mainline trains. Pete & Pieter are trying to coordinate their work while Tom (the New Haven/Cedar Hill/Points West operator) brings a Shore Line express westbound from New London.

A (admittedly poor) shot of another in the parade of westbound expresses through Old Saybrook - with PDX-1 waiting in the clear on Track 6.

A very rare, quiet moment between trains at Saybrook, shot from the "bleachers/viewing stand" (aka "The Basement Stairs")

On my layout, PDX-1 has only to work Old Saybrook, and even though it has a lot of waiting to do to try and work around all the Shore Line trains, it's the first job to end. So Pete - having tied up PDX-1 in "New London" (staging) - has joined Pieter to help with PDX-2 up the Valley line here in East Haddam.

PDX-2 does most of its work southbound from E.Haddam, since most of the sidings are trailing point southbound. Here the local is back in Essex with the "Points West" operator keeping an eye on his express train going through the Saybrook scene.

Not positive, but this could in fact be the train itself - stopped, for the moment, at the Saybrook station.
As with most ops sessions, especially "shake down" sessions, there's more to do on the To Do list than when you started. But just like bubbles that creep to the surface as you softly blow across your newly-poured resin pond, such sessions show you what more you need to do to make your more formal sessions as glitch-free as possible. In this respect, SLSD#2 certainly did not disappoint. I have a few things to address, but the more I have these sessions, the fewer things get added to the list. So I know I'm heading in exactly the right direction.

Stay tuned - it's been a busy "staycation" on the Valley Line, so more updates coming in the next few days!


  1. I really like Say Brook Jct. Your layout is coming along nicely.


    1. Thanks very much Barry! Really appreciate the comment, especially from somebody with your experience! Glad you like the contrast between the busy Shore Line and the branchlines - it's certainly something I had in mind when I designed it, but it's working out even better than I'd imagined. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment - have a great weekend!