Sunday, February 10, 2019

Latest Ops Session & Open House

The Valley Line has been a bit busy over the last few days. After all the focus I've been putting on scenery & structures lately (with precious little actual progress to show considering the time spent), I haven't been operating the layout much lately. In fact, given my father-in-law taking a turn for the worse last fall, then his passing, then the holidays, and the start of legislative session, the last time we actually had an operating session was last September 8th(!)

But that changed last Thursday - I got a few of my regulars together to make sure the thing still ran. Thankfully, all went relatively well - just a few glitches (I need to be sure I have fresh batteries for the radios and it seems the wireless transmitter needs some attention), but all in all a good session.

And I even operated the Shoreline trains for the first time(!) Heh - let's just say I got a new appreciation for what I expect my Shoreline crew to do during a session. It's busy! Thankfully though, I remembered to take some photos to commemorate the occasion . . .

My co-Shoreline operator Bill, working the East End of the line (New London/Boston)

BobV sorting out his paperwork after finishing PDX-1, the Shoreline Local from Cedar Hill (New Haven) to New London (Fort Yard),

Dick - who should be head-down busy as the Tower Operator - couldn't help but turn around and watch the action going through Saybrook.

Pete with the Haddam Local (PDX-2, the Shoreline Local that works westbound between Fort Yard and Cedar Hill Yard, as well as up the Valley Line to East Haddam)

And, way off in the distance at Middletown, Randy and (barely visible) Tom working the flagship job - The Valley Local - from Hartford to Middletown/East Berlin (it being a "Friday" - Oct. 8, 1948).
As I've said before, other than the primary reasons of camaraderie and getting to see the layout come to life, a secondary - but very important - reason to host an ops session is to highlight any potential issues - and to address those issues on your punch list to make the layout run even better. Thankfully, my punch list from this session is relatively small, especially considering the hiatus, which is good since I'm hoping to have more regular sessions over the coming months!

NMRA Nutmeg Division Open House
Just a couple of days after the ops session, I needed to get the layout back in order in time for an Open House for the members of the Nutmeg Division of the NMRA. This was only my second such occasion, the first one having been over 3 years ago(! and much-better documented %^)

But it was pretty cool to go back and look at what the layout looked like then and compare that to now - very encouraging to see the progress and get some motivation for making some more. Open houses have a way of doing that - egging you on to have more to show off and share than you did last time.

If you haven't hosted an open house before, I highly recommend it for that reason alone if nothing else. But an added benefit is the great new people you'll likely meet - and discover that they may have some great tips and knowledge to share with you as well.

Unfortunately, I was on my own hosting this time. My usual helpers all had other things they needed to do, so I didn't get any photos. It was pretty crowded at times and that would have been cool to show - but I was too busy chatting, answering questions, and generally having a good time sharing the Valley Line that I totally forgot to document anything.

THANKfully though, my welcome signage included a lot of not-so-subtle hints to sign my guestbook - so at least I have that, in addition to my memories, as a keepsake for the day.

Now, if I'd just remembered to do that during Springfield weekend..... ah well, there's always next year. %^)

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