|I finished up all the last-minute prep the morning of the session, powered by strong coffee in a New Haven RR mug. Note the panel is lit up since trains are test-running in the background, and all the paperwork is laid out ready to go.|
|Tom Jacobs (PA) and Seth Gartner (NC) operated the flagship train - HDX-7/The Valley Local. Here they are switching at Middletown. They got there much quicker than I'd expected, but then the volume of Middletown switching hit - as well as a First Revenue Run up the branch (click here for a video of the first test run....)|
|I had 13 folks attending this session, but fortunately a few of them decided they'd rather railfan than operate (much to my relief since I didn't have enough jobs for everybody and I didn't want anybody to be bored). Gordy Robinson (all the way from Scotland!) was able to do a little of both. Here he's operating PDX-1 (aka the eastbound Shoreline local) switching Old Saybrook. It's the shortest job on the layout, but since it does all the work in Saybrook and has to go back and forth across the mainline while dodging heavy traffic, it's one of the more complicated jobs.|
|Speaking of railfans - here's Neill Horton (all the way from England!) doing some 'fanning while Kaylee checks the Shoreline script. Jerry Britton (PA) is taking a break from taking pictures and video to check out the west end staging box.|
|I'm always pleasantly surprised when the layout works just like the prototype.... Here the crews of the Air Line local and Valley Local are in Middletown at the same time, trying to stay out of each other's way while coordinating switching.|
|Not last and not least, Arry Dodd (also from Scotland!) is here holding down the "right hand seat" on PDX-2 along with James in Essex.|
Last, but certainly not least, Mike and Mel Redden (MD) held down duties at East End Staging. Unfortunately, they were - literally - behind a curtain so they didn't get their picture taken :^(
Speaking of the staging operations, it's unfortunately become fairly typical that there were some problems with derailing while exiting west end staging. But what should I expect? I'm having the east end operator run the train, which s/he can't see, through an S-curve and multiple turnouts, around a 24" radius, using full-length passenger cars. Ugh! Other than that everybody seemed to have a good time and the rest of the layout ran really well. Considering the high number of folks, with a diverse range of experience, I call that a success!
The next day was a lot more laid back. No formal ops session planned (though Mike and I did have some fun running an extra - but I'll post about that later), just an open house for a contingent of folks from the Syracuse, NY area (including AML Superfan #12) and some additional AML-ers later in the day. Unfortunately, despite having made brownies especially for the occasion, The Evil Overlord wasn't able to make an appearance. But, as they say, "there's always next year!"
So ended Friday. I felt like I'd already had a pretty big RR weekend, and the Big Springfield Show hadn't even started yet!
|Heading off to the Big Shew . . .|