Friday, September 24, 2021

Friday Fun - Ops Session Success!

Crew Register & Era-appropriate radio

Between "OP"toberfest last weekend and a Valley Line session last night, there's been lotsa operatin' goin' on lately. And it's about time - before last weekend, I hadn't been to an operating session since "COVID Eve" (literally the day before we were all sent home from work) at James Mayo's layout. And the last time I had a full Valley Line session (I'm not going to count the Spontaneously & Substantially Shorting Shakedown Session of Summer, 2021 since the Shore Line trains didn't run) was January 23, 2020.

Signing the Crew Register
Wow - It just occurred to me that last night's session was exactly 21 months to the day since the last session. And a Happy Anniversary it turned out to be! Despite the fact that I decided, again, to throw caution to the wind and this time try to run EVERYthing (including all the Shore Line trains, in addition to all four local freights, full tower operator/dispatcher with radio communications, wireless & WiFi throttles), everything operated great - certainly better than the S&SSSSofS.

I hope to start formal ops sessions next month, so this session was intended to be a Full Dress Rehearsal (hence, the trying everything) which would expose any additional problems that need to be fixed for reliability. Other than some relatively minor equipment issues (the trucks on a couple of brass cabooses and under the tender of one of the brass steamers decided to pick switch points a few times) and some stress due to not having operated So Many Trains in almost 2 yrs, there's really nothing huge to add to the Punch List. . .
  • Since returning all the "leased" cars (borrowed from BillS), I discovered I need more flatcars and gons.
  • Need to edit/update some of my documents (spreadsheet, checklist, ops protocols, bulletin order)
  • Definitely need to update/change the trackplan on the Saybrook Control Board to reflect long-ago changes to the track arrangement (and need to do the same for the Dividend track map to reflect more recent changes).
Most importantly, the shorting seems to be solved! The only shorts were related to the equipment issues mentioned above, or when the folks in Shore Line staging were trying to rail cars when making up trains.

The only other thing to report is that the way I do my operations continues to evolve. For years (literally) I operated with switchlists only (see here), and then - when I realized I needed SOME sort of car card to go with cars that have to be transferred between trains - I added "Car Transfer" forms to the switchlists. 

But those were never really all that prototypical, so I created paperwork for each car that needed to be transferred to go along with the switchlists (see here). And starting last night, I decided to just create paperwork for all the cars (waybills for loaded cars and empty car bills for empties) and get rid of the switchlists. It's a little more work (just adds a little more time to what is a lot of work to set up), and a lot more handwriting, but it's a LOT more prototypical.

I'll plan to do a separate post on my ops paperwork soon (and will be soliciting feedback), but that's enough writing/reading for now. Here are some photos from the session - enjoy!

Roman bringing PDX-1 eastbound into Old Saybrook

Pieter (center) bringing PDX-2 into Saybrook while the tower operator (Bill) makes sure neither he nor PDX-1 foul the Shore Line 

Tom (foreground) works "West End" staging while Pete works the Airline local in Somerset

Randy & Dick operate the Valley Local in Wethersfield

Pieter's made it into Essex while Tom looks on

It's fun watching the parade of trains through Old Saybrook from the "bleachers" (basement stairs)

Pete's made it to Middletown with the Airline local, while Dick switches the north end of yard

Bob looks on from "East End" staging while Pieter finishes his work with PDX-2 on the Saybrook wye

1 comment:

  1. Good to see you operating again. It has definitely been a long break for everyone. Our Tri-State group is finally back on schedule. Looks like you had a great session.