Friday, March 11, 2022

Friday Fun - October, 2021 Ops Session!

Wow - I really have to get myself organized. Probably like many of you, I have photos, music files, documents, and all sorts of digital detritus scattered across multiple devices, computers, both real and virtual, local, and in the cloud. I'm really hoping my buddy Randy can help me get everything cleaned up and into one place soon, but in the meantime... well, let's just say the struggle is real . . .

Case in point: turns out, despite the fear I mentioned yesterday, I actually DO have photos from my ops session last October! Unfortunately, I don't actually remember much about that session (I only recall a couple of minor trackwork issues), but I DO remember it being a Special Saturday Session for some Out-of-Staters as well as a couple of newcomers to the Valley Line!

So, without further ado, I'll let the photos tell the story . . .

The major improvement since the last session was some scenery and backdrop at Dividend.

I usually get a shot of the nicely organized paperwork and operator's desk. It looks so nice... until chaos ensues.

Speaking of paperwork - I decided to try moving it, along with the sign-in book, upstairs to the kitchen since it can get a bit crowded at the bottom of the basement stairs.

But turned out, not everybody signed in upstairs - so back downstairs it came, where folks are used to signing in right before they get their train.

And what folks are we talking about? Wow - what folks they were! Here's Mark Herrick, fellow AML-er - who I just met in person at last Autumn's NER Convention- operating here for the first time, and veteran operator Jim Lincoln (of "Jim Lincoln Chev-Olds" fame). Mark came all the way from the northeastern corner of the state and Jim came in from Massachusetts to operate the Valley Local. Here they are with the local in Wethersfield.

Regulars Tom and Kaylee working Shore Line west staging and the Airline local, respectively.

Bill held down the operator's desk, aligning switches for the Shore Line, while Jim ran the eastbound Shore Line Local using the ProtoThrottle. I figured since he came the farthest (New Hampshire!) he'd get the new equipment. Unfortunately, his engine started malfunctioning shortly after this photo was taken. Fortunately, that didn't affect ChrisZ operating the westbound Shore Line local through Saybrook and up the line to East Haddam.

Alex, another first-timer (and super helpful in helping solve my shorting issues), worked with Chris on PDX-2 with Tom and Kaylee looking on...

It's a little lonely Way Down East over in New London staging (representing points east and northeast of Old Saybrook - up into Worcester, Boston, and Maine), but Bob held down that job admirably - especially since he's still relatively new to Shore Line ops.

Despite all the smiles, operations are serious business - at least that's the impression one might get from this photo! It gets a little crowded here between west end staging (representing Cedar Hill Yard in New Haven, NYC and points south and southwest), Essex, and Somerset on the Airline so I'm considering moving to 1-person crews here.

Kinda like this - Jim was the only crew on PDX-1 and look at all the room he has here in Saybrook!

The other area where there's plenty of room is at Middletown - super wide aisle here. And here's Kaylee dropping cars from the Airline local for the Valley Local in Middletown yard. You even get a glimpse of "O'Rourke's Diner" in Middletown, just as it is on the prototype...

And whither the Valley Local? We catch them here in the Dividend section of Rocky Hill, switching Hartford Rayon.

Alex and Chris back in Saybrook after their run up the Valley branch to East Haddam & back, dropping & picking cars before they continue west to Cedar Hill Yard.

More smiles in Middletown - Kaylee's Airline Local is ready to head back down to Cedar Hill while Jim & Mark finish their switching so they can head back north to Hartford.

One of the best things about my occasional Saturday Sessions is not only the opportunity to open up the layout to out-of-staters that would otherwise not be able to operate here, but to be able to go out for dinner together afterwards. And where else could be better than right along the Shore Line in Saybrook in the old freight house? Here we are at Pizza Works getting some well-deserved sustenance after a "hard day's work" operating the Valley Line.


  1. It was a great operating session. Enjoyed meeting your regular crew and sharing some time together after for some chow. Looking forward to getting you up on the BNSF Montana Division.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Glad you had a good time and very much looking forward to operating on your BNSF!