Train Blog
OpsLog - SD&EA - 8/20/2017 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 20 August 2017 18:46

his was going to be a difficult session – first off, it’s in the back of the clinic where I had my cat put to sleep less than a week ago. And second, we hadn’t run there in forever.

But Doc’s been thinking about things. Fortunately his track plan is pretty much the same so there were only minor corrections to the panel program. We had an odd assortment of operators show up – some ex-club members (hey, I don’t care if you are a Nazi, as long as you run a train)(well, maybe I do). And we had some new/old members (guys who have recently returned). But once everyone was in position with all trains dialed, we started.

I’ll give Doc this – his line was crowded for much of the time, San Diego to Market Street. I was ducking them in and out and passing them in three-packs around the Coronado Loop. We did suffer a strange short about a third of the way in – Doc thinks it’s the throttles, me, not so sure. But what matters is we cleared it and kept running. After that, things smoothed out. Trains rolled with little delay, and people had a lot of fun.

I even got to pick up the last manifest out of Los Vegas, streaming across the desert like a bullet, meeting Bruce down the Riverside Siding, then down through Diego with a bee-line through Market Street yard. Got in just north of the border – pulled in at San Ysidroand neatly reversed my train, caboose on the front, engines on the back for the final backing move across the border into TJ. That was a lot of fun, just tucking it away in the last ten fast-minutes, dropping the engines and shutting down. Good session.

So that’s, Doc, for providing a Sunday smile for all of us. Wish me had more layouts on the rotation.


ConvLog - Convention Show - 8/4-6/2016 PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 06 August 2017 20:02

ell, that's done. The convention is history.

I gotta say I'm totally beat, having be involved in every minute of every event over the last week. I opened the gate for Saturday club cleaning, and closed it for the module drop off. And I did everything in between.

So think of this - over the last three days, twenty-four hours of it was convention center activity. For each of those hours, and the minutes and seconds contained within, two to five trains were in motion around our 30x40 layout. At one point we were up to nine. And for each of those trains, an engineer was plodding along them, running them.

Yeah, I must have walked many long slow miles over the last three days.

But it was fun. Saw a lot of trains. And I was pleased that we picked up three awards for our club (two for individual modules, one for a set of them). I got to see a lot of old friends and maybe discovered new ones (I know of at least one membership application (with money) that was accepted).

I also got to see other modules, and frankly, our swinging the main through the scenes, back and forth, really makes a difference. You get to see trains from different angles doing more than racing in straight lines.

And when it was winding down, I had a lot of folks there to help. We lined all the carry-boxes up, all in their back-side rest-points. And when 5pm rolled around, we had teams removing the curtains, striking the sign and the electronics mast, dropping the clamps. Then we rolled the racks into place and started racking them up. I think we were doing it perhaps a little fast but people were just excited to be through and moving fast, like a team of horses on the verge of running away with a cart. I did all I could to slow them down but still, with all the help and everyone in their correct places, we broke our record - nine minutes from a train still moving to everything in the racks and ready to roll. Everyone gave a cheer when the final rack was locked up. Matthew and I went to find how we could get our truck in (frankly, the NMRA didn't believe that a "module" club could be ready to leave in ten minutes flat). When I was walking back, a member from another club was going the other way and said, "You and your fifteen minutes". "Nine," I smirked.

Rode over to the club and met the truck to stow everything away. And then I drove home. We pulled it off.

Next time, whoever proposes we do something like this will be in charge of it. Lesson learned.


Last Updated on Sunday, 06 August 2017 20:21
ConvLog - LM&O Ops - 8/4/2017 PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 03 August 2017 23:13

can't speak for everyone else, but after Monday’s convention op session at the club, I wanted to do better. While it wasn't baaaaad  (in that condescending tone) we've had better. I wanted our guests to see what a good session is like, when a club which operates using the more difficult N-gauge really takes advantages of longer trains and high mountains, really giving the engineer a feel of place and scale, without leaving them sitting and waiting while six people yabble on the phone.

At dinner, that seemed to be the touch-n-go discussion, how we wanted to run well but, oh crap, we had at least fourteen guests showing up. With our folks as conductors, we were swelling the number of people in the aisles by a factor of two. Like Monday, it would be really easy to go off the rails again and bog down.

But we didn't.

We grabbed each newbie as they came in, assigning them to a train. At the start, I'd already prewritten six warrants (live and learn, Matthew). That way, when the bell went off, we were off and running and I was working on the next series of trains. Happily, the radio calls were sharp, everyone spoke quick and took their warrants like men, and we even got the potential tangle in Harris worked out (though I'm thinking I heard some doubters out there).

So get this - freights cleared the division in twelve hours each. We ran three of the four passenger trains, and those completed on time. We got three coal drags over the hill, two autoracks down the valley, an extra passenger train, an extra TOFC, and the four locals. The only reason we went over the midnight number was because the guests wanted to keep running.

We even figured a way to get the Harris Glen Local home in 12 hours. Two little pieces of red cloth is all it takes.

At the end, our visitors were happy, handshakes all around. The members were grinning as only a winning team can. We're really happy with Martin Yard and the new flexibilities we get (the double lead and Martin crossover are real blessings). We are now able to really take advantage of the double track (unlike before). Even Zanesville got a good workout, with autoracks being worked in the plant.

It must have been a good night since a lot of folks (guests and members alike) hung out and talked about it.

Mission accomplished. On to the convention center tomorrow!

Mingo Local works as a coal train rumbles past (Credit for train & photo: J Mathis)


Last Updated on Thursday, 03 August 2017 23:41
ConvLog - Open House 2 - 8/1/2017 PDF Print E-mail
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Tuesday, 01 August 2017 20:51

o how do you get ready for a visit from a busload of modelers at your club? In this case, John L. and I were up a ladder, replacing that troublesome light in the afternoon heat.

Bunch of the regulars showed up at DQ, where we had a chucklefest talking about the session the night before. Then we went over, set up trains and got ready for action.

This time, the bus driver evidently had not checked his route. First he missed the entrance and went touring down the street. Then he tried to hook a fifty-foot bus around a 90 degree turn on a two lane road. I couldn't watch - I was sure he was going to tip it into the ditch and there would be dozens injured and our club would look bad. But after all that he got onto the property, we got everyone in the door and the boys launched their trains (all eastbound this time, thankfully).

Not much to say. Everyone seemed to enjoy our ambiance, our modeling, and our effort. Lots of questions about how we got the building and how we don't owe money on it. Several people said they were looking forward to running with us Thursday (attention all members - respond to the ops session at the club!). So it's building up to that crescendo.

Tomorrow, we build a sectional layout in the convention center and then stage the railroad for our next session. Here we go. The shit just got real.


Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 August 2017 21:02

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