Friday, 15 April 2022

GC&SF operating session - 12th April 2022

I've been keen to get back into CC&WB operating sessions since COVID forced the suspension of services on the GC&SF, and I called a crew together last Tuesday for the layout's second operating session for this year.

It has been quite a while since some of the guys last operated on the GC&SF, so I intentionally ran the fast-clock much slower than we normally run it (3:1 ratio instead of 5:1 or 4:1). I had no reason for concern however, and the guys took to their jobs with skill and enthusiasm. We got much further through the time-table than I expected we would, and with very few problems.

Here are some photos from the session:

Dennis is switching at the Bluebonnet Feed Mill, in Ardmore.

Bill and Rod switching at Wynnewood.

Chris and John C looked after the Pauls Valley yard.

Derek took care of the Ardmore yard.

Bill checking the paperwork as he and Rod switch Davis with the Pauls Valley local.

Dennis is about to set out empty gondolas, and collect loaded gondolas
at Southern Rock Asphalt, Dougherty.

John F is bringing a north-bound freight train (Train 38) onto the arrival/departure track
at Ardmore, where it will set out some cars and collect others.

Noel is returning to Ardmore with the Ardmore local freight.

The Ardmore local freight  (Noel) has taken the siding at Gene Autry so that
John's northbound freight (Train 38) can pass.

Derek has cleared out almost all of the cars from Ardmore yard.

John F with Train 38 arriving at Wynnewood.

Rod and Bill switching at Wynnewood as Train 38 passes through town on the main track.

John F has brought Train 38 onto the Arrival/Departure track at Pauls Valley so he can exchange
cars with the yard. Bill and Rod are watching on as they await the chance to return to
Pauls Valley with the local freight (currently sitting on the siding at Wynnewood.).

Derek (left) and me at Ardmore. Things were so relaxed due to the slow clock-speed that I even
got to run some trains. Here I have just brought the SLSF freight train from Hugo into Ardmore.

The Pauls Valley yard crew, John C and Chris, discussing car moves.

Dennis and Noel ran the afternoon Pauls Valley local freight. Dennis is switching at Wynnewood.

Noel and Dennis with the Pauls Valley local freight at Davis.

I'll also post larger versions of these photos on my GC&SF Facebook page.

I am also pleased to report that the layout again operated very well with both the UR92 and UR93 radio devices working together. In recent months I've spent a lot of time researching the vagaries of the Digitrax system, and I think it is paying off in better, more reliable operation.

My thanks go to the guys who came over for making this a great session.



Monday, 28 February 2022

First operating session for 2022 (25 February 2022)

I called a crew together last Friday evening for our first operating session on the GC&SF for 2022. I am pleased to report that the layout operated very well, and everyone seemed to have had a good time.

This is the first time that I've used both my UR92 and UR93 radio devices together for a complete session. We had problems when I last tried to do that, and I disconnected the UR92 and used only the UR93. I think that the problem we had then was because the two devices were each operating on a different "Duplex Group ID". I've now set them both to "Duplex Group ID 1", and they seem to be playing well together. (Note that this is in addition to setting both UR devices to the same "Duplex Group Name" and "Duplex Group Channel".)

Here are some photos that Chris and I took during the session. Thank-you Chris for the photos. And thanks to all the guys for making the trip to my place.

It can get crowded in the aisle between Pauls valley (on the left) and Wynnewood.
L-R: Brendan is cutting out cars from a northbound Fast freight; John (yardmaster at Pauls Valley) and Greg are discussing the cars that Greg has just brought into the yard after switching the town industries; Darren (background) is running the refinery train which is waiting for Graham to clear the siding at Wynnewood; and Graham is switching industries at Wynnewood.
Photo by Chris Cochrane.

Pauls Valley, with the refinery train sitting on the main and a northbound Fast freight on the arrival/departure track. Yardmaster John is just finishing working the rear of the Fast Freight that Brendan is running.
Photo by Chris Cochrane.

Tail end of the refinery train at Pauls Valley. The caboose is one of more than a dozen Atlas cabeese that I modified and painted more than 20 years ago. The chimney and end rails are Microtrains parts.
Come on Atlas - It's time you brought this model up to modern standards.
Photo by Chris Cochrane.

Head end of the refinery train at Pauls Valley.
Photo by Chris Cochrane.

Graham with a local freight train, switching at Davis.
Photo by Chris Cochrane.

Brendan with a local freight arriving at Big Canyon.
Photo by Chris Cochrane.

A northbound freight entering the siding at Wynnewood.
Photo by Chris Cochrane.

Darren and I discussing a Woodlands Scenics building at Davis.
Photo by Chris Cochrane.

Greg is moving a cut of cars to the stock pen track at Davis.
Peter in the centre and me on the right.
Photo by Chris Cochrane.

L-R: Greg and Peter.
Photo by Chris Cochrane.

L-R: Yardmaster John is about to add cars to a southbound Fast Freight being driven by Darren; Greg is switching the town industries; Graham is on the right doing some switching at Wynnewood.

Graham with the Pauls Valley local freight at Wynnewood.

Chris shooting a video of a northbound fast freight that he's running through Dougherty.

Chris and his northbound Fast Freight at Davis.

Peter with a trainload of empty gons for delivery to the quarries at Dougherty and Big Canyon.

Peter (L) with his train of empty gondolas at Davis. Graham (R) is switching Johnstone Construction at Davis.

Derek (yardmaster at Ardmore) and Brendan working a northbound Fast Freight at Ardmore.

Peter, with the southbound gravel train on the siding at Gene Autry waiting for a northbound passenger train driven by Darren passes on the main.

Graham has just discovered that an Atlas coupler on a tank car he was to collect, has fallen apart.

Derek classifying cars at Ardmore. He did a great job.

Chris cutting out cars that are to be switched to the Wynnewood refinery.

Larger versions of these photos are also available on my GC&SF Facebook page at:


Thursday, 28 October 2021

Operating session on 24th October

I invited some guys over to run trains with me last Saturday. We used a modified version of my timetable because I'd called a smaller crew that we usually have, and I figured that after such a long break we'd all be a bit rusty. Instead of using the fast clock, we operated the trains sequentially, which meant fewer trains on the layout at any time, and eliminated most of the meets between through trains. I stupidly thought that I could operate both yards, but that didn't work out so well.

It turned out that we weren't as rusty as I thought, because in my post-session tidy up I found only one car that was not where it was supposed to be. The guys did very well.

I was so busy running the yards that I almost forgot to take photos. Here are a few that I did get, along with a couple of still images from videos that Greg made.

John F. on the right has cut some cars from his northbound Fast freight, and is running the engines back to rejoin the train. I'm in the background, switching some cars to add to the rear of John's train.

Brendan is switching tank cars at the Wynnewood refinery.

Me and my covid lockdown hair.

Another shot of Brendan switching tank cars at the Wynnewood refinery.

John F with a northbound freight departing Pauls Valley.

Chris appears to be waiting for his train to emerge from the track that leads down to the south staging yard.

A southbound grain extra (driven by John F) and the northbound Texas Chief (driven by Greg) do a saw-by at Davis.
This was Greg's first operating session on the GC&SF and he didn't miss any opportunity to run a train.

Greg, with the Texas Chief arriving at Pauls Valley.

(L-R) Peter K, John F and Greg.
Greg is running the "The Chicagoan" while John is running the Pauls Valley local freight.

Brendan fiddling with one of them new fangled Digitrax throttles. This was the first time one has been used on my layout,
and Brendan said that he had no problems. 
The GP7 is the yard switcher that I was driving, until
I put my UT4D down to take this photo.

Greg again, this time with a northbound train of tank cars that has just emerged from the south staging yard.

Business must be booming at Johnstone Construction.

Jacobson Concrete at Pauls Valley.

Pauls Valley grain elevator. This model is based on a real industry in Pauls Valley that has been there for 60 years or more.
From what I can tell, it was once the Farm-Ranch Grain Company.


Another photo of Wynnewood.

A big thank-you to the guys for coming over. I'm hoping to hold another session before Christmas.

Thanks for looking,