A big thanks to the guys who came over: Bill, Rod, John C, Dennis, Peter and Graham. I had planned to run the full timetable, which requires a fairly intense 3 hours of operation using a 6:1 fast clock. We didn't quite make it, but we came very close and the guys maintained their good humor throughout the session. Well done, and thanks to you all.
Here are some photos from the session. Sorry about the poor resolution - I used my DSLR instead of my phone camera (which has much better depth of field.)
Peter, running the northbound "Ranger" is laughing because the session has barely started and Graham (running the Ardmore local) has already been found guilty of blocking the main ahead of an approaching superior train.
Dennis is concentrating as he drives Train 40 (a northbound Fast Freight) through Wynnewood.
John C took his usual (favourite?) job as yard operator at Pauls Valley. The yard's starting to look a bit crowded there, John.
Due to some poorly detailed instructions from the dispatcher (that would be me), Peter has ended up with a grossly overweight (and overlong) train to switch at Wynnewood. But he managed to get it sorted out nevertheless.
Dennis's Train 40 prepares to depart Pauls Valley to continue its journey northwards.
The Ardmore local has arrived at Doughty, where Bill is swapping his empty gons for loaded cars before returning to Gainesville (staging) via Ardmore.
Extra 203 South, with grain-loaded box cars passes the Dolese Bros. quarry at Big Canyon. (I'm not sure what Dennis is doing.)
Bill, with the southbound Ardmore local has just finished setting out some cars at Ardmore before continuing south to Gainesville with the loaded gravel gons.
Peter is bringing the northbound Livestock Extra into Davis where he will set out some livestock cars for loading, before continuing on to Pauls Valley.
Graham is running southbound Fast Freight Train 39 through Dougherty.
Peter is making up the SL-SF local (in the background) so it can return to Hugo with cars it has collected from the Frisco's interchange with the GC&SF at Ardmore.
Graham is cutting some cars out of Train 39 at Ardmore, while the yard operator (me) was adding cars to the rear of the train.
Here's Rod with the afternoon Ardmore local, returning the gravel that was collected by the morning Ardmore local to the quarries. I could say that the gravel was rejected because it failed QC, but the fact is that I forgot to remove the loads from the cars during the lunch break. Rod looks like he's having too much fun...
Stay focused, Rod! Railroading is serious business! (Sometimes I think that Digitrax Duplex Radio has more in common with black-magic than real science.)
Dennis is building the afternoon Pauls Valley local freight at Davis.
Rod is switching cars at Dougherty. It looks like he has decided to use a different form of digital operation, after his throttle let him down.
Graham has the southbound "Ranger" stopped at Davis for passengers to board.
Peter is taking a trainload of empty 40' box cars up north for grain loading. I'm not sure why he is using the passenger depot track instead of the mainline as he passes through Pauls Valley, but John looks a bit surprised.
Nice job of getting that yard cleared John!
Despite the lack of wheel-cleaning, the layout operated very well. But the relatively inexperienced operators did find a couple of problems with my written instructions that I will address before the next session.
Gents - once again, thanks for coming over. I had a lot of fun and I hope to have another session in November.