Monday, 13 February 2017

Operating session - 10th February 2017

I called the crew together last Friday, for a night of train running. It was a big night, with nine guest operators attending.

In the days leading up to the session I made some changes to the operating timetable, as foreshadowed in my previous post.  The main change was to replace the Gainesville/Ardmore local freight with two separate trains:

(i) an Ardmore local freight that switches the towns between Ardmore and Dougherty, and

(ii) an extra that runs between Purcell, Ok and Gainesville, Tx (actually, north staging to south staging) switching the quarries at Dougherty and Big Canyon.

I also changed the way we operate the Lindsay and Ringling mixed locals, and the SLSF train that operates between Ardmore and Hugo, Ok. In the past these trains were run by the yard operators, in theory at least. In reality, the yard operators were usually too busy with other duties to run these trains.  So I added them to the operating sequence so they can be run by the general pool of operators.

Here's the crew call board for the trains that we ran on the night:

The fast-clock was set at 5:1 ratio, which meant that the session would (or *should*) last just under 1 hour and 50 mins provided there were no unexpected delays.

Shortly after the trains started running we encountered the first problem for the night: I had inadvertently started the fast-clock at 3:00AM instead of 6:00AM.  Du-Oh!

Greg volunteered to run the Ardmore yard. Here he is helping Barry to organise the Ardmore local freight. In the background, Dennis (on the left) and Peter (center) are getting ready to run Trains 38 and 6 respectively. Darren (right) is getting ready to run the SLSF freight from Hugo (staging).

At the other end of the layout, John C was again operating the Pauls Valley yard. Here he is with Graham who is running Train 37, a south-bound fast freight.

Bill is gathering up cars at Davis, for the Pauls Valley local freight. Noel (background) will soon be running the south-bound gravel train, and here he is checking to see what work has to be done at Dougherty.

John C watches while Graham brings Train 37 into Pauls Valley on the arrival track.
Meanwhile, over at Davis Bill is almost done building the Pauls Valley local....

Back at Ardmore, Darren has arrived with the SLSF freight train from Hugo, and is sorting the paperwork. Peter is bringing Train 6, the north-bound "Ranger", into town on the passenger track, while Dennis and Barry watch.

Barry is switching Gene Autry with the Ardmore local. As an aside, I'm planning to relay the track in this photo in order to increase the siding capacity at the Ardmore Air Base (where the cars are sitting in the far corner.)

The Pauls Valley local (bottom left-hand corner of the photo) is waiting for Train 6 to leave Wynnewood so it can commence switching.

South-bound fast freight #37 cruises through Dougherty en-route to Texas:
Darren spent the evening assisting the yard operators, and in particular, running the trio of local trains that I previously called upon the yard operators to run.  These trains all have a short run, but collectively they move about 15 to 18 cars per session to offline locations other than the main (north and south) staging yards. 

Here, Darren is bringing the Ringling mixed local into Ardmore on the arrival track. Once he's there he will run the locos around the train, cut off the combine, and move it to a stub-siding adjacent to the depot so the passengers can alight in safety.
Dennis watches on while Bill does some switching at Wynnewood with the Pauls Valley local.
When I changed the way the quarries are switched I suspected that the new 'gravel train' would arrive at Dougherty at around the same time that the Ardmore local would be there, but I thought (hoped, really) that the three sidings would have sufficient capacity to handle both trains at once.  Unfortunately, that wasn't to be. Barry had no problems with the Ardmore local, but Noel struggled with the gravel train (although he didn't have to use the 5-finger switcher!)  Before the next session I will have to give some thought to resolving that problem, particularly since I want to add another 8 to 12 cars to the gravel cycle.
Graham and Greg are doing the paperwork after switching Train 37 at Ardmore.
Bill has finished the switching at  Wynnewood and is preparing to leave for Pauls Valley
Train 40, with Dennis at the controls, has arrived at Ardmore.
Noel, with the gravel train, is collecting loads at the Dolese Bros. quarry at Big Canyon.
The Ardmore local followed the gravel train through Big Canyon. Barry had to collect a covered hopper loaded with sand.
At Pauls Valley, John and Dennis are discussing shipments for north-bound Train 38, while Darren switches cars at the local industries. Bill is back at Wynnewood, switching cars with the south-bound Pauls Valley local (which is returning to Davis.)
Due to miscommunication, the stop for "beans" came a little later than I intended. Here the guys are making short work of supper.
For some strange reason, late running Train 38 ended up on the house track behind the Pauls Valley depot. Here, it is leaving Pauls Valley immediately ahead of Train 12 - the north-bound Texas Chief.  And are they tank cars immediately behind the loco? Someone will have some 'splaining to do :-)
I'm not sure what's happening here, but my guess is that Greg is pushing the caboose from the Ardmore local onto the caboose storage track.
John's shift at Pauls Valley is almost done, and he'll be leaving a very neat yard for whoever runs it next time.  (That will probably be him. LOL)
I am very happy with the way the session went. Before we started I asked the guys to focus on a number of things that were tend to do badly, and they did do those things really well. Thanks guys - I greatly appreciate the effort you made to run the layout the way I intend it to be run. 

Thanks for reading,