Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Operating session on the GC&SF

On a bleak, wet, wintery day, what could be better than to have some friends over to play trains...?  Yes - yesterday was  Operating Day on the GC&SF.

Due to unexpected illnesses we were a couple of operators short today, which made it challenging to keep up with the timetable during its busier periods. Nevertheless, we managed to get through most of the trains called for on the schedule:

Brendan ran one yard and I operated the other. Between fielding general questions and running the yard I had a very hectic time, and I'm very glad that I changed the system so that the Lindsay, Ringling and Frisco locals are operated by guys from the 'engineers pool' instead of the yard operators (as they used to be.)  Brendan, on the other hand, was so far ahead of the game that he had time to run a through freight!

Here are some photos that I took during the session:
Rod with the Ardmore local, doing some switching at the Ardmore Air Base just north of Gene Autry.

Peter has brought the Frisco (SLSF) local into Ardmore, and is now doing a run-around move
to get to the other end of the train.

Chris preparing to exchange empty cars for loaded gons at the Southern Rock Asphalt plant at Dougherty.

Bill with the Pauls Valley local at Pauls Valley. The monitor in the background
shows the North-end Staging yard tracks.

Dennis is taking Train 38 (a northbound fast freight) through Dougherty, where
Chris is still at work swapping empties for loads.

Chris and the gravel train have now moved to Big Canyon where they'll do some more switching.

Graham and the southbound tank-car train are passing through Davis.

Bill and Brendan watch as Rod sets out stock cars at the Pauls Valley stock yards.

Hmmm .... (I have no idea what Peter is thinking.)

The locos on the northbound Chicagoan have just separated because somebody (I wonder who, Graham)
forgot to line the turnout for the mainline after using it.

Bill, Peter and Rod taking an unauthorised break!

Brendan and a very tidy yard at Pauls Valley.

The front gons on the gravel train derailed on the turnouts at Dougherty. I'll have to do some testing,
but we suspect that the derailment happened because the empty cars at the front of the train are
very light compared to the loaded cars at the rear of the train (just out of the picture).

Graham is waiting for the northbound tank-car train to pass through Davis so he can finish
building the Pauls Valley local freight.

Pauls Valley has two GP7s assigned to it, and Brendan has MU'd them together.  Here he is using the pair
to add cars to a northbound fast freight.

Graham doing some switching with the Pauls Valley local, at Davis.

Chris, with the tank-car train arriving at Wynnewood.

Chris cutting off the way-car and buffer car, before spotting six empty LPG tank-cars at the refinery
for loading. He has already moved six loaded cars to an auxiliary track to make room for the empties.

Chris also took a bunch of photos, and emailed them to me so I can include them here:
Bill preparing the morning Pauls Valley local freight (which actually starts from Davis.)

Brendan switching the head end of Train 40 (a northbound fast freight) while I add cars to the rear end.

Graham with the afternoon Pauls Valley local freight, at Wynnewood.

Extra 172 North (the tank-car train) holding in the siding at Davis so that Train 40 can overtake it.
I love my MTL FTs!

Three Santa Fe box cars sitting on the siding at Ardmore Construction. During the '50s there were several
building supply businesses in Ardmore, and Ardmore Construction is just a generic representation
of those industries. The buildings are temporary stand-ins (albeit very old stand-ins.)

The starting line-up at South Staging. L-R: Train 5 (The Ranger), Train 40 (a morning fast freight),
Train 16 (The Texas Chief), X2856N (the livestock extra) and Train 40 (an afternoon fast freight.)

Stillwater Milling at Davis. The H16-44s will soon be called to work on the Pauls Valley local freight.

Another shot of the FTs at the head of the tank-car train, at Davis.

The Pauls Valley local freight at Wynnewood, where it is about to do some switching.

Although we had a few minor glitches, I'm very happy with the way the layout operated, and especially with the way the guys ran things. Thanks for coming over guys - as Graham would say, "I love your work." Also, a special thanks to Brendan for taking time out from running the Pauls Valley yard to assist the newer operators, and to Chris for allowing me to share his photos.

Thanks for looking in.