Thursday, 21 February 2019

Operating session February 2019

Wow - it has been a long time since I last invited a crew over to run trains on the GC&SF (way back in June last year.)  But I finally got myself organised and hosted a session last Friday evening.

Things went pretty smoothly overall, with the crew completing the assigned work with very few problems. However, there were a few glitches caused by myself.

First off, when I staged the gravel train in the north-staging yard (which has video cameras monitoring the tracks) I placed the (DCC) lead loco second in the consist, facing the rear. When the driver started the train, instead of running forward and out of staging, the train went backwards and disappeared from view on the video monitor. The driver didn't notice what had happened, and consequently couldn't figure out which train he was supposed to be running, as none of the visible trains were responding to his throttle commands. Fortunately, he stopped the train and called me for assistance before anything serious happened in staging.

The second incident happened when I reached under the layout to turn on an outside light, but inadvertently switched off the room power by mistake. Then, for some unknown reason, the power would not come back on again. After a delay of about 10 minutes, and checking and resetting circuit breakers, I got the power on again and we were able to resume running trains. But the difficulty I had in getting things restarted again suggests that I have an electrical problem that needs correcting.

Apart from those two problems (which took only about twenty minutes of my time to fix), the session went so well that it was over almost before I knew it. I was watching one of the trains and realised with some surprise that it was the Livestock Extra - the second-last train on my schedule. My initial thought was that someone had run it out of sequence, but a check of the crew call-board told me otherwise.

All the trains had been run, and I hadn't run any of them ... 😡

So what had I been doing? I wish I could say that I took lots of photos, but I really didn't take that many. Here's the best of what I did get ...
Barry preparing to run a local at Davis.

Darren and Graham waiting to run their first trains for the evening.

John C (yardmaster at Pauls Valley) waiting for a southbound freight operated by Rod to pull onto the arrival track.

Bill watching as Rod and John work the southbound freight at Pauls Valley.

Dennis is watching on as Barry brings the local freight into Wynnewood.

John F, Rod and Bill, with the southbound through freight approaching Davis.

Barry has taken a break from switching and has cleared the main track at Wynnewood so a southbound train of
empty gons bound for Dougherty and Big Canyon (operated by Dennis) can pass.

Graham is watching his northbound fast freight (out of the photo) as it approaches Big Canyon. The train
on the siding is the Ardmore local freight (operated by Darren) which has completed
its switching and is waiting for the through freight to pass.

John F (yardmaster at Ardmore) is checking the paperwork for the cars from Darren's local freight.

Dennis has exchanged some of his empty gons for loaded cars at Dougherty, and is pulling onto the
main track for the trip to Big Canyon. 

Barry has brought the Ringling branchline train into Ardmore and is about to move the combine to the house track.

John is moving a caboose onto the main track, ahead of the southbound gravel train. I have no idea why he did that,
but I guess it was a good idea at the time.

This blurry photo is the only picture I got of Brendan from the front, and that's Greg in the blue shirt
in the distant background. Sorry about that, guys.

I had ten guest operators for this session, which is one or two more than we usually have, and most of the guys didn't spend a lot of time running trains. But judging by the amount of lively chat, I think they had a good time anyway.

That's it for this report. My thanks go to all the guys who came over on Friday. I'm hoping to host the next session in mid or late March, probably on a Tuesday.