Thursday, February 28, 2019

Operations Session

February 21 the W&A hosted its first official ops session! Long time coming it has been. We were honored to have six friends partner up in crews of two, one engineer with a brakeman. 7:00 PM crew members arrived to orient themselves to their schedules and plan their ways of working. 7:30 the clock started and everyone was completed by 9:15. Of course there were many breakdowns that were communicated to the superintendent, providing LOTS of maintenance work orders. But this is to be expected, although he (I) was more disappointed than expected. Bottom line is that it appeared all had a fabulous time.  
Engineers were responsible for operating the locos. Brakemen had responsibilities for coupling, re-railing cars when necessary and ensuring switches were set accurately. 
The schedules were challenging in that the timing of arrivals caused negotiations in order to ensure that their respective time tables were successfully met. 
The image below, with a Yankee who somehow infiltrated as a brakeman, shows Paul with Jimmy at the throttle. Shortly after this shot, another consist came barreling through with DC at the throttle causing one of those "challenging" situations. However, when considering this is 1863, trains were constantly running at all times in order to meet both military and civilian demands. Hence, this was quite prototypical. However, schedule adjustments will be made for the next session.
This next photo has brakeman Christopher questioning engineer Martin's instructions on how best to build their consist in Chattanooga. Martin is a veteran engineer and Christopher... well, this was his first time in this role. He had a steep learning curve, and did quite well.
Below, my good friend from high school and college, Dave Eberhardt, is on his maiden run as a first time brakeman with DC at the throttle. Dave had a layout in the '70's, my first experience helping to build structures and learn a few basics. Here they are building their consist in Atlanta. 
This one below is the opening of the session, two crews setting up their respective runs.
Prior to this evening, one of our favorite modelers and friends, Brian Kammerer visited. It had been quite some time since his last appearance. He did not like a bird I had set into the backdrop because of the shadow. So in his nature for clean imaging, we were able to get him to add a small flock of crows to the backdrop, the latter which he had painted in the early days of layout construction. So good it was to have his rare visit to the W&A. Here is a link to his art work 
DC arrived early to complete his scratch build of a prototype fire house in Chattanooga. "Look what I did!" And it is ridiculously exquisite! 
Shorty after, he wanted to see the cars he had built for his own future layout run on our W&A. All was well until he begin to uncouple. He pulled the pins, however, the links were a bit tight in the coupler pockets. As he pulled one car off it pulled the next... HO dominoes resulted! Although there were a couple of casualties, they were easily repaired. Lesson-do NOT uncouple on elevations!
This ops event was a much welcomed achievement given we've been at this since 2003! Using the hindsight factor, I would have ... but hindsight also says there is only so much planning; best is to get into it and be open to learn, adjust and have great friends to share the joy along the way.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your first official op session. Well done!
    Sorry about DC's cars though.