12 June, 2010

Operating... ain't nuthin' like it!

Today, I had the pleasure of operating on Mat Thompson's Oregon Coast Railroad (check it out at: http://ocrrnet.ipage.com/).  It's a fine layout and Mat, a gracious and patient host, took me and another "noob" on the nickel tour of the layout, discussed his "rules" (#1 - HAVE FUN! Which I did!), and how we go about making trains get from one place to another (and another, and another).  There was an outsanding group of Model Railroaders assembled to run the trains, who talked with me about their own layouts, operating realistically via the different methods (i.e. Time Table & Train Orders (TT&TO), Car Cards & Waybills (CC&WB), Switchlists, etc), as well as suggestions on what to do on my layout for better operations, and a suggestion or two to get a work session going for my layout, to get things done sooner.  Model Railroad Author and Photographer Paul Dolkos was humorous and informative to chat with on many aspects of layout construction and operations; Pete LaGuardia gave me some good ideas on how to overcome the DCC (Digitrax system) power problems I was having, along with suggested power management components to buy from Tony's Train Exchange (http://www.tonystrains.com/index.html); Phil gave me some advice on getting to know your layouts and just plain how to have fun with the job you are given; and I also talked with Bryan Kidd, director of the Chesapeake and Ohio Historical Society (http://www.cohs.org/) and he told me about the society's new Heritage Center, as well as the Archive Building in Clifton Forge, VA (sounds like a great resource for finding out more prototype information on Doswell, VA!).  At the end of the Operating Session, lunch was served by Mat's lovely wife, and more information as well as some laughs were shared.  Overall it was a great time, with great people.  While I won't be able to host a crew that large, I hope I can hold an Operating Session as good as that.  It was a great opportunity; my thanks to Mat and all who were there.  If you are interested in learning about how to operate a model railroad, check out Tony Koester's book at right (one of my favorites!), along with the latest Operations Special Interest Group (OPSIG) article on Operational Layout Considerations (http://www.opsig.org/DOpages/Allen%20Frasch%20DO%20Vol16%20No2.pdf).

Op Sessions like that are certainly a great motivator to getting things done on your own layout. After getting back to Fredericksburg, I picked up the materials needed to add more overhead lighting at the local Earl's Tru Value, pumped to "get it done".  With a brief pause for a Farewell party for dear family friends (Fair Winds, Following Seas to the Rupp Family as they head off to Okinawa - we will miss you all!), and a break to rest this bum left foot, I began the installation of the new lighting, some C&O trackage between the Gravel pit & Doswell Junction's Diamond, not to mention a small bit of wiring underneath the layout (very small, thanks to the Boot the doc gave me).  While it was only an hour, it was a little more progress.  Pictures coming shortly...

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