Summer Evening and the ML401

Summer Evening and the ML401
Conrail ML401 rolls west through Central New York farm country in Onondaga County, September 1994.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Success!

The first operating session on the Onondaga Cutoff was a success!  We ran trains from about 7 until about 11 p.m., accomplishing all the work I'd come up with for the crews to do, and having a lot of fun in the process.  One of the great things about the session was that I learned a lot about about the layout!

We ran with a crew of 6 - a dispatcher, two-man crews for the M&E and for the road local, and one-man crews for the road freights.  Based on feedback from the operators, we will likely post someone full-time in the yard to assist road freights for setting out next time.  There are also a few infrastructure issues I will work to address.  There was only one collision, a rear-ender that was a simple mistake and that we have now taken steps to prevent - from now on, every move needs an engineer for a full trip on the head end after turnouts are thrown to ensure proper routing.

From left to right, we have Scottie, John, Nick, Jack, me, and Mark.  I appreciate their help and enthusiasm!  One thing I realized very quickly is that this model railroad is a LOT more fun when there's an operating session, so we're already scheduled for the next one! 

Let me know if you might be in NJ anytime, with a few days notice there's a chance you can operate too.  It only gets better from here!

~RGDave

Friday, October 14, 2011

Operation

With the fall come many activities that keep me busy and away from the model railroad.  However, I have had time to keep pushing forward on a few more decoder installations as well as some other 'below the layout' items.

The biggest news is that I have three separate cabs now for my DCC operations - the NCE controller (PowerCab) that came with my PowerPro 5-amp system, an NCE Cab 04ER, and the most recent addition, an NCE Cab 06R.  All are full radio controlled and can work simultaneously, which will be a lot of fun as we begin to do some operating sessions on the railroad!

For a backup, I also installed three separate plug-in UTP ports around the layout.  Each radio cab is battery-powered, and all have worked very well so far.  However, should the batteries fade during a session, or should the radio have issues for any reason, I wanted a hard-wired backup so that trains could be controlled either way.

So, operating sessions will begin soon - informally at first, taking some notes and making things up as we go along, and then more formally soon with regular symbol freights working specific tasks during a session.  Exciting!  Photos to come soon!