Saturday May 9 was one for the history books on the Onondaga Cutoff - we had our first fully remote operation session, broadcast on Facebook Live!
We operated 3 hours of the regular schedule with a few adjustments to fit in the allotted time, with a remote dispatcher, 4 remote operators, and a backup remote operator. The session went amazingly well for the first such session with me in the basement and everyone else at home!
Operators used WiThrottle, logged into the JMRI server on the railroad through the internet. Simultaneously, they used VPN software to view the dispatcher's panel, and ran a Skype group call hooked to an FRS radio set to voice activation in the basement that was my radio repeater.
They also ran a Zoom conference video chat so they could see Onondaga Yard, which we used afterwards for a virtual cheers that was graciously photographed by Rich W.
Seriously awesome for this to have gone well. My thanks go this this crew, of course - Rich, Andrew, Jack, Al, Ralph and John - as well as to Nick who built the system, and Alex who figured out the networking part of it. Without that crew, this doesn't happen.
Thanks for the support! I am hoping to write an article about this for publication in print, and will keep you posted on that. Necessity is the genesis of invention sometimes, and this is a case in point.