Sunday, June 14, 2015

Dean Ferris' Oregon Joint Line

Yesterday I had the opportunity to participate in an operating session with ten others on Dean Ferris' N Scale Oregon Joint Line. The layout is north of Fort Worth and located in a large room above his garage which gives him the ability to have a 28' x 25' setup along with a dispatcher office. One thing I enjoy when visiting another layout is seeing first hand how the layout owner makes use of their available space to create their model railroad. Dean has done a fantastic job on the layout with the room providing a very comfortable atmosphere to operate in, which in this case was a little over 3.5 hours.

Lets run through some quick stats on the layout and then get into my assignments and some pictures from along the right of way.

Railroad: Oregon Joint Line (Proto-Freelance)
Size: 28' x 25'
Scale: N Scale
Era: 1969
Locale: Oregon Trunk Theme
Control: NCE Radio Throttles
Train Management: Track Warrant Control
Car Forwarding: Cartabs
Timetable to help with photos below - Ukiah is northern end and Humboldt Jct. is southern end

So being this was my first time to visit Dean's layout I marked up on the road pool board and began my tour of duty on the Oregon Joint Line northend and awaited my first assignment. Being this was a high priority train and one of the first out this session my first trip over the line was pretty straight forward having mainline the entire route.

1st Assignment - Hotshot Pig / Reefer Train
NP #611 Seattle to Los Angeles Super P
Power: 2 ATSF GP30s
Train Card with consist #, Lead Unit, Work Description
Southbound out of Lonerock along the river heading towards Fossil - the motors were getting their workout working up out of the river valley.
After cresting the summit at Snowline my train heads downgrade towards the town of Emigrant.
My two GP30s with a Boeing Skybox in tow ahead of the Pigs just north of Emigrant.
Good handling was required on this trip with officers and customers in tow on the rear end of #611 at Harney (Humboldt Jct.).

2nd Assignment - Coal Drag
DRGW to Centralia, WA Coal Train
Power: 2 DRGW GP30s with 1 WP GP9 sandwiched in the middle

I hadn't been off duty too long when the crew caller gave the next assignment to take a coal drag northbound from Humboldt Jct. to GN Jct. This train was pretty long with 24 loads and getting north out of Silvies would require helper assistance getting up and over the summit at Snowline. 

NP Coal Drag heading north into Silvies. Once on the north end of the yard a helper would cut in 5 cars from the rear to help make it over the summit at Snowline. With our helper, caboose, 24 cars, and 3 motors we barely fit into the siding at Snowline.

 Close up of DRGW 3006 - EMD GP30 leading the coal drag.

Nearing the end of our journey we see the coal drag along the river valley dwarfed by canyons on either side.

Third Assignment - Heavy Manifest Drag
NP #655 Pasco to WP Stockton 
Power: 2 WP GP40s and 1 NP SD45

Call came in to take this heavy manifest drag southbound from Pasco. Along the way this train made a block swap at Monument Yard and a pickup only at Silvis before continuing on to Humboldt Jct. 
Alot of work to complete with this train - 2 pickups, 1 setout, and helper assistance getting to Snowline.

Grinding southbound up the river valley grade from Lonerock towards my first setout / pickup location at Monument Yard. Nothing like 2 EMD GP40s and 1 EMD SD45 giving solid tractive effort to keep this heavy manifest drag moving.

 Passing through the north end of Monument towards the yard past the large chip mill.

We are now coasting downgrade just shy of Emigrant.

River crossing just north of Emigrant showcasing my lead motor on this trip WP #3508.

Cant forget the EMD SD45 sandwiched in between - what a classy scheme. Crazy to think this being 1969 and even in 2015 the venerable EMD SD45 is still soldiering on as its original self or in countless rebuilds.

The operating session was fantastic on all accounts, and even provided some opportunities to benchmark best practices to utilize on my St. Clair Subdivision. I look forward to my next opportunity to operate here and while the yard would be a new challenge the scenery is immersive making the end to end assignments on the road pool very rewarding.



  1. Thanks for coming out and operating Greg. It's always interesting to see how people photograph the layout and you've got some really nice angles that I hadn't considered before. Here's a link to the time-lapse I took of action at Monument Yard during the session:

  2. This was a great operating session! I'll post some notes and photos in the Meridian Speedway Operating Session Library soon.