Monday, October 5, 2015

Early October Update

The first weekend of October is behind us and with it was a busy weekend chocked full of model railroad operations. 

FWLOD 2015
Fort Worth Layout Operations Day

Night before FWLOD - ready to go. Even pulled off the french doors to make getting around easier.

The genesis of Dean Ferris, this past Saturday turned out be a great time for Modelers from around the DFW area to operate on Fort Worth area layouts. There were 8 participating layouts ranging in a host of sizes and eras all in N or HO scales. There were morning and afternoon sessions, which the MCIS St. Clair Sub hosted operators for both which made for a very busy day. In the past we have operated with three individuals plus myself but this time we added a dispatcher giving us four operators. The morning session hosted Joe Bohannon, Don Murphy, Jim Aust, and Eric Davis. As for assignments Joe took on the new dispatcher role, Jim and Don took the road assignments, and Eric handled yardmaster / RCO operator duties.

The session went great - we not only operated though all of the trains on the lineup, but also put the new car card / blocking system through its first live use. Here are a pictures from the morning:

Don moving his power from the yard to DSF tracks.
Taking a break from dispatching Joe switches Bay Industrial Lead customers with the Y-BA04-03.
Eric managing and classifying traffic at Bay Yard.

Between sessions was a 2 hour break for operators to get lunch and travel. For us hosts with a AM and PM session this was  our time to mad dash and reset for the afternoon. I say reset but we continue off where we last ended but trains that went east now head west and so on with new blocking car cards.
All of blocking cards lined up - many different options for operations.

The afternoon session consisted of three operators due to a cancellation and consisted of Chris Atkins, Tom Pearson, and Wayne Snyder. Since we were short one operator we went back to self issuance of the DTC block cards (love the flexibility) as had done prior to this day. Towards the end of the session Dean Ferris and Chris King stopped in and were assigned to the Y-BA04-04 handling the local Bay City customers.
L-GEGL-04 making switch moves at Grays Lake.

     All quiet in Bay Yard at "shift change".

After tieing up all of the trains the session was called complete. I was very impressed with how the layout performed for the operators beings it was continuously ran for nine hours (0830-1730). We had very few derailments I believe just one or two which had been caused by the lift out section being out of alignment... I can live with that. Afterwards around 20 individuals from the event attended the dinner at Spring Creek BBQ. 

Thank you to the following, the day would have not been successful without your unwavering support.
My wife: for taking the kids on outings all day to help with the chaos in the layout room, support of my hobby, and finances.
My father: for helping with construction support whether it was lighting, fascia, or engineering puzzles.
My mother: going with my wife to help with the kiddos and financing.
Chris Palmieri: for helping on Friday to get all of the block cards setup, trains staged, cars repaired, and being a good video producer. Below is a link (copy and paste) to Chris' Meridian Spedway blog showcasing Friday behind the scenes:

A lot of other fellow modelers have been instrumental in helping get the layout to its present operational status and I thank you.

Enjoy a few more photos from the day.

MCIS 4052 (SD40-2) and MCIS 4059 (SD40-2M) idling on east yard lead.

Thumb Electric Cooperative (Co-Gen Plant) and Michigan Sugar both had temporary tracks installed allowing for cars to be delivered and pulled. The foreground tracks are for the weekly coal train at TEC, while background tracks support Michigan Sugar.

Everyone have a great month - be on the lookout for this weeks Wordless Wednesday. 



  1. Greg, I am pleased that the day was a success! With so many first-time operators on The Clair, what were your takeaways from their feedback on the car cards?

  2. First off thanks for the help the Friday before, very nice write up on the Meridian Speedway blog. Takeaways and feedback... The card system went off without a hitch. We had a few misroutes the first session but they made it to the right customer the second session, after all this is very prototypical. Feedback was good, everyone liked the simplicity but solid detail of handling the car. Additionally the yardmaster guide was well received and after a good job brief made sense. Best part the system offered flexibility that we just didn't have with the written manifests we had used in previous sessions. While the railroad runs sequentially because of staging at one point we had to stage a train out on the Bay 2 main but we still kept the railroad fluid, very good validation of trackwork / ops plan that has been implemented. A year ago today roughly we began operating and we have now reached a consistent, prototypical, and operator enjoyable operation.