Maine Central, Lamoille Valley

Maine Central, Lamoille Valley
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Friday, October 07, 2016

Sept 2016 Op Session

Last week on Wednesday 9/28 I hosted the NEK Op Session #4. I invited 7 guys over to help put the layout through it's paces and see how things fared. The process is helping me determine the best way to sequence and run the trains that I have scheduled, and also provides insights into how I can better convey the operations I want to run on the layout to the operators. 

We got through almost the whole schedule and things ran pretty smooth. The track cleaning and CRC 2-26 treatment definitely was worth the effort as there were no electrical issues related to dirty track. A few things popped up with older turnouts not having power through the points, and a turnout that did not throw completely. These will be addressed before the next session.

It is always interesting to see how others run trains in different ways than I planned. And some things I just need to find a better way to convey to the operators. So some things are still a work in progress, but overall I think everyone had a good time.

Here are some pictures from the session.

Bruce got down to business in Morrisville breaking down train VM-2, the St. Albans to Morrisville LVRC train. The power is on the engine house track (the engine house is still to be built as you can see!)

Mark served as Yardmaster in St. Johnsbury, and he enjoyed the new method of throwing turnouts, using Touch Toggles (from Berrett Hill) on the panel in front of him.

Working with Mark as St. Johnsbury yard engineer was Joe. Joe handled locomotive movements with Mark working the waybills to get things figured out and keep an eye on the schedule. St. johns bury is the busiest spot on the layout, so how it runs dictates how the session progresses. Definitely a 2 person job!

Chris wore the right color shirt as he operated Canadian Pacific train 917 from Newport, He will have cars to drop and pickup, and then he will proceed to E. Deerfield MA. On the lead are a CP 424 and RS10 along with a B&M GP40-2.

John ran the LVRC MJ-2 train from Morrisville to St. Johnsbury. Here John is picking up a boxcar on the siding in Hardwick, and wondering how long he is allowed to block the road crossing.

I assigned a 2 man crew to the B&M train 4301, the White River Junction to Groveton turn. Here Bill and Chris handle the MEC interchange traffic at Whitefield. In front of Bill is another Touch Toggle panel for the 6 switches in this area.

Later in the run of B&M 4301, Bill and Chris arrived in Groveton to work the paper mill. Groveton has benefited with the addition of structures and scenery since he last op session when it was strictly plywood. A local switcher at Groveton assists in work of breaking down 4301 and getting it turned around and heading back south as BM 4302.

Phil was on hand to help out, and here is preparing to assemble the ballast extra from Hardwick to meet a Maine Central train of empties in St. Johnsbury. The ex-CR transfer caboose is new to the LVRC. Phil is about to pull the hoppers from the spur .
Phil has arrived in St. Johnsbury and is working to swap his loads with the MEC train of empties brought in by John. Here Phil has cut off his power, a Vermont Northern C420 and pulls forward. John is on the CP main with the MEC train. The yard crew looks on, waiting for this maneuver to finish so they can get back to work.

John ran the North Stratford to St. Johnsbury turn, MEC train TY-2/YT-1. Here John is using the passing siding at Crawford Notch to run around his train and prepare for the trek west to St. J.More trees arrived in Crawford recently, and the foreground buildings are part of the Whitefield scene.

Phil ran the MEC YQ-1/QY-2 turn from St. Johnsbury to Whitefield and back. Here is doing some work in East St. Johnsbury, dropping an empty pulpwood rack.

One last picture captures Phil working the Gilman paper mill switch job. This was a new assignment I added to handle spots and pickups ahead of train YQ-1. I had found that too much time was being taken by this train so adding another job alleviated the issue.
So at least this time I did remember to capture some pictures, which can be tough when everyone is caught up in the action. But slowly the kinks are getting worked out and the crew is better understanding the layout and the operations. Still more to do to as I keep learning from each session, but it will be fun to continue to refine things. 

Hopefully the next session will stay on track for mid-November.


Greg said...

Great write up Mike! Layout is looking fantastic, that Groveton paper mill is huge! How many spots/pulls per session?


Mike McNamara said...

Thanks Greg. It was a lot of fun the past few months bringing the scene together. Still some more stuff to build such as the woodchip unloading shed and sheds for the kaolin unloading. Plus more details, piping, vents, etc.

The mill has tracks for kaolin, oil, outbound paper, woodchips and cars to interchange with the Grand Trunk. In general, the B&M will swap about 8 cars with train 4301. The oil traffic is not modeled yet as I have a couple cars to decal. These will come through Whitefield delivered by the MEC.