This last weekend, I hosted two more operating sessions on my layout, the second being the 50th session on the layout in its present form (there were also around two dozen sessions on the layout when it was in Pittsburgh, PA, sessions of varying degrees of formality).
This weekend I introduced a couple of new features that I have been wanting to incorporate. One of them was that the crew for the branch local train picked up their locomotive at the fuel and water spot by the roundhouse (I showed this in the new video of the layout; my post about it is here: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2019/11/a-new-video-of-my-layout.html ). They then ran the train from Shumala to Ballard to begin work.
The other feature was an added mainline train during the session, this one an extra picking up empty ballast cars as part of a track maintenance campaign. I issued a Bulletin (shown below) to the crew at Shumala, and at the beginning of the session they found there were several empty ballast cars in the industrial spurs in town. (You can click on the image to enlarge it if you wish.)
The resulting train, behind a Consolidation and comprising entirely GS gondolas and ballast hoppers (most of them empty), was at least a little different than most mainline trains that operate in a typical session.
The first day we operated, the crew was four people, as is the normal number. They divided into two groups, one of which was Ed Slintak paired with Tom Swearingen, who you see from right to left below, starting work at Shumala. This was Tom’s first time operating on the layout, and he definitely enjoyed the experience.
The other crew of two began work at Ballard and Santa Rosalia, with the first run of the branch local train, but then worked at Shumala in the second half of the session. Below you see, from right to left, Ray Freeman and Ed Merrin planning their switching.
On the following day, Sunday, the 50th session, a new crew of four was present. This time the crews were Jim Radkey and John Sutkus, from right to left below, involved in their work at Ballard.
The other crew of two was Paul Chandler and Pat LaTorres, from right to left below at Shumala. I’m not sure why they look so puzzled. You can see the headlight of their switcher, just swinging off the main into the yard at Shumala.
This was a good pair of sessions, and did implement some additional features that I had wanted to add. That pleased me, of course, and hopefully added to the fun for the operators.