Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Family still operating

 The fact that there continue to be semi-formal operating sessions on my layout, involving my granddaughter as engineer, isn’t really of great importance in the scheme of things, except that as we experience a fourth surge of the pandemic, many people are again becoming hesitant to enjoy social events like operating. So in that way, I guess it does matter that we are managing to operate the layout.

As usual, she prefers to be the engineer, and has quite a good touch with the NCE throttles that are my layout’s system. She is intrigued by waybills but doesn’t entirely grasp how to organize them to carry out a session. Sometimes her grandmother serves as conductor, but the last two sessions, we have tried something different for her to prepare. First, I stage the layout, and then she and I survey the layout area to be switched, making up a switch list. In this way, she sees the planning as well as beginning to scope out the work that will be done.

For our session the other day, the area to be worked was Shumala. Below you see her operating the diesel switcher in a runaround move at the west end of town.

Runaround moves are needed at Shumala for the switching moves that are essentially facing-point in character. In this case, she is preparing to switch at East Shumala.

There are also facing-point moves in Shumala itself, in the industrial tracks at the rear of that layout area. In the photo below, taken over the head of the young engineer, you can see the diesel switcher setting out a car at Associated Oil. Next to the engine is a second tank car, which will replace the empty car seen above the turntable, at the Southern Pacific fuel spot.

Then the switcher returns with the two empty tank cars picked up in the moves just shown. Here it’s backing past the yard office with the empties.

Eventually all the facing-point moves are completed, and then the session can finish up with some much more convenient trailing-point moves. Below you see an empty SPMW reefer, about to be spotted at the ice house to pick up an ice cargo, that will be distributed to section crews. This reefer, by the way, was described some years ago as part of a series about modeling SPMW cars (see that post at: ).

Finally, the session is almost done. Just one job remains, to spot the caboose that you see standing on the branchline main, over to the caboose service track. (It arrived with the last returning Santa Rosalia Local.) The switcher, located near the lower left corner of the photo, is about to go and do that task. All the other cars you see in the yard are the various loaded and empty pickups from the session just concluding. 

This was (deliberately) a fairly full session. We picked up or set out about 20 cars, more than I would schedule for most crews in an adult operating session at Shumala, so this was a fair amount of work. But the engineer enjoyed it all. Whether she is interested in modeling as such is less clear, but she does like to run an engine.

Tony Thompson

No comments:

Post a Comment