This past weekend I hosted a pair of operating sessions on my layout, and these were sessions no. 80 and 81 on the layout in its present form. That’s not a fact of any importance, just a passing mention. The reason for the session was as a tune-up for the forthcoming BayRails event for out-of-town operators in March.
(For those interested, I have written about BayRails previously. This event is held in March of odd-numbered years, and the 2023 edition will be the ninth in the series. The post about the eighth event in 2019 [we skipped 2021 for obvious reasons] is here: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2019/03/my-sessions-at-bayrails-this-year.html .
My layout was also involved during an earlier BayRails, the seventh event in 2017, and there’s a write-up for that, too, which can be found at this link: https://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2017/03/bayrails-2017.html . But the point of the present post is to describe my tune-up for the 2023 event.)
The first day, my crew comprised Pat LaTorres, Dave Stanley, Jeff Aley, and John Sutkus. As crews nearly always do, they paired off and each pair started on one side of the layout, moving to the other side when the second branchline train ran. Here are Dave (at left) and Pat, getting close to finished with their switching at Shumala.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of the layout, switching Ballard, was the other pair of operators, Jeff Aley (left) and John Sutkus. As I recall, Jeff was the engineer for this part of their work, and John was conductor.
I must admit we found a few problems, including a loose point rail in a switch and another point rail that had become slightly bent and no longer touched the stock rail when the switch was thrown. These were addressed in the evening after the session. These are trackwork elements that have been in satisfactory use for a considerable time, but as the Providenza maxim reminds me, “Trust nothing.”
On the following day, the crew comprised Mark Schutzer, Ed Slintak, Seth Neumann and Richard Brennan. They of course benefited by the flaws found and the problems corrected from the previous day, and happily, new ones were not found. Shown below are Seth (at right, checking on a point of information). He was the conductor at this time — note the clipboard with switch list. Richard Brennan, at left, was the engineer here.
Meanwhile, Mark and Ed were hard at work on the other side of the layout. Below you see them sorting out a long string of cars at Shumala. That’s one of Mark’s very nice SP 0-6-0 switchers, working at Shumala today, by Ed’s left hand.
One of the interesting parts of every session is the return of the first branch train to Shumala. Its power has to be exchanged onto the next train outbound to the branch, and the caboose likewise has to be transferred to the new train. This can be done in quite a few ways, some much simpler than others. Below you see Richard and Mark figuring this out. The long string of cars with the caboose is the arriving train, and on the track to the right of it is what will be the outbound train. The arriving road power has just been cut off and is moving out of the way so the Shumala switcher can exchange the two consists.
Two good sessions, a number of flaws found and (I believe) fixed, in advance of BayRails next month. But I’ll continue to exercise the trackwork in the meantime, reminding myself as I do so, to “Trust nothing.”