Friday, July 28, 2023

More family layout operations

I haven’t been writing about it lately, but my granddaughter continues to enjoy and even demand a chance to do a little switching on my layout, when she visits. This is of course real fun for me too. In her earliest sessions, a few years ago, her grandmother acted as conductor, and she just ran the engine, with me making occasional explanations or clarifications. Then we progressed to me as conductor, with her still running the engine, but beginning to understand patterns of car movement.

This last year, though, she is beginning to be able to use my model waybills directly, and plan switch moves, though I still act as the brakeman on the ground. Typically, we just switch everything that needs to be moved in one town or another. The two sessions I’ll mention here were in Shumala and Ballard.

The Shumala session went very well. The switching is not too complex, and there aren’t too many sidings to observe and service. Shown below is the beginning of the session, and she’s making a run-around move with the diesel switcher that is the usual power for this job.

Later in the session, with much of the work done, she began sorting out the yard to get ready for the Guadalupe Local to arrive and set out more cars, while picking up the ones that were outbound.

Weeks later, a second session took place, this one at Ballard. By now she knows that the front and back parts of the town (relative to the main passing through) are most efficiently switched separately. In the photo below, she’s holding a clipboard with the local’s waybills on it, and preparing to switch the front side. That’s her train on the track just past the depot, and at far right, the locomotive beginning a run-around move.

Later in the session and well along in the switching, in the view below she has completed work on the front-side tracks, and is beginning to work on Track 3, which has six car spots along it. The locomotive is visible at right center of the photo. She continues to enjoy prototypical switching speeds.

I really enjoy being able to spend this kind of time with my granddaughter, both to show off my hobby interests and for her to experience some of what’s involved on the “top level” of a layout: prototypical operation. And she definitely takes it seriously, and concentrates on carrying it out. Fun for both!

Tony Thompson

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