Annual Ops Session?

Annual? Maybe, sure seems like it!

I made one major operational change before the session. I felt the Hotshot to Trail wasn’t working in its current configuration. I had to lose too many cars off it to give it the room in its consist to pick up random cars from Nelson and Castlegar and still fit into the shortish (1700′) staging track at Trail, so I made a new train that simply runs from Nelson to Trail and back at a different time. I think this killed Nelson yard, but that’s a story for another day.

Of note is that the session was the first to run with the full Nelson yard and Nelson sub/east staging, albeit without the passing track at Creston.

There were a total of 11 guys in the basement. 9 operators, the dispatcher, and myself. This acted as a stress test for the layout, and it performed well – no electrical issues, only capacity issues!

We made it through most of the session, although with so much traffic, some trains did get left behind at the end of the day.

Off to a good start, Cam’s got Extra 4104 East in the hole at Grand Forks, picking up most everything from the yard.


Extra 4072 East, a hot cool train full of Okanagan fruit from the Kettle Valley Division, passes 4104.


4072 is over the summit, and this pleases Al.


I’ve got Tunnel mocked up to an extent. I’ve decided it’s going to be a recently removed siding (prototype was pulled in the late 60s) with some buildings still in place. I’m excited for this scene.


Speaking of scenes, here’s a familiar one. Dispatcher hard at work.


The eastbound Rossland wayfreight, as mentioned in the first post, is working at Castlegar, dropping off acid tank cars for the pulp mill at Celgar from the smelter at Trail. 11, the Kootenay Express, is on the mainline, braking as it comes to its station stop. 20170108-07

By this point, we’re deep in confusion. Not many photos are happening, everyone’s trying to talk to the dispatcher, and not many trains are moving!


That’s it for photos. In the end, I found some major bottlenecks. I put so much into this session that I burned myself out, and simply haven’t felt like working on the layout, especially with such major operational issues staring me in the face.

Notably, there are 4 sidings over 2000′ on the entire railway:




-Grand Forks

Nelson is frequently used by the yard crews to build the Kraft switcher, and is difficult to keep free.

The Kraft Switcher has orders to keep the siding at Castlegar clear during most of the session, but every operator I’ve had found that too challenging.

Grand Forks is occupied for much of the session by either of the two Boundary wayfreights.

Having these sidings all occupied makes having meets extremely difficult. Add into the mix the challenge of getting crews to OS their train (hard) and sign station registers (bloody impossible) means that, in essence, nobody has the faintest clue where anybody else is. On top of all that, late trains that haven’t been modified by TO, or trains that aren’t running but haven’t been annulled are in the timetable and (for those impressive enough to pay attention to it) will make you wait indefinitely.

Now I understand why nobody here operates with TT&TO.

Next up: Scenery, I guess?