Dust off your switchers – September op session

Remember my last post? My last op session? Seems like forever ago. I’ve been extraordinarily busy since, well, February. In that time I’ve done a few things:

-Added a valence

-Carved some sweet rocks

-Commissioned 8 more H16-44s

I’ll blog about those later. I spent the better part of last week cleaning up – not much has changed operationally, but I’ll go into the changes at the end.

This was an unremarkable and fairly smooth session. With a total of 4 operators and myself dispatching, it was as quiet day on the Kootenay Division. I didn’t have much time for photos, dispatching and all…

We started on time, and Cam took out extra 3001 West on the dawn freight from Cranbrook to Nelson.


Cranbrook Roll-By

I had Brian kicking cars and taking names (or at least reporting marks) on the Nelson east switch job. Main complaint: Previous yard crews leaving cars on the wrong track!

Next up, Cam was given the Boundary sub east wayfreight – Extra 8602 East. Lots of freight from Midway and the remains of the Carmi sub today, lots of blocking to do!

Rule 93. Within yard limits the main track may be used clearing the time of first and second class trains at the next station where time is shown.

Brian steers clear of Rule 93 as No. 11 arrives, 2 minutes behind.

11 at Tunnel, flying by some dank rocks.

Jon’s 11 at Paulson Gap, in DB coming down the 2.7% grade past some future dank rocks.

Cam’s picking up and setting out chips at Grand Forks Sawmills with 8602, the current pride of the fleet, on point.

Along with 4 others that I’ve yet to DCC, 8602 is a Kaslo kit (out of production) that was assembled by Jeff Briggs, an absolute master of resin.

Meanwhile, Al took No. 87, the kraft switcher, the most challenging and unpopular job (and my personal favorite!) Here he’s running around the train to drop a loose car at car spot A2, the Castlegar side ramp.

I put reference photos all along the fascia. This one hit close to home.

Here, I’ve got the hotshot, since nobody else was available. (I’m not complaining!) I ended up running almost perfectly below X8602E.

Dank Rocks, Pt. 2

With 81 being scheduled and 8602 east being an extra, the UCOR is clear – 8602 is to wait in the siding at Farron for 81’s 1425 arrival. However, 81 missed a car in Castlegar, so it took until almost 1600 for that to happen! The UCOR remains clear – 8602 has to wait until 81 shows up, or until 0225 rolls around and its schedule is cancelled.

Cam called me over for this “foamer moment”, as he put it.

Jon is seeing having PTSD flashbacks to last session, when he neglected to line a switch to normal, causing a…very nasty wreck. That did not happen today.

A successful session, all trains ended up where they should be (save for late night No. 96)

From the dispatcher’s desk, not much work! No orders were issued at non-terminal stations, all meets were done by the timetable, so it was basically just watching things happen. A few times are missing on my dispatch sheet because I was attending to emergencies, or running the trains myself.

The tweaks I made were pretty minor. A few sessions ago I added a Rossland sub wayfreight, unprototypical, but a way to solve some issues with the hotshot – notably the unpredictable length was messing up my JMRI kernals. That didn’t work, so I went back to having the hotshot handle a bit of work – it handles one leg of a closed loop of acid cars that shuttle back and forth between the Trail smelter and Celgar, as well as some limestone hoppers that originate at Fife and end up at the smelter. I’ve made it so these come off as a block at Nelson, that way the hotshot doesn’t need to work at Castlegar, and it’s all very speedy and becoming of a second class train. Seemed to work well, and the length doesn’t fluctuate more than 3 cars now.

Well, another op session done!