Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bear Creek & South Jackson

Google Maps gave me the fastest route from McMinnville to Charlie Comstock. I should have gotten suspicious when the description mentioned "via Kings Grade". Kings Grade is never good...

It started out well, though as I made my way up towards Bald Peak, the blacktop became gravel and I decided that I didn't want to drive this tiny rental car on a gravel road. I turned around and used another road, which brought me up higher on Bald Peak. "At the next intersection turn right", ... and it was a gravel road. Uh, ... No. I kept going on the main road, enjoyed the view from the top of Bald Peak as I was racing down the other side towards Laurelwood. When I finally got to Charlie's place, they had already begun with the orientation. Sometimes the "fastest route" given by Google Maps is not the route you want to take ...

By accident I ended up as engineer on the Oakhill turn, working one of the signature scenes of the layout, with Paul as conductor mentoring me for TT&TO operations. This was great! Paul was very patient and explained why we're doing what we were doing very well. 

Extra 79 has arrived at Oakhill. We are have some work to do here. I later found out that Charlie had an article about switching Oakhill on his website. We basically did the moves described in the article without using the main line.

In order to reach the rear turnout, we get to use the access hatch at Oakhill.

"The man in the mountain" (Photo by Brian Ferris)
And here's the view from the hatch out on the railroad.

When we were done and ready to leave Oakhill, we realized that train 110 hadn't come by yet, and thus still owned the main line due to time table authority. So we waited ... and waited ... and waited.

Here it comes. Yay!

But now it was late enough, that we couldn't make it down to Mill Bend before scheduled passenger train 20 owned the main line up the hill. To make matters worse, the passenger needs to stop on the siding, so we backed up into the Oakhill wye to get out of the way.

Finally we can leave Oakhill to make our way down to Mill Bend.

Our next assignment was train 203, 2nd section. While the first section got across the railroad quickly, we had first some trouble getting out of staging. Then the lead locomotive of this two engine consist liked to break away on the uphill sections, so I had to be careful to not push the throttle too high. We had work in both South Jackson and Bear Creek yards. We were late. Very late. ... and 3 crews waiting for us in Junction City made sure that we knew how late we were ... 

Train 203, 2nd section between Oakhill and Bear Creek
Nevertheless, this was a great operations session. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Charlie, the mentors, and the opsig crew, ... everyone was very nice and friendly. Thank you!

Addendum 2015/09/05:
Charlie now has his photos of this session posted in the BC&SJ Operations Gallery.

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