Friday, March 09, 2018

Soundrail: Day Two

Keystone Cement and West Yard in Bath on Bob Stafford's Erie Lackawanna
Today I had two layout assignments: Bob Stafford's Erie Lackawanna in the morning, and Ray Wheeler's Great Northern in the afternoon.

Bob models branch line operations of the Erie Lackawanna. I started out with the First Cement Local, which was very much a fun assignment. The train traverses the length of the layout from staging all the way to Bath and switches the industries off West Yard in Bath and then returns to staging. With a 15 car train, I had my work cut out for me.

Industrial district in the town of Prosperity
Contrary to many other model railroads, Bob uses tags placed on car roofs or hung off car ends to identify where cars are going. He says, he spent enough time writing up paper work in his real life job as dispatcher that he doesn't want to do it for "fun" on his layout, which is a very reasonable position to take.

Keystone Cement. Cars in the front have tags on the roofs.
Bob has added a good deal of detailing and scenes on the layout. I especially liked the messy "down by the tracks" corners.

The town  of Harmony is a nice balance to the bustling activity at Prosperity.

This is a smallish, but fun layout to operate on. 

After lunch we headed to Ray Wheeler, which was quite some contrast. Ray models the Great Northern between Seattle and Vancouver. He uses switch lists and prints them from Protrack on the fly during the session. The layout is composed of multiple levels with raised platforms and packs a lot of operations into a moderate space.

Delta yard with the layout computer in the foreground
The main line is fully signaled and CTC controlled. There's a nice CTC board in the dispatchers office of the layout room.

Here's a shot that illustrates how Ray got a lot of mainline run into the layout room. Delta Yard is on the upper level to the left of PA Jct. Note the staging track with a Boeing car behind the upper fascia with the clock.  Vancouver Jct is on the board above the shelf with Anacortes.

I got to run Delta Yard, which was very full from yesterday's session. There's plenty of job orders and paperwork to deal with and keep the yard master busy. A fun feature of Protrack is that the job orders of revenue trains show how much money the railroad earns with this run.

Delta Yard, paperwork and orders. There are shelves around the layout for placing e.g. coffee mugs. 
By the end of the session, the yard started to clear up and I had some breathing room. The main line is the track next to the aisle.

Again a fun session. Again very different from the other sessions, which is really good. The variety is what makes events like Soundrail so interesting. Thank you to Bob and Ray for hosting us today.

We headed back to the hotel and arrived just in time to freshen up for the banquet which was the only time all Soundrail participants were together in the same room at the same time. The social aspect of these meets is a very important part of the event. You get to meet new people and reconnect with others you haven't seen in a while. Lots of opportunity to chat and exchange ideas. Time flew by very quickly and I was one of the last people to leave the room as the hotel staff was already breaking down tables.

Salmon. Good.

Soundrail 2018 posts: [Warmup] -- [Day One] -- [Day Two] -- [Day Three] -- [The Return]

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