Saturday, 8 November 2014

First Operations Session Completed

Open the doors and they will come.

Today was the day I invited a number of good friends over to give the D&H a good workout. I had called it the Golden Spike ceremony, however, as all the track is now laid, and I did not have a golden spike on hand, things quickly developed into a operations session.

Per my previous post, I had completed a fair bit of planing for the occasion, with train cards, full train schedule, fast clock etc. So all was sitting in readiness just waiting for the big wheels to roll on the D&H.

At the prescribed time, my good friends, Rod Warren, Bill Black, John Colliver, Graeme Meyer, Peter Sutton, Noel Purdey, Ron McFarlane and Chris Elliot had arrived with throttles in hand and eager to put the D&H through its paces.

After a quick inspection and a bit of discussion the run button was pressed on the JMRI fast clock and trains started to move.

The newly installed, and as yet untested, dispatcher phone system was soon humming with dispatcher to engineer instructions.

The time table was set up for a 6:1 fast clock and 18 hours of fast clock time. It soon became apparent the the fast clock was too fast and I reduced it to 5:1. This seemed to suit the planned schedule just nicely.

Here are a few pictures from the event.

Bill and Rod working the North Creek turn.
Peter and Graeme working in Ft Edward.

Ron and John managing the main yard at Whitehall.
Chris working the local at Ft Edward

Noel working a train at Saratoga Springs
Rod and Bill in the hole at Saratoga Springs waiting for a meet.

Chris returning to Whitehall with the Saratoga Springs local

John switching the yard.

Here is the Whitehall yard work sheet. This enables the yard operators to know what is up next and what trains need to be built.
Here is one of the hand sets used on the Dispatcher to engineer phone system.

Here I am manning the dispatchers desk with the 19 hour long train schedule spread across the desk.
 Here is the dispatchers desk with JMRI running with a very basic panel, the crew call sheet and the train cards.

In terms of the flow of the day, two trains in the middle of the schedule did not run due to the lack of engineers. While the room had 9 people in it, it did not feel full and there is room for more..

There is room for improvement in terms of the schedule and next time I hope to have the card cards in operation for the layout.

All in all, the layout ran incredibly well for a first session and I'm very proud of how things went today. Bring on the next session..

Now back to getting the fascia installed.

Till next time.


  1. Congratulations Brendan. It was a great session, and you have good reason to feel proud. I'm already looking forward to the next session.


  2. Hi Brendan
    Great day Brendan the layout ran very well for its first ops session. Not too many issues to sort considering the size and complexity of the wiring at track plan. Loved the big power and long trains. Your timetable and phone system worked very will too well done.
    Bring on the next session.

  3. Congratulations Brendan on another great milestone for your layout. I am enjoying following your progress.

  4. Hey Brendan, looks like it was a great day, and clearly your excellent planning & build skills has paid off with a relatively issue free day.
    Hopefully next session I can make the planets align and be able to come up. Thanks for sharing.