Highlights of the March 18, 2006 Operating Session
The CSXT Shenandoah Division came to life once again on March 18, 2006. There
were only seven members (including me) of the operating crew present, but this
was one of the better sessions we've had. It's interesting that the traffic flow
seemed to be better with the reduced crew size. I'm guess I'm still searching
for the right crew size relative to the operations I desire. :-)
This session was the 1 year anniversary of the
start of operations on the Shenandoah Division V2. It's hard to believe we've
been operating for a year now on the new railroad (and also hard to believe the
first benchwork was installed in
The session started at 1:00 p.m. as usual with a briefing for the operating
crew. After emphasizing some changes in operating procedures, we started the
session at about 1:40 p.m. We took our normal mid-session break of about 15-20
minutes for some snacks and social time, and then we resumed operating before
ending the session around 6:20 p.m. and heading for supper together.
We ran our "PM" sequence (1900 to 0700) with a total of 18 trains on the
lineup sheet for this session. We were able to get all 18 of those trains out on
the road, and all of them completed their run, which marks the first time ever
on this railroad that we've run the entire sequence. We did run the session for
13 fast hours (as opposed to the scheduled 12) in order to finish the sequence.
I thought the session went pretty well for the most part, with only a few
minor equipment failures, which I'll attempt to address before the next session.
The amount of maintenance to keep things running smoothly on a
railroad this large is clearly something I underestimated before deciding to
build this layout.
Since I requested volunteers from the crew to staff the session "management"
positions (Trainmaster and Dispatcher), I was able to run trains for the
majority of this session. Thanks go to Jan and Larry for each serving as
Trainmaster for a shift. Thanks also go to Marcus, Robert, and Dave for doing an
excellent job as dispatchers. Rich and Jeff rounded out the crew; each
served as the B265 pusher crew for a shift.
As a result of Jan and Larry serving as Trainmaster, I was able to run four
trains during the session, which was a personal first. :-) Somehow, I ended up
with all northbounds: T466 (empty hoppers), P051 (Amtrak Cardinal), G948
(grain empties), and Q158 (intermodal). However, there was a down side to
running all these trains: I completely forgot to get the camera out and take
pictures during the session, so there's no pictures as part of this report. :-(
I'm looking forward to extending TCS north of Shenandoah Junction and to
bringing the railroad to life once again at our next operating session!