Joined: Wed Dec 08 2004, 09:01PM Location: Portland, OR Posts: 2112
Well, the new op session season on the Siskiyou Line started up again!
However, a major scheduling conflict came up at the last minute and at least a half-dozen of my regulars suddenly couldn't make it. Terry Roberts is moving out of the area, and many of my crew scheduled a going away party for him ... but the only day he was free and still in the area was -- you guessed it -- Saturday night, September 10th.
Ouch! I could not cancel the session at the last minute because several guests were planning to attend, including some from out-of-town. I would have liked to attend Terry's party, since he's been a staunch supporter of the Siskiyou Line with rolling stock, extra effort outside of the op sessions, as well as a faithful member of the op session crew since we started OP sessions back in 1998.
In fact, Terry's the one you see in my op session button on my web site:
See ya Terry, and come visit now and then when you are in town, okay? Joe Fugate http://siskiyou-railfan.net - 200,000 hits and counting!
Here's a photo of the old original Medford Staging. After the track tweaking I attempted to do here back in March and the melted turnout from using my Halogen work lamp too close, I vowed to relay Medford Staging.
The staging is rather high, some 80 inches off the floor, and on the Medford end, is down under some furnace duct work, leaving me less than 8" over the track in which to work, and the ductwork sticks out about 18".
To make a long story short, when I first laid this staging yard ladder, I did it in place, and because it was so hard to work back there, this yard ladder trackage is darn rough. Things derail here more than I would like, and it was trying to fix a poorly installed rail joiner last March that lead to the turnout meltdown and a cancelled op session.
So the week before this op session, I pulled out the old yard ladder and built a new one very carefully at the workbench and slid it in place. Joe Fugate http://siskiyou-railfan.net - 200,000 hits and counting!
Here's the after photo. You probably can't tell a lot of difference, but believe me, the new much more carefully laid ladder immediately showed that the greater care taken in tracklaying was worth it. For one thing the previous ladder was on three separate pieces of wood, now this new ladder is on one single piece of wood -- making the grades and track joints much smoother.
(By the way, I rolled the video cameras on this rebuild, so watch for it to become available at some point as a step-by-step how to on yard ladder track laying tips ...)
One thing I have noticed when it comes to bad spots in the track ... you are much better off to pull up the bad section and redo it than you are to try and fiddle with it. Trying to make a bad section of track better usually just leads to hours of frustration with little real improvement.
Any time I've just replaced the bad track section, I've been very pleased with the results. There's a good general rule you can follow with maintenance on your layout -- find the worst maintenance area of the layout and redo it, replace it, or otherwise fix it. Do that, and the quality of your whole layout goes up because now the worst aspect will often become one of the *best* parts of the layout.
Then find the next worst area and fix it. And so it goes. Each time you do that, you upgrade the quality of the entire layout! Joe Fugate http://siskiyou-railfan.net - 200,000 hits and counting!
Dan's one of the newbies this session. I sat next to Dan during part of the bus ride back from the Tillamook excursion back in May. Dan, I believe, works for Powell's books in Beaverton, managing the section which includes train books. (Sounds like a tough job, but hey, somebody's gotta do it ... )
Dan got paired up with Jerry Sheffield, who showed him the ropes. Dan was the engineer, getting to run the throttle and follow conductor Jerry's instructions.
Prototype-based op sessions can be intimidating for newbies, so I like to reduce the intimidation factor by running two-person crews on all trains. That way, a new operator has no pressure, and they can get coached by an old hand. And I also like the comraderie that a two-person crew provides. You can discuss operation moves, discuss whatever happens to be interesting while you are stuck in the hole at a siding, and so on.
Ken's become one of the regulars on the Siskiyou Line, and he's a real kick to have in the group. His wry wit and passion for the hobby are delightful, and I feel fortunate that he comes any time the Siskiyou Line's doors are open -- op session, work session, or whatever.
Ken also is the Chairman of the PNR 2006 Region convention that will be in Wilsonville, OR next August. My layout will be on tour, and we'll probably also host a special op session for convention attendees. Plus I'll no doubt be giving some clinics.
So if you've ever had a desire to come see the Siskiyou Line in person in the context of a convention -- here's your chance. For more, see the PNR 2006 convention web site: http://pnr2006.com . Joe Fugate http://siskiyou-railfan.net - 200,000 hits and counting!
Jeff Shultz (on the left with the juice) first discovered the Siskiyou Line when I had a table at a swap meet in Salem. He was intrigued by my first video and I invited him to attend an op session. And he was hooked! He's been one of the regulars ever since.
Jeff's also a frequent poster on here, and I appreciate his online support of this forum.
Jordon Dobson (on the right in the chair) is one of the regulars who actually works for the railroad (Willamette and Pacific). He's always got interesting real railroad stories to tell the group, and the group greatly appreciates his insights into how a real railroad operates.
Jordon's eagerness to tackle any job on the Siskiyou Line from switchman flunkie to dispatcher really makes him a valuable addition to the regular operating crew!
Jerry Sheffield (hiding behind Jeff ... we'll get to see him later in the train room running trains). Jerry's one of the newer additions to the regular operating crew on the Siskiyou Line. But Jerry's been at it now for at least a half-dozen sessions, and he's learned the ropes pretty well.
Jerry's another one of those guys who has a real passion for the hobby -- the kind of people that make op sessions really a lot of fun! Joe Fugate http://siskiyou-railfan.net - 200,000 hits and counting!
Tom Muckle (on the left) is another of the newbies this session. Tom's actually been here once before a while back, but he didn't do much that time, hanging out in the lounge mostly. This time he vowed he's going to run trains!
Jim Laycock (on the right in the red) is another of the regulars. Jim's got a great sense of humor, and always has some clever comeback. He's been a faithful regular and like Ken Lass, typically comes any time the Siskiyou Line doors are open for what ever reason (work session, op session, you name it).
Jim's a great guy to get paired with, very helpful and a great teacher. Consider yourself very fortunate if, as a visitor, you get paired up with Jim. He'll do a great job showing you the ropes, and keep your funny bone limbered up at the same time! Joe Fugate http://siskiyou-railfan.net - 200,000 hits and counting!
John Shore gets the award this op session for having come the farthest (200 miles) -- he's from Pendleton.
(Gee, John, that looks like the same shirt ... I hope you've washed it at least once since then! )
John was one of my regulars back in the days while the layout was under construction and before we started serious op sessions. Just before op sessions started, he moved away to Pendleton. See: http://siskiyou.railfan.net/about.html
It was a real treat to have John come to this session since he and I have a lot of history together in the hobby. And I was thrilled to have John get to finally operate on the layout that he helped build in the early days! Joe Fugate http://siskiyou-railfan.net - 200,000 hits and counting!
Jordon signed up for Dispatcher this time. Hi there Jordon! It's time to kick the ol' fast clock into gear and run some trains!
Because of the party for Terry Roberts mentioned earlier, attendance at this op session turned out to be kind of light, only 8 plus me, making a total of 9 bodies. We usually have between 15 and 20.
Because of the light attendance this time, we elected to not do shifts (tricks) but to have people stay at their position for the whole session. Here's how the job assignments came out:
Dispatcher: Jordon Dobson Roseburg yard: Joe Fugate Helper crew: Jeff Shultz Road crew 1: Jerry Sheffield and Dan Hineckow Road crew 2: Jim Laycock and John Shore Road crew 3: Ken Lass and Tom Muckle Joe Fugate http://siskiyou-railfan.net - 200,000 hits and counting!
Joe, Great photos. Yes, that is the same shirt. I am running a dirt test to see how much dirt a cotton shirt can absorb in an eight year time period. Seriously, I had a real blast. It sure was good to run trains again, and to see a great friend Looking forward to seeing the rest of the photos. John.