Empire Belt RR ALcos

Empire Belt RR ALcos
Custom Painted FA / FB Units

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Operations Session #1 is in the Books!

Greetings Blog Followers,

The New York Central Train Layout hosted it's first Train Operations Session yesterday, June 27, 2014 at 1500 hrs. The operators were myself and engineer Ed W. Ed is an O scale modeler with former employment on the Penn Central and Frisco under his belt. The session lasted a bit over two hours and started with a basic get to know the layout and block system for Engineer Ed.

The prep work paid off well even if we did not get to run all the trains that were scheduled. Basically with no real first hand knowledge of how much time it would take for certain trains to run, be switched etc. I felt it better having more trains on the schedule than too few.

All in all it was a very pleasurable experience and both Engineer Ed and I enjoyed the afternoon. The time flew by and we had to rejoin the ladies. If not for that we would probably still be down there running the trains through the night!  I look forward to doing this again.

Staging Yard / Terminal Yard just before the start of the op session. The New York Central Passenger Train in the foreground was annulled. In it's place we ran two commuter trains from that track into and out of Empire City Station. The commuter operations went very smoothly with Engineer Ed at the controls. 

2 NYC F7As on pull into Empire City Station with six express and mail cars on the head 
end trailed by four coaches. 

The back end of the NYC train sits on track 2 while a bulk mail train waits to depart on track 3 The train on track 2 had it's head end cars swapped during the session and basically ran continuous on the outer main while the mail train ran back and forth to Staging / Terminal Yard with the commuter trains. 

Cars are spotted at their respective industries. A switch list was printed out for our local train. This train however ran late and the cars did not get switched out. 

A Grain Train Extra that I left on the inner loop to start the session.

West Side industries wait for the railroad to switch out their cars. These rail customers were a bit disappointed as the RR was late.

The Furniture Factory with two loads ready to go 

North Side Yard with two trains ready to go and waiting for crews. 
These 2 trains did make it all the way to staging. 

Caterpillar with two loaded cars ready to ship

A mock up Grocery Warehouse with 4 cars waiting to get pulled

Cargill with a loaded train ready to go. The train of empty hoppers arrived on time and the loads were pulled and empties spotted. The inbound empties from Staging / Terminal Yard was train #CG-1 The outbound loads were designated Train TY-21 and they made it back to Terminal Yard.  

3 Reefer Cars sit on the Heileman Brewery track 

Hudson Coal waits for a RR crew to arrive and take out the loads. The crew goes on duty at Hudson Coal and pulls the loads from there to the scale at North Side Yard. The train then heads to Staging / Terminal Yard. The crew then takes available empties to Hudson Coal and spots them. Depending on traffic the switchers can be reassigned or if Hudson Coal is loading quickly Coal Extra may be needed. For the first operating session the loads made it as far as North Side Yard. I hear the phone ringing  as the Hudson Coal brass want their empties ASAP! Better get down to the basement this morning!  

Trains spotted at various industries on the aptly named Shelf City. Really needs a better name.


  1. Sounds like it was a great time! I'd like to do this kind of thing more often. I'm envious of those long trains you run.

    Shelf City? Hmmmm..Shelfton? Ledgeville?
    Naming towns and industries isn't always my strongest suit!

    Looking forward to the next ops session description. Like any other activity, we learn from our efforts so you'll have a better idea of how many trains to run so you can accommodate local switching. Still, running those through freights and passenger trains must have been a blast!

    Thanks for the report!


    1. Hi Ralph, Thank you for the positive comments and name suggestions. I sent Engineer Ed a link to your youtube channel. We were both extremely impressed with your layout and operations videos. I have watched several videos so far and look forward to your next offering. We both did have a blast operating the layout and hope to be able to do it again. John

  2. I am the "engineer" that John referred to in his post about his first operating session. I must first say that the hospitality of John and his wife was terrific.

    This was also my first operating session and I was quite nervous about participating in the session. John was being kind referring to me as the "engineer". Based on my performance I am certainly in no danger of achieving my Engineer certification. Seems they are funny about things like running the train in the wrong direction!

    The layout is fabulous to say the least. John's done an amazing job designing and implementing the layout. The layout provides ample opportunity to run lots of scenarios. I thought the session went very well. I had a lot of fun and the time just flew by. I very much appreciate John's preparation for the session as well as his patience with me for a couple of my mistakes. I also appreciate his invitation even though I am one of those 0 gauge rascals.

    Thank you John and Patti for a wonderful day.

    1. Hi Ed, As a first time operator / engineer on the layout you did great. The wife and I both enjoyed the company and I hope you can engineer again down the road. BTW I really enjoyed your PC / Frisco Stories. John
      Anyone interested in having Engineer Ed operate on their be sure to invite Ed and his wife. Ask them to bring dessert and request the cheesecake. It is absolutely fabulous. It did put a tear in Ed's eye leaving the remainder at our house!