It’s long overdue, but here’s an update for 2022! In February, we held a ceremonial “golden tie” installation and celebration to mark the completion of the mainline outside of Florence Yard. Invited guests included those who had participated in the reconstruction since 2018. Rule G was suspended while the guests partook of the champagne & refreshments. This was followed by the inaugural operating session with a full complement of XX operators. Suffice it to say that this was obviously a very experienced crew since they very ably handled the YY scheduled trains with little or no “coaxing” from management. And kudos to the construction crew because there were very few issues logged for follow-up repairs.
We went on to host 10 more sessions with a total of 17 operators participating in 195 man-hours of NMRA Chief Dispatcher AP credits! The second revision of the schedule added 2 trains and adjusted the schedules to more evenly distribute the workload of the yard throughout the session. The Yardmaster’s position is challenging with the blocking necessary before dispatching the local trains so that they can be run efficiently while on the road. The schedule is primarily used for passenger train operations. We have found that the layout is extremely versatile and be successfully run with a reduced crew and schedule and still be as enjoyable as when there is a full crew with all trains running. To date, the crews have ranged from 3 to as many as 7.
Only 1 formal work session was held this year. Work advanced on the underlying cardboard web for basic land form. Additionally some minor wiring updates were done to power up new sidetracks. Other work during the year is documented in the Timeline log.
We have published the operating sessions on OperatingSessions.com. The only response via that avenue was from a crew member already on the e-mail invite list.
We introduced FRS radios to the operation, almost on a forced basis. The PBX phone system that had been relied on in the early sessions suddenly crashed the day the radios arrive (a protest, perhaps???). The radios were quickly commissioned and the operators adapted to the new convenience very quickly.
We hosted the NMRA’s James River Division meet in May, presented a clinic, and held an Open House. Much to my surprise, folks traveled significant distances to visit. Next time (??) I’ve found a larger more accommodating meeting area. There’s a restaurant upstairs, but it’s not open for breakfast.
I am most grateful to those that have participated in the revival of the AL&E. I am also privileged to have been invited to 51 operating sessions on 14 different railroads in the New Jersey, Central and Northern Virginia areas, and even remotely to Long Island, NY. The hosts have been most gracious and patient as I learn their geography and operating schemes. It has indeed been my pleasure to make their acquaintance and through them meet many others in the hobby.
I’ll update the web pages in the next few weeks with new photos, paperwork, plans, etc.
Happy Holidays 2022!