This Sunday was the first real ops session for Alice Springs, what can I say, a definite success!
I spent most of the Saturday night setting up the layout, and removing wagons that are not required etc, and setting up two #347 trains and positioning the wagons in the yard.
Prior to the Ops Session I set out roughly the AN procedures, train orders etc, We didn't physically issue orders, just did a verbal. I also set out the current process, just replace like for like. replace an empty Cement wagon with a loaded wagon from today's train. Seems fairly simple doesn't it.
I also initiated a procedure that follows the prototype, it the standard two man crew.
For the model version, one had the controller, the other would be the second person. Big deal you think. However there is much more, the second person, is in a company ute. They have to set points, uncouple wagons, drive to the next point an so on. To illustrate the movements in the yard by the ute, you simply moved the ute around the yard to the location where the second person would be required.
this also included stopping traffic at un protected crossing.
Brian had the Controls of 7347 into Alice Springs, and I was the second man, + when required I also doubled as the yard - Station master, issuing permissions, setting sticks etc.
Since Brian was new to Alice Springs, he caught on, to the layout concept quite quickly.
Roger, Doug and Michael worked the other yard shunter and the Ghan.
Well there were a few shunting problems to be resolved, lots of driving both in the locomotive and in the ute in the yard.
With all this in place, it took for people in two crews to shunt 7347 and then assemble 2338. The time, 2 hours flat, I know what you are thinking how can that be? Well when you start to work prototypically this is what happens, sometimes things are a little more complicated than they look.
We then took a break for lunch, and sit down to watch some Rail DVDs supplied by Roger (He always has something new).
For the second train for the day, I took a back seat, and let the crews do all the work.
I now, get why, blokes in the US have large layouts and the operators get stuck in.
It also means that your concept is good, your crew, for a short time, takes on and validates your modelling work, by working to the typical procedures of the time to accomplish the work.
And they seem to be enjoying it!
Even though your crew may not model your particular prototype, but they can bring it to life.
Thats great to watch.
Here are both crews working the second 347 for the day.
I need to find a 1990 era replacement.
All in all a complete success, thanks to Brian, Doug, Jon, Michael and Roger!
I will be scheduling another real soon now.