Trevor got me thinking more seriously about operating sessions when he responded to my post from a couple of days ago. I was excited to announce that I had actually moved a locomotive under DC power (not the 0-5-0 method) on the first part of my layout. His immediate question was, “When are we having the first ops session?”
This is a good question, and I’ve given it some thought. In order to have an operating session at the paper plant, I’ll need to install two pieces of hidden track. One is the tail leading back to North Tonawanda yard, and the other is is actually two parallel tracks for woodchips and tank car unloading. The tail track will serve as a place to stage the inbound train, and the two parallel tracks will store relatively large quantities of cars spotted for unloading in place that I’m not actually representing on the layout. Paper plants are huge operations, and even with 12 feet, it’s still very compressed in HO.
Other crucial pieces of infrastructure are the push-rod thingies that run from the turnout controllers to the facia. I haven’t even begun to figure that out, so I’ll need a little help from my friends who’ve already done this.
So, realistically, I could probably have the two pieces of hidden track installed by January. The turnout control rods are the big unknown for me right now. This could take a few days or a few weeks. An ops session would have some stand-in pieces of rolling stock and a bunch of white styrene building cores, we’d still be spotting and pulling cars, for which could be facilitated by a quickly scribbled switch. I might be able to make this happen fairly soon.