Op Session March 30 2019


On the morning of Saturday, March 30, David held an op session with a special invite to the “regular” members of John Parker’s operating group (David and I receive infrequent invites.) I was so busy that I only shot one photo.

Lee Ryan volunteered to sit in the Dispatcher’s chair. I sat with him as a mentor for the start of the session then left him to fly solo. That was a gutsy move on Lee’s part! He had never seen the layout before, but his experience dispatching other layouts “saved his bacon”. This was also the first time he dispatched using a train sheet without magnets or a computer display to keep track of train movements. That’s what dispatchers did in the 1960s.

In O scale the trains move twice as fast as in HO. Although David’s basement and layout are huge, everything comes at the dispatcher faster than in smaller scales.

By the end of the morning, Lee adeptly handled a record number of trains, 30 on the mainline. The photo was shot near the end of the op session, when mainline traffic quieted down. If I remember clearly, at one time he had 6 trains on the main.

Well done, Lee!


30+ trains and 6 at a shot is a pretty remarkable accomplishment, well done by all!

I took so much photos and video in the couple hours I was there I’m still trying to sort it all out! :laughing: I was able to get all the video I shot into one (17-minute-long!) edited video, and will continue to dive into the photos I took.

Thanks again for having all of us!


Great video, Kirk! Thanks for putting it together and sharing it.


Great video.

Wish I could have made it over. But the layout tour was great. Had 45-50 people, and a lot of our friends from the Fall River Division made it over too.


Glad you had a big turnout. I like how the new backdrops turned out. They add a lot to the scenes.

At times there were just too many trains on the A&O mainline, leading to long operator waits at red signals and heightened stress for the dispatcher to keep up with everything.


Just like the real thing.


Okay, so I finally got off my lazy…something…and dove into the photos I took at the session March 30. I didn’t realize just how many photos I took, but the 29 I’ve got ready to post is still a larger number than I would’ve thought (to say nothing of the ones I took that aren’t good enough to post!).

I’m gonna try to post the ones with the people first, as there are several of just the equipment, so those can wait a little bit longer.

Bob gives the largely-Digitrax group a rundown on some of the technicalities of NCE

Cody brings train 261 south across the Ohio River bridge while John shoots some phone video. John, like me, was waiting for a crew call to grab a train. Dixie Bell #103 is dropping downgrade on the other side of the aisle.

Two of John Parker’s crew ran the Dixie Bell, which was staged on the Ohio Bridge for departure.

Larry assisted Rodney for the first while of the session at the Morrison Prep Plant.

Frank is entering Ricksburg, stopped at a flashing red. Before entering the yard, the switch must be thrown for the siding.

Lots more to come, stay tuned!


Continuing from the last part…

Bill K took the CM Tower job, and here is running his switcher from the International Paper pulpwood tracks back to the yard.

Mike took the Haven’s Yardmaster, assisted by Levi. The cut of cars on the left is ready to head to Gateway Yard, while the cut to the right is ready for the Nut Job.

John Parker is switching the tank cars at Point Vincent, OH. He would soon continue on his way to switch Glen Forge.

Bob assisted Lee dispatching (for awhile, anyway). With 5 trains on the main, soon to be 6, Lee hasn’t begun pulling his hair out yet.

Rick assists Whit with the Scarlet Shifter, a coal train that runs from Ricksburg to the mine and back, with a few switching moves along the branch.

I’m just now at the halfway point…of the pictures with people. Stay tuned!


Continuing once again from the last part…

The Scarlet Shifter continues uphill. The Alco sitting on the Ohio Bridge is currently crewless, waiting for a relief crew.

Barbara had the International Paper job, and seemed to be enjoying herself very much.

Mike Spahn and Bill W took charge of the rain room. Mike is switching with the 455 in the background while I’ve got the coal train on the siding.

The B&O transfer is setting cars off at International Paper while I scoot by with the F3s.

Rick Bacon brought his updated buildings for Mount Union. I caught a few people inspecting these…works of art.

Still more to come!


Part 4, and the final part with people in them.

The Millport aisle is as busy as ever as we have, from left to right:
Hump operations going as normal
John running the Nut Job
Levi’s leg
Frank waiting for my coal train to arrive before he could depart
Mike couple up to a caboose to put on the rear of Frank’s train
My coal train with the F3s

This doesn’t include CM Tower operator Bill K stopped on the lead to the hump.

Now that my train is pulling to a stop in the yard, we look at the same scene from the other end of the aisle.

Larry puts his coal train in dynamics at the Ohio Bridge while Vince is entering Linnwood and a trip down the branch for coal loads.

Cody is turning the NR&W power in Ricksburg with the Atomic Turn.

< deep breath out >
Okay, that’s it for the pictures I took with other people in them. I’m gonna take a break before posting the “railfanning” equipment pictures.


Okay, now that I’ve got a little time out of the way, here’s the remaining 10 photos I took from the session, all of which are just of equipment on the RR; “railfanning” shots if you will.

A&O C425 #475 sits on the Ohio River Bridge at the beginning of the session. It is hauling empty coal cars bound for Ricksburg.

Another look at A&O 475 on the coal train parked on the bridge. This gives a good look at the size of this project.

A&O F3 #221 leads a coal load through the river gorge near the Golden Spike monument.

A&O RS3 #137 switches in the Fillmore Heights industrial area.

A mishap occurred in the 16th street hump yard when a bulkhead empty was pushed down the ramp instead of guided down the ramp.

One last set from me!


Here’s my final group of photos from the session.

A&O RS11 #145 drifts downgrade at Union Gap after pushing train 262 uphill to Linnwood. It will push a 2nd train up upon return to Ricksburg.

Train 326 drops downhill off the Ohio Bridge with the dynamics howling.

A&O F3 #221 and A&O GP35 #405 sit side-by-side in Haven’s Yard in Millport, OH.

Train #2, the Floridian, makes its scheduled stop in Mount Union, WV.

The Floridian works up the 2.5% grade, about to cross Trussell Trestle (or it already is crossing it, I don’t know, it’s not in yet! :laughing: )

As I brought the passenger train into Glen Forge, I had to tie it down and hand the throttle over to the next crew member waiting, as it was my time to leave to operate at Craig’s open house. That was fun, too, but a culture shock after running O Scale first! Haha

Thanks for having me, I’m looking forward to the next few!


Awesome pictures! Nothing but good times ahead on the A&O!!!


Thanks for the video and photos of this Op session. Great to see the railroad in operation as well as getting an update on progress, especially, as it is too far away to visit - at the moment!
Ian Munro