I held a solo operating session during the month of July 2018, and recorded the session for your viewing enjoyment. I operated eight trains.
The session includes every scheduled non-VIA train on my layout, which includes:
- CN 214 – a through train
- CN 403 – works the CP interchange in Georgetown and the Cargill grain elevator at Helene
- CP 976 – branch line train from Minnedosa to Winnipeg
- CP 949 – westbound train doing switching in Georgetown
- CN 404 – switching work in Georgetown
- CP 948 – lots of switching work in Georgetown
- CP 975 – branch line train from Winnipeg to Minnedosa
- CN 215 – a through train
The first video features CN 214 and CN 403. The latter train is the highlight as it switched the CP interchange and did work at the Cargill grain elevator.
The second video features three trains. CP 976 comes out of staging, runs around its train, then heads to Winnipeg. CP 949 then departs Winnipeg (staging) and does a drop and pickup in Georgetown before continuing on to Brandon. Finally, CN 404 did a pickup from the Irving Oil siding. There was some complexity there because the siding was full, so the crew had to work around that.
The third video features CP 948, CP 975 and CN 215 and is the longest video. CP 948 did a lot of switching in Georgetown before continuing on to Winnipeg. CP 975 went from Winnipeg to Minnedosa (staging), running around its train in Georgetown. Finally, CN 215 – a through train – just zipped through the layout without stopping at all.
I learned a few lessons from this operating session:
- Some of my locomotives are junk. Specifically, CN 3125, CN 5542 and CP 1341 – all Athearn blue boxes – are not reliable. They don’t start well, and need a little “push” now and then to get moving again.
- My Bowser C630M – CP 4505 – runs like an absolute dream compared to the rest of my locomotives.
- I need to be thorough in cleaning the track. I thought I did a good job, but there are some areas around the switches that need work.
- I’m pretty sure my EMD leaser EMDX 769 has a broken axle. It also needs its couplers checked, as they didn’t want to let go.
- I need to consider making switch lists ahead of time. My car cards work, but it’s unrealistic for the crew to not know what work is ahead of them.
On the positive side, I think the car card system works well for me, and I’m satisfied with the number of industries and the amount of work for each train.