f you found way way to the town of Waterbury in the late forties, you’d discover a dual main running through a five track yard, a busy station with full RPO operations facing it. But follow the track swinging away from the yard’s caboose track, down a long grade along a time-stained retaining wall, down to the Low Grade Yard. Here is a busy capillary for the railroad, a busting TOFC spur and a two track freight house where four doors and ramps between the cars keep the LCL freight flowing to destinations beyond Bidgeport and the Boston docks. And this is where you’d find JW and I, working with a clunky first-gen diesel, moving our cuts up and down the incline to the busy High Grade Yard.
This was the first operational session for Rob Gross on his dynamic Hartford Division of the New Haven RR. We’d seen the pictures and a large number of us (I think we had nine operators, almost all of the Oburg N-Trak vets) attended. There was a lot of confusion as one might expect. JW and I had a quiet moment figuring out how the freight house worked (we got good with it too, good enough to notice when YardMaster Sparky tried to glad-hand us a gon we’d just moved up to him). But the engine ran sweet and the sorting was interesting. Had a great time.
Great enough, I guess, for me to pick up the High Grade Yard (the central yard of the division) to take over where Sparky had left off. Again, we weren’t sure what we were looking at (a yard full of cars, yes, that’s what we were looking at) but by inspecting the switchlists of trains gone by, we eventually figured which cuts were on the last two trains out. Once Cody, JW and I worked it out, it was an easy matter of tossing crummies on and sending them west, off the division.
So yes, this is a great layout that is being tuned to be even better. Everyone is of the mind to come back once another session is offered. I hope Host Rob had a great session – the guys in our car sure did – we talked about it all the way home.
Next time this layout’s invites come up, jump on them. Trust me, the rest of us will!