‘ve run on John Wilke’s L&N / Southern layout many times (or rather, I’ve run it from one of the two dispatcher seats). It’s a great railroad full of fun, coal and a lot of switching. And since I was attending the Sunshine Express II Convention, I offered to help out. Assisting on a layout is a great way to be helpful, meet new people, and get around the cost of attending.
Since we were only running one line and Cody had beaten me to the dispatcher seat, I was on “turn warden” duty, pointing out where towns and industries were, helping people throw turnouts and show them where the helix’s would pop them out, rerailing cars and, of course, helping them through Ramsey (where so many rail disasters take place). It’s a hidden siding that defies newbies and experienced operators alike (hint: just pull in until you can see that you cleared the forward fowling point and stop!). I even managed the railroad while John ran out to get lunch.
Still , I did get to run a little when things settled down (I was still answering questions and helping crews). Got to run the switcher job down to Cawood, something I’ve never done (as I mentioned earlier, I’ve never done everything!). It was a great job working coal cuts and a lumber car up a narrow branchline into a haller, pulling coal and placing MTs. Having read two books (as yet unreviewed) John loaned me, I knew exactly where to place empties under a tipple. Great fun and a really enjoyable run.
Full disclosure – when I arrived at Cawood, I parked my initial cut on the siding rather than the industrial lead. That’s on me.
Fuller disclosure – Cody cleared a train out of Ramsey and derailed the entire thing on a misaligned turnout – dropping twenty cars on the ground and forced me to rerail the entire cut.
You be the judge.
But thanks to John for letting me be a hobo on his line!