here is something quite unique about the Tuscarora Branch Line. Granted, it’s a small layout, only 2×4. But when Greg and I were doing our two-person session yesterday, it was like we were connected to a huge layout, managing a single town as the local switched and coal hoppers paraded past.
Good session, too. Everything ran perfect. I think we had one derailment that might have been rough uncoupling. As far as the on-the-ground action, we had quite a session. First off, it seemed that the railroad had let a backlog of empty hoppers build up to the east – possibly running hard to take advantage of a temporary spike in coal prices? All I know was that, as the hopper engineer, I was running nothing but MTs west. I think we ran nine MTs vs three loaded cuts. Lots of light engine movements as crews finished spotting hoppers at the tipples and ran down for more.
On the switching side of things, Greg had his hands full. The Outer Industrial Area ended up loaded with cars. A one-time order of a gondola at the brewery stuffed that area to the max (and to get to the scrap yard, everything had to be pulled out). Worse, the brickyard (which is a back-movement through the Outer Area) needed a boxcar and a hopper full of coal (a dropoff by me). So again, Greg had to unpack his siding to get everything spotted.
But it was fun.
I’m very grateful to the TBL crew who make these sessions possible. First off, Steve Raiford did a stunning job with everything below deck. This weekend we got to use his mini-tower panel again and it really made the session easy. And also a tip of the engineer’s cap to Greg Wells, who has been at nearly every one of the twenty or so sessions the layout has hosted. He’s really been supporting me in this effort.
Anyway, great session. We’re looking for another one in two or three weeks (following the Deltona Show). Let me know if you’d like to try railroading in a small Pennsylvania town in 1962!