fter dragging Jack Ferguson to one of my Tuscarora Sessions, he offered to host me on his own small railroad, the Yosemite Valley RR. Of course, he didn’t quite have operations, but sure, come on out anyway.
And I was pleasantly surprised when Greg and I showed up and found out that he’d hustled up some actual trains, filling out their orders (and I’m touched – he adapted the TBL naming conventions). But yes, instead of us standing there oohing and aahing, he put us to work!
It just shows (as it always shows) that there is a place in operations for small railroads. I brought one train in from off-road, switched it out in the yard, then headed out with a local to Yosemite Village. And here’s where the damn layout bit me.
I thought Tuscarora had some tight puzzles but our host had calculated some of the moves to the finest degree. Several times I thought I could fit an engine and a couple of cars into a spur, only to find myself short. While I struggled to unravel the mystery of the ages, Jack and Greg stood back and quarterbacked me. Next time I’ll give the throttle to my comrade and let him
made a total ass out of himself try his luck.
After that, Greg got some switching down at Jasper Materials in the beautiful Wawona Industrial Park & Picnic Grounds. And of course, he got stuck with light gondolas that refused to go quietly into the long siding. Best one was the gondola that tipped, spilling its LIVE LOAD all over (thankfully, Jack stood by with the MOW vacuum) to clean the mess. Man, I am not a fan of live loads.
So after “Dusty” limped back to the yard, I took a TOFC train to Jasper and switched them out with the replacements, easy-peasy. And nobody had to mop up after me, I’ll point out.
In the end, Jack ran the final long train out of El Portal Yard, so reminiscent of TBL’s Tidewater Express. It was a great end to a casual and fun session. And this is the best part of the hobby at times – just having a simple railroad in your den that you can run on demand, operating by yourself or with a handful of gatecrashing vandals.
Jack & Mrs. Jack, thanks for having us out. It was a wonderful day, even though those heavy storms knocked out a lot of traffic lights in your area.