Operating Sessions

Operating Sessions

Activities Coordinator: Gary Ray
drf2019sigs@pcrnmra.org

Page last updated: January 16, 2019

Would you like to host an operating session?

If you would like to host an operating session for Diamond Rails Forever 2019, contact the SIG Activities Coordinator. I’d love to hear from you!

Prototype Operating Sessions

All registrants, layout tour hosts, op session hosts and crews for PCR2019 “Diamond Rails Forever” or the FRRS convention are eligible to crew the prototype op sessions listed below. You may sign up for as many op sessions as you wish. List the layouts in order of preference since you may not get your first choice. Specify how many total op sessions you wish. All layouts are HO.  No previous experience is necessary, just a desire to run a model railroad as if it were a real transportation system. Beginners welcome! Give it a try!

Editor Note: The schedule is still being prepared. We expect to have the schedule along with a signup form available by mid-February at the latest. There are still some layouts that are expected to be available but have not committed yet.

We appreciate all the layout owners who have made the extra effort to open their layouts for the convention.  Be sure to be on time for the start of the session.

Contact:
SIG Activities Coordinator Gary Ray
drf2019sigs@pcrnmra.org

Layouts and Schedule

Jim Petro’s Denver and Rio Grande Joint Line  in Reno (123 miles).

***This will be a freebie and not count against your first choice nor number of opportunities.***

Jim is recreating the Denver and Rio Grande in Denver and surrounding areas, featuring the Joint Line south towards Pueblo and the climb into the Rocky Mountains in a 55’ x 20’ room.  There is a large yard and a very nice, near scale model of the Denver Union Station with the California Zephyr, various Rio Grande, Santa Fe, Rock Island, and Missouri Pacific passenger trains in the mid-1950s.   A dispatcher, full signaling, car cars, 12 operators and NCE DCC keep trains moving.  Four hidden staging areas are monitored by video.  A second level has been added to some of the areas with a beautiful professionally painted backdrop.  Jim is very easy-going and invites to try out operations.  Great for newbies and experienced operators.  Well worth your time to plan a trip to Reno the day before the convention and get back to Sacramento by 7:30 Wednesday evening.

Click thumbnail to see full size image.

Dave Houston’s SP Rocklin Sub in Rocklin (16 miles). Access is down stairs to basement.

A walk-in basement in California is not very common, but this one was available (house included) and a dream has become reality. Dave’s freelanced version of the SP. Donner and Shasta crossings and Coast Line, Burbank Branch in 1957 occupies 11X55 feet, a completed (yes, you read that right!) double deck freelance prototype layout. Some of the freights you’ll handle can get up to 40 cars long, and with 2% grades, might need a shove.  All steam operations will require a helper to get up the grade. Car cards control the movement of the fleet of 450 freight cars.  The railroad is governed by a fully operational CTC program, with a working dispatcher’s screen.  Switches will be thrown by the DS, unless local operators request permission to take their switches into local control.  Communication with the DS is via a party line phone system, with old dial up phones.  Digitrax and sound in nearly every locomotive makes the scene complete. The Rocklin Sub can handle 12 operators in a session. Be advised that is it not ADA compliant: there are stairs to reach the layout or the bathroom but if you are able to make the climb, a great time awaits you.  Videos can be found at:  https://youtu.be/3tQVfGOi_mM and https://youtu.be/MFCirS4q6qs.

Click thumbnail to see full size image.

David Stanley’s Morada Belt in Morada (Suburban Stockton) 53 miles.

The freelanced Morada Belt RR is 20 x 20 and will support 5 operators. Set in the 1950’s with 360 feet of mainline as well as a 35-foot branch line. Track is commercial code 83 and code 70, a “point to loop” design with 30″ minimum radius on the main track, one staging and two working yards. Scenery is 90% complete and ranges from Tehachapi-style semi-arid to sandstone cliffs (reminiscent of Eagles Nest, Montana on the Milwaukee Road) to the Sierra Nevada foothills. Backdrops were painted by noted artist and book author John Signor. Operation is a trackage-rights operated bridge line used by several of the large western carriers of the 1950’s, utilized when their own corridors are congested. A typical session will see approximately 12 train movements consisting of 50% through trains and 50% local freight.  Through trains operate point to point (staging to Morada Yard and vice versa).  The operations are currently car card movement, dispatched by track warrant-style train order using FRS radios. The layout uses CVP EasyDCC with T-5000 radio throttles for the 5 operators.  This is a model railroad designed by a real-life railroader for operating sessions, without sacrificing the scenic beauty of the west.  Featured in January 2014 RMC.  There are more than 20 videos on YouTube if you search with “Morada Belt” and scroll down.  The longest one is here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcPEVoWbR3g

Click thumbnail to see full size image.

Phil Gulley’s Union Pacific & Summit County RR in Auburn, 24 miles.

The Union Pacific and Summit County is multi deck HO scale layout in a 30’x48′ purpose-built building. Currently only the Summit County Railroad portion is operational and occupies roughly 30% of the space. The Summit County is a proto-freelance 1952 railroad based on the UP’s Park City branch, hauling coal, ore and livestock. It connects to Union Pacific’s double track transcontinental mainline at Echo. The yet-to-be-built portion models Ogden and the Weber and Echo Canyon portions of UP’s trackage. Mainline is 50% complete and supports 10 operators (maybe 2 more is another portion of railroad is completed by convention time.)  The operating system is TT&TO with telephones for communication. The sound equipped, primarily steam engine roster, is controlled with an NCE Radio DCC system. Freight is forwarded with a CC&WB system and all turnouts are Tortoise controlled.  Vidoes can be   http://upandscrr.blogspot.com/  and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f44LSTab0zk.

Click thumbnail to see full size image.

Walt Schedler’s SP Shasta Division in Colusa, 70 miles. Access is up a steep stairway to attic.

The layout trails the Sacramento River Canyon from Gerber to Weed on the Siskiyou line and to Grass Lake Summit on the Cascade. 24′ x 42′ layout room has a 780 foot mainline (over 13 scale miles) on four levels (to be expanded to 920’). Dunsmuir is highlighted with a full-size track plan using the SP drawings for trackage and buildings. Most local operations of the 1955 period are supported. From Dunsmuir, up the Sacramento River Canyon, you pass through Small, Cantara Loop, Mott, Azalea, Mt. Shasta, Black Butte and arrive at Klamath Falls. The McCloud River Lumber Co and many other local features add to the operational interest. The layout uses NCE throttles and JMRI generated work orders and switchlists.  FRS radios are used to communicate with the dispatcher.  Much of the signaling is installed along with the dispatcher’s panel.  The layout supports up to 20 operators.  Be advised that is it not ADA compliant: there are stairs to reach attic  however the dispatcher is located downstairs.  If you are able to make the climb, you’ll be surprised at the space utilization in an attic space. A Dunsmuir video is at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXQledBINVM.  A second video to get a flavor of the layout (but video turned sideways partway thru):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eme6L_gQ21k.

Click thumbnail to see full size image.

Sacramento Model Railroad Historical Society (HO) in Sacramento, 5 miles.

The HO scale Sierra Central Railroad depicts the Southern Pacific’s California Pacific or “Cal-P” line from Oakland to Sacramento and the Western Pacific from Sacramento through the Feather River Canyon to Keddie.  Signature scenes on the SP include the historic Davis depot, the Yolo Causeway, and the passenger station, locomotive shops, classification yard, and R Street industrial district in Sacramento. On the WP, you’ll find Marysville, Oroville, Table Mountain, the Honeymoon Tunnels in the Feather River Canyon, Keddie Yard, and the Spanish Creek trestle widely known as “Keddie Wye” as well as a branch line to Quincy.  Website:  http://www.smrhs.com/about/ho-layout/.  Video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=swt_ZJnNkw

Click thumbnail to see full size image.

Sacramento Model Railroad Historical Society (HOn3) in Sacramento, 5 miles.

The HOn3 Sierra Central Railroad is a proto-freelanced layout that features rugged scenery and spectacular bridges and trestles depicting a well-coordinated mix of western and Californian narrow gauge prototypes, including Ridgeway, Western Flume and Lumber Company, and the Bear River Bridge of the Nevada County Narrow Gauge.  The layout contains more than 300 feet of hand laid track and can be operated in a point-to-point or loop-to-loop manner. Trains are controlled via wireless Digitrax digital command control (DCC) throttles.  Website:  http://www.smrhs.com/about/hon3-layout/.

Click thumbnail to see full size image.

SIG Activities Coordinator: Gary Ray
drf2019sigs@pcrnmra.org