Engine Terminal

Engine Terminal
Empties tracks at the Laurel Ridge Prep Plant- Summit Springs, WV

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Op Session #2

The Chesapeake, Wheeling and Erie Railroad held its second operating session this past Saturday. A few new trains were added to the schedule and the gremlins were held at bay for the most part. But most importantly, everyone had a good time. We dispatched using track warrants, which are a little too new for my era of the mid-1970's but work really well for the current set-up. We use car card and waybills as shown in the photos below.

I also included a train card which provides information about the specific movement such as origin, destination and work to be done. To assist crews in spotting cars, I'm using the Train and Industry Blocking System, or TIBS, that Dan Holbrook developed for the Midwest Railroad Modelers layout back in the late 1980's. The system uses alpha numeric codes for blocking trains and spotting cars on the layout. You can see the code in red in the upper left hand corner of the waybill. There is a corresponding alpha numeric code on the panels on the layout for each of the on-line industries. Several crew members commented on how helpful the codes were, especially since everyone is new to operating the layout, myself included.

The schedule included eight trains: 1) an eastbound and westbound way freight which made set-outs and pick-ups; 2) the Elkwater Branch turn that comes from staging into Big Chimney, WV, makes set-outs and the proceeds to the yard at North Pierce, WV; 3) the Dry Creek Roustabout that leaves staging and enters the small yard at Nelsonville; 4) a westbound coal extra with empties; 5) an eastbound coal extra with loads; 5) the Big Chimney Roustabout, which runs from North Pierce to Big Chimney and back as a local turn; 6) the Sand Fork Mine Run, which works the tipples on the Sand Fork Branch; and 7) the Nelsonville Yard Job, which classified cars coming off the Dry Creek Branch and assisted the way freights with set-outs and pick-ups.

In the photo below, Stuart Thayer has taken the SD40/SD40-2/SD40 lashup from COXE42 to the "house" at North Pierce.

Next up, Anthony Hardy is getting ready to bring the Dry Creek Turn into Nelsonville.

And in the photo below, Bill Ford and Ron Parrish have just brought the Elkwater Branch Turn into Big Chimney and have set-out two wood chip hoppers on the Helper track.

The four turnouts that were replaced after the last session worked flawlessly. It took a bit of time to get the layout ready beforehand, but that time will be reduced as the layout is operated more frequently. Improvements for the future include OpSig aprons to hold car cards and such, a yard master position for North Pierce, a second coal train to be staged at North Pierce at the beginning of the session, and a dispatcher that can keep the order of the trains straight (that would be me). All in all, it was a great time, and it was really inspiring to see the layout in action. These operating sessions could be habit forming...


  1. Looks like a great time! I hope to get a chance to operate there one day if there is a convention or what not in your area.

  2. It was a great time. Although I had always planned to operate the railroad "one day," I had no idea how much fun it would be. We're having another session Saturday, with a few more bells and whistles. If you're ever going to be in town, let me know- we'll see if we can put something together. At the very least you can see the layout and run some trains!