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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Ops Session on Jim Hertzog's Reading Shamokin Division

Today I had the pleasure of going to Jim Hertzog's to be a guest running an ops session on his Reading Shamokin Division layout. It was a great time. This was my first ops session, outside of my own little ones by myself.

My initial assignment was train 11. A small passenger train that was using Jersey Central Power. My starting point was Tamaqua, making stops at East Mahanoy, Mahanoy City and Gordon. Ending the journey was track one at Newberry Jct.

After tying down in Newberry, I took was assigned for another trip, but this time from Reading to Gordon. 

Entering the Mahanoy Tunnel (aka big tunnel)

After dropping the empty coal cars at Gordon yard, my locomotive was tied down at the engine house at Gordon. My next assignment was the Lehigh New England AM Turn that would be dropping some freight cars off at the Tamaqua yard. There I picked up some cars and made the return trip. That train was quick and easy and didn't get a picture due to the heavy activity at the yard.

Next train I picked up was in Newberry and I was off to Reading. This was my longest train I had so far. I was loaded with some mixed freaight but my first stop was at the Shamokin yard where I picked up some cars to go to Reading. After picking up some cars, my next stop was to pick up some loaded coal cars bound for Reading at Locust Summit. I made a rookie mistake and missed that on my orders. As I reached the yard limit I advised the dispatcher I was awaiting clearance into the yard. Dispatcher asked if I missed work at my last location. Checked the orders again, and yep I missed it. So I backed the train up the grade and picked up my "5 missing children" as I coined it. 

Once that was fixed, I began the journey to Gordon yard where I needed to pick up some more freight bound for Reading. At Gordan I picked up what I needed. My car limit was 23. As I left Gordan I realized I was now at 27. The Alcos had some difficulty climbing the hill and there wasn;t a helper available, so the "hand from above" had to help the Alcos go up the grade. 

I made it to Tamaqua yard where I was able to drop 4 cars and get back on my limit.   

Climbing the hill from Gordon Yard

My last train of the Day was TN-3. Originating in Tamaqua this was another freight train bound for Newberry. I loaded up and was on my way. After clearing the tunnels I had to pick up some loaded coal cars at St. Nick. After loading up I began my journey where I would be assisted by the Gordon Helper. At Locust Summitt the helper cut off and headed back down the hill.   

One of my favorite shots

I had a great time and the layout was amazing. Though the transition era isn;t my thing, it was just a great fun. Till it was all said and done, we ran 41 trains and the session was about 4 hours. I look forward to another invitation to run this layout again.

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