Wyoming Division Historical Society Articles Modeling the Union Pacific from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Ogden, Utah
These are the problems we encountered for the two day session.  There were 3 instances of the less experienced Wyoming Division hosts acting as operators slowing things up; 3 or 4 loco failures; a few car failurs (couplers fell off); 2 track or  turnout instances; and a situation with the phones.  The details are: I overlooked that a copy of my list of all 827 spots on the layout was not available at each yard to guide the remarking of cards to forward blocks and cars continually throughout the session.  One important advantage of my system is that they can send cars along for multiple uses during a session.  It is not necessary to wait the arbitrary period of time until the start of the next session after the car cards have been turned.  But for new operators to the layout, a list of where to send them is essential.  A portion of this spot list is shown in Figure 14. Without the spot list, most cars were sent staging to staging, that is LA (or Oakland or Portland) to NP (Chicago, etc.) or vice versa.  This may have contributed to the head end cars and cards being mixed up with the blocks, so the different card sizes mattered.  That difference in card size as a problem was new to me, and this is may be the reason. 3 or 4 locomotives failed—one B unit lost its consisting or decoder, one or two lost the traction goo on the drivers, and other minor problems were seen, couplers, etc. a few bad cars were pulled, perhaps 4 or 5, but were fixed on the spot. A pair of double slip switches in Green River we used in that yard design to follow the UP in Green River gave trouble by not staying locked in position. We are going to try Tam Valley controllers, which several folks recommended. There has always been a pair of tracks in Rock Springs that we knew have too close of spacing, so trains on both of them at the same time will interfere.  Allen and I knew this, but we had never had enough trains running there at once to make it a problem.  These guys did! The Four Card Car Forwarding system was well received, and was immediately mastered.  Cars were accurately picked up and set out, and the operators forwarded cars themselves like planned.  No one said they longed for switch lists or 4 cycle cards.  I think this proves that experienced operators can pick it up very quickly, as I expected, because our less experienced operators in our first few sessions also learned it fairly easily. A few comments by email afterwards were about operator error or misunderstanding of the rule book.  Nearly all of these were made about my relatively unseasoned operators, but like all operating sessions such comments were reserved for me and sent to me in private.  I hope to use this session as inspiration for my relatively less experienced crew.      Figure 14.  Example of color coded spot list for part of the Wyoming Division (Rock Springs) There was quite a backup to get into Green River for a period due to the less experienced yard help of my regular crew, and the double slip switches.  This was exacerbated by crowding of the 41 inch wide aisle in front of Green River.  I intend to insert a rule in each YM’s instruction book that not only does he “own” the yard, and it is his to control, but he “owns” the aisle also.  He can ask operators who are not immediately busy in his aisle to step back and watch a distance. It was suggested that multiple phones be added to the two systems of 8 phones on the layout to 1 master phone at DS, making two 9 phone systems.  There are 18 phones in all, but this new system I bought is limited to those 16 on the floor, and like so many recent electronic items, it has been discontinued.  So even one extra phone would start out at $2,000 plus wiring up all the new ones.  I have decided I need the exercise of a few extra steps to a distant phone. There has always been a problem getting operators down on the floor to answer the phones when the Dispatchers call to transmit instructions.  The Winter Invitational was the same.  A week later I visited Ron Varnell in Torrance, CA and he has installed a light and bell system for the Dispatcher to alert the other operators at specific locations to call back to the Dispatcher.  I plan on installing a similar system at each of the major yards plus Staging that have permanent YM’s, and to make them or their helpers responsible for relaying messages to the required person.  Each of these yards has a YM, a Classification Foreman, and a Hostler, so together they should get the message delivered to whoever it is intended. I did a brief analysis of run times for a few of the 108 trains run in the Winter Invitational.  My Train Sheet does not list the type of train being reported.  It only heads a train’s column with the loco number.  Some train types would be expected to take longer than others because of required work along the way.  PFE and Stock Specials only have to stop for fuel, etc. and for ice or animal rest, while City Passenger trains, (Cities of San Francisco, LA, St. Louis, and Portland) stop at all major depots (Cheyenne, Laramie, Green River, Evanston, and Ogden) and there is switching of one or two cars along the way.  Forwarders only stop for fuel and helpers and engine changes (Laramie and Green River), and Manifests have typically 1 to 6 head end cars to switch and those set out cars leave room on the Manifests for pickups to be made.  Locals stop everywhere for all reasons.  Basically, from the data limited by lack of train type on the Dispatcher’s Train Sheets,  complete runs across the layout took from 1 hour to 2 ½ hours. Reflecting that Staging and Ogden take 2 men each, Cheyenne and Green River need 3 men each, there were 2 dispatchers, and 2 men in the “switching puzzle job” of Downtown Ogden (see the 13 industries on the Lower Level track plan of Figure 2), and 3 or 4 other locals were run which took long times, the number of road crew of one or two men each was less than half of the guests, so our 35 guests plus a few of our hosts operating really ran a lot of trains.  In all, the sessions of about 13 hours of actual operations over two days were a fine success.  After the session there was a unanimous outpouring of admiration, gratitude, and respect for the layout, the system, and the weekend in general.  The laudatory remarks far exceeded anything I expected, and Allen, Lenny, Greg and I were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for the layout and the experience of operating on it.  We all had so much fun that I plan on doing it annually and perhaps if there is interest I will expand to a Spring and a Fall Invitational, with rotating targeting of different areas of the country for preferential invitations for the first few invitees and then opening the invitations up to all areas after a certain period. During the second ever session in November, 2013 an experienced operator told me after about 2 hours as the Laramie YM, “I’m going to cancel my club’s session next month and bring every one here.”  Later he wrote me and said, “Congratulations, you have managed to have prototypical operations with a minimum of paperwork.”  Those two compliments were the highlight of that session for me, especially since it was one of the 3 preliminary sessions meant as trials of the whole system. After the Winter Invitational a very experienced and well known operator put his arm around me and in a fatherly way asked me, “Verryl, how did you get so far beyond the curve in just 3 years?”  I fumbled for an answer, but very much of the credit goes to Allen Montgomery, and Greg White who have worked tirelessly on the layout since we started after Thanksgiving, 2011, and to Lenny Wyatt who worked full time the first 2 years and has been on call since then. Here are some photos of the Winter Invitational meet.   Figure 15.  Down the Evanston Aisle (Aisle 3), Sherman Hill Far left, crowded Laramie Upper Level on left, Sinclair Oil and Rawlins on right, more of Wyoming to far right beyond hanging Mezzanine (no posts), Cheyenne steam yard across extreme distant end of room.  The complete roster of attendees to the Winter Invitational is given in the table below the last photo.   Figure 16.  East end of Green River, Wyoming yard, Seth Neumann YM, Granger, Wyoming across the aisle to the left with the OSL Junction on lower level, and OSL hidden track at first siding about 8 inches under the lower level bench.  OSL runs back under Green River and ends in Portland staging to right out of photo.  Seth and David Parks distributed invitations to the operators from the area of Bay Rails. Wyoming Division Winter Invitational Roster There were 35 invited out-of-state operators at this first annual Wyoming Division Winter Invitational meet and one from Arizona.  We also had 10 of our Arizona crew from all over the state as docents in addition to Allen, Lenny, Greg and me.  They were rarely needed as instructors for the 35, so about 6 of them operated a few trains during the two days of sessions.  The roster is given below, alphabetized by first names, because it is that kind of a hobby.
Operations Article Page Number                        of Three 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1
Figure 17.  Dave Turner in the foreground led the Albuquerque contingent of 5 operators at the east end of Rock Springs, Wyoming.  Rock Springs runs the entire length of this Aisle 7.  With 19 mines and industries to work it has no room for a yard, so all traffic goes into and out of Green River around the bend to the left.  A road switching crew works Rock Springs to Green River and its 4 coal mines and 14 businesses  and the Atlantic City iron ore train.  The Portland 10 track staging yard is hidden below the lower level on the right.  There is about 16 inches of Access to Portland, and the little work there it is done from rolling stools.   Figure 18.  We wound up the weekend op session Saturday evening with a hand carved prime rib buffet dinner at Relics Restaurant and Roadhouse in Sedona.  Sharon LOML (Love of My Life) organized the BQQ at our home on Thursday after an inspection of the layout Open House.  Our son David helped her  and brought his friend, Jen, to the banquet.  Between the BBQ and the banquet we operated about 7 hours on both Friday and Saturday. There are photos of the layout and the operations with descriptive captions at http://verrylvfosnightjr.slickpic.com/       in an album with the photo of the cute I-made-it-myself steam locomotive mailbox on the cover.   There are some photos of the other sessions in sub-albums. Lorne Noyes of Prescott has photos of the Winter International op session(s) on his SlickPic site at http://arizonalorne.slickpic.com/albums/1stAnnualWinterInvitational/photo#9919804 For general information I have a Yahoo Group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/wyoming_division/info  (the space between “wyoming” and “division” is an underscore “_” ).  I have recently been posting all progress reports on the SlickPic site in captions under the photos rather than the Yahoo Group.  The Yahoo Group is good for ancient history and the nuts and bolts of construction if you cannot find some detail in a SlickPic photo caption. 
Operations Article Page Number                        of Three 3 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1