Favourite Photos...

Favourite Photos...
Reading Lines GP35 #3647

Middletown, Pa

Friday 11 December 2015

JL&T Railroad's - First Ops Session...

Well a major milestone in the five year history to date of our layout was reached on Tuesday 8th of December...  

We had our first Ops Session!

Well you could call it an expression session, or test ops session actually because it was all free time for the four operators.  My good friends Noel, Brendan & Darren came over and together we gave the layout a proper workout.

The main aim for the night was to check for any immediate electrical problems, dead track or sidings including the now finished Tortoise Fascia Control Panels, block wiring, turnout operation, track alignment and the general feel of the layout.

The guys had several options to start with, there was several cars spotted and stored around the York Haven Pulp & Paper Mill with a MP15 Switcher on call.  A pair of RDG SD45's ready for a local or hot shot train.  And a two small locals that could be spotted anywhere around the layout.

Below (from right to left) Darren, Noel & Brendan start from the York Haven - Pulp & Paper Mill (YHPPM)...

The guys were quickly off into different areas of the layout and testing out various locos and rolling stock.  

One very quick issue arose with one of the crossover turnouts with the YHPPM area which was quickly identified as dirty point ends on the point rails.  This will be fixed once I add the remaining power feeds to the PECO turnouts.

Also one of the push buttons controlling one of the Harrisburg - Fascia Control Panels wasn't working but was changed out very quickly.

The layout sustained the four of operating for about 2.5 - 3 hours, and we estimated that once the industries are set up and the remainder of the track work is completed the layout could sustain 6 - 8 operators and a dispatcher easily.

The next evolution for the layout will be designing and testing a more formal and prototypical operating scheme for future Ops Sessions.  The design and development of a car card system, paper work, and the programming of the detected track, turnouts & signals into JMRI and our Panel Pro - Panel.

The guys have already began to supply some great feedback and ideas and a dedicated night (Tuesday night) has been locked in as our monthly Operating night.  The Christmas break period is going to be very busy beginning to implement all of the infrastructure for Ops Session along with finishing off the detection & signaling too.

Below Noel running the RDG SD45's 7602 & 7603 through Mannheim & Rutherford...

A special thanks must go out to Noel, Brendan & Darren for being the first to operate the layout, and for helping out with testing it and for being such great company for the night!

Onwards & Upwards now...


  1. Looking forward to seeing some video of the actual operations underway

    1. Unfortunately I forgot to take some video footage, the next session I will as it will be more of a formal ops session. So standby Homedad40! 😉

  2. Congratulations on your first op session. It seems like yesterday when you started. And as I always say build it and they will come.
    Tom Wilson

    1. Thanks Tom, it's doesn't seem that long ago actually five years had gone quick! I have two fairly regular operators (Noel & Dennis) so hopefully after this session it will grow and we'll have a regular crew soon. Jas...

  3. A momentous occasion! Congratulations Jas. I too look forward to the first JL&T op video.

    1. Thanks Alan, greatly appreciated! Wish you were a little closer to share the occasion!

      And yes next time I'll be doing some ops session videos.

  4. I'll add my congratulations as well, Jason. Getting that first Ops Session out of the way with as few problems as you had is a noteworthy achievement. May there be many more to follow!

    1. Thanks Ron, it was great to only have a few issues whilst operating thankfully nothing that shut the session down.
      When I get the operating scheme going and sort out some systems I will get you guys over as well and give the layout a proper workout!

  5. Jas,

    Congratulations and welcome to the world of operations! It's hard to believe its been five years already. You really have made tremendous progress in a short period of time. Like others, I'm anxious to see some video of an op session. And it will be interesting to watch as you develop the operating scheme. That's one of the many parts of our wonderful hobby that I really enjoy.

    And I'd be remiss if I didn't thank you for you help with the blog. It was you who got me started down that path and it was your guidance and coaching that gave me the confidence to tackle it.


  6. Tom,

    Thanks for the great words of encouragement, I sincerely appreciate it. The five years have flown, and looking back we have achieved a great deal.
    Having started down the path of operations has given me another boost of enthusiasm to move into,the next stage and get the layout operating. I have had some great conversations and ideas from the guys who are regularly helping out.
    Will definitely get some video of the next ops session, always happy to share our build and experiences.

    And your most welcome with the help with the blog, it's our blogs that help out others starting out or wanting to try something new in the hobby. It's all about paying it forward for the help we have had from others!