Indeed, Session #20 is our final one of the season.
Diesels tell us it is standard gauge.
The lads and lasses had one more opportunity to bring out their locomotives.
The weather was brisk.
At least it was sunny!
The fallen leaves trackside sure tell us what season we are in.
As do the leaves that have changed colour which are still on the plants.
Lots of folks signed up for the session.
I brought two of my locomotives out.
My D&H GP38-2.
Named in honour of the late Ralph Dipple.
I also brought out my CN RS3.
To go along with a CP brethren belonging to an OVGRS colleague.
These two units are ready to rumble.
Pre-ops set out time.
Brian discusses location names with Doug as Brian will be the Craig Leigh yardmaster on the day and some locations are new.
Pat will be running the ore trains. He is busy setting up long strings of ore cars at the Northland Ore Dock.
Neil has brought along his latest locomotive acquisition.
He's excited to run her!
Pat enjoys a brownie.
Steve's lovely wife has baked them for the crew as she does most weeks and I tell you, it is greatly appreciated by all in the crowd. More on that later.
George nestles down to keep warm while Lela chats him up.
Paul has extra layers on as do some members in the background. The brownie also helps to warm him up!
Bill and Brian. Tasty, eh, Brian!
Garry, Seanna and Steve kibbitz.
Chris and Doug in conversation while Mark sips a cup of coffee.
Doug, Mark and Lawrence.
Fred and Henk begin the pre-ops discussion.
Henk asks to take over.
An opera singer he is not.
Pat laughs while Steve listens attentively.
Henk presents Steve with a gift of flowers for his lovely wife who does such spectacular baking.
Steve appreciates the gift on his wife's behalf.
Henk has a few more words of Dutch wisdom.
The crew listen in.
And try to keep warm.
But, we won't let the chilly air dampen our spirits.
Looks like we are brewing some flowers!
The neon green sign reminds us of next week's model railroad event.
We begin our examination of the session with westbound Train 302 between Watkins Siding and Peter's Pond.
That looks like Chris's CP switcher to me.
That looks like Chris off in the distance standing above Peter's Pond.
Aha! There's the crew in behind my crew mate, Doug.
Welcome to Chris and Lela.
Looks like they are switching out the facing sidings up in Cedar Rock.
Lela's jacket tells us the weather is a tad cool.
Now they work the trailing sidings at the end of the branch.
Shunting cars into the crusher and the aggregate sidings.
Lela checks the length of the lead.
All is good.
Out from Peter's Pond Train 302 meets Train 311.
Chris has all in control as he pulls his train out of the siding. It would appear 311 is also pulling out the other way.
Here's my trusty crew mate, Doug. Both Doug and I would like to thank Bill Sn3 Scobie for hanging out in the dispatch booth allowing the two of us to run together. Thanks Bill!
We'll be using my D&H GP38-2 on the 301/311 run.
I use the wye to turn my locomotive from off the ready track.
Backing down through Northland.
Then...onto our train which Brian has made up. Brian gives me the hand signal indicating that we can now depart.
With a quick radio call to dispatch, we are cleared out of Douglas Yard.
We round the big bend into Northland.
Then out of yard limits westbound.
We take the siding in Mount St. Helens.
By the station.
Doug gets the turnout in front of my locomotive.
The ore train is spotted below our end car.
I've run around my train and begin to haul back while Doug aligns the turnout in the yard.
It's great crewing with you, Doug!
As I back my train into the industrial spurs at Mount St. Helens, Train 327 hugs the rails below my location.
Doug indicates my car lengths to the setout.
With our work complete, we are cleared to Ironwood.
301 arrives Ironwood while 302 passes in the opposing direction on the back track.
A railfan has spotted an Algoma Central unit hauling a train through the big trestle outside of Glen Hammond.
Of course, it's Steve and Seanna aboard that gorgeous locomotive!
They are in care of Train 318, an eastward run from Glen Hammond to Craig Leigh with many a stop in between.
Some work is handled at Blockhouse.
Steve follows the progress of the train.
From Blockhouse, the skies clear somewhat and the crew finds themselves in and out of the sunshine at Spruce.
Looks like it's going to be one of those days!
Seanna smiles to this railfan.
Steve and Seanna, like Chris and Lela...a natural couple that works great as a crew!
Their train, 318, holds a meet with Train 301.
With the meet complete, they find themselves upgrade out of Ironwood.
Destination...Mount St. Helens.
No, it is not foggy...just the difficult lighting conditions that can irk the railfan yet produce some interesting images.
Moe's locomotive is of the CN "Wet Noodle" style.
Moe and Garry will crew Steve and Seanna's counterpart train out of Glen Hammond in the other direction, Train 327.
That new acquisition looks great Moe!
They are on the roll through Bellamy in the background while an Ontario Northland unit works the western end of Nelson Yard.
Garry is conductor while Moe takes on the role of engineer.
A handsome crew they make!
Through the shared trackage at the junction.
By the tower.
Rounding the bend into Mercer Siding.
327 approaches Peter's Pond.
With a railfan looking on.
Wow! Looks like they are taking their whole train up the branch.
"It's easier that way!" Garry smiles.
Doug has other thoughts.
The sun has come out again as the crew reassembles their train after working the Cedar Rock Branch.
They are westward along the railroad property line.
Onward into "The Corners."
We find the ore train traversing the iron below Mount St. Helens.
Nice looking ore cars.
A great looking caboose.
A great looking lad, Mr. Pat.
The ore train rounds the bend into Spruce.
Looks like 301 is busy working the spurs.
That doesn't bother Pat.
As he has been given a clear alley through the area.
Out from Spruce.
Dispatcher Bill looks on as does Pat.
A meeting of the minds in the vans!
Fred overlooks the action.
Is Pat having fun yet?
You bet he is!
Lawrence and Neil have RP&M train 65/66 up in Bell.
At the interchange tracks.
A close up of Neil's CP engine.
She looks just like she belongs, Neil.
Neil follows his train.
As they head away from the interchange area.
Along Track 4.
Two crews can work the western end of Bell independently.
Thanks to the new crossover track put in this summer.
Greater flexibility allows for trains to get their work done in a reasonable amount of time.
Just ask the two crews aboard these two locomotives.
Lawrence continues his work at the Interchange while 311 hugs the cliff side along "The Ledges."
Steve radios dispatch from aboard his RP&M train.
With engine man Mark in behind.
That's one sweet looking locomotive, Steve!
Mark is enjoying the experience.
Switching out the Lyon Supply spur.
Mark used to live in the Yukon.
Their train still awaits clearance into Rat Portage.
They spill some sand to avoid slippage on the uphill gradient.
Working the yard in Rat Portage.
Their train is a turn, thus they will not enter the tunnel.
We check in on Nelson Yard.
George works the sidings to the outskirts of the yard.
Across the gut.
George instructs Mark on the usage of the turnout throws on choke cables.
Steve's locomotive is put to work in the yard before he and Mark can depart up the RP&M.
Lots of classifying of cars occurs in the earlier part of the session.
The yard is a hive of activity.
Seeing as there is a CP locomotive on the yard lead spur, Steve uses the mainline as the lead for switching.
His orange jacket certainly stands out and serves to keep him warm.
Neil and Henk are sentinels on the far side of the yard.
Lots of discussion as classification takes place.
Lots of fun too!
The yard from above.
The yard from afar.
Henk is happy.
And...that makes George happy too!
Over in Firgrove there is much traffic as well.
The Firgrove locomotive begins making up Train 302.
Chris and Lela oversee the making of their train.
Paul has all under control.
That's a nice looking GP30, Paul!
Doug is up in Firgrove with Paul.
Which means his train must be coming into the yard...and so it is!
Mike and Doug have changed out their locomotive and Paul has them back onto the consist of their third train, Train 328.
Later in the session, Paul brings his transfer train down from Firgrove bound for Bell.
With a single milk car in tow.
At the other end of the line in Craig Leigh, Brian is busy making up trains.
With his little UP shunter.
Such a little brute she is!
In handsome colours.
This railfan is excited!
The Northland Ore Dock in Craig Leigh.
Rolling stock review.
A string of tankcars in Northland.
Beautiful they are!
Some more tankers near the engine house.
That's one good-looking string of cars!
The sedum in Fred's entry garden have changed colour.
I use these plants to make HO scale trees.
The garden is changing colour as well.
Skipper Bill in the dispatch hut.
Looks like an engineer looking out the cab window!
Our other dispatcher, Doug, crewing with me on this day.
Henk doing the happy dance.
We can't miss Bill in that bright orange can we!
Henk basks in the sun.
He takes it all in.
Then the singing begins!
Lawrence relaxes in the sunshine.
As do Fred and Chris.
Yup, diesels ran the show today.
But...it's nearing that time to close off this posting of Part One of Session #20.
Check in later in the week for Part Two when we will follow all of the trains on their second and third runs. We will also follow Ruby around the railroad with her string of passenger cars. Can't wait!
The changing colours on Fred's street tell us the season is coming to a close.
So, it's time to drive off into the sunshine in my red Rav4.
Thanks for following along all season. See you in a few day's time for Part Two.
Mike Hamer, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada