I think that my open house today was a great success. In all, 16 people attended, and I found out that 15 people plus me pretty much fills up the basement. People were not one on top of the other but, as you can see, the aisles were full. Acting as host (and also tending to inevitable mishaps) usually allows little time for taking pictures and video, but this time I got in a few (I wish that I had taken more).
Bringing a coal drag east over the Cheat River into M&K Junction
Coal moves east up Cranberry grade (right) and a westbound manifest is about to summit the helix (left). Even the wives were interested.
Here's that coal drag moving up Cranberry Grade moments before
When not at the throttle, guys were chewing the fat
The westbound manifest freight pulls into M&K
A view east up Cranberry Grade
I really get a kick out of seeing these pictures and the enjoyment that my guests were having. I'm now even more enthusiastic to finish more of the layout to be able to run a parade of trains and begin formal operations.
We were able to run helper service pushing the coal train up Cranberry Grade. The train would not make it around Graveyard curve (where the grade stiffens) without the helper. The task of handling the road locomotive on one of the shoves was even accomplished by a 12 year old boy.
When I could turn away from my guests, the sight of trains passing on the double and triple track grades was exciting. I wasn't able to take much video (and I apologize for a shaky hand) but what I did capture brings a smile to my face.
In the first clip, that really is a steam helper pushing backwards. The prototype did it that way and there were valid reasons for me to do it that way on the model.
In the second clip, the coal train that was being pushed in the first clip has reached the top of the grade and the pusher just comes into view as the clip switches. The pusher will be cut off to reverse and go back down the grade (facing the right way, see why it pushes backwards!) to be ready for the next shove.
In the final clip the coal train has come downgrade, without the helper, and is about to come into M&K Junction to complete it's circuit of the layout. You also hear someone ask for me - which is why I do not get more pictures and video!
After the layout we all had lunch of BBQ from a local BBQ chain; and it was superb.
In all it was a great day and I want to thank my guests for making it wonderful.
Now I will take a pause from construction to add additional power boosters (the wiring for them is already in place), tend to some unpowered frogs and tight spots on turnouts (more frog juicers needed!). Then begin adding decoders to more locos and revamping some of the existing older decoders.