Last night was the first operating session we have had for a while on our good friend Johns AT&SF Boise City Sub for almost 6 months.
John had decided some time back to add dispatching to his excellent Santa Fe Boise City Sub N Scale RR. We operate on it several times a year and John like me had issues of some operators moving trains from towns to the next without checking if they had a clear run to do so. John had already fitted some of our mate Vics excellent SF style signals that worked off his turnout switch these looked good but did not allow for the holding of trains, so having a dispatcher was the next move.
John started his RR going straight to DCC back in the late 1990's so one big job was to determine where all of his blocks needed to be, others were to remove all of his facias, assemble and install heaps of signals and work out all of the logic to develop the JMRI track panel to suit his RR.
Help along the way from our resident JMRI expert Brendan and some help with installation by a couple of the operators of some signal PCB boards and in what seemed like no time Johns system was up and running again. A shake down test was held in the month of May which found a few bugs but proved the system was working however the true test was to be the operating session planned for and held last night.
One other test that was taking place was the use of small two way radios for the crew and dispatcher to use to communicate.
Of the eleven or twelve guys that usually turn up for one of our sessions unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances only five could make it to Johns to participate in this special night.
Well by the time I arrived Greg and John had the radios out of their packets Batteries in and testing. Greg, John, Brendan and I purchased 4 sets each so we could share them around each others RR when holding ops sessions. I quickly plugged my head set in attached it to my ear and straight away could hear the guys talking very well.
John had set up his dispatchers desk beneath his layout nicely tucked in out of the way but easily accessible so once the rest of the nights crew arrived hooked up their head sets we were off and running.
John has done a great job as the night went off without a hitch. The engineers now know to contact the dispatcher with their train number and location and are now given instructions via radio instead of the old shout & holler system that was starting to get out of hand especially when we have the full crew available. The signals, dispatcher and radios all worked very well and all of the guys agreed that the night was a hit so well done Big John.
Here are a few images of the night.
|Here is the owner of the Boise City Sub working the dispatchers panel at the first true ops session.|
|Looking right at home. Note the two camera monitors mounted above the monitor, neat uh.|
|Vic (with the cap) waiting for the Amarillo Yard operator Noel to make up his train.|
|Dennis working the Boise City local at Etter.|
|Greg running the Boise City yard. Greg owns the L&N RR and is currently working on a dispatching and signalling system for his RR.|
|Boise City Station|
|Just a few of the locos at Boise City.|
|This is a duplicate of the dispatchers panel so crews can see what the system looks like and keep track of the time with the fast clock.|
|The monitor sits at the end of the yard peninsular with all of the car card holders and timetable etc.|
|A typical Friday night timetable.|
A great and successful night once again on the AT&SF Boise City Sub.