Transitional Ops – August 2019

Every now and then, we add a special twist to our operating sessions. This time it was night ops, where we run part of the session with the work lights in the layout room turned off. The layout lighting is set to night mode (a dark blue light setting), and operators use flash lights and head lamps to read their paperwork and do switching chores.

Many places on the SVL layout are illuminated and they really “pop” at night. Some members commented today how the mood on the layout is much more serene and peaceful when it’s dark and lighted trains are traveling through cities or dark stretches of scenery in the middle of nowhere, but see for yourself.

Modern Operations – July 2019

It was a packed house last Friday when we held our monthly Operations session, with members and guests a plenty in attendance. Once trains got moving, there was nary an open space of track available as long trains and multiple section trains traversed the layout.

Everyone had fun and much freight was moved. Check out the pictures below for some railfanning shots taken during the evening.

We had a special sighting during Ops, as NS 911 (Decorated for First Responders) made a cameo pulling a run-through autorack train. Here it is passing through Silicon at speed while a local is switching the tracks.
Crews waiting around Nowheres above, while a long freight passes through Jacksonville below.
Frisco GP38-2 #695 creeps across the High Bridge at Mt. Nicholls with a trainload of gravel and covered hoppers for switching in Silicon
Western Pacific Uboats wait just outside the cover of the snowshed as an autorack train passes by just south of Mt Marvel.
More Western Pacific power waits in Nowheres as SVL’s own GP-15s pull into Nowheres with train 690, having finished their switching on the lower level.
The Hallelujah Paper Mill switcher is parked on the pulpwood lead waiting for the next shift change, when it will be back to work moving cars around the mill.
Rio Grande GP60 3155 cools its heels in Nowheres after working hard to pull a gravel train up from Jasper into the yard.

Transitional Operations – June 2019

We had our June operating session a couple weeks ago, and thought we’d post some photos of the evening. In total, about 24 trains were run by members and guests, including a bit of varnish and some commuter service. Feel free to contact us if you’d like to stop by and check us out at our next Ops on Friday, July 26th – We look forward to seeing you!

Photos

Our intrepid Engineer is working the Yardmaster in Nowheres to sort out the engine and cars he needs for his Southbound train

Northern Pacific 5138 (a Challenger) is pulling into Paso for a water stop and to let Nowheres clear up. It’s lugging 30 cars for Nowheres to break down and sort into future trains.

An NKP Berkshire is crossing right in front of McKeown coal with some hoppers for switching in Jacksonville.

Mail pays the bills, and so here both 400 (coming off the branch) and 220 (outbound to Hemet) have to wait while train 99 makes its way through Dayton Junction and on to Bakersfield.

SVL’s Pathfinder pulls into Hemet’s new station platform to ensure that proper clearances were adhered to when it was built

Hopefully the crew for 220 has a clean stack and won’t need too much power to pull cars – they forgot to use an idler, and as you can see, there’s not a whole lot of space for exhaust…

Travelers from Across the Atlantic

The great thing about the Bay Area is that we are a melting pot of cultures and interests and our members show this diversity as well. Some of our club members do enjoy running trains from their home country, and as such, bring their trains out from time to time to run on the layout, typically on the weekends or quieter periods.

Saturday was one of those days, and in passing by SVL, we had some German locomotives and wagons roaming around the layout!

June Open House

On Saturday June 8th we held the spring/summer instance of our twice yearly Open House. Trains were kept humming across the lower level loop as guests young and old ran trains, and we had a few people even try their hand at switching cars. Despite all of this action, we managed to not have too much chaos on the tracks!

Check out below for a few pictures from Open House.

Don’t worry if you missed out or your schedule couldn’t accommodate the time. Reach out to us on Facebook and/or via email and we’ll be happy to try and work with you to show you around and let you run a train. At the very least, feel free to come down to one of our monthly Ops sessions!

Modern Operations – May 2019

Last Saturday (6/1) we held our monthly Ops Session. We run Ops on Saturdays every three months, to give us a chance to have a bit more time to operate the layout and railfan at the same time (Hey, we’re train fanatics aficionados too).

We were running our Modern session, which meant that we had a lot of long trains of varying speeds coursing across the layout, including a 30 car hotshot (the Super 77/78), our 23 car Tank Train, the Coast Starlight, plus our regularly scheduled 20+ trains. As you can imagine, our Dispatcher may or may not have ended up with a few extra grey hairs as a result of keeping all of these trains in order, including a 3-way meet in Jacksonville.

At the end of it all, it was successful day – all trains ran, and good times were had by one and all (Though the highlight of our frazzled Dispatcher’s day may have been when he headed home).

Check out the pictures below for some of the highlights of the day from the layout!

Containers leaving Nowheres Yard.
Santa Fe-led “Super 78” waits at a red signal at Kaos Junction for oncoming grain train #268 to pass.
Piggybacked trailers roll through Tracy on the SVL Main Line.
Auto racks pass over the Ravine trestle.
A mix of TOFC and Double Stacks crosses the High Bridge over Ebbetts Pass on its way out of Silicon.
Nowheres Yard is always a busy place, especially during our modern operations session.