When the COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place restrictions hit the SF Bay Area and pretty much everyone was required to stay home, we quickly realized that the club won’t be able to function as normal for a while. However, the club membership is still around, and we like to hang out with each other on Friday evenings working on the railroad.
So we moved to the next best thing: hanging out together online, while working on the railroad, and kept meeting regularly. In some weeks we have a presentation, a tour of a member’s home layout, or other pre-planned program. Other weeks are more laid back, and members talk about model railroad news, explore local railroad resources together, work on projects and share results as the meeting is going on, etc.
At one of these meetings we started discussing that it might be fun to do a remote operating session. Start of with something simple: Set up a train on a home layout, write out a switch list, the layout owner runs the train, but the online group is acting as conductor and directs the moves the engineer is supposed to make. We decided to try it first with Bernhard’s Welztalbahn railroad.
It turns out, this was a very enjoyable experience, not only for the engineer, but for the group, too. Of course, some friendly banter and joking contributed to the fun, too.
In fact, we had so much fun, that we did it again this week on Bill’s San Arbo railroad, which also was a big success.
We are planning to do more such sessions in the future.
Even though we can’t be at the club for now, we are having fun.