June 2017 operating session (not too serious …)

The gang at TD

The June 2017 operating session on the Border District saw one of the biggest crews, numbering “lucky” seven, in attendance in the two and a half years since commencing regular operations. Back in August 2016 the layout recorded its biggest crew size of eight operators, and there has only been one other time the layout saw a “magnificent seven” – over a year ago in March of 2016. The seven crew members brought together a mix of new and experience … as well as “regular” and “been away a while” … to the session, making for a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon as the “AM” timetable was again given a decent shake.

With a goodly amount of operators, all four driving roles were easily filled – Darren and Craig as SAR Crews 1 and 2 respectively and Jeff and Mark taking on the VR Crew 1 and 2 roles respectively. Iain took on the Head Shunter’s gig at Tatiara Downs, while Brendan assumed the position of Station master/Sheriff at Tatiara Downs after a late arrival. I started at TD, but then moved to generally floating about, changing a few points and signals, and neglecting to take any pictures at all (a role often referred to as Train Control). Thanks to those operators that did go a little “gunzel” and allow this blog post to be more than just rambling words …

TD empty at end

The ¬†number of operators allowed the recently revised session timetable to easily be fulfilled – in the near allocated time too (though “sequence” is favoured over “timetable” for our sessions). This may or may not have been assisted by certain members often ignoring both the signals and the need to communicate with Train Control. In fact and with this aside, it could probably be argued that the session was one of the best yet – not withstanding the disruption caused by a Y wagon with a short circuiting issue between wheels and whitemetal solebars that took some time and multiple heads to identify, diagnose and rectify!

Also popular in the session was the constant desire of operators to test and challenge the length and limits of sidings and headshunts (often done so under the somewhat terrible influence of the host … he is a very, very bad man), resulting in the hilarious renaming of some to “Cliff”, “Edge” and other such titles … as well as far too many bad puns on the matter too and plenty of gentle, continual ribbing. In another stroke of irony, not a single operator performed a “Craig” manoeuvre (leaving your train cards behind) – a fitting return and tribute to the man who was last at the ‘District in January. Thanks also to Craig for a few detail “gifts” for the layout, which might just appear in future blog posts …

Iain at TD

However, the “play of the day” without doubt goes to esteemed comedy double act of Iain and Brendan … who not only managed to not attached a take out van to the roadside goods for Adelaide, but then decided to sneak it, 0-5-0 style, into the staging yard … only to attach it to the Mount Gambier goods by mistake! An advertisement for both the Station Master and Head Shunter positions at Tatiara Downs is imminent – such is the level of their behaviour and clearly demonstrating that you really cannot get good help these days! I further look forward to addressing this matter in the “Weekly Notices” for the next session.

Hopefully, a subsequent blog post will allow for some of the great pictures taken from the session (not by me!) to be displayed … with a focus a little more on “trains” than “trials”. A very big thank you and nod of appreciation to the six operators that joined me on the Border District and helped make the June session one of the best and most memorable – for all the right reasons, as well as some of the wrong ones. On such a note, how could I not end this post without the inclusion of the following image …



4 thoughts on “June 2017 operating session (not too serious …)

    • Thanks Ken.
      Yes, it was a very enjoyable session. Laughs … but also putting the layout and operations sequence through their paces – all good fun!

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