The September operating session – the seventh session on the Border District for 2017 – saw a crew of five in attendance. Given a few other events on that day/weekend, the smaller crew size brought about a “milestone” in the twenty-nine operating sessions on the ‘District to date – the first to be composed entirely of Victorian Railways modellers (someone present may have claimed a slight interest in NSWR, but that was swiftly quashed!). The reduced number of operators also gave a chance to put the revised “flexible operations/number of operators” plan into action. Mark and Brendan headed “over the border” to take on SAR crews roles 1 and 2 respectively, while Jeff and Shelton stayed true to the Victorian Railways, taking on VR crews jobs 1 and 2. I manned Tatiara Downs, as well as occasionally “pretending” to be Train Control too.
The session was both enjoyable and successful – due in large part to the approach and attitude of the operators on the day – thank you gentlemen! Jeff excelled in the “VR 1 crew” role – so much so that he was even able to be thrown an extra working (from the not used “VR 3 crew” list) to slow him down! Shelton also had no issues with the “VR 2 crew” job, despite it being his first time on the Border District in ten months! Brendan and Mark made the SAR side of things and Jameston branch their own – and were so relaxed undertaking their tasks/trains that there was plenty of time for going beyond mere “gunzel” shots to grab some interesting images (credit the two in this post to Mark).
There were only two “downers” for the session – and both were of my own making. For the up SAR “Paper Jet”, I had neglected to turn the waybills in the card cards for collection from Jameston prior to the session kicking off – an error quickly spotted and righted by Mark. Secondly, there were a few cases of sequence cards containing incorrect information that had crews scratching their heads for a bit – Shelton, Jeff and Brendan all enjoying this “treat”. It would appear that the CEO is a little too fond of the “cut and paste” function and needs to read (an re-read) sequence cards a little more closely! These issues aside, the flexible approach to operator numbers, built into both the timetable and sequence, worked as intended.
Another benefit from such an enjoyable and relaxed session is the bounty of images provided to me afterwards (a good thing, given I managed to again not record a single shot) – so there could be a few “photo posts” upcoming in the blog with images from the September session. The two here are simply to whet the appetite – the lead image sees 956 bring SAR Train Number 147 Jameston Goods to a stand at Border Junction, ahead of the guard unloading “take outs” from the DWf van immediately inside the Goods Brake. The image below is also taken at Border Junction and captures a meeting of classic English Electrics. In the foreground, 909 on SAR Train Number 166 up “South East Overnight” passenger heads off the branch and towards Tatiara Downs, as 907 (background) continues to shunt at “Southern Aggregates” with SAR Train Numbers 583/584, the afternoon “Stonie” working.