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NMRA - 2007 MER Convention: operations call board

layout tours: operations call board

The James River Flyer will host Operations Callboard sessions on Bill Cox's Virginia Blue Ridge and Southern and Tom Nelson's Maine Central layouts. These large layouts were designed for operations and Bill and Tom hold regular operating sessions.

Sessions will start at 7:00 PM Thursday and Friday evenings and at 1:00 PM on Saturday afternoon running about two hours each. Present planning is for Thursday and Friday evening sessions at Tom's and Friday evening and Saturday afternoon sessions on Bill's layout. Tom can accommodate up to ten visiting operators and Bill can handle up to twelve. Each can operate with a minimum of eight visitors.

Tom's very large HO scale Maine Central layout occupies the entire basement (five rooms) of his house. The layout is set in 1960 and has 300 feet of mainline track. Trackwork is complete and scenery is detailed with many separate scenes occupied by 300 people and 200 autos. It is powered by Digitrax DCC with some locomotives sound equipped. Tom runs mostly short trains with freight in the majority. There are through trains, turns, locals, coal drags, ore trains and a few passenger trains. All trains do some switching on the point to point layout. Operations are controlled by a dispatcher in radio communications with train crews and yard masters. There is also a logging railroad (in a separate room) which connects with the rest of the layout through interchange tracks and takes two operators using three Shay locomotives. The Maine Central is located in Lynchburg less than fifteen minutes from the convention hotel.

Bill's HO VBR&S represents the Southern Railway and the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway in 1956. The multi-level layout is 36 x 24 in a separate building on Bill's property. While trackwork is complete, there is no scenery, but there are some scratch built structures as well as mock-ups of other industries and structures. The layout is Digitrax powered and most locomotives are sound equipped. As the layout models the Southern Railway from Lynchburg to Charlottesville, Monroe yard is a focal point. While the Southern is all diesel, there is still steam on the joint SR/N&W passenger trains and on the Virginia Blue Ridge. Bill's regular operating sessions use time table and train orders. During these sessions Bill runs all trains that actually ran on the Southern during a typical day in 1956. Bill's layout is in Amherst, Virginia just under 30 minutes from the convention hotel.

In signing-up for this activity on the registration form, please specify your preference for layout and session. We will make every effort to accommodate your requests on a first-come-first-serve basis. Depending on demand, it may be necessary to assign some operators to the layouts as space is available. You can be assured that you will enjoy operating either railroad as both are very large and entail interesting operations. There is a nominal extra fare charge of $5.00 for each session. Details of meeting place and transportation (car pools) will be provided in advance of the convention after all applications have been received. If you have already registered for the convention and now wish to participate in Operations Call Board, please send in a supplemental registration.

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