Besides the opportunity to operate on three of the region's best layouts, every year Saturday is filled with clinics from top notch layout design and operating experts. There is also a chance to bring your own track plan to the group to solicit critique.
This year's meet featured clinics from Charlie Duckworth, Ken Ehlers, Dean Ferris and Michael Borkon. I've been fortunate to operate on all but Charlie's layouts. Mostly, the presenters talked about lessons learned in designing and operating their own layouts. Dean's was unique in that he talked a lot about what it is like to be a prototype yard master and how that relates to modeling.
Claremore and Southern Model Railroad Club
On Friday evening, I operated on the Claremore and Southern club layout in Claremore. I learned years ago that if you want a choice job on the C&S, come early and mark up. I always like the Claremore operator job where you run the small yard that interchanges traffic between the C&S and MOP. I have taken that job a couple times in the past and it can get very busy. I think the Muskogee job was a little light, so the evening was pretty laid back.
Steve Campbell's Frisco Cherokee Subdivision
On Saturday evening, I went to Steve Campbell's Frisco Cherokee Subdivision. Steve used to have a very large version of this layout at his old house. I really enjoyed the 5-6 operating sessions I attended on the old Cherokee Sub - especially the time I drew the yard master job. My other favorite job on the old layout was the refinery, which sat on the back side of the yard peninsula. The refinery spends the whole session transferring tank cars back and forth to the yard.
Steve's new layout is a smaller version of the old Cherokee Sub with more emphasis on interchange between the various railroads that operated in the Tulsa area. As with the old layout, jobs are chosen randomly. I drew the AT&SF operator which has a fairly isolated industrial yard at the end of one peninsula.
I noticed that like the old layout, the refinery job moves the most freight. As I was waiting to get into the yard, Pat Hiatte came in behind me with 36 cars. The yard is only about half as big as the old yard and isn't set up for trains that big, but it sure looked good.
Sammy Carlile's AT&SF Herford Subdivision
Sunday morning I was Don Winn, Wayne Snider and I were off to Sammy Carlile's Herford Subdivision of the AT&SF along with Dean and Brian Ferris. Sammy has a nice double decked nolix design in a 3 car garage. His layout photographs very well with lights, but I had some trouble getting good photos using available light. His scenery really feels like the Texas Panhandle and he runs fairly long, high speed trains.
Since I operated there last a few years ago, he has the layout signaled, which works very well. Also, the scenery has come a long way and he has added a lot of detail. He added a big grain elevator above the dispatcher. Wayne and I drew that job as our local. Here it is after we switched it out.
As always, the group in Tulsa put on a great event and it was a lot of fun. If you can make it to Tulsa next March, I highly recommend the trip.