06 Wyoming Division Operation Sessions by Verryl V...
Verryl V Fosnight Jr's Gallery
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  1. Verryl V Fosnight Jr's Gallery
  2. Wyoming Division HO Operation LayoutWyoming Division HO Operation Layout
  3. 06 Wyoming Division Operation Sessions06 Wyoming Division Operation Sessions
These first 38 photos (to date) are of the First Formal Operations Session at the Wyoming Division HO layout in Cornville, AZ near our home in Sedona. We have had other informal sessions with guest modelers to run numerous trains simultaneously to test them, the cars, track and the DCC system, and they were very valuable to both introduce the layout to visitors from all over the state and California and to uncover problems that did not show up running only one train at a time. DCC is a bit spooky,... 
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being basically a computer system that sends out pulsed DC power. We have 6 Boosters fed by a single command system that is radio controlled to and from the hand held throttles (or throttles that plug in to the benches can be used also). Each Booster has a discrete area that it powers, and these initial informal tests revealed some "crossed" wires when multiple trains crossed over the boundaries at once, and other similar problems. Having ironed out those problems we were able to run this First Formal Session.
This and the former picture and the next few show guest operators arriving. This is taken on the Mezzanine that runs over the full length of the layout (75 feet), so observers and eventually Dispatchers can watch from above. The main purpose of this First Formal Session was to test my new operating system I invented and unique to the Wyoming Division. It features one move Car cards, Locomotive Cards and Block Cards. A block is a group of cars that stay together for an extended move or series of moves--they move as a "block of cars."
There are stairs at each end of the Mezzanine down to the floor.
Here the Mezzanine is seen suspended above the layout from the giant beams that also support the ceiling. There are no posts in the whole 50 x 75 foot space. The red lines painted on the concrete floor outline the 3 out of 10 benches left to be built. We will have two more sessions on Nov 30 and Dec 28, the Saturdays following Thanksgiving and Christmas, then set to building these benches. Note the temporary location of the main helix. More on this later.
This is the main entrance viewed over the empty area to be filled with benches. There is a small kitchen area for microwave and coffee pot and refrigerator and two restrooms. Otherwise, the entire 50 x 75 foot building is layout with the Mezzanine hanging over it. One edge of the large balloon painted on the floor is the outline of the eventual final location for the main helix. It was shown before at the end of the 7th bench as a temporary connection between the two levels of the benches. The top level is, guess, on top, and the lower level level is below it, and both can be seen here. The strip of cardboard foundation structure for eventual scenery hills and mountains is visible also.
This is the main helix in its temporary position setting on the red outlines of the future benches. the bottom shelf of the helix will be a staging yard (off layout like a theater stage wings) that will represent the Pacific Northwest. We call it Portland, but could just as well be any destination that direction from western Wyoming, like Kemmerer, Wyoming (coal mines), Pocotello, Idaho, or Seattle and Portland. Trains "leave the layout (the part of the layout with scenery), and to to imaginary locations off-layout like Portland. This extends the layout distances trains "travel" many times. See later pictures of the Main Staging Yard.
This is Echo, Utah at the east end of Weber (River) Canyon and the west end of Echo Canyon which is the route chosen by the Morman pioneers, the original Southern Pacific Intercontinental Railroad built by President Abraham Lincoln during the Cival War, the route of old Highway US 30 and present day UP tracks and Interstate 80. It is a small yard on our layout that is the junction of the Park City (Utah) Branch, a short branch line that is about 50 feet long in our HO version.
This shows the end of the Park City Branch on our Wyoming Division with the yellow UP locomotive sitting on the turntable on "hidden" track below the lower level main tracks at the left. The upper level is above the as yet unpainted Masonite fascia on either side of this lower level aisle. Lucas is at the end at Evanston, Wyoming, a mid sized yard for us. Note how he cannot see the operators on the upper level who work from a 17 inch riser on the concrete floor and they cannot see him. Hence this design type is called a "Mushroom" design. You can only see up and down your own tracks, just like out on the prairies of Wyoming and Utah.
A close up view of Echo. I just missed Steve Hatch walking out of view on the left. Note how intense everyone is in these photos. This is serious play for us "kids." We are actually moving people and freight as if we were trying to make a profit for our employer, UP, Uncle Pete.
Many new to operation model railroaders can just to observe, but with coaxing and Greg White or Lenny Wyatt or I walking along with them, they found within 40 or fifty feet that they could run a train. They were Operators! Throttle in hand they moved off from their mentors after 4 or 5 minutes on their own intently following their own train on the way to the next yard where the Yardmaster there would assist them and direct them. You really can't go wrong, because the hard jobs are intense switching jobs and yardmaster or yard hostler jobs. Taking a through train is a breeze, and a good way to get into ops.
This is Bob Burke on the left working the Staging Classification Yard on the lower level at his waist level. Ryan Smelzer is running a train into or out of the Cheyenne freight yard on the upper level, right side of the upper bench, and beyond him Bob Ellis, Director of Passenger Operations has a Passenger train moving on the left hand Passenger tracks of the upper level. Above them are the two heat pumps that heat and cool the building, and they have geothermal heat exchangers for evaporators in 10 180-200 foot deep wells outside in the ground. The RR era may be 1957, but the building is hi-tech.
This is Allen Montgomery, second in command of the Wyoming Division. A passionate model railroader with a seemingly infinite well of railroad information about the UP and all other US railroads, he is an essential part of the Wyoming Division. I have learned a lot from Allen. My forte is organizing and managing a big project; Allen's is model railroading in particular and railroading in general.
Left to right: The main helix in its temporary location, the concrete lower level floor and the 17 inch tall riser used to reach the upper level. On the right is the whole Cheyenne steam yard with 12 switch panels to operate the dozens of Tortoise Switch Machine brand actuators for the track turnouts across this giant yard which is about 40 feet long and 7 feet wide. The panels make a map of the yard, which incidentally is our biggest industry on the layout. There are two local jobs of switching... 
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trains that ply those yard tracks, one on this visible south (in Cheyenne) side and one on the North side just out of view. North Platte, Nebraska is on the lower level. Behind the camera is the other 80% of the lower level staging (think Chicago, KC, St. Louis or anywhere east of Cheyenne. See a later photo for more about the main staging.
A wider angle of the Main helix temporarily connected to the permanent part of the layout now built. Note the red lines to locate the future benches and aisles for the remaining 3 benches to be built. The helix has casters, one of which is barely visible, but while connected the whole thing is jacked up and sets on blocks. It is connected temporarily to Hanna,Wyoming on the top level and to the Alchem Trona (soda) Mine on the lower level. When we move it we will set it down on the casters and roll it to its final location. If you can get the casters off then, you can have them. You have about 1/4" clearance to work when you remove them.
This is the Tie Treating Plant with narrow gauge tracks to move ties cut in its saw mill on the foreground right to the creosote retort building in the left center distance. There is also a engine house and office with a fire house on the ground floor. There is a long string of cross stacked raw ties in the foreground (opps, I moved them over one track so I could see the tracks from the Mezzanine to draw the final version of the track plan at one of the two networked computers (soon 3) up there). ... 
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there is also a couple of long lines of dark colored creosoted ties near the retort house. They were coated by pushing them on carts into pressure vessels, retorts, in the now roof-less retort/boiler house. Laramie is just around the end cap of this bench. The roundhouse and coal dock can be seen.
Here is Laramie with the Tie Treating Plant, which incidentally is now a super fund site, on the right. Laramie is a key yard on the second bench past the end of the Cheyenne bench (the layout still runs for 11 benches into Ogden on its own bench, and that does not count the staging bench!). At Laramie, blocks from the east through Cheyenne (or the west from Ogden) are reassembled or reordered into blocks to go to LA, Oakland, or Portland which are our 3 code place names for all west bound blocks... 
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(or from those places east bound through Cheyenne into blocks for North Platte or Denver). The Denver ones bypass Cheyenne on the Speer, Wyo Wye west of Cheyenne and go direct to Denver (staging) and south (Texas or wherever). If they go on east to Cheyenne from Laramie, they go through North Platte for Chicago, KC or St. Louis or where ever. We are truly a coast to coast model railroad!
This is Laramie on the left and foreground, the Tie Treating Plant on the center right with Hermosa Tunnels (#1) way down near the end of the Tie Treating bench. Then at the very end on the end cap is Dale Junction, and we have all 7 turnouts that joint tracks 1, 2 and 3 (1860's, 19015, and 1951). #3 is on the right hand bench across from #1 and #2 against the wall. All go up Sherman Hill to the summit at the far red support beam from Cheyenne behind the camera. The summit is the highest place on... 
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the layout at about 12 inches above the reference elevation of Cheyenne, just like it was the highest point of the original Intercontinental Railroad at 8,013 feet. Jim (Doc) Shafer did the tough Laramie Yardmaster job with two assistants, one of which was Jim Tuck. Others are shown on the lower level at Evanston below Laramie. Barry Adico was the Evanston Yardmaster, but we were not quite well enough prepared to keep him busy.
This slightly different view of Laramie shows Medicine Bow, Wyoming on the far left, which has only a depot and freight room in one building (not finished yet) and a stock yard and team track. The boxes on the left edge hold the empty coal cars that the engineers and I manually removed from two coal trains from there (Hanna, not done yet) out and back both east and west. Hanna is where the helix is now and that place will be one of our two coal mines, with it and Reliance at Rock Springs on the new... 
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benches. So to have coal trains we had two set up, one for east and one for west on the lead to the helix and ran them at the very beginning of the session to Cheyenne and to Ogden leaving loaded coal cars and picking up empties. When they got back we pulled them off the layout and left them in the boxes and sent the locos to yards for reuse.
A better view of Hanna or where it will be. The helix is there now on the Hanna End Cap, part of the 3 benches yet to be built.
this view is from the Mezzanine stairs beside the main entrance to the building. On the far left is the spline elevate track past the support beam at Sherman, Wyoming with Track #3, the Harriman Cutoff bypassing it about 3 feet away. Then the tracks go through Dale Junction with the 7 turnouts (3 crossovers between #1 and #2 and the junction with #3--out of sight to the left) and then back in the picture the double Tunnel #1 at Hermosa and on down to the Tie Treading Plant and Laramie. This angle... 
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looks right down the lower level aisle with Evanston, Wyoming on the right and Wasatch and Curvo, Utah on the left of that lower level benches. Curvo is the two tunnels at different levels, #5 and #6 plus the overpass immediately at the western portals. # 5 was completed in 1869 and was timber lined at 579 feet long, now modernized and 587 feet. #6 was completed in 1916 and is 1223. The overpass changes the direction of running from right to left (going west) down to Ogden at the yard limits (on my layout).
This shows Dale with the 3 crossovers and 7th turnout for the #3 junction. Ideal cement is inside the curve at the end cap, and the Park City Branch is on the very outside "hidden" track down to a shelf under the lower level. Dale is used not only as the junction, but to change the direction of running from right hand (on the far side--east down to Cheyenne) to left hand running toward the camera and on down to Laramie. This takes advantage of the more gentle grade on track #2 to come up to Sherman from the west out of Laramie. Consequently the older, steeper #1 is used down into Laramie where a double crossover at the yard limit is used to change back in Laramie. It is also left hand running between Ogden and Curvo.
An over all view of the layout. Laramie is in the center and the crossover connected 4 mains out of Cheyenne is Tower A (no interlocking tower building yet). It is controlled from the riser on the aisle on the other side of the bench by the first of the 12 switch panels on that fascia. bob Elliis is running the City of St. Louis up from Denver, bypassing Cheyenne via the Speer Wye and on toward the beginning of Track #3, the Harriman Cutoff up Sherman Hill. #3 will junction with #2 at the very end of the right hand bench at Dale. In the foreground is an industrial area with 5 industries, largely incomplete that is in the west end of Cheyenne.
An elevated view taken from a few steps up the Mezzanine stair case at the east end of the building. Bob's City of St. Louis is well onto the western leg of the Speer Wye.
Further along the Wye. Passenger trains don't get enough attention, but this one has an admirer. Well, Passenger trains do require a lot of tracks devoted just to them to do it right. On the Wyoming division we have 4 tracks through both Cheyenne and Ogden just for passenger trains with associated sidings for commissaries and clean out tracks, and other storage tracks. Other yards have at least one extra main to accommodate passenger trains or freights that have to pass them at the depot. Here in... 
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west Cheyenne, Ray Kukulski just delivered the City Coal and Ice and we don't have the tracks in for it yet. It has an elevated coal dump track so there will have to be a turnout at or to the left of the box car to enable the track elevation change up to the new facility. It is beautiful. He has made many very fine kits for us, and they are all beautifully finished.
An overhead view of the Cheyenne coal dock and arrival leads. Lenny Wyatt scratch built the Passenger House which is about 40% of the two part round house in Cheyenne. the outline and finger tracks for the Freight House are in place. Maybe Lenny can start it while we build the new benches.
Same ol' same ol' except for different operators, and I did not want to leave anyone out. We had 27 out of the 28 who RSVP'ed attend, and I cut off reservations Monday night 5 days before the event. About 4 or 5 were observers, but I got most of the newcomers, including two 14-16 year old young men ( I donknow...maybe you guys were older--I'm so old I can't tell everyone looks real young to me) who operated the whole time for the first time. One of my goals was to introduce many newcomers to ops to... 
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this very fascinating part of the hobby. It sure beats running around in a circle. After this, I think the word is out and it will be very competitive to get a reservation to operate here, so observers can come, but I need to know if they only want to observe. We will need that space for others. Our biggest problem was not enough throttles--I had 9 and others brought about 6 more. I have ordered 10 more, so we can accommodate 25 to 30 active operators, especially when we get the new benches and track in.
Relaxing between jobs. All these guys operated. This is Jim Byfield and Ray Kukulski on the left. Jim works often as a volunteer and Raymond builds those beautiful models for us. Lenny Wyatt works full time. He is a contractor who built my house in Sedona and the building and shop for the Wyoming Division. He scratch built the Passenger House, wired the benches with AC power for boosters, florescent lights and outlets, and installed all the Tortoise machines (dozens or a hundred--hopefully... 
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all...Aargh...Green River is ahead!), and did the detail design of the panels from my ideas, drew the faces on AutoCad and got Ted Ferkenhoff, a modeler and printer in Flagstaff to print them on his big printers--many are 24 inches long. The black vertical line in the center is the power cord of a hand held DustDevil hand vacuum cleaner I hung from the Mezzanine to unkink the cord. Somehow we forgot to put it away. Oh well, ....
There's the cord again. I thought you'd like to see it. I also had the good fortune to catch Mike Nelson blinking, so he looks asleep. I promise he was not. Mike and Lorne Noyes ofter drive from Prescott to work all day on the layout, and really help. Lorne takes good photos and I will get his SlickPic link for this session. Lucus Wyatt, Lenny's son is walking away from us, and Bob Marshall with the camera is sitting next to Mike Nelson.
Allen Montgomery at his Staging Yardmaster operating station on the right with Bob Ellis in the middle (Mr. Passenger Train),and I can't make out who else--Sorry.
More busy operators, Doc at Laramie Yard.
Jim Tuck and Doc Between them running his train is one of the young guys who ran all day. He had the demanding job of North Platte Hostler. running trains up and down the staging helix between Cheyenne on the top to North Platte staging or staging on the bottom. He did a great job and kept right at it. I think here he finally got out on the layout with a Forwarder (through) train or a Manifest, a through train that does a little switching of some head end cars, but is mostly blocks on the end.
Steve Hatch, who tuned up many of our locos with JMRI Decoder Pro and the 3rd party add on black box, Sprog. Steve, some of my 6 brand new 4-6-6-4 Challengers we got Friday morning of the session don't work. Please come back and help Allen--I sure don't know the first thing about it--Well, I do know the first thing--I downloaded JMRI and got it up and running, then Lenny and then Allen took over--One person can't do nearly all on a layout this large and complex, but that is my passion, working... 
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together on big complex projects. I think that is the back of Mark Peltier's head and shoulders extending out of the mole hole that is beside Downtown Ogden on the lower level. Greg White is on the stairs, and Lorne Noyes has his hand on the clip board is standing beside Mike Nelson. They drive over from Prescott nearly every week to work a day on the layout.
There are 3 brand new operators in the center of this photo, the two boys and a man who worked with the one boy all day. Ryan Schmelzer, comes up from Goodyear now, but used to come once a week from Prescott to work. He delivered the brand new Challengers from An Affair With Trains on Dear Valley Road (Pky?) in Phoenix (Scottsdale?). I buy nearly all my train stuff from Bob Kocher at AAWT. The yellow signs (close to UP Armour Yellow) on the Harbor Mist Gray UP color fascia are maps I captured with... 
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screen shots of the 3rdPlanIt of local areas of the layout to guide operators to key points, junctions, crossovers, and mainly spurs and sidings to switch. We have other signs Lenny made with AutoCad showing a compass star with a few towns east and a few west of the given point. The idea is to keep even new to the Wyoming Division operators abreast of where they are on the layout. I mean, not many folks know where Hanna, Wyoming is compared to Echo, Utah.
We met for the session at 9 AM and I gave a lecture to outline my new to everyone operating system at 9:30. By 10 we had started running trains. We had coffee and cokes and water and cookies to tide us over, but by 2 PM we were ready (most of us) to lock up and go to Sharon and my house for a BBQ. These next few pictures are there. This one is from inside the house out the 6 foot tall power rolling windows out onto the summer kitcher where Craig, a professional chef who often cooks for us at... 
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parties, had the grill going with wings, hot dogs, and hamburgers. I had made a vegetable salad, and Sharon made her ambrosia fruit salad. David, our son and she had decorated and set up the tables for us, and we ate and discussed the session in a nice after session party.
About 10 wives accepted Sharon's invitation to accompany their husbands to Sedona. Sharon met them at the layout and after seeing the layout, they took off to coffee, shop, and sight see in Sedona. They were at the house waiting for us when we arrived from Cornville. This is from the Summer Kitchen across the Portales. Last time, I left the table so the sun was in everyone's eyes. Sharon and David moved it to a better place for this time of day and year.
There is is Sharone Love of My Life Cook, super supportive wife, mother, and author.
I used my new 11-16 mm super wide angle lens that I got to take pictures of the layout. It is really hard to photograph if you want to get a lot of it in one shot. The field of view is well over 90 degrees at 11mm. I imagine this is 16mm, but still too wide. That was probably not my best decision.
I just gotta remember to use a fill in flash.
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