(Doesn’t he look like he’s having fun? Figure 100 is like an ice dancing move. We did not do this – but we did something similar…)
On Thursday, I was fortunate to entertain Steve Lucas, a modeller from Ingersol, Ontario who also happens to make his living on the rails as a locomotive engineer.
It’s always interesting to see how those who work on the real railways react to my little slice of the long gone Simcoe Sub. As such, I’ve wanted to have Steve over for a while to show him the layout – and this week, work and other commitments allowed us to do just that.
Steve and I enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Harbord House, then worked a freight extra along the line. Steve opted to wear the conductor’s hat, and took the opportunity to give me some lessons on switching using hand signals. Steve did NOT wear a jaunty conductor’s uniform or sport a handlebar moustache like the gentleman in the lead image – and the signals were not quite what’s illustrated either.
Instead, a lot of our discussion was about the hand signals used to convey distances (e.g. “Six cars”… “Four cars”… and so on). I only remember a few of these, as it was a lot to take in, but I certainly appreciated how elegant they were to use while switching.
Steve and I also talked about sight lines from engineer to brakeman – important because if the engineer cannot see the brakeman he’s required to stop moving.
And I learned that one reason all the prototype photos at Port Rowan show the locomotive facing westbound (towards the end of track) is that this would allow the engineer to switch the sidings without having to look over his shoulder – a consideration that had never occurred to me.
So, lessons big and little. I have that much more to think about, and more information to make my layout come alive. Thanks Steve: We’ll do this again when our schedules allow!
I’ve been able to give back something, too:
At this year’s Toronto RPM, I did a presentation on my layout and as part of that I discussed the benefits of blogging. (I’ve summarized that information in a separate post, for those who are interested.)
I’m pleased that Steve has taken some of that presentation to heart and has started a blog about his layout, the Midland Railway. Drop by and have a look around…