Large Scale Central

Ops on the Virginia RGS

Today, Jean & I went over to visit Jim & Jo Ann Kottkamp for their first operations session!

Unfortunately we couldn’t stay as long as I would like as Jean was experiencing a lot of pain.

So…the layout looks just wonderful! Jo has added a lot more ballast and Jim put up some nice signs that Jo Ann had lettered.

Oh, my! Jim listened to my recommendations (WHO does THAT??? :innocent:) and installed track bumpers at the end of each spur.

Some folks barely have to duck at all to avoid hitting their head…others are frequently reminded when they fail to heed the sign.

I ended up running several trains.
First I ran the passenger train around the layout. Cool.

I met Jim’s stockcar train at the passing siding on the fence.

After dealing with the passengers, I was ready for another train, but first had to turn my engine on the turntable.

It’s manual, but smooth!

Now I was in position to take 3 tank cars and a few gondolas and boxcars out.

Another innovation is movable brakes for the trains - the grade is typically 2% and cars roll easily…
Here, I’m using one to keep the caboose from running downhill…while I drop off the cars at Ophir.

Once all the cars are dropped (forgot to take pictures of dropping the tank cars!), I’m down to just the caboose and the locomotive.

Everything operates just great! I love THIS switch in an otherwise hard to reach location - Jim has added the brass bar to make it easy to reach!

As usual, I just did not take enough pictures!

I DID have fun, though! Many thanks to Jim and Jo Ann for hosting a great session!


I’m sorry this one got away from me. Thank you for the pics Bruce. Glad you and Jean got there at least for a short bit. Layout looks great Jim you’ve created a great look. Hope you keep us informed on sessions in the future as I’d like to attend if possible.

Really nice layout! Wish we could have made it. Will try for next time as well.

Thanks for the pictures Bruce.

Incredible !!! Do you know if Jim allows Amtrak on his line ?

The track is WAY TOO smooth for Amtrak, but I’m betting he would allow it!

You should probably ask HIM! :innocent:

Thanks so much Bruce for the big photo spread. The layout is staggering… wow is an understatement. Again.

Wow! Very impressive!

Another ops session is scheduled for November 19 - 9 to 5.

Amtrak would be fine. What’s most important is that attendees have an enjoyable time.


Gonna be a bit cold. . .

That’s what jackets are for! (It will be cold in the morning, but warming up to 46 degrees F)

A great session today, with LOTS of visitors: Pete Thornton, Mark Layton & Jerry Bohlander, as well as Jim Stapleton and quite a few neighbors!

Very nice, and surprisingly mild.

This time I brought my critter (with Railpro), but didn’t even get any pictures of it! (When I started the transmitter, the battery indicator was RED and it wouldn’t even stay powered on. I guess it doesn’t hold a charge very long?

Anyway, I switched to one of Jim’s locomotives and ran a few trains before I headed back home.

The first train task was 2 take 3 tankcars down to the oil place on the other side. I quickly picked up the three tankcars and started getting things in order, using my critter, but the transmitter died - so I switch to a steam loco. About that time, I also decided to put the tankcars back in the siding and THEN get the gondola and caboose in the right place as running around the passenger train AND the tankcars proved rather problematic.
Eventually I got things arranged the way I wanted, but it sure took me awhile!

The scenery continues to be gorgeous!

(Even when there’s NO scenery! :innocent:). It’s getting too cold to work outside - I’m betting that will be finished come spring!

I did a GREAT job of taking photos of the back of people!
Here’s Jerry & Jim…

Here’s the back of Jim Stapleton and Mark Layton…

There’s a passing siding along the fence and it got used a LOT today!!

Mark brought his EBT train:

More gorgeous layout pictures!

With my next train, I had to drop off two reefers at Ophir…

Jim has added new “brakes” (to use while switching, as it’s pretty much 2% everywhere)
These worked VERY well. There’s a lay of foam rubber glued to the bottom making it very easy to use, and very functional as well.

Here’s the two reefers in place…

Next I take the train past the place where I left the 3 tankcars…

My final train mission was to move the 8 stockcars down to Trout Lake. I went back to Telluride, put the caboose at the end of the passenger cars and turned the engine on the turntable.

Then, I went and got the stockcars.

I took them around and dropped them off at the spurs by the pond.

Jerry watched it all!

Running light, I returned to Telluride.

Of course nothing remains the same as trains come and go. Earlier I had dropped 2 boxcars, now they are joined by the two reefers I spotted in Ophir.

Anyway, it was a great time and all too soon I had to get home to Jean. But a fun time!


Fantastic photos again, Bruce! Thanks very much.

Nice crew showed up, that’s great.

I had my C&S consist so here’s a few more pics of Jim’s beautiful layout. I set up in Ophir:

Then, after running all around to change direction and figure things out, I ended up on the high line after the Ophir loop:

These next 2 are the original:

and the photoshopped version of the same pic, with shadows highlighted and a real sky dropped in:

and here’s the same consist climbing up the mountain:

After that I headed to Telluride and picked up 3 of the passenger cars:

which my poor loco did not manage to haul up the 2% Ophir loop. (Video to follow.)

Finally, Jim showed us the basement, which has a link through a small window to the outdoor layout.


And here’s the video of my attempt to climb the Ophir loop with 3 big coaches; the loco and cars are all 1:20.3. In its defense, this was late in the day and it only has a 14.4 LiIon battery that was somewhat depleted.

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Were the wiper/brakes taken off of the passenger cars?
They can slow things down a LOT:-)

Yes, and they had ball bearings. My loco was just getting short of power. . .

Hey, no more SHORT jokes! :innocent: