More than thirty model railroaders ran trains during the Potomac Division’s first Ops
Saturday on June 29th. Experience levels ranged from first timers to layout owners who
have sessions on their own layouts.
operators and Old Heads were equally welcome. The one proviso was that if a
participant signed up for two sessions and space was tight, they would only get one of
their choices. As it worked out, those who asked to operate twice were able to.
A week or so before the sessions hosts e-mailed operators attending their sessions
preliminary layout information. Once the crews arrived, they had time to walk the
layouts and meet the host and his helpers. Then hosts gave short briefings and the trains started rolling.
Operators old and new worked together and the work to be done quickly sorted itself
out. Hosts put newer operators with more experienced people or started them on less
demanding runs. Within an hour or so, somebody just poking their head in to see what
was going on would have had trouble spotting the new folks.
Typical of the operator’s day, in the morning Randy Ghertler ran on Frank Benenati’s
railroad which uses Timetable and Train Authority to dispatch trains. In the
afternoon, he was at Fritz Dahlin’s who controls his railroad using his homemade CTC
panel (Centralized Traffic Control) to control signals. Randy said prior to the
sessions he had limited operating experience but had no problems running freights on
Each host was thanked for their contribution with a Certificate of Appreciation from
Potomac Division Superintendent Martin Brechbiel. Here host Pete LaGuardia is
receiving his Certificate from Ops Saturday organizer Mat Thompson.