The Anachronistic Region operating crew (a round-robin group) participated in six operating sessions in 2016. We continue to run five trains during each operating session: Port Shepherd Job, Uniontown Turn (U-Turn), Twining City (TC) Switch, Second Port Shepherd, and the B&O Coal Extra to the Potomac Electric plant.
The Maintenance of Way (MOW) crew was very busy and productive again this year. Track work was completed in July with electrification of track and switches completed soon thereafter. Trains were running before the end of summer. The installation of Realistic Backgrounds photo backdrops was completed. The master control panel for track power and switch control was installed. There is one frozen switch motor that must be replaced.
The OR&W Signal Department installed sensors on the Bellaire staging tracks to ensure that trains clear the fouling points. Block occupancy detectors still need to be installed since the staging tracks are not visible from the operating aisle.
A two-rail version of the problematic Weaver Baldwin VO-1000 was sold to a west-coast railroad.
The shops pulled an Atlas/Roco EMD F9 A-unit and kit-bashed F9 B-unit out of storage; replaced the main gear on all eight axles; stripped and reprimered the units; and sold the pair to another west-coast railroad.
With the proceeds from these two sales, the Shepherd Branch acquired another Red Caboose EMD GP-9 in B&O livery #6464. At the end of the year, the locomotive is still being assembled, but should make its debut at an operating session in the spring.
The shops are still trying to determine what is causing the erratic behavior in the operation of the kit-bashed Weaver Alco RS-2 Southern #2118. After overhauling the drive-train and replacing the NCE DCC decoder with a Digitrax decoder, operation continues to be erratic. The shop foreman is now evaluating the power pickups in the trucks.
Because the prototype OR&W steam locomotives did not receive steam generators until 1920 or so, the shops acquired three castings for oil headlights for the Bachmann 2-6-0s. The 4-4-0 already has an oil headlight. The headlight castings will be installed in conjunction with the Econami sound decoders.
The B&O car shops acquired an undecorated, unbuilt Red Caboose tank car. Tichy Train Group decals for a 10,000-gallon UTLX tank car are on-hand.
The OR&W car shops acquired a box car (undecorated), two low-side gondolas (B&O and OR&W), and a tank car (OR&W) this year.
In September, my wife and I traveled to Indianapolis IN. While she visited family, I attended the 48th annual Scale O National Convention (SONC). I attended the three clinics and spent hours browsing the sales room floor (the principal reason for the two-day show). I skipped the layout tours since I had seen them just a couple of years ago.
The annual convention of the MER of the NMRA was held in Durham NC in mid-October. On Thursday evening, I performed my duties as MER-NMRA Secretary during the board of directors meeting. On Friday, after a morning of clinics and browsing the silent auction, three of us toured three railroads. Friday evening, I was part of an operating session in Hillsborough NC. On Saturday morning, I attended the Superintendents' Breakfast hosted by the MER board. Then, I joined three members of my round robin group for the tour of Tichy Train Group factory and for tours of 5 layouts. On Sunday morning, I was taking notes at the annual members meeting. I was re-elected MER-NMRA Secretary for a second two-year term. On the trip home, we stopped at two more open layouts.
I submitted the paperwork for the NMRA Association Volunteer Achievement Certificate, which was approved. The application was based principally on my previous work on the region's audit and budget committees.
In 2017, Shepherd Branch management intends to continue its assessment and overhaul of the branch’s steam and diesel locomotives. P&P management will focus on adding more scenery and operating accessories to the three-rail display railroad. Ohio River & Western management hopes to complete construction of the railroad.