Operating on Santa Fe's Alma branch

Jared Harper

I just hosted an op session this past weekend.  However, there is time in March to hold another.  AlI my Saturdays and Sundays the rest of the month are open.  I would also like to host an op session in April.  Let me know what days you have open and we will find a common date to work around.  I need three people for each date.  As always I will serve lunch before the session.  Send me you preferences.

Jared Harper
420 Woodward Way
Athens, GA 30606


Any videos of the session or your layout?

Jared Harper

Tom Klimoski who attended the last session with three friends videoed the session.  It whould be posted on You Tube soon.  I will let everyone know when it can be viewed.

Jared Harper

David North

I’m looking forward to seeing the video, Jared.



Bruce Smith


I do no know if you're familiar with Jared's operation, so let me describe it a bit. I'm not sure a video would do it justice. The Alma branch fills Jared's basement with a single level, multiple peninsula layout. Ops sessions consist of 4 operators (engineer, conductor, head end brakeman, rear end brakeman) and one train (technically two trains as the local has a different train number for the return trip. Operations consist of assembling the out bound train at the junction of the branch and the main, which can be a weee bit of a puzzle at times 😉 That can take some time. Then the train ambles off down the branch, where each town is switched. Typical town arrangements have a single, double-ended siding with multiple businesses served, so there is often a lot of shuffling. Cars for Alma are added to the train and those headed back to the other end of the branch are left at the facing point end (trailing point on the return) switch end of the siding for pickup on the return. In Alma, the businesses are switched, and the cars for interchange are dropped, the engine reverses on the wye and the train heads home, switching trailing points on the way. There is additional switching at the end of the branch, prior to tying up the train. It takes around 3 hours or longer for all this action to happen. Although planned for the future, I don't think Jared has added any additional traffic (stock extras), so this is not a layout with any traffic related gaming. Videos would show some of the open Kansas running at track speed (20 mph?), Jared's excellent scenery and structures, and frequent stops to figure out how to switch each town.

I have really enjoyed each ops session I have attended... and I should note that Jared also feeds his operators really well!


Bruce Smith,

temporarily on Jekyll Island, Ga

From: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io <main@RealSTMFC.groups.io> on behalf of jerryglow2 <jerryglow@...>
Sent: Friday, March 8, 2019 7:52 AM
To: main@RealSTMFC.groups.io
Subject: Re: [RealSTMFC] Operating on Santa Fe's Alma branch
Any videos of the session or your layout?

Bill Welch

Wish I could round up a small group from the Tampa area to carpool to Jared's for the weekend.

Bill Welch

Jared Harper

Do it.  I could provide lodging for three guys.


Jared Harper


I am going to have to pay you more for your advertising.  What you said is mostly right.  My crews are mostly three man crews--engineer, conductor and brakeman., pretty much without exception.  On rare occasions I have allowed a 4th person to participate who functions as a second brakeman.  The speed averaged 15 mph westbound, and 21 mph eastbound.

Jared Harper