Octoberbash 2016 at Tennessee Southern

Fellowship and enjoyment by modelers, pro railroaders at CSX engineer’s annual operations session

Great time on a great model railroad gives joy by all who attended

By Giles Kennedy

Chief Editor and Founder

The Ohio Railroader Website

The Ohio Valley Railroad Gang Facebook Page

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There are many times visiting a great model railroad, pictures and words do not do it justice.

The Tennessee Southern, an proto-freelance DCC model railroad; is definitely one of those model railroads.

Allen Whitaker; a Tennessee native of Jellico (on the Kentucky/Tennessee border, north of Knoxville) has placed into his basement a great representation of fond memories and wonderful scenes.

Built/designed in 2000; the double level helix connected layout covers the entire area of Allen’s suburban home outside of Columbus, Ohio. Construction was “finished” several years later. The 1st Octoberbash was held in 2010.

Throughout the years, Allen began to befriend many modelers and professional railroaders. They had common interests on operating a railroad in realistic railroad styles.

Denis Blake; one of the founders of Central Ohio RPM and a Norfolk Southern engineer, is one of many pro railroaders who has helped Allen on the layout.

 

Tennessee Southern Dispatcher and long time friend Jesse Adams and Allen’s father Benny gave inspiration for this year’s theme for the event.

What if you could do a Tennessee Southern Train Fest similar to the Steamfest in Owosso, MI held in 2009? This is an event all three gentlemen attended.

I think the TS crew came pretty darn close; in 1/87 scale of course.

Allen had guests actually fly into John Glenn International Airport for the event from out west. Friends as close as Cincinnati, Marion, Kenton, Galena and of course; Westerville, Ohio attended.

I merely was returning from work at Dick’s/Field and Stream Polaris when I joined the 2nd half festivities.

 

As in any railroad crew; Allen aka “Big Al or Big Boss” has a crew briefing in his “Big Orange Room”. This room next to the main layout space double as gathering place and office/entertainment center for the TSRY.

Notable model railroader Steve Montgomery; featured in Model Railroader’s July 2015 issue, had his Carol Valley #38 steamer and B&O F-3 in for the session.

I “cubbed” Dispatcher Jesse Adams for 20 minutes. Then Allen and “Jellico Matt”, the yardmaster; stated they needed someone to run a train.

They offered Randy Tiell’s Norfolk and Western #611 J-Class with a PRR/N&W mixed consist of coaches.

Away with a two-way radio and a Digitrax throttle; I was placed into the the fun filled operations of the excursion runs.

I ran the train up until Coal Junction; when “Big Boss” had a couple TS helper units help me through the mountain (helix).

Patrick Moore;from Columbus Hobbyland, and others offer some comic advice and wit when switches became an operational problem. Majority of the running was without issue. But when you have foreign power and rolling stock hitting rails…..occasionally there are problems. We all took it in light and humor when it happened.

I brought 611 into Volunteer Yard back to Randy’s capable hands when done.

All of the guys had a marvelous time.

 

If one is ever invited to an ops session on a home-based layout, DC or DCC; I highly suggest going. It brings the hobby into a great light and brings enjoyment.

I will be at Central Ohio N-Trak in the future on Tuesday nights. As well, I will be scheduling “Run and Shoot” sessions this fall winter at the home pike.

Southern hospitality was definitely shown at this OctoberBash. I thank Allen, his wife Tara, little Jackson and the TS gang for having me and the other guests.

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