Retired CN, er, Grand Trunk engineer Jack Ozanich and CN Signal Supervisor Mike Papp smile for the camera at the start of Job 322 on the Patch. It was fun to watch these “old heads” operate using only hand signals, but not without an ample amount of arguing!


    Something has caught the attention of Jack and Mike. They’re carefully shoving a car to a spot at Nate Starkman and Sons. Jack has two layouts, one the indoors HO scale Atlantic Great Eastern and the other an outdoors inch-and-a-half scale narrow gauge Sandy River.

Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Patch Sessions 3/7-8/10

    Every two years, local operators in the Kansas City area host what is known as “Prairie Rail.” This invitation-only operating weekend has been going on since 1996, averaging a 100 or more attendees from all over the country.

    Since my Surf Line layout was torn down a year ago, I wasn’t able to host any operating sessions, though I did invite some folks over afterwards to operate the Patch. One of the great things about the operations-part of the hobby is the friendship and camaraderie among the like-minded. It’s fun to watch your friends operate your layout and participate in stories, banter and the such.

    Gordy’s ringing the bell as the 2314 slowly moves across the Mill Street crossing at the head of Seventh Street Alley. Foreman Andy gave Engineer Gordy specific instructions before the move was made, since there is no way to visually “pass signals” around the tight curve between the buildings. This followed the practice told to me by the old head railroaders who actually worked the Patch.

    While not an operating photo per se, I can’t resist posting this one of two old friends. Jack met Warren Scholl, on the right, in the Army in 1965 while posted in Germany. Warren had read a letter from Jack written to Trains magazine, then realized that the writer was “next door” and struck up a life-long friendship.

    After dinner on Sunday, Mike Burgett, left and Doug Tagsold came over. Mike is a signal supervisor for the CN and a signal maven. His company, CTC Parts, Inc., restores and manufactures Centralized Traffic Control panels for model railroads. Be sure to check out his fabulous HO scale C&O layout on his website.

    Doug Tagsold gives a back-up signal to the 2314, the engine assigned to tonight’s Job 322, working the Patch. The engine is hidden between the two buildings at the extreme right. Doug is just finishing many years with his Colorado-based D&RGW layout and getting ready to build one based on the Toledo Union Terminal. Doug is a terrific modeler and I can’t wait to see and operate the new layout.

    An “aerial” view of the curved buildings that separate the First Street Yard from Seventh Street Alley in the Patch. Finishing touches and weathering have yet to be applied to the structures.

    In real life, these buildings were part of Holmes Supply, an LA-based plumbing company. The buildings still exist, but alas, the tracks are gone!

    On Monday, old friends Andy Sperandeo and Gordy Spiering operated on the Patch. This was Andy’s second visit, but the first time as the foreman. Gordy allowed as how Andy did a darned good job figuring out the moves.