Solo Operating Sessions

Whenever I’m at an operating session I invariably ask the host how often they run their layout just by themselves.  The answer is an almost unanimous “never”.  There are number of reasons for this.  I suspect in many cases the layout owner derives most of their hobby enjoyment from building things and operating sessions are primarily an opportunity to socialize.   By not operating their layouts more frequently, and by themselves, I do think these folks are missing out an opportunity to get more enjoyment out of the hobby.  Model railroading is different from our sister modeling hobbies such as military, ship, and aircraft building in that it offers the opportunity, not just for motion, but for realistic motion.

Part of the resistance to having solo operating sessions is probably the all or nothing viewpoint that each session has to be several hours long or it’s not worth having.  Don’t underestimate the enjoyment that can be had from short “mini sessions” that last just twenty or thirty minutes.  Pull out an engine and just switch out that cement plant or factory.  In addition to being relaxing, frequent running will result in the motivation to do more punch list work on minor repair issues and encourage you to keep the track cleaner.  The end result will be a better running layout and more fun for you.   You owe it to yourself.  Set a goal of operating your layout, by yourself, at least twenty minutes every week.