March 20, 2023

OpsLog – WAZU – 3/19/2023

ith a combination of sweet-talking and blackmail, I managed to get Kyle to take the DS seat on the WAZU Line and fly into the maelstrom of mother-may-I, controlling the sprawling, confusing, and statically-cracking division. Me, I got to run trains (which I do every couple of months). So, with my new-found freedom, I busted out of Hinkle Yard (four fast-minutes early; you’d think Yardmaster Sparky was having a baby; such screaming). It was a quick run to Umatilla and after some quick switching, a quicker run down to Walla Walla. And that was fun – a long siding with […]
March 19, 2023

Too Dumb to Fail (Review)

o here’s a book about the GOP and it’s failings. And before YOU jump on ME for posting this, keep in mind that the author of this review of HIS beloved party (Matt K. Lewis) already told me that if I’m reading this with a handful of popcorn, in it for laffs, it isn’t the book for me. And it wasn’t. At least not for laughs. For an interesting read into the decay of the Republican Party, you can’t do wrong by reading this. So the author outlines the party from its high water mark with Regan (we disagree in […]
March 18, 2023

OpsLog – CSX Taft – 03/17/2023

y order of the dispatcher, I’d dismounted from my CSX switch engine and walked down the industrial siding. A flat car was being worked by a crew off a remote loading dock. Then an off-spot box car. And then the center of the crisis, an industrial loading dock. At it sat a boxcar and a reefer, the latter’s refrigerator engine running with nobody home to unload it. The Brotherhood of Knuckledraggers 107 had walked off the job. And worried about the time this car could run off it’s internal tanks, the railroad had set me down to check it out. […]
March 17, 2023

On Sheet – Wye not?

‘ve recently seen some fusses online about small layout designs. While some critique should always be welcome, criticism shouldn’t be. I’m a big proponent of small layouts. Sure, if your house is located on an division-sized bomb shelter, you can afford to throw out your minimum radii and ladder-lengths. But for the rest of us, it’s all about cramming as much railroad as we can in a tight space. In a sense, it is an art form. Anyone can do the Sistine Chapel with a roller-brush and a Sherman-Williams account. But doing a Wedgewood portrait pin takes a certain attention […]
March 16, 2023

Angry birds (DOG EAR)

really like living in the downtown area. Nearby, a shopping district just revitalized. I’ve gotten to know some of the local shops and favor them over the loud, dirty main drag just south of here. Of course, it isn’t without some pain. I loved Juniors Diner (an eclectic little hole-in-the-wall with good omelets and wide book-friendly booths). And then there was P is for Pie, a great place to end my morning walks. In the latter, the lady behind the counter would always ask what I was reading. We exchanged views on books while my pie slice heated, smiling and […]
March 13, 2023

OpsLog – TY&E – 3/12/2023

ne of my little model railroad observation is that if you host a session with ten operators and ten things go wrong, each operator might have one problem and see it as successful, but the host sees all ten (and commits suicide afterwards). Well, today I rather disproved that witticism. I was in the cab of my usual run, the Sand & Lumber job, a four-movement effort that gets empty flats and loaded hoppers down to Staffordtown, where they get switched out for empty hoppers and full flats. I’ve always enjoyed this job. Interestingly, there is a reefer run I’m […]
March 12, 2023

The Socrates Express (Review)

his was an interesting find. Only I (it would seem) could find a book that combines two of my curiosities. The first, the philosophy of being human, the outlooks and considerations of our human natures. And the second, trains. In The Socrates Express, Author Eric rides a train to the locale of each famous philosopher, musing about the train, the travel, the philosopher, and the life lesson we might learn from him (or her). There are fourteen stops and fourteen philosophers, grouped in subjects from the general (how to get out of bed, how to walk, etc), to specifics (how […]
March 10, 2023

On Sheet – Annunciator

read this little passage a while ago. It came from a little anecdote in a book on Southern Pacific depots in the 1950s. …I was busy with these customers when the annunciator sounded, indicating a westbound train was approaching… I’d never heard of such a thing. It seems that, in the fifties, there was some sort of relay switch to automatically ring a station when a train was inbound. Interesting. I filed it away and didn’t give it too much thought. Then we went into that piece from two weeks ago where I admitted my layout was more CTC than […]
March 9, 2023

A cannonade of FUs (DOG EAR)

don’t know what’s going on with me. I seem to be changing, slowly. Maybe. The other day, I was third bike in line crossing a road with clearly marked crosswalks. The city, of course, screws things up (and covers their asses) by putting small baby stop signs on the bike side of things (and big yellow crosswalk signs roadside). All I knew was that a car had stopped and the first guy, second guy, then me were crossing, one after another. As I passed, the car let out an angry honk, I know I shouldn’t have (and kids, don’t do […]
March 9, 2023

OpsLog – LM&O – 3/8/2023

t was an interesting session at the club tonight. Since my goatee glue isn’t dry yet and excessive talking might make it fall into my lap (dire consistences abound), I turned the dispatcher job over to young Jason (I still worked the computer display and reviewed all outbound warrants for correctness and homicidal omissions).  But he did pretty good – once I get him checked out on the panel, I’ll cup him like a little bird and let him fly, fly, fly… …and I can imagine the other members loading birdshot. But overall, Jason did fine. We did have a […]