On Sheet – Advice (Part 2)

On Sheet – Advice (Part 2)

n our last blog, I mentioned about getting advice from a kid in the middle of a brutal dispatching session. But sometimes advice can be useful.

I was over at a great layout on the east coast of Florida. Nice line with CTC control and a lot of interesting switching. There is one job that runs down from the yard and works a very tight industrial area. One industry, a truss factory, sits across the main. Everything is is forward, and it’s all facing point, so it’s got that going for it.

I’d just gotten down the hill when one of the long-time boomers strolled past. I didn’t really care for him – I thought he was a bit of a loud know-it-all. But of course, he had to weigh in.

“You know, you need to switch out the truss factory first.”

I nodded, my pained expression shielded from his view. “Of course” No duh.

“And I’d leave your caboose there while you work.”

“Sure. Yes. Thanks.”

And he left and I promptly discarded his advice. Of course, I needed to work the truss company on the far side of the main. But the caboose could go in with me. It’s, what? Forty feet long? There would be plenty of room to set it aside while I worked the main industrial area, and then I could pop it back on the end as I returned to the yard.

Okay. Honest reporting here. That was a major fug-up on my part.

That tiny little caboose was literally in my way for my entire Augean Stables effort. When I’d shove it into a spur, the next car I needed was behind it. When I carried it with me, my tail track was now too short. It was always on the wrong end of every car, or in the way. I must have doubled my move count booting that bastard around like a soccer ball.

Finally, well over time, I got my train built (getting the caboose tacked on the back was a major effort in itself). When I called the dispatcher, I got the mockery I deserved. “I was wondering where you’d gotten to,” he quipped. “I thought you’d gone on the law.”

“Ho. Ho. Ho.”

Of course, as we settled down to the debrief, the guy smiled at me. “So how did the turn go?”

I had a number of answers queued up. But all I could do was tell him, flatly, that he was right. The next time I ran the job (I vowed vengeance on that turn) it worked like a charm. Mr. Caboose sat out of the way on the truss spur.

And while I don’t like giving advice (like a blog containing, literally, advice), the next time I drove out with a newbie a few sessions later, I’d seen from the crew call that he had that turn. “Not to be a blowhard know-it-all, but let me give you some advice…”

The moral of these two stories? I guess it would be to give advice when it is needed but only if it is welcome.