f there is a grand finale for the weekend, it would be the Brandywine & Benedictine, a beautifully massive railroad that sprawls all over. Sadly, progress has overcome this fine line – it is no longer Time Table & Train Order controlled, and now runs on CTC. Traffic lights aside, it’s still a delight to operate with two dozen engineers to make this all work. And my part in this drama begins at 2:30pm, rolling downslope from Sulphur Springs to the town of Allegany at the controls of a massive articulated steam engine, a long string of black coal hoppers pressuring me down the long grade as I went right and left along the topographical map lines. The engine is hissing and rumbling, I’m blowing the whistle at every tiny crossing (long long short long) and watching for signals. Pass my buddy Bob who is holding on a siding with a similar cut of empties. Down through Natural Tunnel and then a sweeping descent into Paulson (where I’ll swap out some cars). Later in the run, I go into the main yard further down the line, switching more cars out (the paperwork here is a little rushed, the Superintendent having worked overnight to get things sorted from the last batch of hoggers). But that’s fine – the yard’s gets the cut off in quick order, my steam engine is swapped out for diesels (the B&B is growing up too fast – cold inhuman signaling systems and misuse of F-units, all since my last time). But it’s fine – I was out of the yard and throbbing south, heading towards the final terminus where a buddy of mine was sprawled all over the yard lead (woops). But all in all, a great run.
I could have opted to dispatch this one but I’d already done some desk time – I wanted open running through full scenery and I got it. Just a blast, an absolute blast!
Thanks to all who made DixieRails a success!