kay, blame the fact that it’s the first day I’ve taken off work on a long time, that it was a two-hour drive to Tampa, that our Mr. Roboto navigation system got us lost in the cargo port area, or that the layout is big and there was so much to see. I’ve forgotten our host’s last name (sorry, John). But he’s got a kick-ass huge-ass railroad, the Chicago, Peoria and Western, that it’s mostly steam, that you have long runs and freight shifting and someday (it can’t be too soon) Time Table and Train Order. So, yes, names are unimportant in the face of all this.
My buddy Bruce and I snagged a way freight running east across the division, working off both a switchlist and dropping off waybills as we switched the towns up the line. The running was fun, the equipment worked well and everything was cool. I think Bruce was rolling his eyes about my pulling rank to have him work off the sidings (which turns out to be a blessing when a long coal string trundled past). I thought we did well but we could have done better – I had him backing long cuts into sidings when there would have been better ways to do things. Maybe next time.
After this, I got a couple of easy sight-seeing runs, the best being a PFE cut running loaded across the Illinois plains. Always fun with sound-equipped engines to blow at the crossings and ring past the platforms. Sure, it makes a racket but why not use it if you got it. To my way of thinking, you might as well leave the shell off if you aren’t going to make use of sound. I’ll admit that the PFE run was even more enjoyable since I could hear the second section whistling past the crossings I’d left in my wake. It was rather a poignant railroad moment, a sense of going places and doing things for a reason.
Anyway, thanks to John and his guys for having us out for the day. Had a great time and hope to come back in the future.
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p.s. My host’s full name is “John Brennan”. Sorry about that oversight.