econd run of the day of DixieRails, the PM tick on the Diamond River Valley, a neat HO mountain run. It’s my third run of the day, and – this is a first – I’m still on the same train! See, it’s a transfer run, used by Jimtown Yard and Diamond River Yard to shoot cars at each other (and to sweep the spurs between). So I’ve run one way, then back, and then back again. Maybe I’m tired. How much fuel do these units hold? Am I going to be making yet another run? I’m thinking these things at the first passing siding out of Jimtown, shaking the Durbin line shanties as I notch into run five, banking into a long left turn around a low ridge. I’ve got lots of distance to go on this warrant.
And that’s when I see a lead unit, no, two, coming around that curve on the passing track. I’m thinking that the siding isn’t too much longer, so maybe he’s a short train just clear. But why would a short train need two units? And I still haven’t seen the end of it yet. I drop in the brakes but not much – there isn’t much I can do without buckling the train. I just gotta hope it isn’t too much longer. So I’m banking around, embankment to one left, passing train to the right, and the 200 foot signs, then the 100 footers are by. Fouling point, and there is the turnout – end of the siding – and a caboose juuuussstttt pulling clear. I’m past, close enough to almost clip off his grab irons, missed him by a foot. Maybe.
“Dispatcher,” I radio, ‘I just about ate a caboose here at Durbin!”
“Okay,” he replies.
Okay? Man, in our club, this sort of thing brings all sorts of ridicule, mockery, and perhaps suicide into mix. But a shrug off? Wow.
I guess he wouldn’t cry at my funeral, either.