ust another day on the Florida East Coast Railroad, running low capacity, pandemic-conscious operations. A smaller crew that normal due to some last-minute dropouts (made a bit better by Bruce Metcalf, who saved the day by showing up and rounding out the roster). And so the clocks (some of them) went hot and the trains rolled.
I’ve been at sessions where you waited outside for thirty minutes, even an hour, for your next train. Not this time, no. With a lighter crew, we were running solid with crews rotating back in as quickly as they stepped off the footplate. Me, I didn’t get any of that – I was back at the dispatcher’s office, doing my best to keep the Gods of Little Blinky Lights appeased. Even then, we got some late starts out of the yard and some duffing around in some industrial areas which put us about an hour behind for most of the session. However, things cleared up and we got trains CTC’ed across the division fairly quickly in the end. Apparently in the yard (and this is all below-my-wooden-dispatcher-tower stuff) they are working out a new method for building trains. This is the second session at it and it appears to be going well, but I do see “Will work for a livestock car” signs on the street corners around Bowman Yard. But hey, we ran tight and got everything to where it had to go (on a macro-train level – Superintendent Ken hasn’t checked the car spotting yet) and everyone had a lot of fun. Looking forward to running again in a month (if the pandemic surge doesn’t cancel us). Watch this spot for details.
And hey, for any of you N-Trakers who would like to try CTC signaled operations on a great railroad, let me know. We tend to operate over in Palm Bay near the end of each month. I’d like to get a list of engineers interested. Trust me, you’ll have a blast!