o today (or was it simulated tonight?) we used the F from FEC for “Fast”. It was the overnight shift, a time when the Florida East Coast moves manifests, juice trains and very lost coal trains.
I was out in the layout, running this time. First train was a general freight with a call in at Cocoa for some swaps – easy work. And then, after a bit of a sit, I ran a fast manifest – straight through. Both of these might sound dull but with sound-equipped engines you can still have fun blowing at the gates and ringing the bell past working crews. I finally got a local at the end of the session but didn’t get much more time than to get lined up for some switching action when the session shut down (I’m going to be thinking of that caboose sitting at Stark Truss all month, I just know it).
But the layout ran good and the crews were competent. The dispatcher was doing his first solo panel gig and did a good job (meaning he didn’t break into tears and curl into a ball). Oh, he did have problems routing juice and coal correctly but truthfully EVERY dispatcher has had problems in their early careers with those loads. The way it works is that the crews note when a “special” load rolls into the tube and the silent wagers begin. Soon enough, you’ll hear “Juice train stop!” on the overhead and everyone smiles. It’s kinda a newbie thing on the FEC. But our guy did fine – no undue delays.
Of course, if there is one thing I won’t do – I’m not going within one hundred feet of that stock car in Cocoa. It’s been there all night. If there were cows there, they aren’t even kibble now. Yuck. To heck with ringing the bell while passing through this yard – I’m sliding the cab windows shut.
Anyway, a great session with smiles every time I heard my wife crew call for outgoing trains. I really enjoy this line.