Outside of the interesting imagery that phase produces, it can make for some interesting running potential as well. And even more interesting since my entire day (and all the hobbies that filled it) involved night stuff. See my astronomy blog for the connection.
In this case, the Florida East Coast was going to try something new. We ran the first half of the session, 1pm to 6pm, under daylight conditions. I’d agreed to splitting the shift with Ken for this – we’d swap out the DS job half-way through. And we had a good front-end run – a lot of the more experienced members were there, the yard ladies were not saddled with any nuggets, so trains were ready on time and came back ahead of time. Really, the superintendent was mad because we were running the railroad fast – what could I do? Outside of a hitch here and there we worked around, trains were going through their paces like the well-oiled machines they were. As it came out, that was the most routine run I’ve ever had on this line.
Then the lights went out.
Actually, that story-break is pretty worthless since nothing really changed. Sure, Ken was in the DS seat and I was out on the road, and sure, the layout lights were extinguished, replaced by the blue bulbs of a moonlit night, casting a low lunar hue over the east Florida scenery. But trains rumbled through the night, passing small lit windows of night-owls (though it was only 8pm, so outside of the old folks, everyone should still have been awake). But it was a fun experience. Had to stop train 210 to swap cars at Eau Gallie, which was slightly complex as it involved using a small flashlight to check my orders and uncouple the cars (I sat my flash handle-up on a nearby stool, then realized that was a dangerous idea – if another crew member plunked down on it, he’d ruin the session by running around like some sort of screaming firefly). But nothing bad happened – 210 went on to make a brief stop at Cocoa to carry off some of the cars filling the yard, hitting green boards all the way through to Titusville and home.
Session ended, came out and looked up into the hazy afternoon sky, wondering if our astronomy event was still going on. And I had to get moving; I had 90 minutes to Orlando then another 45 or so out to Geneva and the sun was already going down.
Part two of my day continues HERE.