hat’s the best thing about the holidays?
Well, there are those strings of lights with one bad bulb. And all those adults buying knockoff zombie costumes. And those political fights over turkey. So much.
But best of all is the holiday ops session on the Florida East Coast.
Ken and Bev, our gracious hosts, laid out a spread with more food than you could imagine (no, really). And drinks and snacks and even cookies (one of them with a delightful prize, it seems). And then there was the cool video Ken put together with a caboose ride on his own layout.
And then – ops!
It was packed – open house in every sense of the world. I got 320, the Pinetta Turn. Rolled out a little late and realized that I’d be picking every possible car along the way (I guess all the workers wanted to knock off early and got everything locked up for shipping). Worked my way to the detector just past Melbourne – had stopped beyond the block boundary for the detector (or so I thought) when I got unjustly accused of dragging equipment. Fine. Turns out I’d have to sit for twenty minutes. Also fine. In Eau Gallie I had a lot of work (four off, four on) and had to complete the paperwork. This was the perfect excuse the block the main and fill out my waybills. And guess what – took about twenty minutes.
With the entire crew blaming me for poor offsite loading (or maybe a dragging hobo – who knows) I got my work done and skedaddled along to Pinetta. Once there, I had to wait for two sulking freights to go by. Once that was done, I got my runaround in and worked the sand and gravel yard, tout de suite.
The way back was pretty cool – everyone was fulla food and the traffic was slow. Had to dig out Melbourne with an audience to pry a flat out. In Palm Bay, I got rushed off the siding by a following train, just having grabbed a car on my way through.
So yes, I really only got one run (train 111, a juice train, I only just got out of the yard). But sometimes the slow, easy sessions are actually more fun than the hectic screaming sessions. Great fun with a great gang. Thanks again!
P.S. Oh, I must mention that, yes, I was groggy from all that food. That must be why I walked off with critical FEC documents. It’s been a while since I did that. Sorry, FEC!