OpsLog – FEC – 3/25/2023

OpsLog – FEC – 3/25/2023

ame into the yard shed for the Florida East Coast today, looking to improve running the Trim job (which I did a lukewarm effort on last time). Now was my chance. I’d show them. I’d show them all…

Just at the end of the off-spot track, I noticed an engine and what looked like a wreck train. When I asked Ken about it, he glanced at the dispatcher (Doug) and shushed me with a wink. Ah hah. Someone was getting a surprise.

So the first part of this OpsLog deals with the Trim (which is a job that hostels engines at the far edge of the yard, refueling them and bringing them up, ready for service. It also runs the engines out to a ready track, pulling assembled trains and putting them together, with a caboose, on that same track (so the yard master can couple it all up into a full train, ready for the outside world).

I made a hash of it last time. You have three throttles with this job (the switcher throttle, the turntable throttle, and the everything-else throttle). Last time I’d spin the wrong one and either a train would roll and maybe not be seen (at first). Or the turntable would spin. Sub-par. This time, I made sure that any throttle not in use would be secured by putting the reverser in neutral. Just locking the throttles down made a big difference. If I did turn the wrong throttle, nothing would happen. I worked it like a pro.

Well, until the throttles started to malfunction. First JB (my spouse and yard-mistress) got an “ER-03” on her throttle. Then I got them. First time, I had to have Ken find me a working throttle. Then I had it happen again ten minutes later. Got it to work. But two addressings later, it went down and stayed down. To not bother Ken anymore, I switched to using my switcher throttle for all movements. That lasted about fifteen minutes and then it errored out. Since I didn’t want to risk any more carnage (and increasing my stack of disabled throttles) and since the classification operator didn’t have much to do, I asked Bev to run my moves for me. I’d figure what I’d want to do, call an address to her, and she’d make the move. We got through the session like this.

As for the other part of the session, this happened…

When the rubble hits the roadbed. Total disaster! (Photo: Chris S)

All I know is that Ken pounced on one of the crews and upset their ballast car (with an oddly-isolated and Admiral Akbar It’s a Trap! obviousness to it) all over the main line. Total mess. As soon as I heard this was taking place, I remembered Chekhov’s wreck train back in the yard. We were actually ready to dig it out of its entombing string, get it onto the ready track and crew-call it out. I’m not sure of how the blow-by-blow went with Dispatcher Doug fighting this fight (i.e. getting the wreck train to the site of the accident and moving traffic around it). By that time, throttles were poppin and I had other things on my plate.

Anyway, it was a great session as always. Hoping that Ken can get some of his gremlins pried out of his electronics. Fun time, and nice to face the Trim job and beat it.