here is a bit of universal irony here. I’m idling in the heated gravel desert of Cocoa Yard on the Florida East Coast, writing car numbers on lading slips and jotting in pick-up dates on the swaps. This, following a weeklong, daylong, every-damn-second long audit I’ve only just survived at work. Yes, more paperwork! Yahoo!
But seriously, it’s a well-thought-out system, it slows the ops down to a more realistic pace, and I rather like it. Owner Ken Farnham has come up with an even-better way of getting cars to sidings where the trains are assembled in a completely different room and passing paperwork back and forth is frankly impossible. So, yes, I’m jotting down info on the cars going out, the cars coming in, making everything nice and tidy.
It was a good session (even though I got buzzed for a hotbox at the detector and had to set a reefer out in McPhalt’s 20 miles away (every available siding was packed or being worked)). I’m not sure what the boys of Buenaventura will make of sixty tons of thawing orange pulp on their rock siding – hey, I’d limped the car there and dumped it. Let management deal with it.
But otherwise, good session. Dispatcher Bev got all the way through and nobody died (nobody was too delayed, either, except a couple of empty rock trains and who cares about them anyway?). The only cheese in the ointment was that two of the crew left early. I don’t know what the reasons were for that – it just meant the remaining crews were picking up the slack, leaping from cab to cab to get everything run. On the ride home, Bruce (my copilot) and I discussed this – twenty years ago, you never saw this happen. If you commit to being at a session, you commit to the entire session. You know, the owner doesn’t only arrange half the paperwork or clean half his engines. He puts a lot of effort into this – outside of an emergency, you shouldn’t leave until the debrief is done. Hell, bring a book, okay?
But a great session packed with extra runs, so a lot of fun for the guys who stuck it out. Thanks to the Farnhams for a great day on the rails.