It’s hot in Miami. Really hot. A scorcher. I’ve just trotted back from the ready track, tugging the crumpled call-sheet out of my oil-stained jeans pocket. The next train north is a general merchandiser – we’ll need a two-engine lashup on the point. But its been a slow day – everyone on duty is green, the line up to Jax is snarled, and I’m not getting units in fast enough to roll those out. I’ve got one set, just refueled – nothing to do but clamber up into the cab, check with the south end yardmaster to make sure I can poke my nose onto his rail, and roll. Call the woman working the outbound paperwork and advise her on the cab numbers going back into service.
Yes, Ken Farnham’s FEC is back in the running. Long term readers might remember my coverage HERE of it closing a little over a year ago. The old FEC occupied much of Ken’s house, but changing situations forced it to be relocated. It has been rebuilt (better, with more aisle space and elbow room) in two sheds in the back yard. In the yard shed (containing the dispatcher, two yard crews, the paperwork clerk and the dispatcher) we build and receive trains. In the other shed (with maybe eight operators) the crews run across the two-deck FEC line. The way it works is that the dispatcher calls the crews when they are ready to go, and they pick up their trains from the departure track, monitoring it by camera. The sheds are linked with a long section of double-tracked pipe, from which they will emerge to run the line. I had my doubts when I first heard it, but Ken’s pulled it off.
The only thing he hasn’t pulled off is the AC. The mainline shed is tolerably cool. Our shed, like its namesake Miami, is pretty stuffy. I’m running the units through the turntable with sweat running down inside my shirt. And that’s okay – even though it’s hot, even though the mainline guys aren’t getting their trains out and aren’t getting them back, we’re running. I even pick up the nickname “Valet-guy”, since I’m hostling the engines back and forth in doubletime.
When it’s all done four hours later, I step outside to find that it’s the outdoor Florida July is actually cooler than our shed. Doesn’t matter. We got everything done, perfect.
Glad to see your line back up, Ken. Looking forward to next time (after the replacement AC is in!)