ell, this one was one for the record books.
I’m working a dispatcher’s panel that is as big as a coffin lid. We have a full crew – the yard behind me is “manned” (bad joke) by four wives (including my own JB). Ken has loaded up his line so trains are running hot and heavy. I’m trying to get three by at Palm Bay, two more around each other in Titusville, and two locals are futzing around near Pinetta. And over towards City Point, a rock train is shifting loads about. And that’s when I get the call from the latter.
“I’m on the ground.”
What do I care about model trains on the ground. Put it back on the rails. Do I have to solve every little thing?
“There’s two hopper loads of ballast on the tracks. Superintendent says to look on the right side of your panel. There’s an envelope.”
There is an envelope.
I open it up like the Captain of a nuclear sub opening his coded orders.
Information about the form 19s I need to issue. And more orders for dispatching a wreck train from the yard to the spill. And I’m just getting my head around that when the detector alarm goes off. And then my wife hands me another outbound train card – another is ready to go.
Now would be a good time to tumble out of my chair in fetal position, screaming.
“Pull that ready train back. We need to get that wreck train out…”
The rest of the session was like digging yourself out of your own grave. That pretty little schedule became a fond dream of a better world. I was pretty much winging to movements after that, just keeping track of positions and carefully trying to avoid deadlocking the railroad. I think, at one point, Cocoa Yard and every siding had trains in them.
Anyway, we got it handled and were back on track by the end of the session. The ballast was up, all trains were to their end points, the yard was staged up for the next shift. Thanks to all our crews for their patience. And my wife told me, on the way home, to thank Bev and Benita for helping her find her way around the yard. She said it was totally confusing and hard to understand what was happening (we had trains in and out every five minutes). But she had a good enough time that I think she’ll come back.
But she chatted about it on the ride home and seemed to like it. But let’s not think she’d getting an NMRA membership.
Not just yet.