OpsLog – FEC – 7/23/2022

OpsLog – FEC – 7/23/2022

ot to moan about it too much, but I’ve only had surgery less than two weeks before this session. I’d seen the crew call for the Farnham’s FEC session and originally bowed out. After all, I didn’t want to collapse into a puddle of blood and other fluids in their train room. But a few days shy of the session, I girded my loins (still a bit painful), wrote them and asked if it wasn’t too late to come out (pre-surgery walking seems to have aided my recovery – that and wanting to run trains). The wife and I got immediate acceptances and so this made for a good test of my fortitude and healing, an all-day affair running trains in Palm Bay.

Great session, even after a six month hiatus on the line (and a rebuilding of a helix). I ended up in my favorite seat in the house, the dispatchers slot. The wife was over in the yard, doing the yardlette things. So yes, everything was shaping up to be fun.

Of course, after a long down-time and a lot of work, we did have problems, particularly along the main near the double crossover at yard limits. I did my best to keep trains rolling in a moderate pace so that Ken could focus on running his yard and solving each crisis in the other shed. Actually, I have to point out that the crew was doing a great job at their posts. All the switching seemed to get done pretty quick. When I did need to clear a train to get another past, they cleared quick. I saw some of the longer shunting jobs get done in quick and orderly fashion. The only time I had to call greens to the crews was when they couldn’t actually see a signal (it was pretty crowded in the room).

I think the only major operational glitch was when I brought in one train from Titusville and then another from Palm Bay into the yard at the same time (of course, I didn’t think CTC should allow that, but I sure managed it). Of course, right at that moment, two other crews were calling in for signal requests. Suddenly it was party line in the DS office, along with an impending crash. Waking up this morning after the fact, I realized that I probably could have handled the resulting near-miss a little smoother (the trains were a helix apart, plenty of time to work it out on the roll). But fortunately everyone piped down when I ordered the line clear. We managed to get the further train stopped and the other train resolved. Cleared it up and got everything rolling again in minutes.

So it was a great afternoon with a large group of friends (including some old buddies I hadn’t seen since pre-plague days. Outside of the usual small glitches, everything seemed to run well. It was one of those sessions you could leave with a smile.

Thanks to the Farnhams for putting up on the call board with short notice.


A crew sent me this, showing they’d split across a grade crossing. All good, except they parked close enough that the gates are still down and blocking traffic. It’s the thought that counts, right?