ust got back from playing the biggest solitaire game you can play: Model Railroad Ops!
Oh yeah, there are some of you who will say it’s a huge cooperative effort, a big multiplayer game railroaders have been playing for half a century. You work together to get the trains through the division and crews will cooperate in anything from throwing turnouts for each other to offering suggestions to pushing a car the final one hundred feet to the dock (saving another crew the hassle of a runaround).
And at Ken Farnham’s FEC today, there were a whole bunch of people, maybe seven or so out on the road (in one shed) and four operators running the huge yard (in the other). And a dispatcher.
And that was me.
Unlike every other position, my attention is focused on the huge CTC panel. From where I’m sitting, I see trains as illuminated lights crossing the layout display. I’m focused on looking up from my train sheet to set turnouts and signals. Other than a glimpse of trains rolling past my office on the way in and out from Palm Bay and Titusville, everything I experiance is on the panel. That a dozen people are all working around me to keep the railroad running, the engines being fueled, run out to the head ends of assembled trains, of yardmasters contacting crews who take these trains across the division dropping and picking up cars, yes, that’s a rumor I’ve heard. But I’m all on my panel, moving lights from one side of the board to the other.
As far as what goes on in the other room, it’s only when off duty crews or the superintendent comes in to tell me what’s up in their “real world of pretend”. But now, I’m lining routes, setting signals, contacting disassociated voices to inquire about getting clear of my main – I’ve got dots to move.
It’s my job, and it was way fun today.
Thanks to Ken and Bev for having us out. Always a pleasure to move the red lights across the board as quickly and cleanly as possible.
P.S. And if your flapjacks taste like propane, ask Bruce about it.