n the layout, it was a beautiful crisp fall day, the type where a heavy jacket and possibly gloves allow you to enjoy the vibrant fall colors. But, of course, situated in Florida with the garage door open for access, it was hotter than the Sahara – we were sweating our balls off. But hey, that just made operating an engine with a roaring firebox a little more realistic, right?
It’s nothing new – I’ve operating in a pet clinic with the smell of wet dog. I’ve run trains in countless dusty basements. We once displayed our N-trak layout in temperatures so hot they actually melted a steam engine in its case. I’ve even run trains in a museum, where you are as much part of the display as the layout itself. So nothing new there. You just sweat through it.
Still, running on Rob Gross’s beautiful New Haven Hartford Division layout is worth every degree. I ended up running the tower job (and the rest of the main line). After lunch (and what a lunch it was – I’m still digesting those steamed sandwiches and great mac&cheese), we finished the session off. At one point, a couple of the guys left so Kyle and I brought it home, finishing up the yard and running a final train or two. Nice to get off the panel and run a train around).
I’ll say this – every time I go over, I learn more and more about the layout. So yes, it is worth the long drive over and the muggy day. Afterwards, we debriefed and figured that for the next few months we might need reduced sessions with the door closed. One or two of the jobs might not get run but that’s how it goes. And Kyle and I, we got a little more seniority for sticking to it. Hopefully we’ll get first dibs on a seat at the next session of the fantastic New Haven!