OpsLog – Hartford Division – 12/17/2023

OpsLog – Hartford Division – 12/17/2023

kay, so, outside of the tacos…

Smiles. Threatened the host I was going to start my trash-out blog this way.

So outside of the tacos, the whole session was a shambles. Trains ran on a time scale that seemed arbitrary because it was arbitrary. The host, a.k.a. “King Chronos”, could make it any time he wished. So a timetable in these situations is like a constitution under a despot. We were his pawns, dancing to his tune.

Okay, not that I fake-bashed him (though the time complain is true), let’s get on with the blog.


One local works Bristol while the other heads for Waterbury and home.

We were worried going into this about the tropical depression that was dumping rain on us the day before. It was still spitting when we arrived and if it’s raining and blowing, the garage door has to stay closed, and with the garage door closed, the low yard gets annulled and angry man JW is in the layout room with us (and not out on the driveway where he belongs). And for a bit it did rain. But that passed, the door was opened, the sunshine warmed us and the winds refreshed us, and we had a great session.

That is, when the superintendent told us it was now time to have a great session. At least the Tuscarora Branch Line has a flip clock we can all agree on.

Seriously, the superintendent was going crazy like all layout owners do during their sessions (even the Tuscarora makes my guts churn). We had a share of problems and we were all rusty after a half year away. I know it took me time to remember how the dispatcher interlocking works. Seriously, turnout control for half the side of the layout would go out unless I slapped the panel just right. So while I was playing Han Solo with a fussy Millennium Falcon, everyone else was stumbling over train control, yard switching, and local jobs.

The good thing was that we all eventually settled in with our jobs (yeah, we’re that good). Even when the host fell to his knees and did that Platoon thing in the driveway, we all kept working.

I’ll give Greg credit on the Bristol Turn. He got delayed, delayed again, then delayed after all that. And when he was about to come home, a freight came through and unloaded more cars on both him and the next town up the line. So he pushed his outbounds clear and took over both switching details, getting ‘er done. I don’t think JW’s union goons would give us that level of service.

And it was fun watching John DV show Kyle that the latter’s Speed Witch was NOT the fastest train on the line. Stick to the buttons, John, not those crazy dials.

After its successful pass, the varnish is back on the correct main, running along the yard lead. Check out those interlocking rods at the base of the tower!

Had to smile back when I actually made the Hartford dance, running a passenger train down opposite main at Waterbury to slide past a switch job working the other main. The super actually stopped holding the yardmaster’s hand to come over and alert me about the terrible collision that was about to occur (but didn’t).

Don’t worry, boss. I got this.

Thanks to our host for having us out. While the Speed Witch isn’t the fastest, those tacos were the best. Great session!


A long freight winds through lush New England. When you have nothing to do, there is always trainwatching on this line!

All photos are credited to John DV! Thanks for the pix!