I’m out of Johnstown, moving through the Pennsylvanian morning in an RS unit for the Stenzel Valley local. I’ve got Mike as my brakeman, a friendly guy who showed me around the layout earlier. Since the J&G has run precisely one time before (it’s new), we’re not sure how the run is going to come out. Sometimes new procedures turn out to be overly difficult, even impossible, requiring new methodologies. So now we’re at the Stenzel cuttoff, with Mike dropping from the caboose to realign the turnout behind us to the main while I call clear to the dispatcher. And now, to work.
Stenzel Valley is one of those shadowy little valleytowns, a shabby brewery nestled within a collection of smaller industries like brick meatballs in a rusty spaghetti railweb. With our RS chugging, we clatter across the switchpoints, our train suddenly so looooooonnnngggg, and those spurs so >short<. Mike and I are both taking in the numerous industries, so many cars crying out for transport, so much to do.
We share that where do we start look.
But it was fun. We squeaked around our cuts, shaved cars back and forth, tucked them away. If we’d brought a car or two more and we’d have been truly jammed, but eventually we cracked the puzzle. This one goes here, that one there, run around this cut, push ‘em home, and we’re done.
So for those who will follow us into the darkness of Stenzel Valley, it’s doable.