OpsLog – LM&O – 09/22/2021

OpsLog – LM&O – 09/22/2021

feel like the guy the moment after a sledge hammer hits him in the forehead. Or he is hit with two bullets. Silver Bullets.

The session started out well enough. I wrote up some warrants early on – neat meet in Zanesville, with the local coming west and ducking into the industrial trackage, 202 coming east (and taking the siding) and Silver Bullet 2 running down the main. That went down like clock work. Out east, 223 was into Calypso and the Harris Glen Local was already climbing the grade. Everything was going as planned.

I actually thought maybe we’d run the session in 90 minutes and go home.

And meanwhile, an ominous brooding silence fell over the summit at Harris Glen.

Suddenly I found myself with three trains coming east over the hill (202, Silver Bullet 2 and a coal drag, 414). Coming east, 223 was over the summit and heading to Red Rock, Harris Local was fussing around the summit sawmill, while well behind them Silver Bullet 1 (delayed as he set up facing the wrong direction in staging) followed by 247 (and 97 coming up fast). Yes, so between the sidings at Red Rock and Lehigh, I had eight trains. Nine if you could the helpers at the summit who had to come down and help boost 247.

So it was a little dicey.

I ended up parading ALL eastbound trains first (a freight, a silver bullet, a coal drag with the helpers dropping in behind the parade as it went past. But that fell apart when Silver Bullet 2 had a staggering number of controller issues. I was tossing them throttles like Han Solo throwing the hydrospanners around. The gap between Silver Bullet 2 and the freight in front of him grew. All my warrants were locked and latched – I couldn’t change things. In Lehigh I was collecting westbound movements.

Honestly, it was total bullocks on the hill. Once I got the four eastbounds over, I ran the three westbounds over (meeting another late-to-the-dance freight at Red Rock). I’m going to guess (from memory) that the passenger trains were running three to five hours late and freights were taking ten hours or so when they should have taken six or seven. It was that sort of night – everyone hit the hill at once and there were problems up and down the line (including the main line at Lehigh going out of service a little later, perhaps from all the stationary tonnage I was storing on it).

But the good points:

  • We ran every train but one passenger train (that’s on the absent Greg Wells).
  • We didn’t kill anyone (though there were moments I kinda wanted to). But we didn’t lap any warrants.
  • We had fun.
  • We did that huge club ops thing.

And all that makes me smile.

A night to remember!

Silver Bullet 1 rounds the Harris bend at the summit, passing the doomed local (Photo: John DV)