OpsLog – LM&O – 1/24/2024

OpsLog – LM&O – 1/24/2024

riting this blog is a weird thing. Unlike a manifesto, a blackmail note or a letter to my new Nigerian pen-pal, I have to figure out a new angle each time. I can’t just say what happens: that would be “Tonight those goofballs really found a new way to screw up. Is this any way to run a railroad?”. Further, there is the problem that as one man, I simply can’t describe all the events that took place, any more than a soldier in a foxhole can fully explain World War Two. I see things, I hear things, I pay good money for information. In the end, I need to just spin something up that doesn’t piss of people who might take advantage of Florida’s casual gun laws, and is entertaining in its own way. So it’s tricky.

Of course, right now all the folks who attended the session are feeling like the flippant college students in some remote location hiding from the stalking axe murderer – everyone is trying to hide and lay low from blog-notice, hoping I won’t single them out. Well, it never works in the movies either. Everyone gets what’s coming to them.

So let’s start. Since I need to come up with a way to fully describe it well, I’ll steal a format – that of car commercials.

The new 2024 Orlando N-Trak. Stylish and sleek. The perfect club for tooling around town (specifically Pittsburgh) and enjoying your smooth ride. And our membership is helpful, compassionate and knowledgeable.

Disclaimer: Only comes in bright yellow. Membership comprised largely of  cranky old men who forget routes (looking at you, Pete), train lengths (again, you, Pete), waybills (damn near everyone) and are as ill-trained as Indian call-center support (Chris and Jim, the “Shadow Patrol”). “Smooth Ride” does not extend to lower RedRock, the base of the helix, or the freshly ballasted Nazareth branch.

Orlando N-Trak also has plenty of legroom for all your operational demands.

Disclaimer: “Leg-room”, in this case, is a vertical measurement – we have plenty of that. For “aisle-space”, not so much. A lot of bellies crammed between tight peninsulas means we’re packed in like literal sardines. Suck it up, soldier!

Our seats are comfortable, made of fine Cordovan leather.

Disclaimer: This feature only extends to our luxury membership package. Standard options limited to tippy bar stools, hard plastic chairs or the toilet seat (offer good when not occupied).

Furthermore, Orlando N-Trak models historical moments in railroad history. Thrill to the wide variety of eras and rail companies represented.

Disclaimer: Often on the same train. A light pacific hauling autoracks? That case will be specifically addressed in the bylaws.

And to watch these trains move through finely executed scenery is a thrill that cannot be described.

Disclaimer: What cannot be described is the parts of the layout still missing scenery. For those locations, you’ll have to watch trains move past staple guns, lost tools, Jim T’s junk, half-built kits and empty plywood.

Orlando N-Trak is a powerful organization, backed by twenty years of operational excellence. Other clubs visit to see just how we do things. Two dispatchers, two yardmasters and trained crews are our SOP.

Disclaimer: Other clubs come in, watch our ops and switch over to quilt making and stamp collection. Many join monasteries. We double-up our critical jobs so no one person can be held accountable for our bonehead moves. And as for “trained crews”, yes, our crews drive trains. Often into the wrong locations or into each other (the big hook is currentlyworking Mingo Interchange, mopping Zeus off the tunnel walls). Travel insurance recommended but not provided. Your survivablity may vary.

So yes, the new 2024 Model Railroad club, Orlando N-Trak. Picture yourself without a care, riding the rails and enjoying the envy of your friends!

Disclaimer: Picture yourself holding a phone and waiting. Or rerailing a car in a difficult, poorly-lit spot. As for friends, you only have the club membership, and they all hate you (usually because you are part of checkbox 8 and are holding you up).

Fine Print: The N-Trak Social Committee does not endorse, recognize or approve of the opinions of this blog. Orlando N-Trak is not an active organization on the New York Stock Exchange. The Superintendent doesn’t care about your piddly little problems – he’s running his own train. Untested engines, equipment, political opinions, and long, windy storytelling strictly prohibited. Pencils not included.


And now, the Rogues Gallery…

Now clear of the over-compensating Silver Bullet 1, Frank opens the throttle for the first section of 66. All kidding aside, Frank did a great job on his first solo run. (Photo: Jason F)

The second section of 66 rides Frank’s marker lights, actually enjoying a quiet little run (Photo: Pete F)











The assistant yard master suffers pre-PTSD, realizing how much work six daily freights are. Kinda like milking cows. Sorta (Photo: Jim M)

The Shelfton Turn rolls out, throwing the turnouts that will derail the yard crew (and laughing about it) (Photo: Jason F)

It’s actually impressive to see the Steel Mill coming to life. Loads have been delivered and furnaces are roaring! (Photo: Zeus F)











“Wrongway” Pete takes Silver Bullet 1 into the steel mill. Nice move (Photo: John DV)

Another near-disaster. Cub Dispatcher Strecker didn’t put a note on his board that Harris Glen is a short siding. Thank goodness for “Train Lube” (Photo: John DV)

And another mistake. I’m not sure what happened here, but it looks like someone is stabbing the varnish (Photo: John DV)

And I said it couldn’t be done. Zeus tops the summit, lugging autoracks with his tea kettle. Kids and their new stuff! (Photo: Zeus F)

So I’ve spent twenty years trying to teach operations at the club, and now we’re playing “Chutes and Ladders” in the Dispatcher’s office? (Photo: Chris S)

The crowds. Operations have gotten crazier by the session. Thanks to all who came out and enjoyed trains and friendship, kidding aside! (Photo: John C)