Last night’s session started at 7:40pm and ran until 10:15pm. But not really.
It actually started at 10pm a week before when Mark John and I worked the lading slips for every freight car across the line. The three industrial areas were easy; just flip whatever cars you wished to indicate their completed loading/unloading. The staging was a little more difficult: we had to inspect the car numbers to make sure the right cars were on the right trains, THEN replace the waybills in the correct cars. Martin Classification Yard was the worst; either an overwhelmed yardmaster or joyriding operators had scrambled things. We had to pull cuts out one at a time and check every number. It was pretty much a generic FUBAR across nine tracks.
A few days later, JW was on the email horn, calling doom upon us because we’d skipped the December session so the layout had not been cleaned for two months (there were also several messy projects taking place along its right of way). Point taken.
Monday’s work session also saw us cleaning UP some of those projects, getting the extension ladders down and secured, getting some of the tools off the track (nothing like driving a locomotive into a 110 foot long screwdriver).
Emails went out Tuesday, a general broadcast crew call. Bring engines and throttles. The more the merrier certainly applies to club ops. If only one operator can be prevented from standing in the doorway, looking over the bustling session and remarking, “We’re running tonight? I didn’t bring anything!” then I’ve done my job.
A last minute email exchange between Mark John and I: we’re incorporating new warrants. Were they in place? Were there dispatcher sheets? Yes and yes. He confirmed that the crew call sheet was out and ready.
Wednesday of ops, JW went out to the club and vacuumed the entire layout. No doubt a number of tiny people and cars were sucked into the howling maelstrom but at least the layout was clean.
Now it’s club night: the after-dinner rush; everyone grabbing alcohol and rags to scrub the corrosion off the rails. “Did someone get Red Rock?” “Is staging cleaned?”
Engines are placed. The booster is cleared. A few last minute tussles about who is running what are resolved.
I give a quick rundown of the new warrant instructions. Everyone ignores me.
Back to the dispatcher’s office. Boot the computer and bring up the DS program.
Call out a radio check. Confirm the phones.
Write “1” atop the first warrant.