utside of one mini-ops we tried, the last time we ran the club layout was back in February, back before the Covid storm swept over us. For a while the building stood empty. Then we reopened and did a lot of work. So for the past week, we’ve been trying to resuscitate our pike, getting those corroded rails clean, sweeping out the dust and cobwebs and trying to get something like operations going again.
For the record, it was full masks, full sanitizers, and to keep the germs down, no phones – as dispatcher I sat at a table in the middle of the room and wrote warrants (no readbacks), which I either handed to crews who came over for them or ran them out to them, if nothing else was going on.
Of course, this was the plan before someone in my family I’d had casual contact with ran a fever. Didn’t look like I’d make it but happily the test came back early and negative. To get things ready, I went out early only to realize that for the first time ever, I forgot to bring my dispatching laptop. So back to the house I went, a forty-five minute round-trip. Ugh.
The session, you ask? Right. That.
Even with everyone rusty at their jobs, and half the lading slips curled with age, the railroad came alive. We had about twelve people there, maybe more, and we ran everything. All the freights. Both Silver Bullets. All three main locals. We even had helpers, with “Feather-touch” AJ giving the crews a paint-shaker ride to Harris Glen. But it was good to see our large railroad go through its paces. Sure, we had some dirty track, and a turnout at Red Rock failed, shutting down a critical siding. But there were few delays and many grins (I think) under those masks. And one of our new guys, Shannon, ran with a conductor on one freight and then took another all on his own. Always happy to see the club perform one of its primary functions, hosting ops and getting more people interested.
It was something to see Mike’s weathered cars transforming into moving scenery – going through those sweeping mountain turns, they looked so right.
So, yes, amid this bleak political season, with C-19 still raging, we all took a break and enjoyed trains and each other’s company for a bit.
Unless we get locked down again, we’ll try this again the forth week in November. See you then!