eft-seating it in a pair of beat up old C&NW units, rattling down through the spiral tunnel below Harris Glen, running to Lehigh and a possible meet. I’m conducting for a young scout, Aryon. The kid’s got a steady throttle hand and is drifting the helpers down to Calypso nice and easy. The club’s full of people tonight – visitors, a group of boy scouts, lots of people. Most of them have been put on trains as engineers, the guys giving up their throttles to allow newbies to realize that trains are more than just circles of tracks. Trains are warrants, waybills, meets, helpers and hoggers. And the LM&O is running smooth and busy tonight.
Aryon and I got the last-session’s left-over helpers as far as Lehigh when I spotted a train coming up. “Hey, Jeff,” I called out. “You’re going to need helpers.” At first he told me that he had plenty of power on front but then he got what I was saying and called the DS for helpers. Of course, we happened to be sitting at Lehigh, helpers looking for a place to happen. Moments later, we were pulling up the hill, lugging 223 over the top.
I noticed that 202 met us while we were coupling onto 223 at Lehigh. It’s pretty early in the session, 5am. That the first eastbound drag is clear of the summit that early shows things are going well. Overall, the dispatcher is keeping things moving. In fact, all the crews were focused on helping their new engineers run the railroad well.
We also pushed 247 up, this time as mid-train helpers. This run was not as good – we had some light cars and derailed (repeatedly and completely) in the spiral tunnel. We even derailed behind the mid-trains. I have no idea how that happened but I spent a great deal of time in the hole putting cars back on the rails.
Eventually Aryon and I ran 298 East from Cincinnati to Bound Brook. For this I was way underpowered – a pair of F-units. It was fine enough on the river route but once we got to Martin Yard it was clear we’d need helpers. So I took my third helper run of the night, Aryon on the front, me midtrain, passing 271 (and its goofy grape LV headend units) at RedRock. We managed to run smooth and steady, dropping our cuts in Calypso and getting into Bound Brook the moment Aryon had to dash – his dad was waiting out front. But good runs. Glad I could introduce him to the great game of operations.
Like I said, everyone had a great time. With the lifting of Covid restrictions, I saw a couple of long-lost friends. There was the minor incident with young Shaun getting lippy with me, but later he showed that he didn’t know how to read a train timetable so I considered the source and laughed it off. But no, it was a great night at the club, a perfect way to wind up a couple of difficult weeks for me.
Thanks, guys, for your attendance and commitment to this effort we make to pull this off every month.