ven though we had ops last week (look it up – it’s still on the sidebar) we decided to have a pre-Thanksgiving session, the Turkey Trot. Generally, attendance is light so we run something simple – in this case, Time Table and Train Order (the old fashion way). And even with limited staff, we ran (1) four scheduled freights, (2) four scheduled passenger trains, (3) two ore trains, (4) two limestone hauls and (5) SEVEN coal trains!
So yes, we probably ran more trains in this session then we do in a normal session. It was great fun, and since I wasn’t walled up in the back, I got to run (for the count, I moved three trains myself, all extras).
Even without the DS, we managed to work out the meet points for extras (though we had a couple of close LAPs). John DeVasto’s pondering and ruminating on how to turn ore trains at the dock paid off – I dumped MTs there and ran out with more loads.
The big craziness came right at the end. I was running the afor-mentioned ore, hot off the docks, and found out (in the timetable) that I’d have 244 behind me over the summit. The problem was we had to meet 247 coming through Lehigh. I couldn’t make it there in time and Harris Glen is too short. So I decided to squeeze in at Red Rock (a siding I estimated to be long enough). Got there an hour before 244, who tucked in behind me on the siding (his caboose and a couple of cars hanging out). I assured him we were in no danger – we’d just meet 247 and saw by him, then move fast to meet an extra and 97 at Lehigh. The perfect plan!
Except that 247 had problems coming over the hill, and ended up an hour late. Worse, he was long, leaving us all holding our breaths when he squeaked down the main (literally – we only barely all fit). With his caboose past, I was happily away. Those guys in Lehigh would stay in Lehigh since we were running hard meets tonight. And up the hill I went, grinding along in my F3 set, at maximum power.
Until suddenly I was rolling free. One of the ore cars (only a car or two back) uncoupled. Since I was on a stiff grade, the next thing I know, we were doing Disney’s “Thunder Mountain” with a runaway ore train. I called to the crews who were still trying to get the freights past one another. “Run away!” I bellowed. “Catch them!”
Of course, I’ve learned that when you have a run away, everyone turns to look at you shouting that fact, letting the cars roll free. They nearly smashed into the freight meet – someone caught them in the nick of time.
Now running really late, I limped down the hill, Mike following me with a couple of spare ore cars in his hands. Just super. It had been such a great session until them.
And there were the two trains, waiting their endless wait and greeting me with everything from why I should thank them for leaving a track clear for me, how much should we sell books for, and why was there so much down time in the session? (well, boys, I’m two hours late – THAT’S why there is padding!)
Anyway, once we got into Lehigh, Mike added my cars back on and I made the uneventful final ten foot run into Calypso.
Yes, so it was a long session. But it was also a good one. And we moved more coal than a glacier. Overall, a fun night!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!