OpsLog – LM&O – 11/29/2023

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/29/2023

t seemed like a good idea of the time. Look, the “official” session (usually on the fourth Wednesday of the month) was right before Thanksgiving. We did run (detailed HERE). However, some members left town for the holidays (possibly to elude creditors). Others had loved ones to get back home to (or whatever passed as such). Either way, while we did run every freight but one, and every passenger train but one, we missed a lot of the mineral trains and fast freight traffic. But hey, since we have a fifth Wednesday and nobody knew what to do with it, we’d run a “catch-up” ops, running anything that didn’t run and some extras besides. What could do wrong?

What went wrong (not really ‘wrong’, but…) was that we were running without a timetable, pretending it was the next day and all these trains were late. Since they were late, they weren’t on the timetable.

An empty westbound ore run meets a light engine movement at Harris Glen. Trains had been parading through this burg two and three at a time! (Photo: John DV)

Reminds me of the old joke: Why is there time and space? There is time so everything does not happen at once, and space so everything doesn’t happen to YOU!

Without a timetable, everyone could run right off the bat and most of them did. Everything happened to me!

I was writing warrants as fast as I could but there were so many trains out on the line. I’d say that at any time, there were three or four trains clustered at the two “slope” sidings to either side of the hill (Red Rock and Lehigh). Also, I’d have another couple of trains on the dual track through Martin. I was moving them fast but crews would sign up for return trips or extra runs.

A usual bottleneck opposite Patterson Quarry. Extra 123 East meets Silver Bullet 1 and 3 at Weirton. Any moment now, it will be Varnish West! (Photo: John DV)

Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad everyone got to run a lot during the evening. And everyone was very professional – no sniveling or whining when I couldn’t get a warrant out. Shannon (out of the burn ward after Mingo Turn caught fire last week) was very understanding and hung around with an indulgent smile while I printed warrants faster than the Confederacy did its dollars.

I only realize now that another thing wrong was that tonight, this was a different layout. I have a good feel for the drag freight flow east and west, and rarely am surprised when the passenger trains poke out to run. I know “that” railroad. What I ran here was a first-day-on-the-new-job railroad. I spent the entire evening reacting.

But we did run well. The crews were so professional in their operations – it was a joy to work with them (when I wasn’t ripping tufts of my hair out). Everyone dealt with their problems. People grabbed odd jobs (like Zach in the yard or Bob conducting for a newbie (who, I’m happy to say, joined the club tonight!)).

Yes, a great session. Those other clubs are running trains in a circle around the Christmas tree in comparison to us.

Glad it worked. Next time, though, let’s just run a second “normal” session or a “TT&TO” run. This ad-hoc stuff was crazy!


The Anchovy Run makes a pungent set out at Pittsburgh. I never know what the guys are running out there (Photo: Sean M)