Good session at the club tonight. One of our experienced dispatchers took a trainee (who is about to graduate it seems) to run the board. That put me out on the road. Good enough – I don’t get to run enough trains.
First run was an unlikely lashup of old passenger E-8s (daylight colors) pulling modern TOFCs. Okay. Grabbed a newbie who was thinking of wallflowering and put him into the cab (I’d conduct). Picked up orders and off we went, east out of Martin Yard.
It looked like it was going to be one of those nights. The two dispatchers couldn’t hear with each other talking and the club alarm was causing interference. Also, my coupler was high, the TOFC was low, and we broke away halfway up towards Redrock. This is fun?
But the DSers got it figured – we boosted radios up to a different channel and the DS office combined to one board. For us, we called helpers down out of Harris Glen, not because we needed them but because it would keep our train from breaking and rolling all the way to the other side of the building. My cub engineer was working it out, smoothing his performance while I jotted out the warrants. Dropped the helpers at Harris and took the easy downgrade all the way to Hellerton. Down there, we got a good idea and put in a box car (which matched better with both coupler sets) and never had another break for our run. Got to Bound Brook, magiced over to Cincinnati, and ran it back home in two warrants. Good enough.
My second run was with steam (because I’m a masochist). Tried to run with two headend mikes (on the same address) and a new soundchipped mike (with a bum forward coupler) on the back. The idea was to push hard enough to stay attached. Very rocky start – the forward units hadn’t been tuned so one was spinning and one was lugging (and nobody was pulling cars). The back unit decided that it would stall in every tunnel, so I’d have to dig under the layout and bump him forward. Finally it was so bad that I swapped engines about and finally hit on the idea of dropping one of the tuned pair off and running the sound unit on the front. Since they were different addresses, I could manually work both throttles to run together so we got the pulling down pretty good (I was still way overloaded). Into and out of Martin Yard slick enough, but hairpulled the DSer, yodelling for helpers at Pittsburgh (I couldn’t even make Redrock – hell, I hardly got around the bowtie at Pitty). Some CP power ran down and got on back (yeah, that boner front coupler!) and we pushed our way up to Harris. Downhill was easy enough, but either I found dirty track or had a mechanical fault in the new sound unit because he was cutting nonstop through Calypso platform, all the way into Boundbrook. I was thankful to limp in after that. Back to the shop for my teakettles.
All in all, a good session to wrap up the year with.