It’s one of those sessions where you can overlook the little glitches and everything. We’ve got a full house, a bunch of fascinated guests, and all the trains are moving.
So I’m really in the groove, running Black Widow SP F3s on the front of an intermodal train. Sure it looks strange – engines and cars are 40 years apart, but what the hell – I can squint and I’m Coast Merchandiser East on the head end of TOFCs. So it’s cool, the engines are running well and I’m smiling. And I’m just coming into Hellertown and have the long grade to Harris Glen (which I’ll never make on my measly four-axle units). No way I’ll get these heavy intermodals up that long curving route. Still smiling through. Why? Cuz we’ve got a newbie on the summit with helpers and he’s itching to pull someone up. He just ran ops (helpers, in fact) on the Cuesta the other day and came back for more. So this will be his first official move in club ops.
I’d given him the rundown on how to do warrants and he’s been listening. He calls to get clearance to slide down to Hellertown and link up. The dispatcher gruffs at him (the dispatcher gruffs at everyone). And that’s okay because I told him to expect that too. So he reads back and activates his warrant, then looks around as if unsure he can really go. I give him a wave – all clear, kid. So now he’s drifting down and the dispatcher’s got another pain-point, active helpers on the summit. And I stand by the turnout toggle to switch him over when he gets closer. And everything’s fine.