Harris Glen – a high bluff with scudding gray clouds, gloomy but for the occasional stabs of pure lightning. Circling vultures. Ominous.
A grim place in any occasion, but especially for this railroad. Either ascent is steep, and the Glen’s only got a short passing siding. It’s the bottleneck, no question. In every session, that’s where the railroad balls up at.
This time we had two sections of varnish east, two expresses, the coal train, two freights, and a trailer train that popped out of a spur, all demanding rights. Worse, I’d been latching warrants, meaning I’d clear one guy across, then write anther warrant clearing an opposing train after the first went by, and then a third, and so on. It was the most logical way to do it. But the express I was hinging it all on ran late and was underpowered, struggling up the grade. More trains pushed into the mix. Every siding was filled.
So I got reckless. Cleared 202 east just to pry him out, and then cleared opposing 247 to dive clear at Calypso. But of course, 202 came steamrolling down the length of the Calypso platform and there on the main was half of 247, inchworming into the siding, not clear. Luckily he could stop in time, but a black eye for me.
One train across, then another, but then that trailer train stalled on the hill and the closest thing was the coal train (the usual helpers were in the shop). So everyone had to wait while the front units ran across the summit, down to the dead trailers, to pull them over. More waiting.
I finally cleared them out but I felt like I was shoveling wet concrete.
I suppose it was due to work. A lot of stress there, a lot of emotional weight. Tonight I simply couldn’t get it to click and I was overwriting my warrants, taking chances. Stupid.
Even as I cleaned up Harris, way to the west, I dumped four trains into Mingo where maybe three would fit. God must have decided I suffered enough – the two sections of passengers were short enough to let their freights go by. Otherwise, we’d have had to cut the trains apart with a blowtorch.
On the good side, the new phone system worked wonderfully. I could hear the screams of doomed engineers like they were right in the room with me.