OpsLog – LM&O – 3/23/2022

OpsLog – LM&O – 3/23/2022

o, the dispatchers report: not much for on-the-ground action, but you get the birds-eye view of

the session, high above the muddy-cinder-level viewpoint of the engineers.

I can tell you I kicked out 83 warrants, a good amount (which comes out to about one every two minutes or so – counting readback time (and calling overhead for information – more on that bitch-point later), that’s air-traffic-control-level busy.

We ran five freights (I’m going to take 271 out next time I run – he’s been annulled twice now).

The Mingo Turn booms into the yard, done quick and done right. Those rock-haulers are spotted at Patterson Quarry, opposite (Photo: John DV)

We ran three of the four passenger trains. Two locals went out (Shelfton is pretty light, no big loss). Both coal trains ran. But on top of all that, we ran an uncountable number of extras. Two or three passenger runs that I can remember (yes, no track removal for Pittsburgh now, I got it). And two ore runs. Autoracks. Yes, the line was busy-busy-busy.

Funny, but when someone comes back with a crisis (like we need another enrollment form or that the password for one of our club computer accounts is messed up), I look back to the panel and I can’t make sense if it. It takes about a minute to remember what all these colored blocks represent. And I don’t even want to talk about 928 and 298, who were simultaneously entering and leaving the yard. My head throbs just to keep them straight.

I dicked up a meet at Lehigh (yes, I’ll admit to that). Gave warrants to eastbounders to take the main, but marked them on the panel on the siding. When opposing 97 rolled in, it was headlights all around. I just got the conductors to put down their soup trays and flag the issue to a resolution.

When you consider the level and effort of what we do, it’s pretty astounding. We went from a handful of guys trying to figure out how

Superintendent Sikora is called out to deal with massive property damage. Oh, the humanity! (Case file photo: Shannon S)

warrants work to a team of railroaders getting the job done. Still, if there is a place for improvement, it’s getting calls from crews when they clear the main. There’s nothing like trying to roll a hot-shot passenger train direct from Pittsburgh to Cincinnati but having to chase down three crews to see if they’ve cleared. If we can manage to get the crews a little tighter on that, the dispatcher load will go down a bit. So you read it here. Please, call when clear, ‘kay?

415 storms into Pittsburgh past official railroad track boards to help the crews know where to go (Photo: Jim M)

The session wound down like it should, a rainy night at the club. I finally came out from the room (my eyes still aglow with excel pixels) to get the usual beefs – issues with tracks and/or turnouts or Monday-morning-quarterbacking on my dispatching. For the first, yes, we’ll put them in the list. For the second, it’s as we always say, why don’t you show me how to do it better. The club needs more dispatchers, not just Cody and I.

Actually, in conclusion, I just gotta say that we ran a lot of trains. And everyone did really well. I’m smiling.


Nothing captures the sheer size of what we do that this: Ore Extra 22 grinds towards Harris Summit (Photo: John DV)