o big night for ops at the club. Rolled down the street and the lot was packed – always a good sign. Didn’t have to beg any jobs – all the locals, all the freights, and almost all the passengers ran.
I ended up on the panel – that’s okay, I know how to deal with that. The railroad was just getting started and I was making my usual moves. Run 202 to Zanesville and duck him into a siding, with another warrant to carry him to Martin Yard once the Silver Bullet passed. My other move is to get the helpers down from Harris Glen to pull the first westbound freight out of Calypso up the hill. Usually he’ll meet the upslope train at Hellertown so I warranted him into the siding there. Like I said, usual moves.
Call from the coal train, 415, wanting out of Calypso. The freight needing helpers isn’t quite built yet, so decided to run him up front. The helpers aught to be clear into Hellertown by the time he grinds past. Larry always puts on a stack o’ units, so no assist needed for the coal drag.
Then I get a call from the helpers – the west end Hellertown siding switch won’t throw. This is a classic issue with our old drum motors corroding inside, requiring someone to reach under the layout and manually coax them over the first time. Once they clear, they run fine. I decided to run out and fix it. As I popped out of the office, I found myself thinking – Hellertown is a pretty new siding. We’d switched over to Tortoises and they didn’t require any manual coaxing. That was really bugging me.
Got to the problem location and there were the helpers waiting. I ducked under the layout and… nothing. No turnout motor. Then it hit me – weeks back we’d removed the turnout motor as suspect for a nasty short we were fussing with. And yes, we’d decided (it was all coming back to me) that we were going to replace it after the session so far away it was on the other side of a show. Sure, yeah, we’ll do it. But I forgot about it.
Dashing (which sounds better that a “panicked scramble”) for the office, I called that coal drag, trying to catch him before he passed through Hellertown and slammed into the switch-bound helpers. Managed to raise him on the radio, thank goodness. Got him stopped, but just past the other end of Hellertown.
So now I’m stuck. It’s too far to back the helpers up to Hellertown so I request the coal drag to back up 100 feet or so to make room for the helpers to duck in on the far side. That works, sorta, but it stacks all that westbound traffic up (and, I suspect, caused the coal train to derail when it pulled forward). We managed to get things rolling again.
But watch this blog next month and see if I don’t forget it again!