OpsLog – LM&O – 4/26/2023

OpsLog – LM&O – 4/26/2023

A crummy in the tunnel. Looks like the Monday work party will be fishing it out next week (Photo: John DV)

t was the end of a long month for me – nearly broke my neck and possibly ending up dead, paralyzed, or worse. Overall, it was as if I’d been bashed over the head with a slab of asphalt. While it’s getting better, it still hurts.

And my dispatcher-in-training become an employee-in-awol, with the club placing second to Disney, of all things. I’d just wanted to maybe find a small local to curl up for the evening with, just bumping boxcars about. Instead, I had to run the main office, routing trains and keeping things right.

To make matters worse, we were compressing the freight starts down to see how that worked.

For all that, it went really well. I had a lot of orders queued up and ready to go. All the trains launched – the departure of all the westbound locals out of Martin Yard in the face of an eastbound drag freight and an express was a thing of beauty. All in all, the communications were short and sweet and we ran most of the trains (six freights, two passengers, a coal, and ore, an emergency helper and some sort of passenger extra. Really, I had a lot of fun.

But of course, every time I screw up, you guys demand I blog it (even though I don’t know half of what goof ups occur across the division). So yes, I did at one point lose track of my warrant numbers, dropping from 750 to a new numbering system of 250. Once it was pointed out (yeah, that ‘7’ did look like a ‘2’) I shifted it back. Sure hope there is no audit on my work. Worst was late-session when I got sloppy (my back was hurting) and, well, remember that odd-ball passenger extra? I threw a freight in his face. I only realized it some minutes later and when I tried to call and correct it, I found out that the trains had seen each other and slipped past each other like… well… trains in the night.

First, the paper mill hardly ever got tank cars. Now wah-wah-wah, there are too many. The crews just like to bitch, I guess (Photo, John DV. Disgruntled Local Crew: Shannon S)

From my side of the call box, I was impressed with everyone running sharp, with the exception of someone who was reading way too much into his warrant. We’ve run these exact warrants for 20 years. I’m thinking, rough guess, that we’ve put out 900-1000 a year, meaning 15,000 to 20,000 warrants all told. And NOW you want to get into the metaphysics of what “Not in effect until arrival of” means? This is stuff set up so that blue collar employees can operate heavy equipment. It isn’t the nature of the crystal spheres. No wonder I was nearly wrecking trains at sessions’ end – I was still struggling with ethical ramifications.

The yardmaster scowls at his waybills. He just can’t get a royal flush, no matter how much he sorts his cars (Photo: Dan Lott)

But thanks guys for the good run. The pre-cleaning seemed to work good. A heavy vacuuming of loose ballast is probably in order. And we need a dispatcher not so fond of the teacup ride.


An empty coal move (ignore the actual loads) glides across the bridge into Pittsburgh, enroute to the western coal fields (Photo: John DV)