here are two types of people who want to see a massive head-on between two trains.
One is a deranged psychopath.
The other is a rival dispatcher.
I’ll admit that I take great pleasure in being a good dispatcher. I developed the control systems (the computer to track trains and the warrants to command them). I developed the position, sitting in the middle of the layout with my Atari 520 ST and my crude program thirty years ago, controlling trains on N-Trak modules. I’m a boomer, having walked in and dispatched layouts I’ve never seen before, cold, in cities a thousand miles away. So I take pride in my skills.
I don’t want to sound like the chorus to Pinball Wizard, but I think I just witnessed the best run session we’ve ever had. Dispatcher Case kept the layout running. Who knows – maybe it’s because he didn’t have the overhead but did have full video monitoring (thanks to Chris Strecker for that). But we ran everything, all freights, all passengers, all locals, and we seemed to run smooth. Oh, there was still the usual bitching about every little thing, from finicky turnouts to dirty tracks (there’s room under the layout with JW and me for all those who want to lend a hand on maintenance). But overall it was a pretty easy-going session – we ran the entire line and closed up shop at 10:00pm sharp (2200, for all you people who don’t like real railroad time on the fast clock).
As for me, I had a pretty good night on the east-side helpers, pushing three freights up the hill (I’d hardly get down before the next would show up). The problem with the east-side push job is that you’ve got two long tunnels (one a spiral) and so if there are ANY mishaps, you’ve got to climb under and pull derailed cars out. I had it happen a couple of times, but that’s railroading. Overall the helper job was fun, working with the crew from midtrain and being as careful as I could.
So yes, I have to ask, now that the entire crew ran this well, doing all the jobs without question or complaints, what’s next for us? Boat making? Stamp collection?
Seriously, tonight we were at the top of our game. Good work, guys!