I’m running up the long hill towards Harris Glen, “66” glowing on my E-8’s number boards, the cool air flowing down my passenger train’s orange and red livery. It’s a busy night on the line – lots of activity around Pittsburgh when I pulled out. People standing around the phones, waiting for warrants. The railroad is pretty jammed with numerous extras out on the iron. But that’s Bob’s problem. Tonight, the usual dispatcher gets to run!
Ahead of me, I can just make out the tight siding at Harris where the caboose of overdue 202 is just, only just getting into the clear. Jim T, one of the club’s old sweats, a hogger whose been running with me over the two decades of ops we’ve hosted, is working his train, tossing the turnout toggle, setting the track back for the main. Good to know – I want to go past him, not smash his crummy into splinters. Rattling across the spindly Harris Glen trestle, I toggle my bell (aren’t sound chips wonderful?). After all, I’ll be sliding in next to him on the main along a tight left turn. I wouldn’t want any inspecting crew to suddenly step out and make my bloody nose paint scheme literal. Jim’s already around the peninsula and into the next aisle, seeing to the front end of his train now that the rear is clear. I give the horn a friendly honk as I pass his caboose and round the tight turn, bell ringing like Sunday.
That does it for the current warrant – I’m out of authority and will have to call for another. Time to go find a phone. Down to 20mph, I walk around the peninsula into the next aisle. Jim’s already got the phone to his ear, getting ready to call for a warrant to continue.
He knows my train (passenger) is higher priority than his (freight).
With a wry smile, he hands me the phone without calling for his own warrant, deferring to the first class.
I can only spare the smallest of nods as I fetch up a warrant pad and pencil.
“Dispatcher, 66 is complete at Harris Glen, looking for a warrant…”