ight night at the club – it’s like that sometime. But the crew runs sharp – we’re cleaned up, set up and away when the clock goes hot.
Matthew made it on time so I gave him the panel – he’s off to College soon. This let me out to run the Shelfton Turn – interesting note about Shelfton; it’s the oldest section on the layout. It’s been in operation 25 years. And I’ve never run it. Nope, not once. So tonight I did. Worked it smooth – I don’t know if the usual crews do my trick – I ran down with everything, ran around the cut on the passing siding and shoved them all into the tail track that runs under the passenger station. More than once, people stopped to watch and asked if I could really do that. The general opinion with that this track only held a couple of cars. Nope, I pushed at least ten in. If you are working an industrial area with tight tracks, then you want to take advantage of a long slice of empty tail.
Did all my work by noon, so it was pretty easy (especially since I wasn’t digging my way into Federal Cold Storage). This gave me enough time to hop onto my second train, 271, and roll out of Bound Brook with it.
Didn’t get to far – my Geeps were flaking out on me by the time I got into Calyspo. Thankfully Yardmaster Frank loaned me a couple of sound-equipped CSX monsters – rumm rumm! Swapped out in Calypso, tacked on helpers, and had a beautiful run up and over the summit, just one of those model railroad smile moments.
I was thinking how this might be Matthew’s last time on the panel. He’s been with us for years; came in as a young kid who wanted to learn dispatching. Of the three dispatchers, he was the butt monkey, getting kidded (and blogged) about his cornfields and laps. Just flip back through the LM&O reports and you’ll see many examples. But he’s grown on the job. Tonight, no headlights, no deaths. Everything was running hot and on the dot. Picked up a warrant out of Red Rock and smiled when he cleared me all the way to Cincinnati – smart move. Most dispatchers don’t think it through and figure they gotta give you a warrant to the yard and another past it. But Matthew cut it correct – he could clear me to Cincy on track one and it would be my responsibility to stop in Martin Yard for setouts.
And before I could get impressed by this, I heard him cutting his last warrant of the night to the Harris Turn. And here, he pulled a sharp trick – he wrote the warrant using the Work between Calypso and Harris Glen. This gave the local total operating authority across the line between the yard and industrial area. It was a slick move that saved paperwork.
Which means he’s fully fledged.
And now we’re losing him, goddammit.
Good job, Matthew. And good luck on your future endeavors.