OpsLog – LM&O – 7/26/2023

OpsLog – LM&O – 7/26/2023

ormally Frank runs a passenger train with Conductor Greg, but Greg was out of town and Frank looked like a lost puppy for ops night. From the cab of my idling geeps in Martin Yard, I saw him standing in dejection, so I offered him a run on the Zanesville Turn (with work up to Carbon Hill). “It’s not going to be varnish work,” I warned him. “There’s more to switching work than trying not to spill the passengers’ soup.” But he was game.  Since we already had a warrant, we were first out of the yard, pressing for Mingo before the usual midnight avalanche of eastbounds roared out of the darkness at us.

Made it to Mingo Jct and saw the Tipton Turn loitering in the interchange track. “That guy’s a mean drunk,” I told Frank. “Change of plan: we’ll let him work Zanesville and push on to Carbon Hill.”

This took a bit since our dispatcher gave ourselves and oncoming 202 wait-for-each-other orders. By the time that resolved, Tipton was riding our crummy into Zanesville. Charmed a warrant out of the dispatcher and run into Carbon Hill where we started switching.And in a sure-why-not moment, I gave Frank the reins and let him figure the switching as we pulled support cars from Champion Mine and turned the train for the run back to Zanesville. Of course, my light diesels couldn’t hack the climb out of Carbon, so we had to lug it up in sections.

So that’s what was going on with Frank and myself, working our way down the line. Overall, it was a pretty smooth session. The dispatcher kept things moving so I could forgive him the lap order. Nobody collided, so that was a good thing (though I heard rumors of a near miss). Whatever.

And while the dispatcher was showing growth towards professionalism, the Martin Yard operator was displaying a descent into madness. Really, I’m not sure what happened in Martin Yard, but I suspect we’ll either have to fumigate it or torch it. I saw fast-freight cars, not on the easy-drop front end, but stuck in the middle of an outbound cut, something that gave JW no end of pleasure to pry out of his string at Calypso.

Mingo Local worked the industrial tracks so efficiently, it was home in the stable before its Zanesville counterpart completed (Photo: Kyle S)

The dispatcher did ask me that, when I blogged this, make sure I mentioned that everyone’s OSing was spot on, a vast improvement over last time. So everyone gets a pat on the back for that.

Conversely, the freight forwarding was actually freight reversing, it was so bad. How can you all goof something up where there is a clipboarded sheet explaining the simple things you must do? Everyone gets  boot in the drawers for that one. Sheesh.

Anyway, all this aside, Frank and I finished the Zaneville Turn, only to find out there was a retro forwarding system in Martin, where locals broke up their own trains. Now everything’s a mess. Anyway, once everything was put away (not my yob, man), I picked up the final freight, 271, and ran it alone over the division to round out the session. Nice run – needed helpers so I ran them down and pulled up the hill, just fun railroading.

I do regret not getting to watch 414 and 415 (the two coal trains) passing in Red Rock – that must have been something to see.

Late Breaking News – the coal meet looked just like this (Thanks to John DV for the image)

Special thanks to my wife for bringing my dispatcher computer out to the club when I realized I’d forgotten it. That saved us.

Anyway, overall it was a very smooth session. I’ll keep my own council on some of the strange/ill-considered/criminal moves I saw. All things considered, we had a great night at the club.


Pittsburgh has become a hell of a town. The busy station is overshadowed by the vast city-scape (Photo: Jim M)