OpsLog – LM&O – 8/23/2023

OpsLog – LM&O – 8/23/2023

eople say that when they run model trains, they go into their own little world. So true. Last night at the club, the LM&O was swamped by membership wanting to run trains. We filled the call sheet. And as we got ready, Frank (who usually acts as a porter on Greg’s passenger train, and who was unemployed under Greg’s absence) came and asked who he could run with. “I’ll make a man out of you,” I told him as I shoved him into the cab of the Shelfton Turn, tossed his bag in after, and settled down on the brakeman stool as I called for paper out. Had to wait for the dispatcher to explain at length how we had to leave immediately and step lively and no delay or dilly-dally (Zach, the single word you are looking for is “expedite” ), and so off we went.

I think I surprised Frank how, when we rolled into Shelfton, I tossed his bag out of the cab, along with him, and immediately whistled up a taxi to Weirton. We were leaving the Turn in Shelfton and grabbing the eastbound ore move. I’ve run this railroad for twenty years and I know that the Harris Pass is open early in the session but jams up later. If we could get our little brown nuggets (what?) over the hill early on, we’d have more than enough time to come back and finish the Turn later.

But that’s the “little world” thing I mentioned earlier. It was just me and Frank and our engines and our job. I didn’t know what was going on all around me. In fact, I wouldn’t until after the session when six of us debriefed it and I discovered just what had taken place.

Steve looks for more ‘boes to throw out of his yard. Members crowd the layout. I am not in this picture, as my bright shirt kept knocking the camera filter lens to maximum opaque (Photo: Chris S)

Only later did I find out how we tarnished the varnish. Silver Bullet 2 suffered a long delay (which suspended operations all along the waterlevel stretch). If Peter had had a samurai sword, he’d have thrown himself onto it (and welcome to the blog, Peter). Seriously, the failure was not your fault – someone had consisted your address and wouldn’t let go. But you should have let Zach know that you were delayed So yes, no seppuku for you. Maybe an ear.

I also found out about Chris’s Pennsy steamer throwing a traction tire on the assent up Harris. I do have to point out the irony here – when Frank and I were marshaling our orish 552 up the hill, Chris was neigh-saying us, predicting we’d never make it. Well, we crossed the summit in a vigorous triumph of tractive power. And you, well, that was the hill you’d die on. For lack of a traction tire…

An either-or moment: EITHER our train would stall on the hill otherwise we’d get the ORE through. And here we are at the summit! Yay, us! (Photo: John DV)


In a moment of violated railroad practices, the remains of 66 is pushed down the far side of the hill into Lehigh. (Photo: Jeff C)

All this comes down to how much really takes place on this railroad – you simply cannot understand all the moves, countermoves and catastrophes that took place. It’s like a battlefield and no one soldier knows if the fight was won or lost until later.

An extra juice train rumbles past the Notman depot as the Harris Glen Turn (known as the Eternal Optimist job) lugs out the limestone for eventually delivery to the steel mill (Photo: John DV. Juice: Tropicana)

All I know is that Frank and I had a great time. We rolled the ore into Calypso and then returned to Shelfton and it’s turn, working my cut with the help of BrakeDog* (or HoundBrake*) to hold the inbound cut until I was ready to work them. For me, a very good night with lots of challenges and open running.

I do know that Sean ran our first-ever job in the steel mill, bringing empty limestone cars over to Calypso to where Shemp could tack them onto the Harris Turn (which is very modern with its paperless routing (i.e. the waybills were left in the yard office)). But then again, Sean’s engine was DNF for the Nazareth job but afterwards, a benevolent Zach hand delivered the cars to their destinations and gave him the point for completion. And then there was 202, who came in two hoppers short at Martin (Jim, we found the cars in the tunnel above the nuclear plant – you could have told someone you had an involuntary set-out).

But really, this is just petty criticism of an amazing night on the LM&O. We ran a massive number of trains across the layout. And I’ll mention that it was quiet and controlled and very polite – people helped each other and quietly accepted the dispatcher’s mild rebukes (which brought hot tears to my eyes). The support team (DS and Yard) worked proficiently and kept the traffic moving around the burning trains. And speaking for myself (and for Frank), we had a very good time.

Great run, guys. Now I need to access the points for tonight’s fun and games.


An eastbound drag freight is even more draggy with dead varnish somewhere uphill of him (Photo: Jeff C)

If anything, this photo demonstrates the scale which we operate in. An eastbound freight nears the summit above while another drag passes the Zanesville Turn, coming back from Carbon HIll (Photo: John DV)

* = oh, and the doggie comment? To restrain my cars, I brought in a small brass bulldog figurine my grandfather owned a century ago that stood neatly over the tracks and held the Shelfton string on a 5% grade.