heckmate in three.
I’ve written the program we use at the train club, the one that generates switchlists (i.e. railroad documents that tell what industries each car is going to). In a typical session, nine trains and one yardmaster move something like 100 or more cars to and from specific locations.
And even though I’d written the program, I’d never gotten a chance to run a train with it.
As I mentioned, the session was winding down, one train in Calypso dropping a cut, the other topping the ridge at Harris, heading for Martin Yard and eventually Cincinnati. I was grateful to see that last train run – without it, I’d be reversing cars in my database, moving them back to simulate an annulled train. Thanks to John for picking up 271 (Helperman Bruce was shocked when I forced him back into service for one more boost).
So I could finish the session in three warrants. I wrote them, contacted the crews, did the reads and readbacks and signed off. The railroad would spool to completion.
With nothing left to do, I went into the train room to watch 271 ease down the long western grade, rolling into Martin Yard. Yardmaster Frank was sorting some cuts in preparation for the last freight. “You here to run Zaynesville Local?” he asked with a sharp smile. This one local hadn’t run, so I’d be backlogging cars anyway.
“Right,” I said. The session was nearly over. Outside of a couple of people, everyone had gone home. Then i looked at the short cut and the switchlist sitting on the sheet.
“You running?” he prompted again.
“Yeah,” I said with slow consideration. “Let me get my geeps out of my bag.”
As 271 rolled into Martin, I slipped out the far side, rumbling over to Zanesville with a clipboard of computer generated placement orders under my arm. Pushed the cut up to Zanesville Industrial and did my work (Bruce was nice enough to help me pull the pickups). Then over to Carbon Hill, towing a single box for Champion Mine. So nice after a long and difficult day to watch my units wrap around that wonderfully sceniced river valley, and to swap cars out at Champion.
Really, I’m not sure why people don’t make every run they can get. I love this stuff, and dispatching all the time, I hardly get to run. The list was great, and it was fun to see the transfers I’d printed out actually get executed.
Back in the yard, Frank and I split the train, both of us sorting half on our respective ends of the yard and classifying them onto Martin 6 and 7. And that was it. Everything ran.
Glad I got a shot at a local.