should have known this was going to be one of those nights. I needed to clear the boosters. I needed to swap out a dicky phone. One of the clocks was fussing with the master and took a couple of tries to reset. Two people came after me (literally) with blood in their eyes about their waybills. And for some reason the overhead speaker wasn’t active (and when I did activate it, nobody thought I was asking them, specifically, to confirm a radio check).
It was a relief to go clock hot.
It was one of the busiest nights I can remember on the layout. Even through Mingo Jct Local didn’t run (take that up with the track gang pussyfooting the industrial area), we ran everything else (and a lot more). At first the area around Martin was packed. Then it moved over to Lehigh where I was stacking three down a siding. And then, the old favorite, all around the Harris Glen summit.
Worst moment for me was when I ordered and eastbound freight to take the siding at Red Rock. That siding is one direction (eastbound) since the westbound downhill run comes through a wicked turn and the car axle-loading guarantees cinder-plowing if you angle for the siding. Well, the plan was that one eastbound would go into the siding and a parade of westbound trains (three of them, including varnish) would sweep past. But the next thing I know, the eastbound engineer is in my office, bellyaching about pushy helpers, bad couplers, the trade war with China, Christ knows. Turns out he went up the main line, got halfway up and stalled. I’m sure there were more teary admissions but I just waved him out. I had to call all three westbounds and tell them to ignore written orders and on verbal authority take the siding. And this lead to a lot of frustration and derailments as our long heavy freights (and feather-light coaches) picked the switch over and over. I really felt bad for the crews, but it was desperate measures to get them past the wayward eastbound.
But we did. And even as I cleared that logjam and went on to the next, I realized it was fun. We ran (best guess) twenty-plus movements (counting helper runs). I can’t tell you how many warrants we pushed – I was too busy to look up. But you know, I’m proud we did – the railroad was at capacity and every part of it was being used (Lehigh was the scene of nose-to-tail roll-throughs). It was quite a night, possibly the hardest dispatching I ever had.
But it was great fun. Thanks to all those who attended!