I‘m going to keep this short – I’m pretty tired. Just got back from Europe the other day, shepherding a wife with a broken arm home (not an understatement – she has an operation Monday). For the last few weeks, everything has been different: different cities, people, languages, everything.
Got back into town and sure enough, we have an ops session the next day. I’m pretty tired but I need to be there (well, my computer with the dispatching program needs to be there). So I show and the layout is staged and with just a bit of cleaning, we’re ready to go.
It’s a pretty easy night – attendance is light, so we’re only running most of the timetabled trains. With the clock hot, I already have the Mingo Jct local running down from the interchange to the Mingo siding. As I get him rolling, 202 calls – coming out of Cincinnati with Silver Bullet 2 right on top of him. This is the usual thing so I’ve already got the order for 202 to duck in at Zanesville and let the passenger train around him, which will give Mingo Local a chance to clear. And 414, the east coal drag, reports ready (as usual) so I tuck him in to follow 202 east. To the right, 223 needs trackage from Bound Brook to Calypso. And to keep things moving, I order the helpers down to Hellertown to meet him for the Harris Glen ascent.
This is just my typical opening move – I’ve done it so many times, it feels like bumping your pawn a square out from the king.
But really, that’s one of the charms of running a layout like this – the routine of the thing. 202 and 223 and the Silver Bullet and all these trains, we’ve been running them for years. And unlike all those strange sights and sounds and situations I’ve been dealing with, there is a certain comfort in our very familiar timetable. I know the operators through their voices. I know the siding lengths, the trains, and the abilities of just about everyone out there. To me, it is pretty much the Tower of Hanoi, nothing more than a deliberate series of moves towards a goal.
It’s old hat, and it fits well.