The trains are streaming out of Orlando Yard at the start of the session, and then the layout goes down.
We all look at each other. The owner starts cycling his system. We all help by checking our trains, making sure we’re not on turnouts, we’re not derailed or shorting in any way. The system comes up – briefly – then goes down again.
You hate to see it – owners put a lot of time and energy into setup, and they feel a need to provide a good session. But still, with all the electronics a modern digital command control layout employs, it only takes one short.
It comes up again, but we can’t dial locos.
Jim then resets everything – this time the system comes up – we hold our breaths – and it stays up. The guys get into their jobs, each of us running 2-3 locals. I find myself working an old favorite, Forrest City South. Tight clearances, little room, a lot of maneuvering.
And that’s what makes the session, I figure, as I ease a cut into the Railroad Express, kick them loose and back clear, angling into the next move. When it does work, even when there are troubles all night, it’s the ten minutes or more of hard-thinking imagination and role-playing that helps push a glum workday back.
Glad he hosted, glad it ran, glad I came.