My old consolidation is popping and hissing on the Altamonte industrial branch lead. Five inbound cars behind the tender, then the tracks fan out into dual and triple industry placement. The back car (car five, we’ll agree) goes to the door of the Swift meat packing company. And that’s down a spur behind a casket company.
What a combo that is.
It would be an easy trailing-switch/backup move, if not for the fact that the casket company has a shipment of casket handles in a box car plugging the spur. Okay. I whistle back, push car five past the turnout, and yell for the brakeman to go tell the undertakers we’re going to be rolling their car around for a bit. With five off the back, I advance up past the turnout and down the spur, grab the knob car, whistle forward, clear the turnout, whistle back, clean couple on car five, whistle forward, watch the turnout target swing over, whistle back, in it goes, drop the Swift car, whistle forward, drop the casket car (on the roll, neatly done) and we’re out on the lead again. So, next?
Car four is going somewhere or other. I’m getting ready to shove the cut around when something makes me look deeper into my paperwork.
Car three is going to Swift. Goddammit.
Okay, so what we did three paragraphs up, using the casket car again to get car three tucked into the siding at Swift. Okay.
Back on the spur. Time to get down to business. I look down the length of my train, now three cars long, the first one a stock car full of cattle.
And where do you think cattle would go?