o here I am running a switch engine in the industrial yard I was born to run (or at least physically built to run), Altamonte Springs. The Longwood & Sweetwater RR is pretty tight here, something like a foot of headspace under the host’s backup N-scale layout (my long arms really help here). I’ve run this turn before and am just going into the drill.
John is on the back end, tossing the throws and lining me up. Together we’re working the yard, bottom to top, cleaning it out a spur at a time. Then I tell him that I want to pull all the collected cars through onto the siding and work the inbounds into their spots. John nods, noting this moment where I shift from fetching cars off docks to spotting deliveries.
I’ve run Altamonte four or five times. I’m experienced. Or so John thinks. Really, it’s just a gut check. I don’t know when I switch from fetch to spot. So I push our cut and crummy down to the end of the least occupied spur, trying to get it clear of the run-around switch stand. It just clears. John nods in understanding as I run up the passing siding to pull my deliveries out and my pickups in, all in one smooth motion. Yes, it was a pretty slick move. But it was also just a guess. If it hadn’t fit, I’d have had egg on my face. But becuase it worked, it looked really clever.
Of course, when John reads this, the cat’s out of the bag.
BTW, all the hungry engineers really liked Speciality Pizza Express (phone number 407-896-0123, serving the Altamonte/Longwood area (just like the L&SRR)). John’s boy runs the place and tossed the operations group a couple of pies. Nothing like having a hot slice of pizza waiting when you drive up. It makes running trains all the better.