It’s good to be king (as the saying goes).
And in ops, it’s good to be the dispatcher.
Sure, you don’t get to actually run a train. But you do get to do something that lasts the entire session. And often is a pretty busy job. I’ve had times when it wasn’t, when I’m sitting at my desk playing Kennedy Approach or something like that because the owner didn’t come up with enough for the DS to do.
Not a problem on the Nebraska Division. I’m always busy. Even with the new timetable, I was busy this time. We had a lot of trains moving down the twin mains (UP and BNSF). And they all pushed their way through the Denver-Julesburg gap. I was checking the roster, clearing the tracks for each train early, advising the locals how much time they had, moving my train markers from one end of the division to the other. The thing was, I was busy the entire time, having fun, solving problems and conflicts as they came up.
I was only vaguely aware that the system shut down (that was probably operator-button-mashing). And that the atomic collider (i.e. the helix) had issues with break-aways. While the operators had a good time running trains, it was spiced with minor problems.
But that the thing – dispatchers never have those sorts of problems. It could be a hundred degrees in the layout room, the aisle tight and the equipment not track-worthy, but it doesn’t impact the DS’s fun. We operate apart from the actual road, playing our own game. Complete session pandemonium translates to strangely-delayed trains, nothing more.
And that’s why it’s always fun to be a dispatcher.