It’s been a rather uneventful shift on the dispatcher panel. Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting upstairs while the boys roll through North Platte and Denver. On my laptop control panel, I track them across the division – it’s brisk but if you keep the plates spinning fast, they never slow down.
Nearly 4pm now (almost midnight in the simulated world). Got a couple of trains rolling up the hill towards Denver and the Denver local running home to Bailey Yard. Two BNSF runs are merging in, looking for trackage rights west. Things are suddenly tensing up all along the western end of the district. Traffic is building up.
That’s when the superintendent calls about two eastbound movements, a freight followed by a passenger, out of Salt Lake for Denver and down the hill. It’s not revenue-related, of course – he’s just getting equipment moved from staging to staging and I’ve got to move them. Now it’s busy. The Grand Finale.
Okay, one BNSF movement is almost to Denver, so I’ll let him go. The other is rolling into Julesburg siding. I look them over and figure out how it will play. Then I call each train – in turn – and given them clearance when the last-called train goes past. You wait for him and you wait for him. Denver local holds for the BNFS drag, then is cleared home. Then the two east extras, same orders to them. And that westbound in Julesburg – once the training passenger train is past, he’s clear to Denver. The plates and humming. The trains are moving. I sit back and listen, wondering if I’ve overlooked something, if I’ll hear the humiliating call of “Headlights! Headlights!”
Nothing to do but watch the board. Crews call as they clear into North Platte, into Holderidge, into Denver. As they clear, I drop their markers off the board. Where once there were four trains, now there are three, then two, then one. Now the line is clear, the rails cooling.
“I think we’re done down here,” the superintendent radios.
I close the program and shut down my computer. That’s a wrap.