elp, they were predicting cold and rain, meteors and crust-cracking. But it turned out to be a beautiful day to run on the New Haven’s Highland Line.
With the garage door open, we operated in pleasant outdoor conditions. Since it’s been a while, that worked in our favor since there was a rolling Q&A session on the driveway with host Rob Gross before the ball dropped (even your kindly reporter/dispatcher looked over a control panel that, at first, looked incomprehensible (add a few facing point locks and I’d just run screaming across the lawn)). But everyone got their paperwork, throttles, train locations, tasks, duties and horoscopes figured out and we were ready to go.
I gotta say that, as dispatcher/tower operator, I have one of the best spots in the railroad. I get to watch a parade of trains rumbling past my interlocking, in and out of Waterbury. Really, the double track main, bordered by a yard line and an industrial track, was a busy place. I could watch (and interact with) the action.
Yet when things got too much, I could simply turn around and enjoy two locals working the fall hill between Plainville and Bristol. It was like living art, with the locals hardly disrupting the image by actually doing any work or anything. Relaxing!
We really missed Mr. Chisholm not being there (the excitement of two operation sessions in a weekend proving too much for him). Had he attended and with passenger trains rolling through the scenes, we wouldn’t have had all that lackadaisical mainline trespassing I watched take place. This time, we were running weekend hours, guys. Next time the varnish is going to keep some of you claim-jumpers honest!
Once again, Host Rob provided us with a dining experience for lunch (the candlesticks were a bit much). But yes, we all had a great time and everyone came away with a smile, which is what operations (and model railroading) is all about.
Thanks to Rob for the session and the guys for attendance. We made the New Haven come alive.