his was my third ops session in the two days of protorails – I’d been invited in to round out the crews and provide dispatching.
So, a long day, starting with an accident that had me sitting in traffic for over an hour, then a full day at the VSW, then a run over to Tom Wilson’s Pittsburgh & West Virginia (or is it “East Virginia”? Tom Wilson’s geographic directions are always so confusing). Then a heavy dinner (the Wilsons made sure we were fed). And after all that, I settled in the back room with my phone, my train sheets, my warrants, my train lineup and my book.
A book? Well, different railroads have different tempos. On the West Virginia Northern the day before, we didn’t have a dispatcher – just relay signals. Then on the morning’s Virginia Southwestern it was full-blown, no-time-to-breathe two-man dispatching. But here, it’s quieter. Most of the jobs are up in the steel mill (outside my dispatching limits) The few trains that run the mainline tend to have simple meets. So Tom knows I bring a book (I’ve already thumbed through his train library in the years I’ve been coming here). I dispatch a warrant or two and then read my book, an ear towards the crackle on the line that tells me I’ve got a call coming in.
The funny thing that happened was that someone running the main was very persnickety on his warrants. I usually skip the date, spelling the towns, and give times in civilian (i.e. AM and PM) time, and not military time. This means I should list AM and PM on my times (I don’t, since everyone “knows” what I mean). But it is a valid point.
So I read out and early warrant and the engineer read it back, adding the date, spelling out the town names and correcting my “6:00” time with “6:00 PM”. I blinked. Really?
But okay, sure, I’m not really hammering out warrants like the flow I had in our last club ops. I’d grant the point. So the next warrant I issued (and continuing through the night) I listed the date. I also added “PM” to my times. But no, I drew the line at spelling the town. It’s cute but it’s a bit over-kill. And even on my slow rate on this railroad, it’s not true-railroad slow and I don’t have to answer to the ICC on this. So I met the unknown engineer halfway. And (I noted with a smile) he copied next order back without spelling the towns. And everyone was happy for the rest of the session.
It’s funny but the PWV felt like a cheat. We only ran 2.5 hours. But then again, we run 2.5 at the club and it feels like a back-breaker. But I welcomed the pace and think I gave the crews some good running between Connellsville to Pittsburgh Jct (regardless if they are really in the right places).
Thanks again to Tom for both running DS with me earlier and hosting the evening session. Great time. Great layout.