OpsLog – Saluda Grade – 3/12/2012

OpsLog – Saluda Grade – 3/12/2012

It’s time to go hot. I’ve got my dispatcher program booted. I’ve got my lineup in front of me. The problem is, I don’t have crews.

Maybe it’s because of that motorcycle wreck on the way in. So we wait a little more.

Now its really time to start and we’ve only got four guys.

We’ll have to run mother-may-I, no dispatcher.

Everything about this burns me. It burns me that the economy sucks, meaning people have to work stupid shifts, stupid jobs, or simply don’t have time or money to attend.

And it burns me that we’re all getting older. That twenty years ago, we’d bounce from train to train like gazelles. Now we can hardly get through the duck under.

There is also our shrinking club, where old members die off and we have fewer new members to replace them. We just don’t have new blood.

But what burns me even more is the general apathy, the fact that most of the guys just want to go home and sit in front of the tube.

And the burn greater than all those are the people who told me they would be at the session yet blew it off.

Shit, we used to have 4-6 operational layouts in this town. Now we are down to two part time layouts.

But I’ll be goddamned if I’ll let that stop me. I sign up for the Marion Turn, the ball breaker of the layout. As I roll out, Bill, another top-flight operator, comes in and takes the other local. So while the others keep the railroad moving, we work the two branches. It’s nice to work with Bill – even working the same aisle, we easily work around each other, realigning turnouts automatically for the other guy. And Marion is a handful tonight, one siding stuffed so full I’m off-spotting. Still, its always a laugh to pass through Greenly and drop cars at “Rob’s Liberal Libations” (right next to “Republican Scrap Iron”). And it’s fun to work the cuts, keeping a ear out for crews calling Old Fort (and getting clear so they can slide right through my workzone without stopping).

Most of all, it’s fun just to be there, running trains and swapping jokes. Funner than, well, not being there at all.

Like pretty much everyone else.