OpsLog – San Diego & Eastern Az – 5/6/2012

OpsLog – San Diego & Eastern Az – 5/6/2012

The plight of the blogger – what to say if the session goes so smooth, there is nothing to comment on?

Oh, I don’t know if there were any catastrophes in the other room. I heard about soldering a wire around a dead section, one of those crummy track gang repairs. And I know that one of the railroad’s cheap seats gave way in the crew lounge, spilling an operator to the floor (a fine way to treat guests). But from the dispatcher’s panel, no big deal. Trains moved across the division, I referred to the timetable and made their scheduled meets, everything pretty much went like clockwork. One delayed train got overtaken by another and would have caused problems in staging, but that’s what San Ysidro siding is there for. We swapped them out and in they went, one, two, buckle your shoe.

I suppose if I had to comment about anything, it’s about a shared trick I”ve seen played by yardmasters across the country, from loop-layouts to basement fillers. If you are a yard master and you need a train moved (to clear out of your yard, or to advance into it from some distance away), the trick is to convince that train (especially if it’s newby-crewed) that it’s fine to drive down the main without dispatcher clearance. Never trust a yardlet who says, “Yes, I’m giving you clearance”. Like a snipe hunt, it requires a certain ignorance of snipes.

So image my surprise when the Sad Diego local advanced from Coronado siding to Market Street yard, without permission. I looked up to see the kid (our newbie) standing in the doorway, evidently waiting for his train to be turned.

“You’re in Market Street?”

“Uh huh.”

“And how did you get there?”

“The yardmaster cleared me in.”

Yeah, snipe hunt.