OpsLog – TBL – 2/25/2024

OpsLog – TBL – 2/25/2024

uscarora has been inoperative for two months now. The interlocking started fritzing; I got the last good interlocking session on 12/30/2023 (Happy New Year!) and then a massive failure in a status run (1/21, aborted). So my electrical engineer reworked the cheater box so that I could run only turnouts, no interlocking effort. And that’s a pity, because that’s where the pike shines. Still, a basic session is better than no session and so my friend Greg came over for the day and we ran the way we did years back; a coal guy, a local guy and a lot of CDS (compromise dispatching) (i.e. After you! No, after you!).

So I was in the seat of my Strecker-weathered SW-7, moving around the extras and delivering the goods. We’d already had a golden Tuscaora moment when the extra coal drag found itself in front of my scheduled train (I was running late and shining my headlight into his crummy). On agreement, he came out of Westly and took the siding, My freight rumbled past down the main (bell ringing, in case his crew was out stretching their legs). Once we were clear of the home signal, I looked back to see the turnout going over and that grimy RS unit pulling out behind me, following me through to Easton. It was a perfect moment from 1962, captured in miniature. Tuscarora was back.

And if there is one thing a microlayout is major at, it’s goof-ups. My comrade scored one – he was running the cheater panel. I was holding the siding waiting to run west out of Tuscarora. Meanwhile, he came rattling over the South Fork Tenmile Creek Trestle, flaking rust into the water as he swing through a mis-aligned turnout, into my siding and smashing into me. With my dying breath, I wished the interlocking was back in service.

My own boner was when I worked through all my switching, quite the ace. Was running the Easton Turn, running the zipper to fetch out a scrap gondola. And suddenly I’m pausing, blinking. The gon was sitting inside the brewery. I looked over to Greg, who gave me a goatee smile –  “I was wondering when you’d notice that.” I’d put it in the wrong spot location!

Well, shit. All I could do was quickly shift the gon to the junk yard next door (while I sent the brakeman to apologize to old man Levine for not delivering on time). I could give them four hours before the PeeDee showed up for the final sweep to pick it up. I can imagine how that went over with Levine’s scrappers – they were supposed to have all day to unload it. Now we show up at 5pm on the dot and dump it, then tell them they need to rush the unloading in the dark before our pickup time.

If anyone asks, I work for the C&O.

But all in all, it was fun to get the Tusk running (even in limited fashion). Greg and I had a great time and without all the interlocking mucking-about, we finished up in 2.5 hours. Great fun!


p.s. Sorry, no DeVasto pictures. He was up to his elbows in yellow paint.