fter a frightful eyeball malfunction and a kidney stone, I was ecstatic that I could finally host the Tuscarora Branch Line with three of my favorite operators (Greg, Brian and Tyler). Once we ran the wasp blockade (three nests in the porch roof), we were able to kick off the session and have a great time.
This time, I took the dispatcher’s post while Greg ran the coal extras. Brian ran the scheduled timetable and his son Tyler, the signal tower. And this was a really fun session – the first time we ran with active signals (rather than just the repeater panel) and the first time we ran with an RS-3 in PRR colors hauling coal. And, frankly, the RS sounded like a speed boat that had been in the shed all winter, all blub-blub-blub. I loved it. It had that nasty sound of a failing railroads backwoods motive power.
Tyler and I had a great time running the railroad’s control side. I wanted to keep trains moving and not let anyone get more than an hour behind. In that, I was launching trains out of Westly and Easton as quick as I could, with them occasionally running nose to tail. And this is where a good towerman is critical on this plant. Tyler was killing it on the panel, moving trains simultaneously and calling the times past his tower. Brian was doing a good job with the locals (though when the PeeDee ran its cleanup, all four of us were pondering the moves). And Greg, he found out that a simple run with a coal train can be quite a challenge with a momentum-heavy unit. It was fun to see him ease out of Westly and across the trestle (past the PRR signals), coming in slow so he could spot the train order signal at the tower.
With all this going on, we had a great session, one that took about 2.5 hours to complete. It’s amazing what you can do in N-scale on a 2×4 layout. It really did feel like a little down in southwestern Pennsylvania, easing long trains of coal through the narrow hallers.
Good work to the crew (and the medal of railroad honor to Tyler) for a stellar job!