ust after midnight. Greg Wells and I found ourselves standing in the cinders of the mainline through Tuscarora, his NW-2 idling behind him, my Southern Pacific GP9 rumbling at my back. We’d just gone over the day’s activity, the switching for him, the coal runs for me. But I’ll admit, for a tiny layout, this tyke has big ops. There was a long pause. I looked up at the guy in the switch tower. He looked at his watch.
Acting on a hint, I asked, “Do you want to just go with the locals and leave the coal out of it?” Greg agreed – that would be best. His first time (hell, anyone’s first time), after all.
Pulled out my phone and contacted the power plant network beyond Easton. “Hey, you all can go home. Yes, that’s right. We’re not running coal for the next twenty-four hours. Can you manage it that long? Really. Well, just run power to the residents you think need it. Yes, we’ll run tomorrow. No problem.”
Made similar call to the various coal mines up in the hills at Westly and beyond. “That’s right. Send the guys home. No coal today.”
As everyone says, it’s my railroad.
And it ran splendidly.
We pushed the local through its paces, Greg on the throttle of his new engine, me helping him along with the cars. He’s a smooth operator and pretty much tossed out elegant moves to get the cars spotted. By the time the PeeDee run came up, he really had the measure of the railroad. We got EM-2 built and up the Martin Branch with hardly a problem at all. The final boxcar out of the brickworks was a pain, but nothing we couldn’t handle.
So great first official session (fourth in a series). Had a great time just working as a brakeman in West Tuscarora. Next time we do this (maybe a week or two from now) we’ll open the session to another operator. I’ll take the dispatcher’s desk and we’ll run the line under full capacity.
And this time, we’ll keep the lights on!