understand that Covid-19 has crippled ops. My monthly sessions at three different layouts (and the thrice-a-year specials) have been annulled. For the first time in seven years, I won’t be going to La Mesa (which I had to fight my way to originally get accepted).
Yes, Covid sucks.
Today Greg Wells and I held our third session of the Tuscarora Branch Line. I invited everyone at the club to attend – we had room for another position to fill. But as with the last two sessions, I ran both dispatch and the coal movements since we were short-handed.
Really, I’m reminded of when I started pushing the Orlando N-Trak club into ops the first time, possibly thirty years ago. My first home session, I got my dad and one other guy to come and they just sat on their stools and talked – no trains ran. Eventually I pushed (and dragged, and shoved) our club until we were running once-a-month sessions with up to thirty people.
Of course, Covid ended that. We tried a mini-ops on the club layout but it’s a lot of layout to clean and stage for five people.
Then I built Tuscarora to bring back small ops. We can actually run with three people; cleanup is five minutes, staging is putting cars on the tracks, the lineup is generated by a computer. We’ve run three sessions in three weeks. And outside of Greg (who has done yeoman service in helping me debug my operations and giving it a good solid grounding in reality) we haven’t gotten any interest. Suddenly it’s 1990 again and we’re running in circles.
But enough about disappointments – as far as the positives, the TBL ran well again today (one turnout is giving me questionable responses). We ran the standard full setup with two new additions – an extra freight car dropped off at the beginning of the session for spotting and an order to the MT hopper movement to drop off a car for the local to deliver up the LM&O to Bexley. We had fun even through the end of the session when the PeeDee is picking up all the cars and the Tidewater movement is spotting a long cut of empty hoppers (and special coal mixes) to the various Tuscarora industries. Great session.
So, thanks to Greg for having faith in me and, for the rest of you, what are you waiting for?