OpsLog – Tusk Hill – 11/10/2023

OpsLog – Tusk Hill – 11/10/2023

o in management positions on the Midland’s railroad we call Tusk Hill, we had Oxford graduates acting in all the positions governing train movements – controller (dispatcher) and leverman. That would be myself and Kyle. We were focused and studious in our efforts to keep trains moving.

And in the “Morlock” positions (as we call them), the engine drivers, we had Greg, Jim M and Pete. They were boisterous, rowdy and common as dirt.

So what a session this mix made for.

Management wanted to see if Tusk Hill could actually run following solid rules – official communications and token distribution. Meanwhile, the cinder apes were forgetting their tokens, their run-down from staging times, their annouciator bells and even their signals.

A leather-jacketed rebel hangs out with his dame outside of the picturesque tarmac plant. (Photo: Jim M)

Hmm. Reading this again, suddenly we inhibitors of our high signal boxes sound like the nerdy kids, and the drivers the cool kids. I’ll have to edit this correctly so we’re in the right.

Regardless, we had a hell (sorry, Jim, a “heck”) of a session today at the club. Literally everyone made mistakes, from sending trains the wrong direction (Kyle, multiple times), to making a passenger train two hours late (Robert) and not calling in section (Robert again, lots). For general overlooking of running procedures, missing the anounciator and blowing signals, it was widespread (Jim, Greg and Pete). And because Pete wants special mention, he roared through Tusk Hill at 60 mph (blew the bowler off signalman Kyle) and (I’m told) might have smashed a gunpowder van (I didn’t hear an explosion but they might have been keeping that secret from me).

But with all the shenanigans and goings-on, it was a fun day. In three-and-a-half hours we ran fourteen hours off the timetable (so we beat our old record). The new token system worked well (well, better than our prior games of hot potato). The clearance transmissions also got easier (even though Kyle and I sounded like a couple of unsure druids with our chanting). But the railroad ran quicker. And that was what the entire goal of this session was – to prove that the operation method was viable (or, for the drivers, to play grab-ass games).

Midnight as steaming engines prepare to leave the Easton shops for the short run down to Tusk Hill (Photo: Pete F)

We were about two hours behind schedule at one point but manage to recover before knocking off for the day.

Seriously, everyone had a fun time.

The management team wasn’t smiling though. We were dead serious. The others? Children.

Thanks to all who attended, and thanks to Kyle for the sugar free snacks. I could eat twice as many as normal, of course!


East Tusk Hill, a busy place build on broken tokens (Photo: Kyle S)