‘ve got a couple of favorite trains I love to run. On my own Coast Route, I love the helper, hissing and grunting my way up the long slope through the Santa Lucia Range. On the NS Saluda, I’m always in 720, a long coal drag feeling its way down that 5% namesake grade. I love the Rinker Run on the FEC. On the club line, I’ll opt for the Mingo Local if nobody else wants it. Yes, there are just trains I like, fun and interesting and full of attitude, ones I’ll run until I’ve got them down perfect.
And on the TY&E, I’ll push grandmothers out of the way to get the Sand & Lumber train, made up of SL1 through 4. It’s a fun run, light engines from Youngstown to Sandcut, then I play around off the main with a switcher, building this cut (heavy hoppers on the front, light flats on the back). Then we’re back down the line, past Youngstown all the way to Staffordtown, where I slip in behind the local boxcar-jockey to do my work, swapping out my cut for return cars. After that, it’s back the way I came, making meets along the line, all the way back to Sandcut. Here, elementary trailing point switching and then a quick run around. Once another train is past, I’m home for Youngstown.
I don’t know why I like that run so much. Maybe because I’m an egomaniac, because one of the Sandcut industries is named after me. But I think its an interesting run, with just enough leeway so I can shine running it, and just enough realism so I can feel that I’m doing something railroady. Regardless of why I like this movement above all other, I’m always gratified when JW hosts a session and I get my favorite ride.