OpsLog – WAZU -1/28/2024

OpsLog – WAZU -1/28/2024

‘m kind of guessing that seconds before the WAZU railroad started, our host Doc Andy was dreaming that all his operators might somehow spontaneously combust. If that did happen, he could have used the dust buster to sweep us up. Then he’d turn out the lights and lock the door. And that would be that.

At go time, the layout clocks were totally messed up (I am very familiar with the brand he uses yet I had no idea why I couldn’t slave/master them correctly). And his dispatching computer software lasted all of five minutes before crashing. He was already keyed up enough – after all, he’d spent ten minutes pinning me against the layout, explaining how critical it was for my Walla Walla turn had to move briskly to Umatila and get clear. Yes, I’ve run it before and I wasn’t going to lollygag. But all that superintendent instruction / fishwife nagging, the session was starting with no sense of time nor organization. We were totally fucked up. Sorry for the language, but that’s the railroad term for what we faced.

Anyway, one clock managed to sorta run. And Doc swapped Zach from his assigned job and put him on the back room panel (sorta like the auxiliary bridge). Since I believe that I (myself) like to have the time on the drive over to reflect on dispatching and get myself in my groove, Zach getting tossed into the seat without any warning displayed his abilities when he got Pearl Harbored. The guy had his shit together today.

The Portland lineup. What an east coast engine is doing there, who knows? (Photo: John DV)

I think that, given the fact that our host had clinic access to chloroform and lime, our group decided that Doc might be one step away from serial killing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a group tighten up so well around their jobs. Zeus (a newbie yardmaster) did great down in Pasco – we even accepted all the switch-running shorts he tossed into the session. Everyone else ran with grim professionalism (everyone assisted each other, made room, kept the radio-use short and concise). Nobody wants the host to shove a heavy Union Pacific GE unit up their WAZU. Everyone was on best behavior.

And it showed. We actually ran the railroad in the allocated time, with the timetable running through its rough sequence.

Personal observation: I have my doubts about clever computer software that takes the fun out of warrant writing. My doubts just got doubtier. Prove me wrong, programmers.

Anyway, I had fun, both running that turn to Walla Walla and running the tank train west out of Spokane. So, Doc, assuming you aren’t in a sanitarium somewhere, thanks for having us out. Great time, and great to see that the club can still run a railroad under great duress.


Heavy-duty action on the railroad. Two trains meet at Ayer, while the foreground train is “somewhere far away”. The WAZU is a very busy railroad (Photo: John DV)