ith a combination of sweet-talking and blackmail, I managed to get Kyle to take the DS seat on the WAZU Line and fly into the maelstrom of mother-may-I, controlling the sprawling, confusing, and statically-cracking division. Me, I got to run trains (which I do every couple of months). So, with my new-found freedom, I busted out of Hinkle Yard (four fast-minutes early; you’d think Yardmaster Sparky was having a baby; such screaming). It was a quick run to Umatilla and after some quick switching, a quicker run down to Walla Walla. And that was fun – a long siding with limited industrial elbow-room – once or twice I thought I might not have space to pull off my exquisite switching moves. Oh, and I also dutifully called the dispatcher as proper (the rest of you radio-silence yahoos, take note!). Anyway, I got everything sorted out tout de suite .
Oddly, no trains passed while I worked my magic. I found that strange – normally they are out of Portland and Seattle in quick order. I think that with everyone (including some of the clinic animals) running locals there just wasn’t enough hands on throttles.
Poor Kyle. I think he was in the dispatcher office looking like a German officer on the Eastern Front in 1944, screaming for counter-battery fire while Russian salvos are pounding over his bunker, making the dust settle into his schnapps. Yes, I know what the job is normally like, but add to it a new timetable, new operators (and some of those not good with English or nine years old) and radios little better than Marconi rigs and, well, suddenly my desire to run an individual train rather than the entire division looks pretty damn shrewd, doesn’t it? I guess I’m clever after the fact.
But because I never run trains, I was in line for them as long as they lasted – I ran three mainline hauls (including a long tank train filled with several species of dinosaurs), two helper runs and a local. I was gratified to see how many other people were manning the pumps – with a full crew, the WAZU gets tight and most people were working together, slipping around each other like a game of vertical Twister, rerailing other people’s cars (when they weren’t knocking them off the rails in the first place). But yes, great fun. Great friends. And I think JW lifted my wallet.
Looking forward to the next run, especially since Kyle wants the back office job again. The fool.
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