nlike Doc’s last session where we piddled trains around and figured out where everything was, this time we had the dispatcher program on line, a train timetable, a fast clock and committed operators.
Usual interplay on the railroad hierarchy – Train 999, grinding west with a long heavy string of coal hoppers, was ordered into the siding at Aver Siding*. Opposing him was 156, an oil can train sloshing his way east. The meet was supposed to take place at Hinkle Yard but with 156 oozing along late, I moved the meet eastward to Aver to get some rails under the wheels and get us back on time. Of course, only after everyone got to Aver did we realize that both cuts were too long to fit. What to do?
Classic dispatcher move – a saw by. So 999 dropped his over-length cut off on the main just short of Aver, and eastbound 156 nosed it down the line until he got to the next siding (Wallula) where he shoved it into the clear. Then 999 backed up (as 156 bubbled east) and reclaimed his train. It was actually one of those cool railroad moves where the dispatcher leaves his office to see it go down.
But of course, the WAZU isn’t interested in actually running efficiently. There was a lot of screaming about environmental groups hounding the railroad for our “dangerous practice” of shifting coal back and forth. Well, maybe this sort of scardy-cat response is what the BNSF does. On my SP, we just tell people like that to go to the blazes. So I had to move trains and argue with the superintendent about trivial stuff. Just another day railroading.
Seriously, the railroad ran well and the ops group ran it hot. People rolled off one train and took the next. We probably need a little more tuning on the time table – I had sidings to spare (short sidings, but still) and we can probably move a denser load of trains through. But it was fun. So Doc, thanks for having us out!
*And why call a town “Aver Siding”? So what if I want someone to hold the main. “Hold the main at Aver Siding”? What could possibly go wrong here?