y green West Virginia Northern RS units grunted like laboring elephants as I slowly pushed a flat car into a the New River mill, down in a river valley where the mainline ran. I’ll admit that I nearly put the flat off the end of the crude siding, distracted as I was by my paperwork spread over the oil-reeking cab. I wasn’t really confident in my work orders.
See, some newbie back in Ashbury yard, a guy with no west-end switching, had built this train. And he’d gotten one or two corrections from the superintendent while doing it. Also, he’d been rushed with a sudden flood of early morning arrivals. So confidence was low that this nitwit had assembled the cut right.
In full disclosure, I’d been the west yard guy earlier in the session. But now I’d literally be reaping what I’d sown.
Anyway, rolled up the New River to Coalwood and Darby, working the drops as I went and realizing (with disbelief) that I’d done it correctly. All the cars I needed were located in the back, easy drops, and nothing seemed misrouted. And that got me to thinking of what sort of rocket science calculations our co-host Gail Komar had put into this effort. As I figured it, at least two trains (of about ten cars each) had come into my yard to be reclassified. I had to break them in cuts of five or less to fit into the drill track. And so here I was with everything blocked correctly (including the potentially-nasty Darby spur which had a single siding housing three industries at arm’s length) but my cut was arranged so that they went in in correct order, one pushback). A relief that it was that easy.
But think about the pre-planning that goes into multiple trains from different directions getting broken in chunks for classification, yet falling into the exact order I needed them. So hats off to the Gail’s freight department for arranging this feat.
After this, it was a quick and scenic run up to Harris where I worked around another local to drop my last two and pick up a couple of cars for the ride home, my work done. And this is when railroad operations are the best – when you’d done all your work, when you haven’t screwed up, and you have an easy ride through amazing scenery. It was another great session with the Komars on a layout I’ll brave Interstate 4 to operate on. Thanks for inviting me!