OpsLog – WVN – 3/9/2024

OpsLog – WVN – 3/9/2024

fter a good West Virginia Northern ops session with my friends Jeff and Kyle, we’re rolling home contentedly (from Tampa to Orlando by way of Atlanta, it seems). And while we’re all grinning like smug Buddhas, someone asks, “So, what are you going to blog about, Robert? Nothing really went wrong.”

Well, there are moments. One of my favorites was when I was working Ashbury West End and Kyle was Hostler, lugging a massive steam Saturn V out of the roundhouse and onto the turntable, destined for an outbound train. The Keystone coal train had just come in, five hoppers and a caboose. But it’s parked parallel to the double-ended caboose track and the tail track behind me is only five cars long. I can’t pull the cut and caboose down at the same time to spot it on the cab track.

“Now, I’ll neatly uncouple and… …oops. Anyone see that?”

I suppose the correct way to do this is to leave the caboose on the Keystone branch track next to the cabooses, pull back into the drill, run the train east through the yard to a suitable place to spot the hopper string. Then back through the drill, grab the caboose, back to the drill, into the caboose track to couple to the other crummies.

But then I got a slick idea (I could see all the operators exchanging worried glances when I started looking clever). So I pushed the caboose forward (back up the branch a short bit) and left it. Backed into the drill, pushed down the caboose track, banging a couple of copulas on the front of my MT hops, forward until I could couple the fresh caboose. Then back down the caboose track, cutting away once they were in. Through the drill, into the yard, dump the MTs and back to my pocket. A little smoother. A little quicker. A little slicker.

Unless you counted the steaming behemoth hissing on the ready track, unable to come out because I’d dropped the caboose squat on  the crossing he needed to exit on.  So Kyle had to use his 7,498 hp to bring his 771,300 pounds of heavy iron to a stop for five minutes. Couldn’t he see the pure art in my move?

So it seems like, other than the quibbling, we operated as a solid block of competence (Gail might beg to differ, possibly already halfway down a bottle of gin by this point). But we had fun and didn’t break anything (And the caboose was like that when I got it from the Keystone Kops, Greg!). I really did enjoy it and the lunch was de-lish!


All Photos (even the ugly ones) are from the camera of Greg Komar!

The Yellar Boys work Ashbury West. Great day operating with Kyle (and impeding his every move)