nteresting train show. For me, it started at 5am when I’m standing alone in the donut shop, that is alone but for the wizened old homeless guy standing right at my shoulder. “You into… trains?” he hiccuped. I thought, “Yeah, except for the hobo part”. Placed my order quick (you’ll notice the lack of selection this time) and blew out of there. The lady behind the counter didn’t like like the sort to take this sort of shit (along Rt 50, she probably has practice).
Anyway, following our flawless setup at the Volusia County Fairgrounds (thanks, guys. You earned your donuts) we got down to the business of running trains for and with the public. And that’s when I noticed that we had two distinct periods/eras/epochs for the day.
I’d set up my PRR switcher (a new Atlas S-4, because on of the best things to do at the show is get miles in). Having put on my “Tuscarora collection” (the set I usually use for running sessions) I found myself sitting, and sitting, and sitting in Bowden yard. We had so many people on the line that the crew board was maxed out. And that’s good to see everyone out there running trains. I actually dialed up twice and moved to the the yard lead but couldn’t get a break in traffic. So I wandered about and did that Superintendent stuff (things to pack for the next show – the orange button). At about 11:30, I gave up on going out and went to lunch at the roach coach outside with some of my older (in terms of span-of-friendship and age) friends.
After lunch, I figured we’d try it again. Turned my S-4’s motor and headlights back on and edged out of the yard. The crew board was in total disarray – I’ve seen more accurate news sources. But while traffic was a little tight, I manage to squeak my short train out and enjoy my almost-first-lap before Shemp told me his battery needed a jump (since I was relying on him for the evening’s unloading crew, I figured I had to resolve this). To I tucked my train into the Aetna siding, noting that I’d come within inches of finishing my first lap of the layout. Then we went out and sweated our nuts off getting the jump worked out.
With the first half of the day having been heavy traffic, the second half was a little less busy, which gave me a chance to really enjoy my engine until our Vice President misused the powers of his office to put an engineer into my seat. Okay, so this guy did run for two hours (until I could bump him on someone else) and I did get to run my train for about forty-five minutes. That’s a train show for you. But the crowds rewarded us handsomely for this, donating nearly ten dollars (cheapskates) to our club. Buncha tightwads.
The interesting thing about the second half of the day was the fierce commitment to keeping wheels on rails. Everyone wanted to keep running, even when the show was breaking up around us. When I called for trains to come in, the motion as booed down. So we kept running trains even as we were breaking down the layout. I like the enthusiasm. But I like going home more.
Anyway, I was pretty blown out at the end of it all. Train shows (like real railroading) make for a long day. But I have to thank all who came out for the effort. We really make that show what it has been for all these years.
Now, if everyone could just remember where the damn brakeman stand when not in use. Making me cray-cray.
PS – Those radioactive yellow shirts really make it easy to shepherd the club. If I need someone, I can generally spot them regardless of where they are at in that crowded building.