January 10, 2020

OpsLog – WVN – 1/8/2020

t’s one of the ops sessions for the 2020 Protorails, and I managed to get the golden ticket, a shot at running on the West Virginia Northern, a line way way over in Tampa. Worth the trip. The Komars have an absolutely amazing layout. Wide aisles (well, as wide as you’re ever going to get on a layout). Wonderfully working equipment (transition era). Stunning scenery. And a comfortable but doable session – not rushed and hectic but sequential in all the right ways. When I heard there wasn’t a dispatcher (my favorite job) I wasn’t sure how it would work […]
June 13, 2021

OpsLog – WVN – 6/13/2021

he soot-black tunnel roils with fire and smoke, the den of a dragon. I’ll admit I don’t like this final tunnel into Elkview at all, a long slow curving decent. The left bend of the track makes me all but blind with our long boiler. Fortunately my fireman is in his left seat keeping watch, his shovel across his lap, empty coal cars ringing and banging behind us. Even unloaded, I’m having to apply pressure on this stiff downgrade to keep our speed in check. Suddenly I hear something detonate under our driver, a second, third. Torpedoes. Some brave soul […]
January 8, 2022

OpsLog – WVN – 1/5/2022

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 […]
February 5, 2023

OpsLog – WVN – 2/4/2023

think there is a trope forming, that for some reason everyone I attempt to carpool with suffers a medical episode. This time, got a call from the ER the night before, my co-ride bowing out. Come on, how dangerous are heart flutters in the grand scheme of things, you big baby! I mean, we’re talking operations on the West Virginia Northern! So, flying solo, I made my way out there. We were a bit short (with an additional cancellation), with Hostess Gail doubling up on yard jobs (“Thankee, no,” I thought). Instead, I got to run some really nice rolls, […]
May 28, 2023

OpsLog – WVN – 5/27/2023

like newbies at ops. They do the craziest things. They are like kittens who get tangled in yarn or tear the arm off the sofa, but are still adorable. So second shift on the West Virginia Northern found me in one of my favorite jobs, the Ashbury Hostler. Usually this is a fun and interesting shift, moving engines in and out of the roundhouse while handling the traffic to Huntington. But this time I started off on the wrong foot. The prior shift had three engines in the stalls but only two cards on the pegs, so there was a […]
November 12, 2023

OpsLog – WVN – 11/11/2023

on a golden ticket to run over on the Komar’s wonderful West Virginia Northern. Unfortunately, the night before the session I got a call from my rider – he was running a fever. A quick call to the Komars resulted in his ticket getting revoked and me facing the long solo drive to Tampa in my old aging beater. I mentioned that, if we were short, I could bring my wife instead. They thought they kinda said “Yes”, I thought they said “No” (after all, she is literally a frog in my pocket in ops, not adding to head-count). So […]