Wilkes

January 10, 2020

OpsLog – L&N – 1/9/2020

his was my second of three sessions in two days at the always-enjoyable L&N, a two railroad layout with twin dispatchers and all sorts of dirty diesels lugging grimy coal cars. And hey, I scored my favorite seat – L&N Dispatcher, the widow maker job. Fortunately I was working with Tom Wilson on his Southern Desk – he and I really work well together (when he’s not holding Edison Jct for ransom). The interesting thing about running in a Protorails event is that you’d think everyone would be at game-top abilities for the session. Not the case, it seemed. Crews […]
February 2, 2020

OpsLog – L&N – 2/1/2020

idway through the session, the two dispatchers (Southern and Louisville & Nashville) switch. We’ve only got a couple of minutes to update our replacement on the status. I don’t know how it was exactly explained to me but it was something like “Train so-n-so is in Norton and will need to go to Blackwood” makes me think that he didn’t have a warrant. But that word “need” seemed to mean something different between Tom and myself. It turns out he actually did have a warrant and was waiting for other traffic to clear before he started down. Fresh on my […]
August 23, 2021

OpsLog – L&M – 8/14/2021

hat’s the worst thing you can hear when you are a dispatcher on John Wilkes’ L&M? Headlights? Ha. No. No, it’s when you are hanging around at 10am waiting for your ride-guy to show up and you get a call from another person attending today’s session. “Hey, Robert, where are you? We’re ready to start?” Ready to start? Start time was 10am? I thought it was noon! And it’s in Polk City, something like forty miles away. We’re in Orlando and haven’t even hit the road yet! What a way to not run a railroad. So I called my ride-share […]
January 8, 2022

OpsLog – VSW – 1/6/2022

‘ve got a friend who like to play psychoanalyze-games with me. All of her questions are pointed and reflective. Anyway, the other day she asked, “What was your greatest accomplishment for the week?” I didn’t even have to think that one out. “I got three trains by at Ramsey.” As mentioned in my other blogs, John Wilkes Virginia SouthWestern is a great railroad with two main lines. For the Protorails convention, I was invited in to  dispatch the L&N and Tom Wilson grabbed the Southern desk. Since the L&N has a higher density, we usually give the CTC panel (kinda […]
March 27, 2022

OpsLog – VSW – 03/26/2022

he third ops session in a week (starting with Night Ops last Saturday and Club Ops Wednesday), a great run of John Wilke’s massive and amazing Virginia SouthWestern. So this was an effort to get Orlando N-Trak to get out of its tiny clubhouse and into the larger world of Central Florida layouts. John was nice enough to open his layout for us; still, all sorts of problems, scheduling conflicts, people dropping out, a truck with three of us nearly breaking down on the side of the highway, everything going wrong. But once we got there, what a session! We […]
January 10, 2023

OpsLog – VSW – 1/5/2023

irst session of the new year, a double header that started at John Wilke’s Virginia & SouthWestern (this was an informal ops session linked indirectly to ProtoRails 2023 in Cocoa Beach). And as usual, I got an invitation to bring my dispatching mojo to the session, to keep things running and entertainment (and speeds) high. And in that, I was mostly successful. So I ran the heavy panel (the L&N) while a visitor named Paul ran the easier Southern Railroad. Fortunately the CTC board (used to control the shared trackage at Edison Jct and Goodbee) was working top-notch this time […]
April 16, 2023

OpsLog – VSW – 4/15/2023

here are a thousand (well, maybe a hundred) stories that happen in the usual ops session. Since I’m sealed away in the dispatcher’s office, I only see a handful of them. I do know about the Post Switcher leaving Norton Yard and working for a half hour on my mainline (that from the superintendent). And there is that train out of Erlanger that came up the super collider helix at a high rate of speed, blowing out of the topside tunnel portal like a bullet from a rifle, overrunning his authority limits and nearly torpedoing an L&N train crossing the […]
January 5, 2024

OpsLog – VSW – 1/4/2024

om Wilson could easily play the role of Father Christmas with his warm grin and twinkling eyes. So that is why we find him in an huge stuffed easy chair before a roaring fire. In his lap is a large book. “Tonight, Children,” he says with an smile so infectious, it could be an STD in The Villages, “I shall read you a story. It is called, The Tale of the Two Dispatchers.” So there once was a land with two dispatchers, the Virginia Southwestern. The Southern dispatcher ran a line staffed with merry country people who ran their trains […]