At the throttle

Train Blog

July 22, 2024

OpsLog – WAZU – 7/21/2024

nother day on the Wazu. Came in and the host was a bit freaked – worried that we wouldn’t have enough people (it’s vacation season and a lot of people are traveling) (and Doc always freaks, anyway). But there was the discord network teletyping calls for crews and we got about two or three guys in that way. We weren’t at full staff but close enough to make it work. The session started off in the usual shit-show. I was manning the desk in the back, hunched over my train board and ignoring my monitors (I don’t want to see […]
July 19, 2024

On Sheet – The Worst Sort

ith the withdraw of Covid and the resumption of the economy, our train club membership is booming. Our ops are packed now and there is a certain level of stress to be found in the tight aisle spaces and the large number of newbie operators unable to follow simple warranted instructions (and, of course, leaving turnouts open – it’s like sweeping for mines). But then there are the potential new members that are less than desirable. I’ll keep this purposefully vague. We had a couple tells us they were willing to join, along with their young child. That’s great – […]
July 19, 2024

OpsLog – TBL – 7/19/2024

t was an interesting way to pull together a session. I asked around but everyone was going on vacation. Then I thought I’d run solo Thursday after a cancer-status-check with my surgeon; he’s all the way down in Celebration (and for people who don’t know about that, well, given Interstate 4 traffic, that’s like saying “He’s on the other side of the D-Day invasion”). Then I thought, no, maybe I’ll just go to my local coffee shop and veg. Then young Zeus who is going off to school started in on me.It was all that “How about this day? How […]
July 14, 2024

ShowLog – Deland – 7/13/2024

o the show day started auspiciously. First, I got panhandled by a bum outside the donut shop at 5:30am : “Gimme a donut”. Then, in the pre-dawn darkness, I swung into the fairgrounds access road only to find a gate closed against me – I skidded and stopped in time, but if I’d hit that chainlink mesh I could have severely strained myself. Then it was touch and go, getting the trailer down the right road to the dock so we could get ready to set up. But Jeff handled it eighteen-foot show barge right onto the spot, we had […]
July 12, 2024

On Sheet – Coventry

he term Coventry, besides being a town that Winston sacrificed, is also a place you send someone to. It refers to the practice of deliberately ostracizing someone who won’t follow rules. You don’t speak to them. You don’t look at them. You freeze them out. Recently it’s been a thought in my head. We have a member of our operations group who has a habit of berating dispatchers when he doesn’t see his “passenger” or “manifest” trains moving quickly enough. Yes, it’s nice to have all that railroady stuff when lines are under direct control (warrants and CTC) where “lessor” […]
July 10, 2024

OpsLog – TBL – 7/9/2024

o it’s the day after. I’m sitting in the local coffee house with a cup of joe, looking all urbane and cool. And it’s hard to sip coffee with this big mother-loving smile on my face. We had a great session last night. The Tusk has been down for a couple of months with computer problems. The interlocking tower would either fail to boot or, after an innocent start, suddenly fail catastrophically. I have people who drive a hundred miles to attend. I can’t risk getting them out here for an annulled session. Thanks and praise goes to designer Steve […]
July 5, 2024

On Sheet – Far side of the Moon

‘ve been in our club since a couple of months after its informal creation, nearly forty years ago. And in that time, I’ve noticed a number of things about clubs and model railroaders. Watch out for storytellers. They will saw your ears off. I will saw your ears off. There are always engines better than yours, and always engines worse than yours. Be happy with what you’ve got. When you dinner with these guys, there is always someone who is generous, possibly picking up your check to reciprocate for something you’ve done. And there is someone who always “forgets their […]
June 30, 2024

OpsLog – LM&O (Saturday Night Special) – 6/29/2024

man distinguished in his tweed jacket and ennobled by his bald spot puffs his pipe briefly before facing the camera. “Good evening. I’m your host and dispatcher Robert Raymond, club gopher and blogger for Orlando N-Trak club. And tonight, I bring you The Leigh, Monongahela and Ohio Review. This episode is titled A Study in Contrasts. “Moving westbound, imagine two sections of passenger 97. In First 97, we have plucky Pete F, an engineer new to Time Table and Train Order operations, enthusiastic to the point of running a bit ahead of his time, knowing he’s got a large five […]
June 28, 2024

On Sheet – The Problem with Nazareth

ur club layout has a very simple arrangement – there is a central yard (Martin) in the middle, the staging at the far ends of the railroad (Cincinnati and Bound Brook). For almost two decades, six freight trains (three in each direction) would enter Martin Yard and swap out a handful of cars. These cars would go onto the three primary locals (Shelfton, Mingo Junction and Zanesville). When the cars got to the industry and spent a time being unloaded, they’d be sent back to the yard to go onto east and west trains. it was a nice little flow, […]
June 27, 2024

OpsLog – LM&O – 6/26/2024

ur group seems to form great teams of solid operators. A lot of layouts ask for us, even confirm that we can make it before announcing a session. Among other places that request us, there are the Virginia SouthWestern, the West Virginia Northern, the Florida East Coast and the Western Bay. It’s a shame that if we did not actually build and maintain the Leigh, Monongahela & Ohio we probably wouldn’t have been invited at all. I mean, look at last night’s session. First off, there was all the dramas before the clock even went hot. I actually approved of […]