At the throttle

Train Blog

March 1, 2020

OpsLog – FEC – 02/29/2020

don’t think I’ve ever had a more pleasant ops session. Was back on the FEC panel. It was a crisp late-winter day so the shed doors were wide open, the breezes cool and the skies cobalt. The crew was old pros so no dicking around and very sharp skills. I got the panel humming and the trains followed their timetables, meeting and working and generally not delaying each other. In the yard, the ladies (and our new engine hostler) worked as a team, getting trains in and out. All that mattered to me was that they prepped the departure track […]
February 27, 2020

OpsLog – LM&O – 2/26/2020

mage you were trying to conduct a symphony and two oboes, a french horn, two violins and a tuba show up. That was ops with a limited number of people. People were sick. People forgot. People were out of town. People were sulking. I dunno what all the excuses were. However, when we don’t have turnout, our efforts suffer. There isn’t as much traffic across the summit. The freight forwarding system slows down and backs up. We didn’t organize our resources (everyone wants to run a specific train). So that’s why we got all the coals and passenger trains, four […]
February 6, 2020

OpsLog – P&WV – 2/5/2020

he Pittsburgh and West Virginia is one of the few Time Table and Train Order railroads in Central Florida (in all of Florida, maybe). And even though the station order board toggles were backwards, the train sheet is inverted and the intercom shot, it was still one of the funnest sessions in TT&TO you can get. TT&TO is about writing orders. The trains move on the authority given to them by their clearance form, under priority granted by timetable, class and direction. In other words, unlike every other form of control where the dispatcher tells trains exactly what to do […]
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 […]
January 29, 2020

MowLog – Cuesta Grade – 1/29/2020

ecided I should keep my blog up to date concerning my layout, especially since I report on every ops session and every show. And the whole point of this is to get my layout back up and running. Okay, so between when I last ran it (two years back?) and now, two furry cannonballs crashed through my booster stations, scattering components. That sucked. Fortunately I had my records as to settings and wires so I was able to rebuild it. I’m handling this now by booster districts – which I have three. As my layout is a loop to loop […]
January 26, 2020

OpsLog – FEC – 1/25/2020

ometimes sessions run so well, everything checkboxes through their timetables, every car is spotted at correct doors, everything is perfect. Sometimes. The first running of the Florida East Coast for 2020 was a little day-after-New-Years-ish. Crews were well meaning but sloppy. We had a number of run signals and missed calls. Yeah, and just so everything doesn’t think I’m just casting stones out, on the panel that day I managed two big blunders – dropped a train on the cinders on a miss-aligned turnout in the yard (but, in my defense, greens means go now, Charlie) and I had to […]
January 23, 2020

OpsLog – LM&O – 1/22/2020

rduous is a brainy word I had to look up for spelling since i don’t use it often. Used in an example: our ops session was arduous. I took the Mingo Turn out first thing at midnight. Fortunately is was still an interchange-only run so outside of a shuffle or two, I had it done pretty quick (and I got to watch a cornfield meet right outside of my cab window). But I had a bad feeling as time passed and I finished my work – Zanesville is further up the line and the turn servicing it had not been […]
January 13, 2020

OpsLog – Deland – 1/11-12/2020

t’s been said that this blog writes itself. So there I am in the dark outside our trainshow venue, the gate and building all locked up, a line of members (and our trailer) idling in a line while the fairgrounds tries to get the guy with the key to come back and let us in. And then we find out that another bunch of garden-potter railroaders have set up without regard to the tapelines, giving us no aisle space. I was ready to go home. But he had a good crew (thanks, guys, for that!). We talked it over with […]
January 10, 2020

OpsLog – P&WV- 1/9/2020

haven’t gotten a chance to run on the Pittsburgh and West Virginia much – it’s a retiree railroad, meaning it runs in the middle of the week. Not a problem (in future). This time, I got to come out as part of Protorails to run his heavy-industry line, sitting in the dispatchers desk (second time that day – my life is nothing but checkboxes, it seems). I really enjoy this one – its a great railroad that runs easy and slow – everyone muddling over their switching moves. The dispatcher’s panel is a pain-in-the-butt (I’m telling you, Tom – it’s […]
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 […]