At the throttle

Train Blog

March 25, 2021

OpsLog – LM&O – 3/24/2021

he trouble all started when I was working the Mingo interchange, swapping cuts to and from Wheeling. I asked the cub dispatcher for paper to get back to Mingo Jct (I’d already been issued a warrant to get me just to the interchange, rather than the more traditional out-n-backs Cody Case and I rely on). So I said I wanted to go back and he said “here’s yer warrant” and (given the fact that I was working with Teddy, my new engineer on the Mingo Turn, as well as rerailing other trains and pulling toppled engines out of tunnels) I […]
March 14, 2021

OpsLog – WAZU – 3/14/2021

fter a long time away from the Pacific NorthWest, a small crew was able to return to the WAZU RR (I still don’t know what it stands for), Doc Andy’s heavy power line between Spokane and Portland. It’s been possibly more than a year since we last ran. Even with that time, the doc’s railroad ran flawlessly. I dispatched with more camera angles than a medium security prison. But I really didn’t need them – with long runs and plenty of sidings I could get everyone past everyone else with a minimum of wait and fuss (though we did have […]
March 14, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 3/13/2021

f course, if half of your crew is new and you are superintendent to a railroad with intense switching and interlocking control, what do you do? You go easy and drop the freight levels to the lowest possible settings, right? No, I cranked them all the way up. The pre-session extra freight dropped two cars on the siding (doubling the work of Tuscarora Local 1) and two coal trains had drops (one load, one empty). Brian (as the switcher) and his son Tyler (as the towerman) had their hands literally full for the session. And I’m happy to say they […]
March 7, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 3/6/2021

t club ops, I don’t care. Whoever shows shows. At my home ops (so long ago) I’d put out a crew call and get an idea of how many would show. I’d usually get ten operators and told myself we could run with as few as four. On the Tuscarora Branch Line, we run best with four. We can’t run with any more than that. And with three or two, the session is much more difficult since someone (i.e. me) has to double up on jobs. I’d set up four (myself included) for a session today but there was a […]
February 28, 2021

OpsLog – WBRR – 2/27/2021

his kinda came up from my editing of The Journal Box. Got to looking at Al Sohl’s pictures and missed seeing his layout after a year of quarantining. Wanted to show the wife the Room ‘o Rockies and wrangled a visit for me and my wife. We showed up and the next thing I knew, Al was starting up a mini-session. Disclaimer: I knew he was going to do this but didn’t tell the wife, lest she chicken out. And so this is how I ended up rolling out of Denver with a full head of steam on 124, heading […]
February 25, 2021

OpsLog – LM&O – 02/24/2021

“Boomer” is defined as a railroad employee who goes from job to job in a short time, constantly working on different trains and positions. That was pretty much me tonight. Got there early and set up a passenger train, and put some engines in the yard for any locals that might open up. Then someone said our dispatcher wasn’t showing tonight so I’d have to take it. Then Shaun said he’d take the DS desk instead of running Shelfton. Fine – I wanted a local. So I rolled down to Shelfton at clock-hot, working out my first slick move of […]
February 14, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 2/13/2021

o when you set up an ops session on get three guys willing to show, and then on the day of, two of them bail, you’re pretty screwed, aren’t you? For a moment I figured we’d cancel – it was just me and AJ. But John was there and agreed to run coal. I told AJ that there was no better time to learn the tower – we’d treat it like a practice session. I ended up with both the local and the dispatcher job so I was really going to be busy. And we started the sequential clock. It […]
January 28, 2021

Opslog – LM&O – 1/27/2021

aybe because we had a lot of familiar faces show up. Or maybe because everyone brought all the things we needed for a good session. Or maybe because the Zanesville Local only had one car to spot. But it was a great night on the LM&O. With Cody on the DS board and Nick in the yard, the railroad organizational staffing was rock solid. Even the newbies (like Braden and his Dad) came prepared, having studied Silver Bullet Two’s timetable and walked the layout, getting a good understanding of what they would be doing. That works for me, since instead […]
January 17, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 1/16/2021

was rolling out of Easton on 613 in the early evening, having spotted the day’s final cars. Gave two toots to the line of glowing windows along the tower’s second floor, acknowledging the green boards I had back to Tuscarora. Ben was doing a bang-up job as the new towerman. Better than I was doing as an engineer on the Easton Turn, it seemed. I only got five miles when I realized I’d missed picking up a car. Called the dispatcher on the callbox for a quick return to pick up a pennsy box. We all have our off nights. […]
January 7, 2021

OpsLog – LM&O – 1/6/2021

he two GP-9s of the Mingo Jct Turn rumbled out of Martin Yard at 2am. I knew we had a lot to pull from the industries since nobody ran locals last time and the spurs were packed. I guess that’s why I got assigned extra crew on this run (namely, Tom and his son Braden, who really knew how to handle trains well). Braden had expressed interest in operations and I told him he was getting it in spades tonight – we had a very tricky run. Lots of switching and lots of puzzles. But the father and son team […]