At the throttle

Train Blog

August 26, 2021

OpsLog – LM&O – 08/25/2021

here are those days where ops doesn’t seem worth it. I knew there was going to be problems when most of the club officers didn’t show up. That means I’m the sole host. I had to get everything ready and was pretty busy, setting up the computer and getting the clocks running (and bringing the phones back online, since we are evidently a club that laughs at death). Since most of the trains were signed up for, I grabbed helpers out of Calypso. Got Dusty Klauck on the front end of 223 and up the hill we went. While Bob […]
August 23, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 8/21/2021

I’m slowly adding scenery to the Tuscarora – been busy with so many things. Anyway, had another session out at the club, a three-man job that was a lot of fun. We had John DV on the Coal and Greg running the local. Me, I took the tower/dispatcher post. It was fun but I realized how LONG it’s been since I ran it last. Man, I got the panel so tangled I had to just throw levers forward and reset. What a mess. Still, we got trains moving pretty good (though some situations arouse that had me running coal three […]
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 […]
July 30, 2021

OpsLog – LM&O – 07/28/2021

kay, let’s start with this. As the dispatcher, I goofed up last night. Extra 2007 was coming west through Weirton on Track 2. But I’d already cleared 247 West on Track 1. And unfortunately, west of Weirton, it’s all single line. When the crews started giggling like fiends, I knew I’d made a mistake. Got called to the site where both westbounds were in emergency and reviewed orders but I already suspected I screwed the pooch. My board didn’t show my updated 247 move so I’d failed to take him into account. I admit it. And here’s a picture of […]
July 25, 2021

OpsLog – FEC – 07/24/2021

ust another day on the Florida East Coast Railroad, running low capacity, pandemic-conscious operations. A smaller crew that normal due to some last-minute dropouts (made a bit better by Bruce Metcalf, who saved the day by showing up and rounding out the roster). And so the clocks (some of them) went hot and the trains rolled. I’ve been at sessions where you waited outside for thirty minutes, even an hour, for your next train. Not this time, no. With a lighter crew, we were running solid with crews rotating back in as quickly as they stepped off the footplate. Me, […]
July 18, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 07/17/2021

nother busy day on the Tuscarora. I thought we were going to have four people but because of sweeping Covid fears, the father/son team I invited had to cancel. And that left me with 50% crew. In a normal ops session, a disaster. But the modular functionality Tuscarora Branch Line can run as easily with one as it can with four. So with Greg (my long-time engineer who has been with this project from the start) we set all signals to green, coupled in the mini-tower (which lets an operator easily run the layout) and began. He ran the local […]
July 11, 2021

ShowLog – Deland – 7/10/2021

ell, it’s been a while. With Covid, it’s been over a year since we did our last Volusia Fairgrounds show. I had concerns (as I always do) about layout functionality. However, we set up the day before (just in case) and found out that everything was fine and dandy. One turnout needed a bit of TLC, and one section of track lost power. All easily fixed. Then a number of cleaning passes and we were good to go. We even logged our normal setup time – about 1:15, so yay us! The show was something else. Me, I was in […]
July 6, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 07/05/2021

uick entry but not a duplicate. Yes, we ran the Tuscarora on Saturday. But on Monday there wasn’t much work-session stuff going on so I decided to run a solo session. Ran up a sheet for a switcher local and boosted the effort by two additional cars (the maximum). I gotta say, this is the railroading I built the Tuscarora for. I just ran through the switching, taking about 90 minutes to do so. The Pee-Dee was easy – did it in minimal moves. As it stood, at the end, I wished I’d run off two sheets – I could […]
July 4, 2021

OpsLog – TBL – 07/03/2021

here is something quite unique about the Tuscarora Branch Line. Granted, it’s a small layout, only 2×4. But when Greg and I were doing our two-person session yesterday, it was like we were connected to a huge layout, managing a single town as the local switched and coal hoppers paraded past. Good session, too. Everything ran perfect. I think we had one derailment that might have been rough uncoupling. As far as the on-the-ground action, we had quite a session. First off, it seemed that the railroad had let a backlog of empty hoppers build up to the east – […]
June 27, 2021

OpsLog – FEC – 6/26/2021

f you wanted to find the last OpsLog on the Florida East Coast, you’d have to go back over a year ago. That’s how long it’s been, the entire span of the pandemic. Still, the session was one of the strictest I’ve seen. Temperature checks. Vaccination records. Full masks. And I respect that (with the new variant filling ICUs again). In fact, on the way to the session we stopped at Wendy’s for lunch. Wore our masks in the line. Sat down in the corner. But then an extended family of unmasked tire-biters sat a table away and we finished […]