At the throttle

Train Blog

November 24, 2022

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/23/2022

ven though we had ops last week (look it up – it’s still on the sidebar) we decided to have a pre-Thanksgiving session, the Turkey Trot. Generally, attendance is light so we run something simple – in this case, Time Table and Train Order (the old fashion way). And even with limited staff, we ran (1) four scheduled freights, (2) four scheduled passenger trains, (3) two ore trains, (4) two limestone hauls and (5) SEVEN coal trains! So yes, we probably ran more trains in this session then we do in a normal session. It was great fun, and since […]
November 18, 2022

On Sheet – Running Trains

o, I’m a model railroader. I must run a lot of trains, right? Especially now that I’m retired. Let’s see – on Monday through Thursday, I worked on the Journal Box newsletter for the NMRA (specifically, the Sunshine Region, where I am a member). This is a quarterly publication which I do gratis. Mostly, it’s just a lot of editing work. Monday night was also maintenance night at the club. We installed the new chip in Tuscarora and identified a mistake in the interlocking code. Also, I worked on an MOW siding, changed light bulbs and bagged up the trash. […]
November 17, 2022

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/16/2022

his photo pretty much says it all about the session. This is one of those chilling photos where you are able to see a lot of people right before they die. In this, 223 was coming downgrade, going into a siding that was both counter to his warrant and the rulebook, and detonated against Silver Bullet 2. Oh, the humanity. So many dead. Of course, I just pointed to the warrant that specifically told 223 to take the main. Regrettable about all those dead women and children, but we all know who was driving that train. And at fault. Seriously, […]
November 11, 2022

On Sheet – On the subject of sheets

n most model railroads, dispatchers usually uses a magnetic board to move trains. Sure, you’ve seen them – a map of the railroad (usually made with thin tape on a metal shelf) where little magnets with train symbols on them are moved about to show the location (or limit of authority) of a train. I’ve even written an Excel sheet that does just that, allowing the user to double click on a train and then double click on the desired location of a train. It works better since it shows EVERY location of the train, not just the start and […]
November 6, 2022

OpsLog – FEC – 11/5/2022

uite a crazy day (and night) on the Florida East Coast. Worst bit – in mid-session in the yard shed, there was a turntable fire which filled the room with fumes and knocked out the table. The table itself, normally able to be lifted off, seems welded in place. That really sucks – I’ve run the hostler job and really like the table. Out in the main room, there were the usual issues, including a train getting stuck in the runnel and one operator determined to run through all our defect cards (and that would be Kyle, who scored three […]
November 5, 2022

OpsLog – P&WV – 11/4/2022

kay, so we got to run on the Pittsburgh and West Virginia today, a sort of retirees session held in the middle of a Friday when all the good people of the world are working hard (at the car wash or other places of employment). The good thing here was that, unlike our last disappointing session when over half those signing up didn’t bother to show (and our plucky dispatcher found himself in the cab, running trains and watching for headlights), we had a full crew. One guy couldn’t make it but luckily called host Tom Wilson in time for […]
November 4, 2022

On Sheet – Don’t sweat the small stuff

ou’ll probably remember how I gas-bagged about facing point locks in previous On-Sheets. These are the blue levers in an interlocking tower that lock a turnout’s points so they don’t shift while a train passes over them. It’s really cool while working a shift in the Tuscarora tower to drop the lock, throw the turnout, and relock it. In towers, I read how when the lever is pushed back from the operator (standard position), signals are red and turnouts normalized. A lever pulled towards the operator turns a signal green or reverses a turnout. Given this, I naturally assumed that […]
October 28, 2022

On Sheet – The Great P&LE Strike!

n our last blog posting, we talked about simulating things that aren’t really there (specifically facing-point locks and various assorted paperworks). The thing is, operations can be more than the trains and the waybills. They can be expanded to include anything you can imagine. Like a violent labor altercation. I mentioned at the end of that On Sheet how you could simulate union dues with your operators (by passing a coffee can around). That got me to thinking about an actual strike I was involved in on a friend’s railroad. My buddy Ed (who passed away a few years back) […]
October 27, 2022

OpsLog – LM&O – 10/26/2022

ou’ve heard of the famous “Day of Infamy”, right? Well, at Orlando N-Trak’s October session, we had our “Night of Irony”. There was that moment when a heavy freight, overloaded with motive power, told the helper crew who offered assistance to bug off, only to flounder on the hill. Had to chuckle as I wrote the warrant to get the extra units up to shove him over the summit. And then there was the member who runs locomotives as one of his many livings, who made a dying out of misreading his issued warrant and pulling out in front of […]
October 21, 2022

On Sheet – Illusions

n our last On Sheet, I talked about testing out ideas; my example was my interlocking tower and the control levels (specifically the train order boards). And there, I mentioned facing-point locks. I did a lot of digging while researching interlocking controls for my Tuscarora Branch Line. I learned all sorts of curious things about them, some I ignored and some I liked. But one of those neat ones were a device called a facing-point lock. I have two in my interlocking tower; you can see one of the levers (blue) in the foreground/left, and one way in the back/right. […]