At the throttle

Train Blog

December 18, 2022

OpsLog – LM&O – 12/17/2022

he engineer on train 244 curses under his breath as he ground his units up the long hill towards Harris Glen. For no reason at all – except to be ornery  – the dispatcher had issued a train order for 244 to meet 247 at the base of the grade – Pittsburgh – rather than midway up as timetabled. It would have been an easy meet but for management sticking its long nose into train-running business. So now 244 was late, and that meant that, given the hard meets the railroad was running, passenger 97 would be dawdling at Lehigh, […]
December 16, 2022

On Sheet – Handle with Care

e’ve all seen it on the highways. The person who looks down (at their phone) just as the light changes green. The person on a freeway exit lane who misses the big green signs (with the yellow EXIT ONLY markers) and slows everyone down with a panic-merge. The people who frenetically fly past, going down the right lane when there is clearly, obviously a truck chugging along, which boxes them in and makes them madder and drive even crazier. People are terrible drivers. They don’t learn from their mistakes. They don’t put the attention into it that it requires. And […]
December 14, 2022

OpsLog – TBL – 12/13/2022

o we had ordered supplies for Wensleydale Feed and Grain (namely 4000 cattle bibs). The Chesapeake and Ohio shipped it to our hometown – Tuscarora – via the Pennsy. I spotted them dropping it on the team track siding as I drove home from the bar, right as promised, midnight. I’d be there with the boys to unload it the next day. So we had the door open and the truck backed up at 8am sharp. With donuts, coffee and fish stories, they boys didn’t really get working until 8:45. We’d only just gotten everyone aboard and ready to grunt […]
December 9, 2022

On Sheet – YardBirds

ur club has been developing ops for two decades. We’ve also gone through three freight routing systems. Right now we’re very happy with disposable waybills. We also only had one yard (Martin). It’s a staffed yard with a crew. There is another yard on the other side of the hill, Calypso. It had nothing going on and is unstaffed. So for the last ten years, there has been a cut of thirty cars in both yards. As inbound trains from staging come into the yards, they stop at the first yard, add a cut of ten cars (we call these […]
December 5, 2022

OpsLog – FEC – 12/4/2022

he second day of my all-ops weekend played out even better than I could have hoped for. The drive was easy, traffic light. We met a couple of club members at Wendy’s before the session, to chat about the coming effort (one of the members for a newbie, so that helped him (or filled him with horrifying regrets)). And then we went over, met the rest of the bunch and filed out to the two sheds to get things rolling. Kyle was on the panel and I had light road duties, meaning with one train, I stripped out every car […]
December 5, 2022

OpsLog – WBRR – 12/3/2022

hings on the Western Bay railroad get better and better. We had a new dispatcher today  – he wasn’t all that versed in TT&TO (but who is – I’m giving a clinic at a convention next month on the topic). But he rolled with the punches and did very well. Three of us operated seven stations – I gotta get Al to let us start issuing train orders someday (I’ve got some ideas – also mentioned in my clinic). But otherwise the crews made their meets and switched their cars. The superintendent doesn’t trust them one bit but they are […]
December 2, 2022

On Sheet – Quiet Time

recently mentioned the comradery one can get from model railroading (and, specifically, operations). Well, the reverse can be true too. The other night was club night. Got to the dinner joint at 5pm. Talked with the guys and our waitress (our favorite) for an hour or so. Of course, there would be a board meeting for the club after the meal and being secretary, I was there with my computer. Our president (of course, the last guy to show) came in at 6:30 or so. And we talked over our end-of-year financials and congratulated ourselves on our efforts. We brought […]
November 25, 2022

On Sheet – Thanksgiving

had a blog all ready to roll. It had to do with how people at clubs can be difficult, and talked about a recent fissure we suffered. There is also a club in town where a member got pissed, came back in with his key and tore out all the bridges he’d built. Yes, it was a nice angry blog about leaving with dignity (and not letting the door hit you in the ass). But then we had a scratch ops session at the club Thanksgiving Eve. Normally the guys like running under warrants. Track warrants tell you what to […]
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. […]