At the throttle

Train Blog

November 21, 2015

OpsLog – FEC – 11/21/2015

ometimes these things can be tough to write. Outside of a turnout being left open, some paperwork getting misfiled, and little snigglets here and there, there wasn’t much material for a fire-n-brimstone ops report. No insights, no breakthroughs, no flashes of intuition. Except one. Bruce and I drove over and met Bob and the FEC crew for the holiday/last-session-of-the-year shindig. There was food in cornucopia amounts, side dishes and deserts and everything you could want to stuff in your gob. And then we ran. Bruce and I ran as a team, lucky to find ourselves on local jobs(which is the […]
November 19, 2015

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/18/2015

pectacular! Oh, you might not think that from ground level (the ground being that of a 25 year old N-scale layout, with all the wear and club-cross-wiring such a thing naturally gathers). Yeah, it’s old. But still there are things that get better with every session. For example, we’ve got a new generation of support staff coming up. Bill ran the yard sharp and hot (the car-roistering will determine just how accurate it was, but from what I saw it looked good). And Matthew ran the long trick, dispatching an entire session keeping six freights, four locals, two passenger trains […]
November 15, 2015

OpsLog – TY&E – 11/15/2015

etting to the TY&E today was a pain in the ass. Colonial Drive was backed up both ways (on a Sunday at 2pm?). I had to make a U-turn across an anti-tank trap (in a Mini Cooper) to get turned around. I hate the east side of town. It’s nothing but vehicular constipation. I did see Bill’s big blue truck make the last turn off about 100 feet (i.e. 5 minutes of sit time) ahead of me. Finally got there and got attacked by dogs (the usual thing). And so, train time. There weren’t a lot of us, which is […]
November 4, 2015

OpsLog – La Mesa – 11/1/2015

ough start to the day – got in a tiff with the crew caller early and ended up reading a book in the lounge for two hours. But then I got a train which was a real sweet run – over the hill with a minimum of fuss (except for a thrilling run-for-a-siding banana-drama). And afterwards I spelled the Caliente station operator so he could go get lunch (even had to write out a fumbling order). And that was exciting. Why? What station operators do: In ‘Time Table & Train Order’ operations (the method railroads operated for over a hundred […]
November 3, 2015

OpsLog – La Mesa – 10/21/2015

ackstory here: You gotta understand the damn scale of the La Mesa Club. It’s big. Really big. Imagine that you were a tiny little HO figure. The distance is 29 scale miles from simulated Mojave to pretend Bakersfield. In most locations, pretty much all the track alignment is correct for the 50s. We run trains that are 50-100 cars long (often with two or three operators controlling engines). A half dozen clerkish characters keep the railroad organization (from crew calling to cooking to dispatching to MOW) humming. Yeah, big. So I’m in Mojave – just got into town aboard Extra […]
October 26, 2015

OpsLog – BN (Formerly DT&I) – 10/25/2015

o, my falling fortunes. On Friday evening, I was dispatching a heavy mountain line in the profitable 50s from a brick building in downtown Asheville. By Saturday morning, I’d been bumped out into the Tennessee wilderness, dispatching a declining railroad in the 60’s-70’s, now likely in a peeling wood-frame draft-palace in some little Podunk town. Saturday afternoon, my career continued to slide, down to engineer of a crack passenger train out west, down to running a sharp little local pulling in rolling stock from mainline towns. But by Sunday morning, I was out in some industrial bad land (it looked […]
October 24, 2015

OpsLog – ATSF – 10/24/2015

he AT&SF Railway Henderson District – long and yellow and low-hilled, that’s pretty much the early scenery. This creation has a long folded plan with a huge central yard and a string of ATSF-feel station areas along its right of way. And no, this time, I flatly refused to dispatch. So in return, I found myself in the seat of a warbonnet E-8, fully sounded, running easy across the prairie, cutting in on the station tracks, forking out my fob-watch to keep track of the three-minute stops, sizzling by towns where dour-face local-crews waited on shimmering sidings as we polished […]
October 24, 2015

OpsLog – TC&C – 10/24/2015

he problem of running the DS panel so well (see last night’s session here) is that when we’re all standing around the next day picking jobs on the morning session shift, everyone pushes you back into the office job again. So we’re at the Tennessee Carolina & Coast, a layout I ran on two years ago. Great pike, just a long basement filler with good aisles, a long siding or two, and slow running. I had to be careful here – no clock so I set the pace running trains when I think we can get them through. The line […]
October 24, 2015

OpsLog – SR – 10/22/2015

kay, so we’re up in Asheville for a model railroad operations weekend, running on a layout that’s modeling… Asheville. Our first run on the weekend (after a marathon crazy ten hour drive to get here) was Wally Brown’s Southern Railroad, Asheville Division. It’s a tight pike with Ashville dead center and trains coming out to run the main loop correctly using the wye at Old Fort. A lot of fun here, because just about every train enters/exits the line at this location, locals work here, and most of the passenger trains turn here. So it’s busy and requires lots of […]
October 17, 2015

OpsLog – FEC – 10/17/2015

ot much to write about when a session goes as well as this one. The trains were running ahead of schedule. Nobody I saw plugged the main. The new card forwarding system worked well. Oh, there was a broken coupler and a sticking wheel and a couple of derailments, but that’s model railroading. Good for all attending, but not good for blogging. Blood on the tracks – that’s what brings in the eyeballs. Still, I can tell you that being part of a spotless session can be a lot of fun. I was rolling into Palm Bay in the seat […]