At the throttle

Train Blog

March 26, 2015

OpsLog – LM&O – 3/25/2015

‘m late on this piece – yeah, I know. Running home after a great session, I saw the moon through (appropriately) the moonroof, and so regardless of the time, one hobby lent itself to another and I was outside with the scope until 12:30am. But that’s hobbies for you. Even when I came in and was putting the peeper away, I really didn’t know what to write about. We had a good showing, a number of the old timers had much of the layout already cleaned. The clocks booted up in master/slave configuration perfectly. My paperwork was already out and […]
February 25, 2015

OpsLog – LM&O – 2/25/2015

ell, it wasn’t as bad as our last club session, but it could have gone better. We had two long trains detail in the same tunnel, and being the tall lanky guy (not running a train at the time) I got to go under and dig them all out. Nothing like a long day in a rolling stock mine. Outside of that, I did get to run – always a good thing. It’s gotta be a pretty bad session to ruin it for me. My engines were purring when I took the inaugural run of the Harris Glen Local up […]
February 21, 2015

OpsLog – P&WV – 2/21/2015

he situation: We’ve got one extra (engine 64) waiting in Rook Yard. Another train is inbound, also an extra, engine 2128. Even though 64 has clearance through the yard, I’ve already dropped the Rook station signal on him. Now to give the order to my station operator (Bruce, who is so good at his job today that he’s the operator for a half-dozen stations). Simple really. Of course, I need to spell all stations and trains to the operator over the phone, to make sure there are no misunderstandings. And here we go. “To Crew and Engineer extra sixty-four six […]
February 15, 2015

OpsLog – TY&E – 2/15/2015

‘ve got a couple of favorite trains I love to run. On my own Coast Route, I love the helper, hissing and grunting my way up the long slope through the Santa Lucia Range. On the NS Saluda, I’m always in 720, a long coal drag feeling its way down that 5% namesake grade. I love the Rinker Run on the FEC. On the club line, I’ll opt for the Mingo Local if nobody else wants it. Yes, there are just trains I like, fun and interesting and full of attitude, ones I’ll run until I’ve got them down perfect. […]
January 28, 2015

OpsLog – LM&O – 1/28/2015

ne of the recurring plot lines in my own life is getting hyper-nervous about things – presentations, operations, all that stuff. All day today, I moved through my work efforts with a leaden stomach, worrying about ops. All my friends always give me a hard time, saying I worry about nothing. Oh no? Tonight was a rough night at the club. I dispatched, and we had some returning members and potential new members in the squad. I wanted it to go well. But traffic was absolutely horrible getting out there (is it wrong for me to hope that whoever caused […]
January 24, 2015

OpsLog – FEC – 1/24/2015

t hunched predator-profile low in the shadows, its unblinking ball-turret eyes rotating independently, watching for prey. Its twenty foot body yearned to feast on a hobo or railfan – either would do (the camcorders it could regurgitate). Beneath the shielding fen of lichen, it watched. The dull roar of something even bigger and more unstoppable that itself made it raise its head, its throat-sack ballooning in alarm. Something massive and blue growled along the forest line. Panicking, the creature made its mistake, bursting from cover to flee, directly in the path of the oncoming FEC engine… The first I knew […]
January 24, 2015

OpsLog – FEC – 1/24/2015

t hunched predator-profile low in the shadows, its unblinking ball-turret eyes rotating independently, watching for prey. Its twenty foot body yearned to feast on a hobo or railfan – either would do (the camcorders it could regurgitate). Beneath the shielding fen of lichen, it watched. The dull roar of something even bigger and more unstoppable that itself made it raise its head, its throat-sack ballooning in alarm. Something massive and blue growled along the forest line. Panicking, the creature made its mistake, bursting from cover to flee, directly in the path of the oncoming FEC engine… The first I knew […]
December 17, 2014

OpsLog – LM&O – 12/17/2014

hort entry tonight. Not much to say about the sleepy week before Christmas. Everyone was in a good mood. The layout was purring. When it came to writing warrants, I had them pretty much figured when people called – no waiting. So here’s what I want to know. I ran on the L&N recently. In a four hour session, I wrote 84 warrants and was bushed at the end of it. And it was full-bore dispatching, working non-stop to get all those trains over the division. But on the LM&O (which is scaled as a longer railroad and has more […]
December 6, 2014

OpsLog – L&N – 12/6/2014

oday was one of my hardest dispatcher gigs ever. Was running the namesake side of John Wilke’s twin-route L&N Railroad (Bruce Notman held down the Southern), dispatching under warrants for four hours. I was doing it the hard way, running off actual train sheet reporting (keeping time like I had at the B&M a week past, but this time for something like twenty-plus trains rather than four). And I was starting to lose it. South of Norton Yard, there is a stretch with two sidings, some shared trackage (at Goodbee, and thankfully under my control) and then another siding. I […]
December 2, 2014

OpsLog – B&M – 12/2/2014

t’s a long haul over to Rockledge on a work night – 53.3 miles to be exact. And this is to run a layout so small, only four mainline trains get to cross it. (That’s like 25 miles of driving per train run – whew). But Kevin Loiselle’s Boston and Maine gets around these small room limitations. While some modelers talk about details in terms of handrails and bells, Kevin thinks in terms of ops. When the Bellows Falls switcher comes out onto the main, he has to physically unlock (with a key) the turnout controls, then call the dispatcher […]