At the throttle

Train Blog

May 23, 2015

OpsLog – FEC – 5/23/2015

think the wisdom of getting older comes from learning what not to do. You learn from mistakes, and tell yourself never to repeat them. Like today, when I’m talking to Ken (the host) before the running of his Florida East Coast, a neat railroad with all sorts of fun runs on it and a dispatcher panel that is second to none. The mistake? Robert (pontificating): “Well, Ken, I love running all jobs on a railroad, and I feel I’m good at all. No, if there is one job I don’t seek out, it’s working the yard.” Ken (smiling): “You’re on […]
May 16, 2015

OpsLog – L&N – 5/16/2015

ood session today on John Wilke’s Louisville & Nashville railroad. A couple of the old sweats I’m familiar with across Florida got together with a fresh batch from elsewhere. The thing about the L&M is that you need to be up on your layout lore – this isn’t point-A-to-point-B stuff. Two mainlines tangle about each other through the southern Appalachians, crossing and recrossing. Some of them, the Southern RR dominates, some the L&N. This means the dispatchers need to trade off and work together to get things done. For me, I was on the quieter Southern panel. In this, it’s […]
April 22, 2015

OpsLog – LM&O – 4/22/2015

o big night for ops at the club. Rolled down the street and the lot was packed – always a good sign. Didn’t have to beg any jobs – all the locals, all the freights, and almost all the passengers ran. I ended up on the panel – that’s okay, I know how to deal with that. The railroad was just getting started and I was making my usual moves. Run 202 to Zanesville and duck him into a siding, with another warrant to carry him to Martin Yard once the Silver Bullet passed. My other move is to get […]
April 12, 2015

ShowLog – Deland – 4/11/2015

ot much to say on this one – I rolled everything out [sic] for loading, we had a good team at the show, everything went together… until it was time for the skirts. Which I’d forgotten. So we’re standing there, miles from the club, wondering what to do. The layout looks pretty good – we’re not the only one without skirting. Should someone drive 100 miles round trip to get the box I’d neglected (I’d ridden over, so I couldn’t volunteer for that job). Fetch them? Skip them? It was Bill Sterner who solves the problem (and made me laugh) […]
April 1, 2015

ClubLog – ONT – 4/1/2015

ome folks in the club wanted this blogged, so here you are. It’s been a weird April 1st today. I played a couple of pranks today, one of them on the club (a freeway was coming through). I was pretty proud of myself – I find myself so very amusing. Worked at the club. Did a little scenery and a lot of club maintenance – trash goes out, filters swapped, vinegar down the drain, doodah, doodah. So now it’s getting late and time, perhaps to leave. First problem – we’ve got a short on the main across Bethlehem. For some […]
March 28, 2015

OpsLog – FEC – 3/28/2015

een listening to a lot of old radio serials while drilling though audits at work. Some of them are pretty stupid but there are a couple I really like, amongst them Gunsmoke and Frontier Gentleman. However, I really like this new one, Night Beat, where an intrepid night-shift newsguy digs up stories in 1930’s Chicago. Usually it involves gangsters leaning on him, generally beating the shit out of him while sneering things like, “So, going to write about that, Newsie?” Yeah, well, I know what it’s like. So we ran Ken Farnham’s Florida East Coast, and I was once again […]
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. […]