At the throttle

Train Blog

December 24, 2020

Guest OpsLog – LM&O – 12/23/2020

Note: This account was provided by Cody Case, after I had a brush with a Covid zombie and am now in the two-week penalty box. The show went on anyway (while I sat in my dark den and web regretful tears). But even though everyone screwed up, when I met them outside to pick up my PC, everyone was jubilant from the session. All photos Mike Anderson eased into the dispatcher seat just as Frank offered to give it a try. “What could go wrong? There are just a few of us here tonight.” So, I grabbed some power and […]
December 13, 2020

OpsLog – TBL – 12/12/2020

his was a ground breaker session on the Tuscarora – the first run of the interlocking lever system, mounted in the mostly-sceniced tower. Every ounce of effort on this entire railroad, every coding step, all led to this event. And it was a blast. My dispatcher Greg was running at a steady clip, not rushing me at all. And most of the routing I’d practiced in my testing simulator. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the initial drill effort (where the train from Martin gets classified) and the actual switching around the industrial areas. As it stood, the […]
November 26, 2020

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/25/2020

t seems that Geep-9 of mine roams around like some sort of Flying Dutchman. A week ago, I was riding it back and forth through Tuscarora, dragging coal one way and dust the other, pretty amazing since we’re in Pennsylvania and it’s a Southern Pacific unit. Now I’m eighty miles north, up in Martin Yard, rolling down track 9 with engines and a caboose, getting ready to pick up my cut off 1 and head over to Mingo Jct. 927 is holding on track 2, ready to roll, but he’s waiting for a silver bullet to go by on the […]
November 22, 2020

OpsLog – TBL – 11/21/2020

ell, this time, I screwed up. I was running coal extras. My first run, I rolled my GP7 over to Westly and picked up a cut of empty hoppers. Ran then over to Easton, dropping on car off on the way. It was only later, when a loaded coal train out of Westly was sited to pick up that car that I’d realized what I’d done – I ran an empty train out of the coal mine. Big booboo on my part. It wasn’t loads-out/loads-in. It was garbage-in/garbage-out. Of course, when I confessed my sin to my crew, everyone shrugged […]
November 8, 2020

OpsLog – TBL – 11/7/2020

vents and obligations resulted in us not having much of a crew, just Greg Wells and myself. Still, we broke out our Pennsy switchers, he took the local, I took the coal and dispatching and we ran the session. This one was a lot of fun. We ran it slow, being very careful with our train handling. The bamboo skewers are still, in my opinion, the best uncoupling tool known to man. So we switched our industries and bargained for track rights, in easygoing operation fashion. It was a great deal of fun to work through the schedule – the […]
October 29, 2020

OpsLog – LM&O – 10/28/2020

utside of one mini-ops we tried, the last time we ran the club layout was back in February, back before the Covid storm swept over us. For a while the building stood empty. Then we reopened and did a lot of work. So for the past week, we’ve been trying to resuscitate our pike, getting those corroded rails clean, sweeping out the dust and cobwebs and trying to get something like operations going again. For the record, it was full masks, full sanitizers, and to keep the germs down, no phones – as dispatcher I sat at a table in […]
October 18, 2020

OpsLog – 10/17/2020

nother op session at the club today, with AJ running his coal and Ben as the switch crew. In the logistics side, Greg ran the DS panel and I worked the nonlocking interlocking. And, as Greg put it, I also worked as the superintendent (and an auxiliary brakeman). First off, this little beauty was in place, my very first structure, the Tuscarora Station. You’ll notice that it’s been out of service for twenty years, that the paint is cracked and peeling. Not added yet are the boards over the windows and doors (or the roof weathering). And station signs. So […]
October 11, 2020

OpsLog – TBL – 10/10/2020

ell, this was a first. We ran ops on my tiny layout with four people! We ran with two operators on the trains (the scheduled and the extras). We also had a full-time dispatcher (who moves trains in a sequence that minimalizes the delays). And we ran with an interlocking tower operator, which essentially did nothing save set the Train Order signals and hand up orders to pausing trains. In this (and since we don’t have the panel up) two “paper signals” (shown below) flagged trains to pick up orders. I had that position and it really gave me some […]
October 4, 2020

OpsLog – WVN – 10/3/2020

n these days of Covid, one has to weigh the risk of getting a disease with the fun you’ll have. Granted, I’m not about to jam into a bar just so I can get a watered-down drink and a reminder of how bad the current generation of music is. And my hair really, really needs a cut. But a chance to run on the Komars’ West Virginia Northern (in full masks and even cute blue booties (well, that’s for static but maybe it will help)) is a chance not to be missed. I was so excited driving over. I can’t […]
September 27, 2020

OpsLog – TBL – 9/26/2020

understand that Covid-19 has crippled ops. My monthly sessions at three different layouts (and the thrice-a-year specials) have been annulled. For the first time in seven years, I won’t be going to La Mesa (which I had to fight my way to originally get accepted). Yes, Covid sucks. Today Greg Wells and I held our third session of the Tuscarora Branch Line. I invited everyone at the club to attend – we had room for another position to fill. But as with the last two sessions, I ran both dispatch and the coal movements since we were short-handed. Really, I’m […]