At the throttle

Train Blog

October 1, 2019

OpsLog – FEC – 9/28/2019

he usual opener here. Ken asks if I’d like to dispatch his CTC paneled Florida East Coast. “Sure”, I say. Yes yes yes yes yes, I think. Love running the FEC – it’s a great layout and for the four hours we run, you are very busy – I’ve run CTC boards where you aren’t and it’s a yawn-fest but this one keeps you hopping. Truthfully, at the end of the session, we had four southbounds coming through Palm Bay and I was starting to get them mixed up (not helped by the crews who seemed rather “greedy” (by which […]
October 1, 2019

OpsLog – LM&O – 9/25/2019

hen I think of railroads in operation, I think of trains holding at the station, the crews watching the conductor who is watching his watch (all that watching) for their on-the-dot departures. Of course, if ops teach us anything, it often illustrates how railroads don’t work. Take last night’s ops (which I would have written last night had I had a computer that could reach my blogsite (I’m using the dispatching computer with no internet capability to write this)). The original idea I had was to push out of Calypso with the Harris Glen Local numberboards (we really need to […]
September 22, 2019

OpsLog – WBRR – 09/21/2019

‘ve got to admit I don’t know how they would cuss in 1935 (or so). Specifically, way up in Rocky Mountain towns, muddy little burgs with careers in mines, laundry and dry goods. Oh, and railroads. I’ve got the only railroad job in the town of Dolores. Well, no, there is a guy working East Delores. So there are two of us, plus any engineers and conductors passing through on their rickety tea-kettle D&RGW trains. So I’m out on the boardwalk watching the chaos. We’ve got a westbound general freight shying back from the platform, a long fifty yard walk […]
September 17, 2019

LessonLog – LM&O – 9/17/2019

‘m trying to get my Cuesta Grade back up after two years of inertness. The yard switchers I got running at the club a week ago – took some coaxing but eventually they were moving smooth. The steam engines I had real concerns over. Their motors were a bit more buried – no popping the shells and thumbing the armatures of these brutes over. I got the Salinas switcher running after pushing, coaxing and cursing at the club Monday night. I was using the main at Martin. At first it was sputtering progress. And then, suddenly, she was running like […]
August 29, 2019

OpsLog – LM&O – 8/28/2019

should have known this was going to be one of those nights. I needed to clear the boosters. I needed to swap out a dicky phone. One of the clocks was fussing with the master and took a couple of tries to reset. Two people came after me (literally) with blood in their eyes about their waybills. And for some reason the overhead speaker wasn’t active (and when I did activate it, nobody thought I was asking them, specifically, to confirm a radio check). It was a relief to go clock hot. It was one of the busiest nights I […]
August 25, 2019

OpsLog – FEC – 8/24/2019

ince the dispatcher’s seat was filled with a trainee (Doug, who did a damn good job out of the chute) and the yard was filled with the Lady’s Quilting and Trim/Classification Club, I was out on the road again. And there’s no time like waiting at a red board to wax philosophic on the meanings or life and model railroading. To wit – the puzzle of industrial switching on the standard out-n-back turn. When you run one of these jobs, switching your way through a set of towns along the mainline, it begins to feel like an intelligence test. So […]
August 19, 2019

OpsLog – L&S – 8/18/2019

oing some final switching in the Longwood yard. Got my buddy Greg back in the caboose, going through the waybills and trying to figure how to block this local. We’re shuffling in the yard throat with one eye down those long paired rails that follow the slow rises and falls of the marshy ground through a cave of cyprus trees. The L&S runs on a very simple operations principle – don’t crash. And we’ve got a train overdue. It’s been (by my quick flip back through the blogs) four years since the last time we ran on this Southern division. […]
July 28, 2019

OpsLog – WAZU RR – 07/28/2019

First item: Let the record reflect that the author, known herein as Robert Raymond, has operated three times this week. Second Item: Let the record also reflect that having a kiddy birthday party/ops session for hyperactive nine year olds is probably not a good idea. hat business out of the way, let us begin. And yes, we began as part of a birthday party. Nice that I got pizza and coke and a cute engineer’s hat, but I also got a local off the bat, working a busy section of mainline, with other mother/child teams pushing out of Portland and […]
July 28, 2019

OpsLog – FEC – 7/27/2019

ou might remember our last jaunt on the FEC which ended prematurely (possibly due to your author bumping a scrap piece of rail down into the electronic guts of the Farnham Calculation Engine). The superintendent decided that this session would be finished with the same cast of characters that smoked his railroad the month before. So, no crew call, more like a summons. We all returned to the scene of the crime where we were all given our jobs from the precise moment we’d gone dark. Everything was as it was. I slid into the dispatchers chair, looked at all those […]
July 25, 2019

OpsLog – LM&O – 07/24/2019

am in the waning days of my career, but I’m still needed it seems. Had a kid in my team who has spent two days inert because the people he needs in another team are out of the office. Finally he came in today and I marched him right down to their manager (whom I’m friends with). Tossed some intros, told her about our missing SMEs, asked for help. She smiled. “Oh, yeah, I can get someone on that right away.” Problem solved. Deadlock broken. I’m pretty proud of my problem-solving abilities, and it stuck with me tonight as I […]