At the throttle

Train Blog

July 19, 2020

BuildLog – TBL – 7/19/2020

he Tuscarora Branch Line is taking shape. I got the last of the track the other day and began assembling the layout, very slowly and very carefully. It still needed a bit of work to get together – some of our turnouts couldn’t take advantage of Kato’s handy beveled pieces (that get the roadbed flush with each other in the crotch of the turnout). So I had a bit of whittling to do in places to get it all figured. But I checked clearances with a couple of 40 foot stock car strings and I seem okay. Looks pretty small […]
July 14, 2020

BuildLog – TBL – 7/14/2020

ow crazy design can be. Steve Raiford (my chief designer and wet blanket) and I have been going round and round about my upcoming Tuscarora Branch Line. We want it to do this, we want it to do that. Pretty involved for a small 2X4 foot layout with one passing siding. Now it’s got coal loads-in/loads-out, Pennsy signaling, a real coal-hauler look and feel. And then we started talking about the simple panel to drive it. Originally, of course, the old stand-by, toggle switches. Then we figured what would really be cool is if we lined the toggles above the […]
July 5, 2020

BuildLog – TBL – 7/5/2020

o I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Yes, I do have my own layout. No, I don’t really run it much – it’s just not fun to run alone, not after I’ve done ops. And to run it, I need to clean it (not easy on a moderate-sized layout) and put in two removable sections. I’ve long considered Kato Unitrack to be a pretty bulletproof solution. It’s only real drawbacks are that you can’t do sweeping curves like flex track permits. Also, that plastic roadbed looks pretty punky. However, roadbed can be ballasted (it will take a […]
June 21, 2020

OpsLog – LM&O – 6/20/2020

went back and checked – my last operations entry was back in March 1st of this year, three and a half months ago. Yes, it’s been that long since I ran in an organized session. With the possible premature opening of the state under the danger of CORVID-19, and at our club (observing strict mask and sanitizer rules) the club as started to meet again. I was thinking towards a session but I didn’t want to pack a bunch of operators in for one (we’ve run up to thirty people before). Also, I didn’t want to have our just-reopened club […]
May 31, 2020

OpsMemories – 5/31/2020

ith the CORVID-19 essentially ending all model railroading at clubs and home layouts, I figured I’d post up images from some of my more memorable moments…      
March 1, 2020

OpsLog – FEC – 02/29/2020

don’t think I’ve ever had a more pleasant ops session. Was back on the FEC panel. It was a crisp late-winter day so the shed doors were wide open, the breezes cool and the skies cobalt. The crew was old pros so no dicking around and very sharp skills. I got the panel humming and the trains followed their timetables, meeting and working and generally not delaying each other. In the yard, the ladies (and our new engine hostler) worked as a team, getting trains in and out. All that mattered to me was that they prepped the departure track […]
February 27, 2020

OpsLog – LM&O – 2/26/2020

mage you were trying to conduct a symphony and two oboes, a french horn, two violins and a tuba show up. That was ops with a limited number of people. People were sick. People forgot. People were out of town. People were sulking. I dunno what all the excuses were. However, when we don’t have turnout, our efforts suffer. There isn’t as much traffic across the summit. The freight forwarding system slows down and backs up. We didn’t organize our resources (everyone wants to run a specific train). So that’s why we got all the coals and passenger trains, four […]
February 6, 2020

OpsLog – P&WV – 2/5/2020

he Pittsburgh and West Virginia is one of the few Time Table and Train Order railroads in Central Florida (in all of Florida, maybe). And even though the station order board toggles were backwards, the train sheet is inverted and the intercom shot, it was still one of the funnest sessions in TT&TO you can get. TT&TO is about writing orders. The trains move on the authority given to them by their clearance form, under priority granted by timetable, class and direction. In other words, unlike every other form of control where the dispatcher tells trains exactly what to do […]
February 2, 2020

OpsLog – L&N – 2/1/2020

idway through the session, the two dispatchers (Southern and Louisville & Nashville) switch. We’ve only got a couple of minutes to update our replacement on the status. I don’t know how it was exactly explained to me but it was something like “Train so-n-so is in Norton and will need to go to Blackwood” makes me think that he didn’t have a warrant. But that word “need” seemed to mean something different between Tom and myself. It turns out he actually did have a warrant and was waiting for other traffic to clear before he started down. Fresh on my […]
January 29, 2020

MowLog – Cuesta Grade – 1/29/2020

ecided I should keep my blog up to date concerning my layout, especially since I report on every ops session and every show. And the whole point of this is to get my layout back up and running. Okay, so between when I last ran it (two years back?) and now, two furry cannonballs crashed through my booster stations, scattering components. That sucked. Fortunately I had my records as to settings and wires so I was able to rebuild it. I’m handling this now by booster districts – which I have three. As my layout is a loop to loop […]