At the throttle

Train Blog

August 6, 2017

ConvLog – Convention Show – 8/4-6/2016

ell, that’s done. The convention is history. I gotta say I’m totally beat, having be involved in every minute of every event over the last week. I opened the gate for Saturday club cleaning, and closed it for the module drop off. And I did everything in between. So think of this – over the last three days, twenty-four hours of it was convention center activity. For each of those hours, and the minutes and seconds contained within, two to five trains were in motion around our 30×40 layout. At one point we were up to nine. And for each […]
August 3, 2017

ConvLog – LM&O Ops – 8/4/2017

can’t speak for everyone else, but after Monday’s convention op session at the club, I wanted to do better. While it wasn’t baaaaad  (in that condescending tone) we’ve had better. I wanted our guests to see what a good session is like, when a club which operates using the more difficult N-gauge really takes advantages of longer trains and high mountains, really giving the engineer a feel of place and scale, without leaving them sitting and waiting while six people yabble on the phone. At dinner, that seemed to be the touch-n-go discussion, how we wanted to run well but, […]
August 1, 2017

ConvLog – Open House 2 – 8/1/2017

o how do you get ready for a visit from a busload of modelers at your club? In this case, John L. and I were up a ladder, replacing that troublesome light in the afternoon heat. Bunch of the regulars showed up at DQ, where we had a chucklefest talking about the session the night before. Then we went over, set up trains and got ready for action. This time, the bus driver evidently had not checked his route. First he missed the entrance and went touring down the street. Then he tried to hook a fifty-foot bus around a […]
July 31, 2017

ConvLog – LM&O Ops – 7/31/2017

oly Chrome! It was the first ops session (of two) that we’re staging for the convention. Five newbies (though I think we had more) along with a couple of new club members. Every experienced man I had was conducting (i.e. writing warrants and assisting new engineers) in what had to be the craziest, busiest, and most intense ops session we’ve ever had! At the start, I asked newbies what they wanted to do – Freight? Locals? Each guy I’d shove towards a conductor. “Give him Zanesville!” “Drag freight this guy!” Turns out visiting college-boy Matthew wanted the panel so I […]
July 30, 2017

ConvLog – Open House – 7/30/2017

kay, first thing – these entries are going to be short. We’re facing a very busy week and I’m not going to use up all my vowels in the first few days. So, first bus tour – I think that everyone who signed up to staff showed (thankee kindly, there). Mom Shawn came up with a platter of cookies, brownies and fruit. Everyone set up to run east, just parading for the masses (except one guy who didn’t get the memo ). A couple of hiccups and the booster maxed right before the bus showed, but we held our breath […]
July 9, 2017

ShowLog – Deland – 7/8/2017

3’s idling on the Waycross siding, brakeman out at the forward turnout, waiting for the dispatcher to confirm me out. I’ve got a long line of PFE reefers, empty, but why I’m here aboard Southern Pacific units heading south in Southern Georgia*, I can’t say. I’m way off my preserve. I’ve got a fleet of traffic heading south coming down behind me. Cody, Jeff and John each walk by with a train, their controllers held in the hands of their little engineers (we let any kid who asks run with us and at 2pm at the Deland Train Show, we’ve […]
June 17, 2017

OpsLog – L&N – 6/17/2017

t’s been a while since I operated on John Wilkes’ L&N layout. It’s a double dispatcher delight – two DSers sitting shoulder to shoulder, one for the L&N, one for the Southern, working together to get trains over shared trackage across the dual division. Of course, as the Prince of Dispatching (let’s not think about that unfortunate event with two dozen dead passengers in a tunnel a few weeks back) I was expecting to be invited to dispatch. Walked into my usual place in the dining room – there was the magnetic board, the warrant pad, the train sheets. And… […]
May 31, 2017

OpsLog – LM&O – 5/31/2017

poiler alert! I occasionally screw up while dispatching. If you weren’t there or don’t like bloodshed, you might not want to read further. I burned twenty-five people alive in a fiery tangled holocaust inside a tunnel. If you don’t like unhappy endings, you might not want to continue. I’m very sad. Yeah, so it was a busy night on the LM&O. We’ve redone large sections of our layouts, some turnouts aren’t powered, others aren’t hooked up. Lots of work over the last month so everything was filthy (even with John L. paradropping in to soften the beach and pre-clean). It […]
May 21, 2017

OpsLog – FEC – 5/21/2017

here is a bit of universal irony here. I’m idling in the heated gravel desert of Cocoa Yard on the Florida East Coast, writing car numbers on lading slips and jotting in pick-up dates on the swaps. This, following a weeklong, daylong, every-damn-second long audit I’ve only just survived at work. Yes, more paperwork! Yahoo! But seriously, it’s a well-thought-out system, it slows the ops down to a more realistic pace, and I rather like it. Owner Ken Farnham has come up with an even-better way of getting cars to sidings where the trains are assembled in a completely different […]
April 26, 2017

OpslLog – LM&O – 4/26/2017

didn’t think they could do it. To get ready for this ops session, we had several Herculean efforts. First, we had Frank and Jonathan rebuilding the entire West Martin throat in one month. I mean, damn, this is overhand track laying. I know that these guys did a lot of make this happen (I could see the alarm toggle open and close remotely for their work sessions). So, in four weeks, they stripped the yard bare, put in more than a dozen turnouts, improved the flow into the critical west end (by double-tracking the leads), wired and tested it in. […]