At the throttle

Train Blog

June 23, 2013

OpsLog – FEC – 6/22/2013

It’s hot in Miami. Really hot. A scorcher. I’ve just trotted back from the ready track, tugging the crumpled call-sheet out of my oil-stained jeans pocket. The next train north is a general merchandiser – we’ll need a two-engine lashup on the point. But its been a slow day – everyone on duty is green, the line up to Jax is snarled, and I’m not getting units in fast enough to roll those out. I’ve got one set, just refueled – nothing to do but clamber up into the cab, check with the south end yardmaster to make sure I […]
May 22, 2013

OpsLog – LM&O – 5/22/2013

When the weather is nice and its all warm and sunny and lazy in the evenings, it sucks for ops. It’s hard to get turnout, and given my hectic workday, I’m just fried by ops time. I had to dig for that enthusiasm. Dinner with the boys helped. It was also cool that the layout was pre-cleaned, that it all set up quick, that people were in their posts. Had a couple of newbies running with us and I noticed that throttles and engines were easily loaned out. My more experienced guys jumped in to ride with them (rather than […]
April 13, 2013

Showlog – Deland – 4/13/2013

What can we say? When we opened the truck, we found one of the racks had shifted – scenery damage! Then there were the arguments while setting up, and a member storming out. Then, when we did get everything together (it took two hours – people were coming in the door), the layout didn’t come up until after lunch. What a terrible start. Forgive me – I know it’s no longer April 1st, but I had to do that for the benefit of the committee member who is bobbing about on a gulf cruse while we all did the show. […]
April 7, 2013

OpsLog – TY&E – 4/7/2013

And the very next day, we’re at it again on the Tipton, Youngstown & Erie. It might be said I operate too much! It was our second run over at JW’s place and it went really well. With the track improvements, we were running something like five trains at once on his main (which is impressive when three of them are passing in one area). Looks like everything is in place – He’s enthusiastic: check. He’s got an idea of what he wants to simulate: check. He’s got a working layout: check. We’ve got a group: check. Time to decide […]
April 6, 2013

OpsLog – Southwest Virigina Division – 5/6/2013

It’s been a white for this pike, over a year. The SWDRR is a cool look at mountain railroading, where two railroads are forced to share passes. And in this, two dispatchers sit in a side room, me for the L&N, and a fella named John for the Southern. We worked as well as two competing railroads could (but I’ll admit to holding back on of his freights until I could be sure I got some needed switching done at Goodbee). But overall it was fun. Nice to see I can still speak fluid warrant, that I can keep the […]
March 28, 2013

OpsLog – LM&O – 3/27/2013

I‘ve found myself in a lot of unique positions in my long decades of operations. I’ve bumped into readers of Fire and Bronze. I’ve seen scenery on layouts that was too farcical to believe (like natural tunnel), only to find out that it’s actually true. I’ve worked jobs with people so diametrically opposed to my politics and beliefs that you wouldn’t think I could breathe the same air, but actually enjoyed their company. But tonight I found myself conducting on a four-unit lashup climbing the west grade towards Harris Glen with two young Indian girls, one in the assigned power, […]
March 10, 2013

OpsLog – SP Cuesta Grade – 3/10/2013

Well, it’s been a long time coming. As I mentioned HERE, it’s been over a year since I last hosted ops. I was unsure but had do to it. I resurrected the layout and hoped they’d come. And they came….                       The session had some rocky moments. A stuck button. A couple of overrun switches. And a poor level crossing at King City that crews were supposed to whistle at and half of them did not (including, I might add, your humble author). But we got through the session. We […]
March 3, 2013

Time flies

I was getting ready for ops, trying to clean and prep up. Everything seems doable now and I’m hoping for a session next week. In getting ready, I happened to look at my last crew sheet. I generally list the day and month correctly at the top, but change the year to something like 1951 or so, just keeping in character. But it struck me – “Feb 19”? I knew it couldn’t be this February, but last February? Really? Looks like, as noted HERE. I guess that’s why it needed so much cleaning. Where did that year of excuses go? […]
February 28, 2013

OpsLog – LM&O – 2/27/2013

Slow night at the club, so slow night on the railroad. Some folks are at their kids baseball games, some are sick, some taking care of invalids. We’ve got enough to staff up and run a lot of things so we do. Had a turnout fail into Wierton, which because of the alignment of the track took out all of Track 2 on my double main section, everything from there to Pittsburgh. This is a good track to run by Martin Yard on so its loss was felt. Marked on my screen that the track was out of service, and then, […]
February 16, 2013

OpsLog – P&WV – 2/16/2013

It’s interesting to deal with the diffenence in dispatching speeds I find on different layouts. At the club, I’ve found myself writing something like 80-90 train warrents in two hours and change. Today, on Tom Wilson’s Pittsburgh & West Virgina (a beautiful coal and blast furnace route), I slipped out 31 in four hours. Not that it’s a bad thing. At the club, I’m like an air traffic controller, constantly kicking out order after order. With each one, I hold my breath, wondering if I’m going to kill anyone (like this time  ). But sometimes slower is better. I actully had […]