At the throttle

Train Blog

February 24, 2022

OpsLog – LM&O – 2/23/2022

don’t know why it is. I’m like a symphony conductor who has directed a piece hundreds of times and still feels like he needs to throw up into the tuba section right before the performance commences. I always get uptight before a session, even if it’s only the club. But club ops are a big deal. We have a lot of people who only come out for the ops. And tonight showed why that was. We shined tonight. We had a bunch of guests and a lot of members ready to run. I was actually amazed at the traffic – […]
February 7, 2022

OpsLog – Hartford Division – 2/6/2022

f you found way way to the town of Waterbury in the late forties, you’d discover a dual main running through a five track yard, a busy station with full RPO operations facing it. But follow the track swinging away from the yard’s caboose track, down a long grade along a time-stained retaining wall, down to the Low Grade Yard. Here is a busy capillary for the railroad, a busting TOFC spur and a two track freight house where four doors and ramps between the cars keep the LCL freight flowing to destinations beyond Bidgeport and the Boston docks. And […]
January 30, 2022

OpsLog – TY&E – 1/29/2022

n Bob Martin’s long-lost N&W line, there was one train that was mine. I’d dispatch all the way through the session (yeah, that seat was mine, too) but the last train, the long, long, overlong coal train was mine. I’d run it slow and easy, mindful of just how it bunched down through Irvine, easing it into the yard. Then I’d roll out, picking up speed on the long straight track along the back wall, making up time and hearing those little wheels clickity-clack. My train. Hands off. Same thing on the TY&E. The sand and lumber train runs up […]
January 27, 2022

OpsLog – LM&O – 1/26/2022

t was touch and go whether we’d get enough crew for a session but right before 7:30, the roster filled out. Some us took early trains, some of us had to wait for later trains, and some of us sat and chatted. And from the central table, many an amusing story was recounted. I picked one right off the bat – I’d given a buddy my Zanesville Turn but did the next best, a shakedown run of an express parts train from Mingo Interchange to the LeVasseur Plant. Brought over the cars, pushed them (racks and then long boxes) in […]
January 23, 2022

OpsLog – TBL – 01/22/2022

nother running of the tiny but busy Tuscarora Branch Line, this time with my co-creator Greg and my friends Brian and Tyler. Not many improvements for it – the new ridge top is in and I’ve painstakingly painted up the Tuscarora downtown structures in Z-scale. Funny thing – Greg (as the coal engineer) is a little pissed that the ridge prevents him from seeing his operations around the Easton power plant. Of course, I point out that now he has to rely on the dispatcher to serve as his brakeman, calling his distances back – “Two cars. One car. Half. […]
January 10, 2022

ShowLog – Deland – 1/9/2022

was able to attend the second day of the two-day train show (given that the proceeding three days had involved three operations sessions with hundreds of miles of highway driving and physically being on trailer duty for build day warranted a day off on Saturday). Got in at nine in the morning and started cleaning track. Overall our second show day was a pretty good day. We had a lot of visitors and a lot of kids got to run. Me, I ran black widow F3s with a long freight lashup behind them. It was pretty good running – other […]
January 8, 2022

OpsLog – PWV – 1/6/2022

or those coming through this blog’s homepage, you might notice that, yes, I had two sessions on the same day. This is all about Protorails, a popular convention in town that I never get to go to because the Deland Train Show is the same weekend and I’ve got to assist. But I guess my dispatching is okay since I had two layouts request me for the same day. And yes, I do love it. So after a roaring session at the Virginia SouthWestern, it was ten miles up the interstate to Tom Wilson’s Pittsburgh & West Virginia, a steel-making, […]
January 8, 2022

OpsLog – VSW – 1/6/2022

‘ve got a friend who like to play psychoanalyze-games with me. All of her questions are pointed and reflective. Anyway, the other day she asked, “What was your greatest accomplishment for the week?” I didn’t even have to think that one out. “I got three trains by at Ramsey.” As mentioned in my other blogs, John Wilkes Virginia SouthWestern is a great railroad with two main lines. For the Protorails convention, I was invited in to  dispatch the L&N and Tom Wilson grabbed the Southern desk. Since the L&N has a higher density, we usually give the CTC panel (kinda […]
January 8, 2022

OpsLog – WVN – 1/5/2022

y green West Virginia Northern RS units grunted like laboring elephants as I slowly pushed a flat car into a the New River mill, down in a river valley where the mainline ran. I’ll admit that I nearly put the flat off the end of the crude siding, distracted as I was by my paperwork spread over the oil-reeking cab. I wasn’t really confident in my work orders. See, some newbie back in Ashbury yard, a guy with no west-end switching, had built this train. And he’d gotten one or two corrections from the superintendent while doing it. Also, he’d […]
January 1, 2022

OpsLog – TBL – 12/31/2021

es, I was able to round out a wonderful year of operations (with all the covid concerns) on a high note, coming back to my personal favorite, my own Tuscarora Branch Line.           Now, before moving to what happened, a quick New Years Tally. Over the last year I was able to operate at the following places (ranked in order of attendance): TBL: 16 LM&O: 13 FEC: 4 WAZU: 2 WVN: 2 L&N: 2 TY&E: 1 P&WV: 1 WB: 1 So that totals out to forty-two ops sessions, pretty good all together. The Tuscarora I ran […]