At the throttle

Train Blog

July 14, 2012

Built in a day

Rome wasn’t. Jacksonville was. Built in a day, that is. We attempted the first one-day show ever. Hours were 9am – 4pm, and usually that meant taking off work a half-day, going over on Friday and stevadoring the modules into order. In the past, it’s taken 9-10 hours. With the new modules, it was just under an hour last time. So, if we could do that, why not assemble, run and drop, all in one day? A little preliminary setup – we gathered everything and show-checked on Wednesday. Friday evening, I met Bob and John at the club and loaded […]
May 23, 2012

OpsLog – LM&O – 5/23/2012

It’s a slow summer in the middle of a recession, both in the real world and the one outside the club. Seriously, attendance is down; vacations and whatnot. And with the recession, people are working other jobs, second-shift deals, even quitting the club altogether. And just like a real railroad, I have fewer crews, fewer trains, fewer cars getting to their docks. The new kid was supposed to work Zanesville while I did Mingo but something came up for him. And my usual local guy wasn’t here. So I’m just working Mingo by myself. Picked up the cars to shift to the […]
May 14, 2012

OpsLog – Longwood & Sweetwater – 5/14/2012

On the radio today, there was a program about loneliness, and how in this Facebook/blogosphere age more people are lonelier than ever. Something like 30% of the adults out there report feeling lonely most of the time, and how they have no close friends at all. This was in the back of my mind as the train club met for pre-ops dinner (and board meeting) (and general kvetch session) at an Oriental dive. After far too much food, we headed over to the Longwood & Sweetwater to tag local jobs out of the yard and work around the layout. After […]
May 6, 2012

OpsLog – San Diego & Eastern Az – 5/6/2012

The plight of the blogger – what to say if the session goes so smooth, there is nothing to comment on? Oh, I don’t know if there were any catastrophes in the other room. I heard about soldering a wire around a dead section, one of those crummy track gang repairs. And I know that one of the railroad’s cheap seats gave way in the crew lounge, spilling an operator to the floor (a fine way to treat guests). But from the dispatcher’s panel, no big deal. Trains moved across the division, I referred to the timetable and made their […]
April 25, 2012

OpsLog – LM&O – 4/25/2012

Then he slid down the chimney. A rather tight pinch. But, if Santa could do it, then so could the Grinch. He got stuck only once, for a moment or two. Then he stuck his head out of the fireplace flue… Everyone remembers that Tex Avery image of the Grinch rolling into a ball in those tight confines. Funny when it happens to him. Not so funny when it happens to me, the dispatcher. We were rattling the rails with a full house of operators. Trains east, trains west. I was kicking out warrants pretty fast – a warrant is […]
April 14, 2012

ShowLog – Deland – 4/14/2012

Well, we did a one-day train show today, up in Deland, 44 miles from base camp. It wasn’t too bad – we did the setup the day before in record time (two hours to the second, from the start of loading to walking out of the hall, all done (including transport)). The layout was already quick to set up and we’ve made it even quicker. Once we get the new buildings glued down, we’re really going to be cooking. The show was fun. I guess our greatest shortcoming are the number of trains we can put out. Back in the […]
April 8, 2012

Tehachapi Loop’s Links!

Jason Hill commented on my recount of Tehachapi and our last session there that I did not give their club due menion. So here are all the appropriate links… The sesion report itself: Off to Tehachapi First Day Second Day Club link LINK Jason & Gang, thanks for the great runs! We keep coming back, year after year!
April 3, 2012

A tight spot

In my last session, the turnout going into Watsonville staging came literally unglued. Originally I had to cut half the mounts off it get it to fit, screwing it tight and backing it with double-sided sticky tape. Well, that worked – for ten years. Then, in the middle of the session it came apart, the motor swung loose, the throw arm popped out, and the switch was suddenly manual. Thankfully we could still position it by hand and trains could still enter Watsonville. But it had to be fixed. Since the tape was no good, I wedged styrene between it […]
March 28, 2012

Opslog – LM&O – 3/18/2012

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I’m a curmudgeon – I don’t really like kids.They follow manufactured fads like lemmings. Youth is wasted on them. They had door-stops for heads. We were getting ready for the session tonight – not many of the usuals were there, but in contrast, we had a couple local visitors (guys who know how to run) who we pressed into service. And we also had two kids, JW’s son and another new member named Matthew. Junior JW signed up for the Silver Bullet #1 (his old man said he’d give him the […]
March 12, 2012

OpsLog – Saluda Grade – 3/12/2012

It’s time to go hot. I’ve got my dispatcher program booted. I’ve got my lineup in front of me. The problem is, I don’t have crews. Maybe it’s because of that motorcycle wreck on the way in. So we wait a little more. Now its really time to start and we’ve only got four guys. We’ll have to run mother-may-I, no dispatcher. Everything about this burns me. It burns me that the economy sucks, meaning people have to work stupid shifts, stupid jobs, or simply don’t have time or money to attend. And it burns me that we’re all getting […]