At the throttle

Train Blog

March 24, 2022

OpsLog – LM&O – 3/23/2022

o, the dispatchers report: not much for on-the-ground action, but you get the birds-eye view of the session, high above the muddy-cinder-level viewpoint of the engineers. I can tell you I kicked out 83 warrants, a good amount (which comes out to about one every two minutes or so – counting readback time (and calling overhead for information – more on that bitch-point later), that’s air-traffic-control-level busy. We ran five freights (I’m going to take 271 out next time I run – he’s been annulled twice now). We ran three of the four passenger trains. Two locals went out (Shelfton […]
March 20, 2022

OpsLog – LM&0 – 3/19/2022

t’s said that no plan survives the first contact with the enemy. It is also true for timetables surviving the first day’s operations. So Orlando N-Trak attempted something few clubs have ever tried – we ran a Saturday Night Special session under Time Table & Train Order. This (as you know) is the method used by most lines from 1840 until 1960 (or later). Essentially trains proceed by rights established by class and direction, making meets at established locations when they can, and earlier (if facing superior trains) when they can’t. And extras? They need to swim upstream keeping an […]
March 6, 2022

OpsLog – WVN – 03/05/2022

rinding into Harris Yard after the long ascent up the mountainous grade above Elkview. Rumbling under my metal unadjusted (inside joke) seat  is the first of two GP7s (after a mixup at Ashbury left me standing at the ready track, litter rustling around my feet, no engines). Haivng been reassigned these fine units, I did the in-and-out switching on local 252 easily. So now I’m in Harris with a coal train idling next to the unloader track (the crew hunched over their orders) and a red board on the Clifton Forge line, denoting a wesbound arrival. I’ve only got a […]
February 28, 2022

OpsLog – WAZU – 02/27/2022

o, if we thought we were running a lot of trains in tight confines for the LM&O the other night, we were sadly mistaken. The WAZU (running from Spokane to Portland) was the place to be in Oburg on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Great Guns, but was it a brisk day on the highline! So, since our last shaky session, we saw a number of improvements. First off, Bill’s card system was in full force this time around. This meant that the yards were busy and there were actually a couple of real life locals in place (maybe Bob K […]
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 […]