At the throttle

Train Blog

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 […]
February 10, 2013

OpsLog – TY&E – 2/10/2013

First runs of any railroad are always fun. There is no expectation of success, no holding to timetable or getting cars to the right places. Hell, since nobody knows what’s happening, you can answer every misroute, every cornfield, every break from railroad tradition and operating practice with a shrug. Hell, I don’t even know what TY&E stands for. But we had some fun, not only running trains but also coming up with major overhaul improvements to the trackplan, crazy enough to make owner JW scream in mortal rage. Actually, outside of some yard recommendations (man, Youngstown is just one effed-up […]
January 23, 2013

OpsLog – LM&O – 1/23/2013

I usually start my ops day dreading it. It’s just my personality – worry worry worry. Had two visitors coming in and was hoping we’d have some sort of decent session. This would make up for the fact that Omar (a work-buddy) had been thinking of coming out but couldn’t make it. Anyway, met our visitors over at the Olive Garden and everything went fine. Drove over to the club and the lot was almost empty – three cars. My worrying was justified it seemed. So we started to clean and people poured in. We even got a few guys […]
January 6, 2013

ShowLog – Deland – 4/6/2013

Two things were obvious after our two day train show in Deland this weekend. One: How tired I was (a good tired) – came home, had a beer, and crashed. Two: How well we did. For the second, I realized it when I was counting out our tip jar, $54.75. Now, it might not sound like a lot, but when you are counting a huge stack of ones, it’s easy to realize that many of these represent allowances from kids. Our club makes it a point to let the kids run, and there are signs up hinting how we’d sure […]
November 28, 2012

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/28/2012

Silver Bullet #2, the eastbound crack express passenger train, eased off its brakes and departed the siding, accelerating down the Appalachian hills, whining through the spiral tunnel, picking up its pace as it drifted through craggy cuts, snaking along the forested ridge, making up time. It had been delayed by two long freights which had snarled the main at Harris Glen. Now SB2 was on the roll, rattling faster and faster along the LM&O main, its headlight cutting the foggy mists. Riding in total luxury, the packed throngs of holiday passengers chatted amongst themselves, read newspapers and lunched in the […]