At the throttle

Train Blog

October 26, 2015

OpsLog – BN (Formerly DT&I) – 10/25/2015

o, my falling fortunes. On Friday evening, I was dispatching a heavy mountain line in the profitable 50s from a brick building in downtown Asheville. By Saturday morning, I’d been bumped out into the Tennessee wilderness, dispatching a declining railroad in the 60’s-70’s, now likely in a peeling wood-frame draft-palace in some little Podunk town. Saturday afternoon, my career continued to slide, down to engineer of a crack passenger train out west, down to running a sharp little local pulling in rolling stock from mainline towns. But by Sunday morning, I was out in some industrial bad land (it looked […]
October 24, 2015

OpsLog – ATSF – 10/24/2015

he AT&SF Railway Henderson District – long and yellow and low-hilled, that’s pretty much the early scenery. This creation has a long folded plan with a huge central yard and a string of ATSF-feel station areas along its right of way. And no, this time, I flatly refused to dispatch. So in return, I found myself in the seat of a warbonnet E-8, fully sounded, running easy across the prairie, cutting in on the station tracks, forking out my fob-watch to keep track of the three-minute stops, sizzling by towns where dour-face local-crews waited on shimmering sidings as we polished […]
October 24, 2015

OpsLog – TC&C – 10/24/2015

he problem of running the DS panel so well (see last night’s session here) is that when we’re all standing around the next day picking jobs on the morning session shift, everyone pushes you back into the office job again. So we’re at the Tennessee Carolina & Coast, a layout I ran on two years ago. Great pike, just a long basement filler with good aisles, a long siding or two, and slow running. I had to be careful here – no clock so I set the pace running trains when I think we can get them through. The line […]
October 24, 2015

OpsLog – SR – 10/22/2015

kay, so we’re up in Asheville for a model railroad operations weekend, running on a layout that’s modeling… Asheville. Our first run on the weekend (after a marathon crazy ten hour drive to get here) was Wally Brown’s Southern Railroad, Asheville Division. It’s a tight pike with Ashville dead center and trains coming out to run the main loop correctly using the wye at Old Fort. A lot of fun here, because just about every train enters/exits the line at this location, locals work here, and most of the passenger trains turn here. So it’s busy and requires lots of […]
October 17, 2015

OpsLog – FEC – 10/17/2015

ot much to write about when a session goes as well as this one. The trains were running ahead of schedule. Nobody I saw plugged the main. The new card forwarding system worked well. Oh, there was a broken coupler and a sticking wheel and a couple of derailments, but that’s model railroading. Good for all attending, but not good for blogging. Blood on the tracks – that’s what brings in the eyeballs. Still, I can tell you that being part of a spotless session can be a lot of fun. I was rolling into Palm Bay in the seat […]
October 4, 2015

ShowLog – Deland – 10/3/2015

ow much fun can a train show be when it starts with you sitting in your car in an empty fairgrounds in the pre-dawn dark, feeling a kidney stone grinding through your guts and hoping ferchristsakes that that pain pill is going to kick in and theburning agony will end? Well, quite a lot of fun, it seems. Set up had solid attendance – lots of membership showed up and the layout went up nice and easy. We had eighteen feet of new scenery, mostly forested but with some scratch built structures (some even showing up the day of the […]
September 23, 2015

OpsLog – LM&O – 9/23/2015

sually this set of SP black widow F’s is on the point of 373 and 374, the intermodal service from Watsonville to San Luis Obispo. They’ve run up and down that route for years. But today I put them on the Zanesville local, running through the Pennsy highlands, working a cut from Martin Yard to Carbon Hill and back (with most of its work in Zanesville). So, yeah, out of place a bit. But fun. I sorted out the cuts on the lead track to the auto plant, and worked one side of the line, then the other, nice and […]
September 20, 2015

OpsLog – WPR – 9/19/2015

‘m on the Denver platform, watching a standard gauge crew drive standard gauge rails through the midst of the Western Bay Railroad’s narrow gauge yard. Wonder if SP will be hiring? Frowning, I’m checking my watch – just got in from another train and am conducting Number 2 back to Alamosa. It’s almost 2pm, the platform is filled with passengers yet the tracks are empty. Where’s our train? My engineer comes up, a guy I’ve never run with but we exchange courtesies and decide who’s going to do what and confirm waterstops and so forth. Out in the yard. I […]
August 26, 2015

OpsLog – LM&O – 8/26/2015

onight was a pretty amazing night at the club, full of all sorts of highs and lows. Route 50 is just a disaster, especially when it rains. It’s like running on a layout with a new dispatcher, everyone waiting for each other. When I finally got out, I saw four cars in the parking lot. Well, this was shaping up to be a disaster. But eventually people trickled in, held up by the road delays. We actually staffed up for a pretty decent session. I gotta say, it all was worth it early on in the session – had 202 […]
August 22, 2015

OpsLog – FEC – 8/22/2015

t was one of those days… I walk into the session’s crew lounge, the only guy who forgot to wear his new FEC shirt (embroidered!). Everyone else was blue and snazzy. I had an old Daylight shirt on. Strike one! At the panel, the clock is hot. The first train is rolling for Titusville. I checked, double checked, even gave the train a rollby. I was certain I had it routed right out of the yard. Yet it ended up in Palm Bay, not Titusville. Had to back him all the way to the yard and come out the right […]