At the throttle

Train Blog

December 15, 2018

ShowLog – Tampa – 12/15/2018

his was a new one for us, a long ride over to the west coast for a show. Of course, there were two club-related hospitalizations and heavy rains to cope with, but other than that, everything went well. We managed to hold to our schedule and everyone showed up. Unlike Makers Farce, we had more than enough people to do this and everyone pitched in. Better, we all proceeded slooooow, so outside of the sign stand breaking (again) we set up in our usual hour and had things running when the crowds came in. Overall, the show was a real […]
December 9, 2018

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/28/2018

t was the Tale of Two Kiddies at the club tonight. First, we had AJ, a young guy who’d come the week before and have found the idea of ops cool. So I invited him to this week’s session and so he’d shown. Since I’d just gotten booted off the panel by Cody (right after setting up my patented 202/SB2 flyby) I picked up the Harris Glen Local. So AJ and I ran up and did the lumber and limestone shifts. I even let the kid figure his own moves (he had a great time figuring out how to do […]
December 9, 2018

OpsLog – FEC – 11/17/2018

ell, if mistakes were a physical thing, we could have spread them on every slice of a loaf. And put it on thick. Goofup sandwiches for everyone. I mean, pretty much everyone was B-listing on today’s session. The dispatcher was cratering on the panel, just struggling to get traffic moving. And across the division, mistakes were rampant. I saw trains sitting on wrong tracks, trains dropping cars at the wrong place, paperwork going into the wrong boxes, even trains T-boning other trains. Got in an argument with the superintendent about my train taking the wrong yard exit track. But no, […]
November 11, 2018

ShowLog – Makers Faire – 11/10-11/2018

hen the scenery guy put small sections of clear plastic over some of the more delicate scenery, I thought it was excessive. After Makers Faire (a showcase for all sorts of builders, dreamers and geeks) I think six-foot sheets of bullet proof glass would have been more appropriate. We’ve never faced a more difficult show. First off, Friday night, we had three people building the layout (out of the half-dozen or more who’d agreed to it). Finally two more people came in and we were able to finish up, but that was a lot of work for the reduced squad. […]
November 5, 2018

OpsLog – Tehachapi – 11/2/2018

hey say railroads, like any other slumbering beast, arise slowly. The SP/SF Joint Line across the summit at Tehachapi came awake like a mean drunk, cursing and swinging and then puking into a bucket. My job should have been easy – I picked up Extra 167, four Santa Fe F’s idling at the famous loop at Walong, a caboose coupled on for no reason I could discern. Anyway, I was looking at two facing trains, both sections of 802, one nailed down at Cliff, the other at Bena (I had rights over both across the line). Should have been an […]
November 5, 2018

OpsLog – Tehachapi – 11/3/2018

oday was a much better start for the day. The crew caller handed me a soup ticket for 56-2, an eastbound passenger that sounded more romantic then it actually was (two clapped out steam engines and a string of mismatched baggage and express cars, real City of New Orleans stuff). And who should I see  in the next train over (56-1) then my traveling buddy John. Yeah, he’d be proceeding me up the hill. And another nice guy, he’d be the final section of the parade. So, three friends out for a stroll. And at train time, off we went. […]
October 24, 2018

OpsLog – LM&O – 10/24/2018

hings keep evolving at the club. Shelfton industrial has been re-tracked. Hellertown is now Lehigh. And the paper warrants are in to their second session. I was dispatching so I wasn’t outside to shepherd the paperwork. Overall, it went… okay. One problem – crews would mix their pickups and drop-offs and would end up holding paper for both. I hadn’t anticipated that and now it looks like some cars went to their local deliveries and were immediately picked up and brought back as outbounds. One of these actually was delivered, returned to the yard, then placed back on the local […]
October 5, 2018

OpsLog – Tehachapi – 11/4/2018

unny day in the high hills over Caliente. Birds are singing, the sun is high, and everything smells like creosote. I’m backing a steam engine up the grade from Caliente to Allard where some future track work will take place. Off my pilot coupler I’m dragging a gondola filled with railroad ties and a crane car, along with a little caboose bumping along for the ride. My job was to get up in that remote location and work on the siding, unloading ties for at least an hour (a real hour). So I worked it like a real job. Pulled […]
September 30, 2018

OpsLog – FEC – 9/29/2018

’m washing my wife’s car the morning after (which was only fair since we rolled over to Palm Bay to run on Ken Farnham’s FEC and hit all sorts of bugs on the way). Even waxed the hood and roof for her – she earned it. She (and buddy Bruce) rolled over to run a railroad. It’s not what she chooses to do but she’s a good sport and, yes, she has fun after a fashion. So she was yardmaster again, and I was right next to her working the classification end, sorting cars off inbound trains. It’s fun and […]
September 26, 2018

OpsLog – LM&O – 9/26/2018

here is a trick in writing, the foreshadowing of innocence. You want to hint at something terrible occurring, start it off with something happy and innocent. Examples: happy passengers at the rail of the Titanic or dutiful shopkeepers in the market of Pompei. Something like that. So I was standing on the cinders of Martin Yard in the shadow of my idling GP-9s, feeling good. My original plan was to work the Weirton Coal Docks. But seeing my friend Craig lashing up a heavy intermodal cut behind his Espee cabforward filled me with doubt. There was no way he was […]