At the throttle

Train Blog

February 4, 2017

OpsLog – WBRR – 2/4/2017

ust another day on the railroad. Was aboard 391, a mixed through freight out of Alamosa, creaking its steamy 1936 way up to the high slopes and eventually to Durango. I was conductor – boss man of the movement. In the cab, young Eric, still new enough at railroading to have a spark in his eye (and I knew he was aiming at moving east to high stepping Pennsy eventually). Richard slumped in the crummy, sucking at a bottle of rot gut, occasionally stumbling down the steps to realign the turnouts behind us if Eric blew the whistle long and […]
January 28, 2017

OpsLog – FEC – 1/28/2017

retty easy going session (especially since that last medical-emergency turnout-runner we had at the club). Left my mid-vacation to run over to Palm Bay for a little train running on the FEC. Not much to say. No realizations about the spiritual nature of things trainish or otherwise. no deep insights. Got there after everyone else and so I got the last train out. But that’s fine – it was a fun local that worked up through Palm Bay to Pineallis, just switching the industries and getting clear of the occasional passing train. This sort of work is actually pretty fun, […]
January 26, 2017

OpsLog – LM&O – 1/25/2017

Some sessions are great sessions that put a smile on your face for the drive home, and have you flipping through your railroad books long into the night. And then there was last night. Actually, it wasn’t bad. Not bad. Not too BAD. Not too much. But… Well, yeah, apparently we found the niche Ringling Brothers has left. We were packed, always good, lots of guests, but then again it makes running a bit tricky and our mistakes all the more embarrassing. And then everyone seemed a bit “off” (more on this in a bit). A couple of crews left […]
January 15, 2017

ShowLog – Deland – 1/(14-15)/2017

t’s five o’clock on a Sunday, I’m sitting on the club bench on our porch waiting for the truck to arrive for unloading. I’m beat. But I’m happy. Wotta show. Came back to Deland for their two-day – haven’t been out since last April. The club’s been a little staggered, what with the passing our our treasurer. But this got the dust and frowns out. When you think about it – our two track main had nothing short of three trains (and often up to eight) for the thirteen and a half hours we displayed. People stuffed the tip jars. […]
December 18, 2016

OpsLog – SD&EA – 12/18/2016

thought my layout had been mothballed for a long time – a year. But Doc’s, with his life-changes and learning to run Coast Guard cutters aground, has had the SD&EA down for a half-decade. But he started prairie-dogging the club again, paid some dues, and the next thing I knew his clinic-back-room layout was back in the rotation. Yeah, rotation of one. Things have changed in the club. But this is about him and his phoenix of a layout. It’s still the same old layout you remember, but with the mainline stretched (through wormhole sidings and hyperspace bipasses) to Los […]
December 15, 2016

OpsLog – LM&O – 12/14/2016

agle Day – that day in 1940 when the Luftwaffe, desperate to end the ongoing areal Battle of Britain, threw everything it had at the Isle. And everything the English had, every fighter, was up. As Park replied to Churchill’s question of reserves, “There are none.” So that was last night. Never has ops been such an impressive effort with so many trains running. Overall, we didn’t finish until after 10:30 (3:30am on the fast clock). And we ran everything. Every damn train we could run made it over Harris Glen. Six freights, four passengers, three coal drags, a cement […]
November 7, 2016

OpsLog – Tehachapi – 11/6/2016

o this was a long train day. Or a long day with trains. Or a day of long trains. I don’t know. But I broke a personal record here. Started off with a nice railroady breakfast (eggs and bacon) severed up by our hostess Andrea (such a sweetie). Then, the railroad belched to life. Crews reported in. John and I went onto the signup board, separate – my bird was ready to shake off its blood crusts and fly. And off he went to run helpers off Tehachapi. And there I sat. And sat and sat. Last on the board. […]
November 6, 2016

OpsLog – Tehachapi – 11/5/2016

irst day of the two day full-throttle ops weekend at the La Mesa Club, San Diego. Great layout; 1950’s California railroading under Time Table and Train Order, on a layout 25 scale miles long. It started with bloodshed. So, off to a good start. John, getting ready for his inaugural run aboard Extra 170 out of Boran for Bakersfield and parts west didn’t quite see a step, so down he went five minutes before departure, a sprained hand and a bloody elbow. Now that he’d learned his place beneath a conductor, we could proceed. Well, that was until we found […]
October 30, 2016

OpsLog – FEC – 10/29/2016

ight trains. Outside of the interesting imagery that phase produces, it can make for some interesting running potential as well. And even more interesting since my entire day (and all the hobbies that filled it) involved night stuff. See my astronomy blog for the connection. In this case, the Florida East Coast was going to try something new. We ran the first half of the session, 1pm to 6pm, under daylight conditions. I’d agreed to splitting the shift with Ken for this – we’d swap out the DS job half-way through. And we had a good front-end run – a […]
October 26, 2016

OpsLog – LM&O – 10/26/2016

rom: Rufus Biggest, President, LM&O c/o Union Station Hotel, Penthouse Suite, Cincinnati, Ohio To: Board & Division Officers, Harris Division, LM&O Subject: The State of the Railroad   Gentlemen; I stood on the drafty platform of Pittsburg Station, watching Bithlo (my private business car) being tacked on the tail of train 66, an eastbound passenger express. Little that I know that the true state of our bridge route would be revealed by this overlong, overdue passage. First, we came nowhere close to meeting out published 11:30am departure time. In fact, the station workers seemed curious about 66 in that it […]