At the throttle

Train Blog

February 27, 2016

OpsLog – FEC – 2/27/2016

he Hindus have a little idea, how everyone who dies is resurrected. I can only hope this is true. If it is, in my next life, perhaps I’ll run that Cocoa switcher a little better than I did today. Just stupid blunders. I needed tanks, gons and a couple of boxcars for a train I was building. Tanks and gons were all scattered in the north yard – had to go cherrypicking. The boxes were in a neat little grouping one track away from where I’d construct the outbound turn. And it seemed like a good idea (at the time) […]
February 25, 2016

OpsLog – LM&O – 2/24/2016

o joke – when you go wheels up out of Delhi at 3am and touch down in Orlando at 8pm the same day, you’ve either got a really fast plane or you’re making up the time-in-flight adding in the time difference from flying halfway round the world, ten and a half hours in this case. That equates to twenty-seven hours in planes and airports, all during the longest day in your life. And yes, you’ll have jetlag like you won’t believe following this. Somehow I made it in to work Monday for our most important audit we face every two […]
January 30, 2016

OpsLog – FEC – 1/30/2016

“Such a day; rum all out. Our company somewhat sober; a damned confusion amongst us! Rogues a plotting. Talk of separation. So I looked sharp for a prize and took one with a great deal of liquor aboard. So kept the company hot, damned hot, then all things went well again.” – Edward Teach (Blackbeard) think I know why I thought about this during the FEC’s latest op session. Both shed doors were open. Had a train pull past a turnout and then back unannounced. But I’d already thrown the switch behind him and he backed over it. A caboose […]
January 27, 2016

OpsLog – LM&O – 1/27/2016

ome nights hosting club ops, you got to be all in. Like, driving rain so a lot of members didn’t come out. But we were filled with guests. Then the phone system went out. Then Bob Martin’s back went out. I thought I was going to black out. A couple of members looked at the confusion of the crowd (about a quarter of them were visitors) and said I should dispatch instead of the kid. So in all the madness, the mud and the muddle, I’m standing there looking at the call sheet where I just put my name in […]
January 10, 2016

ShowLog – Deland – 1/9,10/2016

t was, without a doubt, the best of times and the worst of times. In sheer bad luck, the truck pulling our trailer had a flat battery and got to the fairgrounds late. Road construction shook the living poo out of our modules, causing all sorts of breakage. And when the layout went live, it shorted across the panel, red lights everywhere. Oh, and my techno aces were mostly at a convention or out in the ocean somewhere. Deep breath. Okay, the panel was an easy fix – someone had bumped the digitrax box off the run mode. And the […]
November 21, 2015

OpsLog – FEC – 11/21/2015

ometimes these things can be tough to write. Outside of a turnout being left open, some paperwork getting misfiled, and little snigglets here and there, there wasn’t much material for a fire-n-brimstone ops report. No insights, no breakthroughs, no flashes of intuition. Except one. Bruce and I drove over and met Bob and the FEC crew for the holiday/last-session-of-the-year shindig. There was food in cornucopia amounts, side dishes and deserts and everything you could want to stuff in your gob. And then we ran. Bruce and I ran as a team, lucky to find ourselves on local jobs(which is the […]
November 19, 2015

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/18/2015

pectacular! Oh, you might not think that from ground level (the ground being that of a 25 year old N-scale layout, with all the wear and club-cross-wiring such a thing naturally gathers). Yeah, it’s old. But still there are things that get better with every session. For example, we’ve got a new generation of support staff coming up. Bill ran the yard sharp and hot (the car-roistering will determine just how accurate it was, but from what I saw it looked good). And Matthew ran the long trick, dispatching an entire session keeping six freights, four locals, two passenger trains […]
November 15, 2015

OpsLog – TY&E – 11/15/2015

etting to the TY&E today was a pain in the ass. Colonial Drive was backed up both ways (on a Sunday at 2pm?). I had to make a U-turn across an anti-tank trap (in a Mini Cooper) to get turned around. I hate the east side of town. It’s nothing but vehicular constipation. I did see Bill’s big blue truck make the last turn off about 100 feet (i.e. 5 minutes of sit time) ahead of me. Finally got there and got attacked by dogs (the usual thing). And so, train time. There weren’t a lot of us, which is […]
November 4, 2015

OpsLog – La Mesa – 11/1/2015

ough start to the day – got in a tiff with the crew caller early and ended up reading a book in the lounge for two hours. But then I got a train which was a real sweet run – over the hill with a minimum of fuss (except for a thrilling run-for-a-siding banana-drama). And afterwards I spelled the Caliente station operator so he could go get lunch (even had to write out a fumbling order). And that was exciting. Why? What station operators do: In ‘Time Table & Train Order’ operations (the method railroads operated for over a hundred […]
November 3, 2015

OpsLog – La Mesa – 10/21/2015

ackstory here: You gotta understand the damn scale of the La Mesa Club. It’s big. Really big. Imagine that you were a tiny little HO figure. The distance is 29 scale miles from simulated Mojave to pretend Bakersfield. In most locations, pretty much all the track alignment is correct for the 50s. We run trains that are 50-100 cars long (often with two or three operators controlling engines). A half dozen clerkish characters keep the railroad organization (from crew calling to cooking to dispatching to MOW) humming. Yeah, big. So I’m in Mojave – just got into town aboard Extra […]