At the throttle

Train Blog

September 30, 2017

OpsLog – FEC – 9/30/2017

ust got back from playing the biggest solitaire game you can play: Model Railroad Ops! Oh yeah, there are some of you who will say it’s a huge cooperative effort, a big multiplayer game railroaders have been playing for half a century. You work together to get the trains through the division and crews will cooperate in anything from throwing turnouts for each other to offering suggestions to pushing a car the final one hundred feet to the dock (saving another crew the hassle of a runaround). And at Ken Farnham’s FEC today, there were a whole bunch of people, […]
September 27, 2017

OpsLog – LM&O – 9/27/2017

just want you to know that I’m not to blame for this,” the new dispatcher told me in the midst of the hectic shitshorm that was tonight’s ops session. And yes, it really wasn’t all his fault, not when trains are departing yards in the wrong direction, ignoring their written, copied, and confirmed warrants, and running past frantic flagmen (why do you think they’re waving that red flag at you – because they’re communists?). Toss into this mix the special rules I added – that Irma was breaking up against our eastern slopes, that every train would need helpers going […]
September 16, 2017

OpsLog – WBRR – 9/16/2017

ur club does a lot of ops. We started with Mother-May-I on our N-trak modules a quarter century ago. Since then, we’ve built an empire at our clubhouse which we’ve run every month for years and years. And back in the day we ran ops every Monday at various members’ houses in round-robin fashion. Yeah, so we’re good. We’re really good. And that’s why we get invited to go halfway across the state (that’s longways, too) to run on Al Sohl’s Western Bay. It’s a cool 1930’s narrow gauge with scenery that will make your eyes bleed, it’s that good. […]
August 25, 2017

OpsLog – LM&O – 8/23/2017

’ve gassed long and loud about all the physical improvements across the division (Calypso Yard, Martin Yard, the Zanesville alignments). I’ve also talked about our increasing membership and how new (and returned) club members are filling our ranks. What I haven’t mentioned is how everyone is expanding their roles on the pike. This session, I was really happy with seeing members pushing their abilities and learning new things. Bruce (after getting slugged down in Mingo a few months ago) rattled out of the yard with the Mingo cut again, off to slay dragons. Both Dwaine and Craig rose from the […]
August 20, 2017

OpsLog – SD&EA – 8/20/2017

his was going to be a difficult session – first off, it’s in the back of the clinic where I had my cat put to sleep less than a week ago. And second, we hadn’t run there in forever. But Doc’s been thinking about things. Fortunately his track plan is pretty much the same so there were only minor corrections to the panel program. We had an odd assortment of operators show up – some ex-club members (hey, I don’t care if you are a Nazi, as long as you run a train)(well, maybe I do). And we had some […]
August 6, 2017

ConvLog – Convention Show – 8/4-6/2016

ell, that’s done. The convention is history. I gotta say I’m totally beat, having be involved in every minute of every event over the last week. I opened the gate for Saturday club cleaning, and closed it for the module drop off. And I did everything in between. So think of this – over the last three days, twenty-four hours of it was convention center activity. For each of those hours, and the minutes and seconds contained within, two to five trains were in motion around our 30×40 layout. At one point we were up to nine. And for each […]
August 3, 2017

ConvLog – LM&O Ops – 8/4/2017

can’t speak for everyone else, but after Monday’s convention op session at the club, I wanted to do better. While it wasn’t baaaaad  (in that condescending tone) we’ve had better. I wanted our guests to see what a good session is like, when a club which operates using the more difficult N-gauge really takes advantages of longer trains and high mountains, really giving the engineer a feel of place and scale, without leaving them sitting and waiting while six people yabble on the phone. At dinner, that seemed to be the touch-n-go discussion, how we wanted to run well but, […]
August 1, 2017

ConvLog – Open House 2 – 8/1/2017

o how do you get ready for a visit from a busload of modelers at your club? In this case, John L. and I were up a ladder, replacing that troublesome light in the afternoon heat. Bunch of the regulars showed up at DQ, where we had a chucklefest talking about the session the night before. Then we went over, set up trains and got ready for action. This time, the bus driver evidently had not checked his route. First he missed the entrance and went touring down the street. Then he tried to hook a fifty-foot bus around a […]
July 31, 2017

ConvLog – LM&O Ops – 7/31/2017

oly Chrome! It was the first ops session (of two) that we’re staging for the convention. Five newbies (though I think we had more) along with a couple of new club members. Every experienced man I had was conducting (i.e. writing warrants and assisting new engineers) in what had to be the craziest, busiest, and most intense ops session we’ve ever had! At the start, I asked newbies what they wanted to do – Freight? Locals? Each guy I’d shove towards a conductor. “Give him Zanesville!” “Drag freight this guy!” Turns out visiting college-boy Matthew wanted the panel so I […]
July 30, 2017

ConvLog – Open House – 7/30/2017

kay, first thing – these entries are going to be short. We’re facing a very busy week and I’m not going to use up all my vowels in the first few days. So, first bus tour – I think that everyone who signed up to staff showed (thankee kindly, there). Mom Shawn came up with a platter of cookies, brownies and fruit. Everyone set up to run east, just parading for the masses (except one guy who didn’t get the memo ). A couple of hiccups and the booster maxed right before the bus showed, but we held our breath […]