At the throttle

Train Blog

February 16, 2019

OpsLog – FEC – 2/16/2019

here are three things Dispatchers love in model railroad operations. The first is the chance to dispatch a large and active railroad, which the FEC is. It’s got full CTC, a massive panel that’s great fun, and a lot of traffic up and down the line. So when Ken asks me, “You wanna dispatch?”, yeah, I’ll nod and say “Sure” but inside I’m clicking my heels and throwing my hat in the air. “Sure, I suppose I could.” The second thing a dispatcher loves is when the operations and yard folks run their trains well. In this case, we were […]
February 10, 2019

OpsLog – TY&E – 2/10/2019

kay, I can approach this several ways. There’s spending a fun Sunday with friends in an open garage as the rain comes down, just running trains. And there’s the angle where we ran on a layout where everything ran on time, every train passed as per their timetable, that it went off like virtual clockwork. Or there is the telling where I visualize the Sand and Log run down from Tipton to Staffordtown, of running a train constructed with heavy covered gons on front, flats behind, of slipping into Meadville to make my meet to rocking along in that swaying […]
January 26, 2019

OpsLog – WBRR – 1/26/2016

t’s been a half year (I figure) since my last run down to Al’s (last time I’d suffered a hernia and didn’t want to sit in a car for four hours). This time, my physicians cleared me for light Station Operator Duties, so I reported to the Delores office (as well as Placerville Jct and Dulcie), grabbed a stool and a radio and managed the railroad from the cinder-roadbed level. I suppose that’s why I like this job – it can make a difference. Sure, a dispatcher and a yardmaster can make a railroad run smoothly (and everyone wants those […]
January 24, 2019

OpsLog – LM&O – 01/23/2019

o one can blame me – after Bruce had a critical medical attack in my car on the way to a train session, well, I really wasn’t in the mood for operations at the club. But I thought about it and knew that he’d kick my ass if I cancelled a session because of him. So I sent out a reminder and showed up. I can’t say why but as I walked in I suddenly knew what I wanted to run – the helper set he always worked up the Harris Glen westbound ascent. The engines were right where he […]
January 13, 2019

ShowLog – Deland – 1/(12/13)/2019

etween a software load, a compliance disaster and the possibility of retirement, work is a crazy spin-cycle of shit. Outside of that, there is my friend in the hospital, the game I’m writing, the books I’m trying to read, all this crazy crap. And this weekend, two days of Volusia County Fairgrounds train show. Which was really, surprisingly fun. I didn’t know I’d enjoy myself that much. But even with the minor layout damage (Bill, can you maybe miss a pothole or two with the trailer?) the layout went together smooth and easy. We had good participation from the membership […]
December 19, 2018

OpsLog – LM&O – 12/19/2018

ake a good look at this picture. This is Red Rock, a siding in the middle of nowhere on the western flank of the Appalachians. It’s full of trains. If you follow the rails east to the opposite flank, you’ll find Lehigh siding. It was really fulla trains. I think at one point we had six pushing down that furnace-side main-siding combo. We had a full, full house – guests and new members and visitors from England and, who knows, maybe a Martian out there. In the course of the evening, we ran every scheduled train and a load of […]
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. […]