At the throttle

Train Blog

September 23, 2012

Opslog – UP Nebraska Division – 9/23/2012

Sometimes ops are very detailed, by the clock, by the book, era- and road-specific affairs. And sometimes its just pretty much running trains. Doc has been getting his old UP Nebraska Division (Omaha to Denver) back in service after a very long hiatus. He’d cleaned and staged, but I know the waybills were all over the place so we’d pretty much be just running through, no real switching. And that was fine. With the hassles of getting the modules ready for the upcoming show, the stolen lawnmower issue and club elections, it was nice just to run trains with friends […]
September 16, 2012

One step backwards

It’s very hard to keep a train club going through a hard economic downturn. Our older members get, well, older, and younger members just aren’t that common anymore. Its really not the high-speed, instant-gratification hobby they want. So there you are. But as money gets tighter, as we’ve got to pay for everything from paper towels to trailers, it doesn’t help that we are in a white-slum, corn pone neighborhood. It’s just white-trash, trailers, pickups, tattoos, and about six teeth total. And they’ve been ripping us off. First it was the AC copper. Then came the five rapid break ins […]
August 23, 2012

OpsLog LM&O 8/22/2012

You might have remembered my story about having my leg ripped clean off my torso (or something like that) HERE. As I mentioned, I just wanted to watch Jersey Shore in my pain/drugged haze. But tonight was ops and I had to be there. Since my ePass transponder was in the shop with the rest of my car, I had to drive all the way out on Colonial Drive, a study of stop-n-go Iphone-distracted reaction times. I took something like an hour to get there. Anyway, good session though sparsely attended. Matthew wanted to dispatch – he’d been watching how […]
August 12, 2012

OpsLog – Longwood & Sweetwater – 8/12/2012

I was pretty beat – I’ve been going full bore all weekend. And now it was ops in a warn garage and I was waiting for my train to be built in Orlando Yard. The two kids running the yard (ordinarily competent on their own) were bickering and scuffling, both working counterpoint to each other. Three adults were waiting for trains to be built. I was out of patience. I walked in, tried to reason, got nowhere, and went edge-on – told them these trains and throttles weren’t their’s, that they needed to treat the layout with care and respect […]
July 25, 2012

OpsLog – LM&O – 7/25/2012

Well, it’s been a while, for this blog and for ops. Was busy with the show stuff last month so ops got canceled, and that Dale Carnegie class is on our usual ops night. Been a while. So I was looking forward to the session at the club, even though the AC was reported running dodgy, that we might not have enough guys, the usual worries. Well, the AC ran fine. We had all sorts of membership there, and a bunch of guests. The railroad was running hot – every movement was in play, alone with several extras. The dispatcher […]
July 14, 2012

Built in a day

Rome wasn’t. Jacksonville was. Built in a day, that is. We attempted the first one-day show ever. Hours were 9am – 4pm, and usually that meant taking off work a half-day, going over on Friday and stevadoring the modules into order. In the past, it’s taken 9-10 hours. With the new modules, it was just under an hour last time. So, if we could do that, why not assemble, run and drop, all in one day? A little preliminary setup – we gathered everything and show-checked on Wednesday. Friday evening, I met Bob and John at the club and loaded […]
May 23, 2012

OpsLog – LM&O – 5/23/2012

It’s a slow summer in the middle of a recession, both in the real world and the one outside the club. Seriously, attendance is down; vacations and whatnot. And with the recession, people are working other jobs, second-shift deals, even quitting the club altogether. And just like a real railroad, I have fewer crews, fewer trains, fewer cars getting to their docks. The new kid was supposed to work Zanesville while I did Mingo but something came up for him. And my usual local guy wasn’t here. So I’m just working Mingo by myself. Picked up the cars to shift to the […]
May 14, 2012

OpsLog – Longwood & Sweetwater – 5/14/2012

On the radio today, there was a program about loneliness, and how in this Facebook/blogosphere age more people are lonelier than ever. Something like 30% of the adults out there report feeling lonely most of the time, and how they have no close friends at all. This was in the back of my mind as the train club met for pre-ops dinner (and board meeting) (and general kvetch session) at an Oriental dive. After far too much food, we headed over to the Longwood & Sweetwater to tag local jobs out of the yard and work around the layout. After […]
May 6, 2012

OpsLog – San Diego & Eastern Az – 5/6/2012

The plight of the blogger – what to say if the session goes so smooth, there is nothing to comment on? Oh, I don’t know if there were any catastrophes in the other room. I heard about soldering a wire around a dead section, one of those crummy track gang repairs. And I know that one of the railroad’s cheap seats gave way in the crew lounge, spilling an operator to the floor (a fine way to treat guests). But from the dispatcher’s panel, no big deal. Trains moved across the division, I referred to the timetable and made their […]
April 25, 2012

OpsLog – LM&O – 4/25/2012

Then he slid down the chimney. A rather tight pinch. But, if Santa could do it, then so could the Grinch. He got stuck only once, for a moment or two. Then he stuck his head out of the fireplace flue… Everyone remembers that Tex Avery image of the Grinch rolling into a ball in those tight confines. Funny when it happens to him. Not so funny when it happens to me, the dispatcher. We were rattling the rails with a full house of operators. Trains east, trains west. I was kicking out warrants pretty fast – a warrant is […]