At the throttle

Train Blog

July 28, 2019

OpsLog – WAZU RR – 07/28/2019

First item: Let the record reflect that the author, known herein as Robert Raymond, has operated three times this week. Second Item: Let the record also reflect that having a kiddy birthday party/ops session for hyperactive nine year olds is probably not a good idea. hat business out of the way, let us begin. And yes, we began as part of a birthday party. Nice that I got pizza and coke and a cute engineer’s hat, but I also got a local off the bat, working a busy section of mainline, with other mother/child teams pushing out of Portland and […]
July 28, 2019

OpsLog – FEC – 7/27/2019

ou might remember our last jaunt on the FEC which ended prematurely (possibly due to your author bumping a scrap piece of rail down into the electronic guts of the Farnham Calculation Engine). The superintendent decided that this session would be finished with the same cast of characters that smoked his railroad the month before. So, no crew call, more like a summons. We all returned to the scene of the crime where we were all given our jobs from the precise moment we’d gone dark. Everything was as it was. I slid into the dispatchers chair, looked at all those […]
July 25, 2019

OpsLog – LM&O – 07/24/2019

am in the waning days of my career, but I’m still needed it seems. Had a kid in my team who has spent two days inert because the people he needs in another team are out of the office. Finally he came in today and I marched him right down to their manager (whom I’m friends with). Tossed some intros, told her about our missing SMEs, asked for help. She smiled. “Oh, yeah, I can get someone on that right away.” Problem solved. Deadlock broken. I’m pretty proud of my problem-solving abilities, and it stuck with me tonight as I […]
July 14, 2019

ShowLog – Deland – 07/13/2019

otta admit, this was the weekend from hell. This train show, starting at 5am to head in for setup. And once it was through, I was looking forward to a run to the airport to pick up a friend’s wife, then three hours of sleep before heading in for my final corporate load (which was a disaster in itself). So, yes, stuff was stacking up. I’m not going to take this out on the show. Yeah, we only had three people for set up (that’s going to come up in our next meeting) and we put the legs on in […]
June 27, 2019

OpsLog – LM&O – 06/26/2019

isitors usually set me off. When I’m running with a visitor, I see our layout through their eyes. Instead of just focusing on my little job, I look over all the peninsulas, all the moving trains, all the jobs getting done. What we’ve done is amazing, and to see it working is just phenomenal. Tonight’s session was a hot one. We ran up through our 1000th warrant (which means the count rolls back down). Matthew was back on the panel, keeping things moving. We had Nick doing top-notch service in Martin. And all over the layout, people were pushing into […]
June 23, 2019

NoOpsLog – FEC – 6/22/2019

t happens – we were in mid-ops on Ken Farnham’s fine Florida East Coast. I was dispatching, had three trains southbound trains moving towards Palm Bay. The local was out of the way. Another one was done early and could run home. JB was working the yard with a team that was having a good time. The other shed was packed with engineers. And then the layout shut down. There was a short and every attempt made to fix it blew yet another fuse. It happens. I’ve had my own Cuesta Grade conk out. Our club layout, the LM&O, has […]
June 16, 2019

OpsLog – WBRR – 6/15/2019

n my real job, nobody listens to any suggestions I have to offer. And it’s a cock up there. But on the Western Bay Railroad, at least some of the things I say get put into practice. Like today – I’m sitting in the small office (more like an outhouse with the hole boarded up) in Placerville Jct. I can see train 315 toiling up the long grade from Ute Jct, a steam engine on the head end, another behind the tail end passenger car*, shoving. The last times we did this we met with various levels of success. Usually […]
June 2, 2019

ShowLog – Tampa – 6/1/2019

on’t have much to tell you for this one. Wasn’t the best start for me – got up at 4:30, bought donuts at 5am (and got the shit panhandled out of me by a Colonial Drive bum who kept asking for more – what, car keys next?). Then a long drive down to Bill’s where I got lost in Walt Woods. And then another long drive down to Tampa where the show was. But we had the gold team in for setup, the old sweats who know how everything goes together. The layout was running in fifty minutes and we […]
May 23, 2019

OpsLog – LM&O – 5/22/2019

ooooooooom! Crash! “Oh no, we’re burning!” “We have injured here!” “Oh, the humanity!” Okay, so that’s done. Yes, while dispatching the LM&O tonight I did manage to run two first class passenger trains (crack sister express trains, Silver Bullet 1 and 2) into each other. Forgot to give SB2 a checkbox 8, “hold until arrival of Silver Bullet 1”. So off he went and they crashed at Red Rock. To make matters worse, there was a loaded coal train sitting on the siding there so we can only expect that in the fiery wreck, the open-top hoppers caught fire and […]
April 25, 2019

OpsLog – LM&O – 4/24/2019

t’s crazy the way this railroad runs. If you go back through the LM&O blogs, you’ll find Harris Glen mentioned prominently. This is because it’s a long hard climb to the top, trains stall, it’s a lot of curving single track and, frankly, it was engineered to be a bottleneck. We were so clever. But tonight the beast slept. I don’t know why it was – we ran nearly everything in the roster – but Harris Glen was quiet. Oh, trains ran through but there wasn’t the desperate parade back and forth. No, this time the river route was pretty […]