At the throttle

Train Blog

December 30, 2010

Model Railroading vs MSTS

I wrote this bit ages ago, a rebuttal for some smarty who gave ten reasons while Microsoft Train Simulator was better than model railroading. Isn’t it amazing what you can Google up on the slow work week between the holidays when the boss is on the other side of the world?   Why model railroading is better than MSTS. 1) I can buy engines or rolling stock, take them home, set them on the layout and run them in any way (and in any activity) I want. I don’t have to modify files to make them work. 2) When people […]
December 23, 2010

OpsLog – LM&O – 12/23/2010

Good session at the club tonight. One of our experienced dispatchers took a trainee (who is about to graduate it seems) to run the board. That put me out on the road. Good enough – I don’t get to run enough trains. First run was an unlikely lashup of old passenger E-8s (daylight colors) pulling modern TOFCs. Okay. Grabbed a newbie who was thinking of wallflowering and put him into the cab (I’d conduct). Picked up orders and off we went, east out of Martin Yard. It looked like it was going to be one of those nights. The two […]
December 16, 2010

The Great Panel of China

“You said you wanted to dispatch sometime,” Ken said with his usual friendly demeanor. “How about today?” “Sure,” I smiled. Holy crispy crap, I thought. Ken’s three-room layout represents sixty miles of Florida East Coast mainline – huge! He’s also got a a half-dozen serious operators taking their starting positions, reviewing their train orders, checking out their paperwork, as serious as career engineers. This is not the place to screw up. He walks me through the CTC board, essentially that big black 2001 monolith bristling with lights and toggles. I’ll be the dispatcher today, setting switches and signals in to get the traffic […]