At the throttle

Train Blog

April 16, 2023

OpsLog – VSW – 4/15/2023

here are a thousand (well, maybe a hundred) stories that happen in the usual ops session. Since I’m sealed away in the dispatcher’s office, I only see a handful of them. I do know about the Post Switcher leaving Norton Yard and working for a half hour on my mainline (that from the superintendent). And there is that train out of Erlanger that came up the super collider helix at a high rate of speed, blowing out of the topside tunnel portal like a bullet from a rifle, overrunning his authority limits and nearly torpedoing an L&N train crossing the […]
April 14, 2023

On Sheet – The Cuesta Curse

ears back, my Cuesta Grade layout was part of the Orlando session rotation – we ran it from 2000 to 2018 or so. Then work and life got in the way. I decided, after a year of inactivity, to get the layout running again. This would require dusting (old house and a cat), track cleaning, and running/oiling the fleet of engines. So I started work on this, announcing my eminent return. At work, I was a lead for a software team AND a compliance guy for our organization. What I didn’t realize was that  (in another organization) two managers didn’t […]
April 7, 2023

On Sheet – Kinetic Energy

ad a life and death moment the other day. Was riding my bike on a thirty mile jaunt with a friend. I’m an experienced rider, commuted for twenty-five years. I know what I’m doing. But sometimes, I forget. We were a mile from the car, going along a wooded trail (asphalt with gravel shoulders), doing about 16 mph. I was to my friend’s right and reached up to wipe sweat from my eyes. And that’s when I dropped my road bike wheels off the asphalt step, onto the gravel. When I was nine, I watched drivers ed moves during summer […]
April 2, 2023

ShowLog – Deland – 4/1/2023

hat a horrifically bad train show! I woke up feeling good about going to a train show after all my missed-events. But then Sparky got pulled over while pulling the trailer and the cop demanded a roadside inspection and wrote us up for five infractions. And First Coast club took half our layout space! And then set up took two hours – how many ways can we put the layout together in wrong order? By the time it was up, attendees were standing around our build-area, silently watching like ghouls as we screamed at each other. After that, there was […]
March 31, 2023

On Sheet – Memory Lane

as writing another blog and saw some of my train pictures there. Got me to smiling, remembering the moments this hobby has given me. So this week, I’m just going to break out my slide projector and show off some operational moments…   Anyway, that’s just a pick from the many, many happy sessions I’ve attended. Thanks to the hosts, to the guests, and to all those who make this hobby what it is! >>>AND, YEAH, BOOKS FOR SALE HERE<<<                    
March 27, 2023

OpsLog – NH – 03/26/2023

hat a difference a day makes. In this case, the “day” that existed between last op session and this one. Everyone grabbed the same jobs as last time and, really, everyone improved immensely. It might not have been apparent but from the Waterbury Tower, things were really under control. My locals were following orders and moving out of the way of the passenger trains (which we ran this time, unlike last time). Freights ran when they were supposed to. They did what they needed to do. The jobs wrapped up quickly (well, except for Zach, who decided to spend half […]
March 26, 2023

OpsLog – FEC – 3/25/2023

ame into the yard shed for the Florida East Coast today, looking to improve running the Trim job (which I did a lukewarm effort on last time). Now was my chance. I’d show them. I’d show them all… Just at the end of the off-spot track, I noticed an engine and what looked like a wreck train. When I asked Ken about it, he glanced at the dispatcher (Doug) and shushed me with a wink. Ah hah. Someone was getting a surprise. So the first part of this OpsLog deals with the Trim (which is a job that hostels engines […]
March 24, 2023

OpsLog – P&WV – 3/24/2023

rom my Throne of Power (i.e. the P&WV dispatcher’s seat), I told Tom Wilson (when he turned on the layout video cameras), quote: “I don’t need such idle toys. A real dispatcher does not rely on them.” And when a visitor entered my keep just before the clock went hot and commented on the magnetic board for train markers, I laughed (“Moohahaha”) and said, “Puny engineer. I shall use the train sheet. A real dispatcher does not use such toys.” And then the session started and everything went to shit. I had two locals who went out to Avella and […]
March 24, 2023

On Sheet – Paint of Infamy

his isn’t really a bit on ops, but on scenery, model railroading, and weird coincidences. So I was getting ready to put my one paved road on the Tuscarora. It was to run from an N-scale scene in the front, across a grade crossing (engineers will be expected to sound warning the first time through, then a crossing guard takes over) and then drop down to Z-scale (where appropriate buildings are tucked into a tight wooded valley). That was the plan. I got the grade crossing in okay. For the road, I looked at a lot of ideas online and […]
March 23, 2023

OpsLog – LM&O – 3/23/2023

kay, let’s break down the disasters into two primary events. The Dispatcher Panel: There is a bug somewhere (I think it comes from double-clicking someplace you shouldn’t). It crashes the program. I never see it. Bob Martin used to get it maybe once in every other session. Cub dispatcher Steve got it about five times tonight. That meant we had to reset the board and try to remember where the trains were. It also threw off Steve’s careful lineup of warrants (he’d figured the first four hours of issued warrants before the session started). But then again, no plan survives […]