At the throttle

Train Blog

December 14, 2023

OpsLog – TBL – 12/13/2023

not-so-good solo run on the Tuscarora last night. The original plan was to run a session by myself before the club. But I just started a really good book and didn’t want to break away from it. Read for a while, went to the club, showed guests around, helped out here and there, and finally (about 9:30 when most people had gone home) I set up a session and ran the default position. The basic reason was that I’d just gotten my SW-7 back from the shop and wanted to make sure it ran well. I mean, one guy running. […]
December 8, 2023

On Scope – Nostalgia and Youth

orgive me for a “You kids get off my lawn” post, but I’m feeling that way today. I don’t want to go into the details of why – I’ve had people get pissed about things I reflect on and don’t feel like taking a lot of heat on this. But here we go. For whatever reason, I’ve come to realize that many of the younger modelers have come into this hobby by a different path than I. While I wasn’t one of those tin-plate kids, I did start off with an HO layout I remember to this day my dad […]
December 7, 2023

OpsLog – PWV – 12/6/2023

t was good to get out to Tom’s place again for another running of the Pittsburgh and West Virginia. It wasn’t good to get out to Rt 27 and fight all that traffic but, oh well, good things come with costs. But anyway, yes, I got a chance to dispatch his line, always a pleasure. Using warrants, I went with his train sheet and ignored the magnetic board. A good slow pace which gave me a chance to really stay ahead of the railroad, lining up ideas for coming meets and moves. Had a bit of a problem with some […]
December 3, 2023

OpsLog – WBRR – 12/2/2023

kay, now that I got your attention with this beautiful shot by Jim Mathis of D&RGW #475 steaming through the miniature (but not as miniature as I’m used to) world of his Western Bay Railroad, let’s get into the details. Four members of the club got invites to head down to Port St. Lucie to run on his O-scale narrow gauge layout that captures railroad action in the Rockies in 1932. As usual, I was station agent at Dulce, Dolores and that shack of a place, Placerville Jct (located way outside of Placerville proper – it’s a long cold walk […]
December 1, 2023

On Sheet – TT&MMI

ou’ve all heard me go on endlessly about TT&TO (Time Table and Train Order). I love the idea that the operators are forced to put more skin in the game, to read their rules, understand how the railroad works, and consider what moves they will make. On my Tuscarora Branch Lines, we do run TT&TO with pre-printed orders. My operators will hoop them but will not consider what they say sometimes. For example, in the session last week, we had an extra coal movement departing Easton (the eastern end of my little division). Right behind him was a scheduled train, […]
November 30, 2023

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/29/2023

t seemed like a good idea of the time. Look, the “official” session (usually on the fourth Wednesday of the month) was right before Thanksgiving. We did run (detailed HERE). However, some members left town for the holidays (possibly to elude creditors). Others had loved ones to get back home to (or whatever passed as such). Either way, while we did run every freight but one, and every passenger train but one, we missed a lot of the mineral trains and fast freight traffic. But hey, since we have a fifth Wednesday and nobody knew what to do with it, […]
November 27, 2023

OpsLog – TBL – 11/26/2023

ell, it wasn’t the best ops session we’ve had on the Tuscarora. I’m gratified that a number of people drove long distances to be there (107 miles from St Augustine, 68 miles from Satellite Beach, and a drunken crawl in from Tampa at 85 miles). So a lot of people came a long way – I hope they enjoyed themselves. Jury is out for me. I don’t know where to start. So let’s use the blamethrower – what mistakes do I remember? The scheduled freight/switching crew was not well versed in switching (which is half his job). You know the […]
November 24, 2023

On Sheet- how does a CTC panel work?

ou might have seen my last posting HERE, where we ran Ken Farnham’s Florida East Coast. I mentioned we have fun and I mentioned his railroad is CTC. So let’s look a little closer at how it works. CTC means “Centralized Traffic Control”. For all that talk I’ve blabbered about TT&TO (Time Table and Train Orders) and Warrants, CTC is one of the newer methods. It requires that signals on the layout can be controlled remotely, and that turnouts have powered relays that can move the points (and also be controlled remotely). The dispatcher, possibly from a desk thousands of […]
November 23, 2023

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/22/2023

t’s a sliver before midnight on a cold, rainy evening in Martin Yard. I’m huddling close to my idling GP-9s, trying to soak in their warmth and shield myself from the drizzle. All I can say is, “Hell of the thing, Shannon. Hell of a thing.” My trains is on track 2, six cars going over to Zanesville and Carbon Hill. Shannon has the shorter run to Mingo but the thing is he’s hauling something like forty cars tonight. I mean, the usual summit-topper drag freights are shorter than that. Forty cars? Did they tear down Mingo Junction and are […]
November 19, 2023

OpsLog – FEC – 11/18/2023

t was Donald Sutherland who created the character of the World War Two proto-hippy “Oddball”, who smiles when presenting the coffee-swilling, hookah-puffing, woman-fondling tankers of his command with a dopey yet prideful smile. “These are my boys.” Today, me and some of the N-Trakers ran east to the coast to operate on the Farnham’s FEC. We entered their house in a blaze of gold, thanks to John’s club shirt. The guys (John DeVasto, Zach Bischoff and Jeff Chisholm) as well as myself and my wife, we took our jobs, sat down and did the shit out of them. I’ve run […]