At the throttle

Train Blog

April 28, 2018

OpsLog – FEC – 4/28/2018

o let’s just say, hypothetically, you were standing trackside in Titusville in the 70s (when it was still a sleepy little southern town). It’s about 3pm on a perfect Florida afternoon. Some blue units with 930 mounted on the number boards have been in town for a while. You might have checked references (mimeographed off a typewritten sheet by the Florida East Coast Railroad Fan Club (if such an organization existed)) to see that this was the Titusville Turn. Oddly, it listed its duties as light switching in the small offline yard but here it was with a long string, […]
April 25, 2018

OpsLog – LM&O – 4/25/2018

here are some sessions where at the end the musicians in the orchestra pit should break out into a stirring refrain and the operators should all come forward in their black club shirts and bow, center stage, to our audience. Tonight was one of those nights. We ran the schedule – the whole thing. Every freight, every passenger, every coal drag. We also ran a bunch of extras, possibly a half-dozen or more. Funny thing was, other than a parade of four trains over Harris Glen, the summit just wasn’t a problem for us – it was the water-level tracks […]
April 21, 2018

OpsLog – WBRR – 4/21/2018

hat really sucks with when you drive two hours to Port St Lucie to be an assistant dispatcher to a guy who is actually better than you. Richard’s got this gig cold – I mean, he’s running the DS panel without the magnetic board. He’d doing it in his fricking head. I’m just watching this guy throw down train moves and thinking, Jeeeze…. Like maybe I should be holding his coat or something. And not only that, he was gracious enough to give me half-a-session. Of course, when he got up and bowed his way out through the Oz curtain, […]
April 14, 2018

ShowLog – Deland – 4/14/2018

his show was the best of times, and the worst of times. Originally I only had three people besides myself scheduled for set-up. That’s a pretty tall order. But something like seven or so showed. It was like a Hallmark Christmas Special. “Why, it’s Christmas and angry Uncle Pete came, bearing gifts and goodwill. Hooray!” On the other hand, by about 2pm, we only had two trains running (with an occasional third nosing out). Bob Klauck hung in there with me, passing each other in our slow circuits, over and over. So thanks, Bob, for running above and beyond. And […]
April 8, 2018

OpsLog – WAZU RR – 4/8/3018

yers. According to our host Doc Andy, it’s a little nowhere place whose only reason for existence is to get Portland-Seattle rail traffic by each other. But I like it. People with kids (tired people, with no money and sleep) will tell you that having kids is a way for you to gain posthumous fame. My one answer to that is “Name your four grandparents.” I guess that matters to some, that you are remembered and made a difference. Well, for me, it’s Ayers. See, on the WAZU RR, it was jammed right next to another town. It wasn’t rare […]
April 7, 2018

OpsLog – 4/7/2018 – L&N

Lightning boomed outside the windows. Hunched in their seats, the two men struggled to keep a mulit-engine explosion from happening. They fought with their controls, the switches on their consoles unresponsive, even haywire, their radios filled with static, the voices on the other end indistinctive against the ether. Sweat plopped onto their crumpled working diagrams. Suddenly came a total power failure, the screens black, the drone of the distant engines winding down. Then the host entered the room. “I shut off power to fix a broken turnout. Lunchtime.”                   Yeah, it was […]
March 31, 2018

OpsLog – FEC – 3/31/2018

ilot friend of mine told me about getting vertigo once. He was flying formation with another jet, looked down his wingtip at the other, saw his running lights and the lights of the city rotating beneath him as they orbited the field. And suddenly he lost it. He just rolled out (on instruments) and flew for a minute or two to center himself on his bank-n-turn, just getting everything squared away. Same thing happened to me on Ken Farnham’s Florida East Coast today. I had the panel, dozens of lights and switches telling me a story, of indicators glowing and […]
March 28, 2018

OpsLog – LM&O – 3/28/2018

s the forward trucks of 247 West rattled over the points of Bound Brook throat, I figured this was shaping up to be a strange run. I’d only just scrambled aboard ten minutes before – she was already four hours late (her original crew had been pulled for a coal run earlier). And strangely, 271 (not due out for two more hours) was running ahead. They were already nosing into Calypso Yard some distance ahead of me – heard it over the horn. The problem was, all our pickups were on a shared yard track, meaning they’d have to dig […]
February 28, 2018

OpsLog – LM&O – 2/28/2018

razy night at the club. Not only were we a bit short-handed but we had VIPs, namely the superintendents for the FEC of who I’ve blogged about on this very train blog, Ken and Bev Farnham. Figured it would be a good session – Cody on the panel (a firm hand) and Frank in the yard (rock solid). I rolled the Zanesville Turn out (or tried to – the DS pushed a long-range warrant against me so I idled in the yard for a bit). But once I hit the rails, everything was fine. The switching was orderly but I […]
February 24, 2018

OpsLog – FEC – 2/24/2018

t was a bit of a struggle getting over to Ken’s Florida East Coast– we fought through a pointless battle on the Beachline (five miles of bumper2bumper and no cause for it) (there, Bruce, I mentioned that). And Ken’s was understaffed – five people dropped the night before leaving him a little short. I posted the club list – last moment stuff – didn’t get any takers. So, with Bev on the yard (one person doing the job for three), Ken on the panel, the shed  held only Me, Bruce, Andy, Monty and John. But we were the gold crew. […]