At the throttle

Train Blog

November 6, 2017

OpsLog – Tehachapi – 11/5/2017

y second day started out slow. All the other kids got to play so I hung in the crew lounge with my tinytop, IMing my niece and working on two game designs. Had this been the actual 50’s (which we are simulating) I’d be probably smoking a stubby cigar and nipping at a flask. And hacking. So, let’s not go too far on this thing. Eventually the crew caller gave me my ticket – third 23, part of Grand Canyon, moving west from Mojave to Bakersfield. Since this was the third (and final) section, I’d be running well behind the […]
October 29, 2017

TestLog – WAZU – 10/29/2017

y weekend of too-many-trains continues with a test run over at Doc Andy’s clinic, running the new Wazu Lines (where Wazu comes from or what it means is anyone’s guess). The Doc has moved mountains, installing solid benchwork and a great point-to-point run with a lot of sidings along the way for meets galore. Trains ran pretty smooth (that Kato track is hard to beat for operations). But there were more turnout controls than the inside of a C-130 and without markings, we were knocking each other off our trucks, tossing and listening for the throws. Easily correctable and already […]
October 29, 2017

OpsLog – FEC – 10/28/2017

rains running at night are very mysterious. They boom in the moonlight, the details are lost in shadows, the signals glow like stark binaries of red and green, and beyond the headlamps all is lost in gloom. And that’s why running the Florida East Coast in the simulated darkness (lit by streetlights, building windows and pocket flashlights) is a lot of fun. And a lot of challenges, too. I ended up working the Buenaventura industrial yard (I suspect the fact that I got lost on my well-traveled way over, missing an obvious exit, and also confusing the Wendy’s order-drone might […]
October 25, 2017

OpsLog – LM&O – 10/25/2017

o I’m rolling out of Calypso Yard on the head end of 271. I didn’t bring enough power to run a westbound freight so I’ve got loaned Funits on the head end, ATSF units as round and yellow as a jar of mustard. And I’m rolling slowly, mainly because a turnout in front of me broke a while ago and I’m having to tip-toe a forty car train over it. And this is made worse by the fact that, instead of helpers, I’ve got a turn coupled on the back, pushing. My caboose crew is screaming as their frame groans, […]
October 22, 2017

ShowLog – Makers Faire (10/21-22/2017)

akers Faire is a big crazy thing down at the fairgrounds every year, a place for all the droid-hoppers, 3D-printers, steampunkers, and general kooks to show up at – it’s like a county fair for nerds (not that it’s a bad thing). And since we’ve “made” this massive layout of ours, 90 feet of distance from one end to the other, it’s only appropriate for us to display there. So we set up Friday and Saturday at 9am trains ran. And ran and ran and ran. At a minimum there were three out at any time, and occasionally you start […]
October 8, 2017

ShowLog – Deland – 10/7/2017

here is a line in HG Well’s War of the World that sticks with me – as the narrator’s brother attempts to flee London before the Martians overrun it, they find their carriage entering a flood of refugees, millions of them. And one of the women cries out, “What are you taking us into?” That’s how Deland felt. Showed up as I always do at 6:45am for setup, with donuts and trains in my car. Usually I just drop off the cruise control at the top of the ramp, swing down through the west entrance and  sweep across the empty […]
September 30, 2017

OpsLog – FEC – 9/30/2017

ust got back from playing the biggest solitaire game you can play: Model Railroad Ops! Oh yeah, there are some of you who will say it’s a huge cooperative effort, a big multiplayer game railroaders have been playing for half a century. You work together to get the trains through the division and crews will cooperate in anything from throwing turnouts for each other to offering suggestions to pushing a car the final one hundred feet to the dock (saving another crew the hassle of a runaround). And at Ken Farnham’s FEC today, there were a whole bunch of people, […]
September 27, 2017

OpsLog – LM&O – 9/27/2017

just want you to know that I’m not to blame for this,” the new dispatcher told me in the midst of the hectic shitshorm that was tonight’s ops session. And yes, it really wasn’t all his fault, not when trains are departing yards in the wrong direction, ignoring their written, copied, and confirmed warrants, and running past frantic flagmen (why do you think they’re waving that red flag at you – because they’re communists?). Toss into this mix the special rules I added – that Irma was breaking up against our eastern slopes, that every train would need helpers going […]
September 16, 2017

OpsLog – WBRR – 9/16/2017

ur club does a lot of ops. We started with Mother-May-I on our N-trak modules a quarter century ago. Since then, we’ve built an empire at our clubhouse which we’ve run every month for years and years. And back in the day we ran ops every Monday at various members’ houses in round-robin fashion. Yeah, so we’re good. We’re really good. And that’s why we get invited to go halfway across the state (that’s longways, too) to run on Al Sohl’s Western Bay. It’s a cool 1930’s narrow gauge with scenery that will make your eyes bleed, it’s that good. […]
August 25, 2017

OpsLog – LM&O – 8/23/2017

’ve gassed long and loud about all the physical improvements across the division (Calypso Yard, Martin Yard, the Zanesville alignments). I’ve also talked about our increasing membership and how new (and returned) club members are filling our ranks. What I haven’t mentioned is how everyone is expanding their roles on the pike. This session, I was really happy with seeing members pushing their abilities and learning new things. Bruce (after getting slugged down in Mingo a few months ago) rattled out of the yard with the Mingo cut again, off to slay dragons. Both Dwaine and Craig rose from the […]