At the throttle

Train Blog

January 24, 2018

OpsLog – LM&O – 1/24/2018

o now I know what having a stroke is like. Usual session. Everyone came. We cleaned. Trains went on the rails. People signed up. In the back office I booted my computer and readied the fast clock. Odd, it booted up at 15:1. Normally the club runs at 10:1. That was a problem a few years back but I easily corrected it. And then it was hot, and then we were running. Just like a chess game. 202 went into the siding at Zanesville as it had for at least a hundred times. Silver Bullet 2 stormed by on the […]
January 14, 2018

ShowLog – Deland – 1/13&14/2018

irst show of the new year and the railroad was staffed and run at full capacity for the two day Deland show.               A good group showed up on Saturday morning for the miracle (with donuts) set up – one hour from truck tailgate to basement-sized railroad. And all day we were packed. Lots of visitors. Lots of favorable comments. Lots of kids running. Lots of money in the donation buckets. And lots of lots of trains on the railroad. Like a leaky hull, trains kept squirting out of the three yard exits. When […]
December 17, 2017

OpsLog – WAZU – 12/17/2017

an’t put much here. My left hand is in a splint and I can barely type. All I can say about Doc’s session on the Wazu is this – picture an ammunition train going head on with a train carrying gasoline in the narrow dangers of Goblin’s Gate. And that was pretty much our session on the Wazu.  Had a great time, Doc!
December 2, 2017

OpsLog – WBRR – 12/2/2017

inally got a return trip on the Western Bay. And this found me on a chilly December morning sitting in that ice-cold cab of Train #2 in Denver, boots up on the boiler to warm my feet. Slid open the window and shivered in the icy mountain air to spot Conductor Vin.  His job was done for him – no passengers dawdled on the platform – all of them quickly tipped porters to stow their bags and scurried up the steps into the stove-heated coaches. At exactly 10:40am, Vin checked his watch and gave me the nod. With two whistle […]
November 22, 2017

OpsLog – LM&O – 11/22/2017

kay, this blog was mentally pre-written. We were holding our session the day before Thanksgiving because our college guys were back in town. Matthew wanted to dispatch. I already had most of the blog written in my head, about how he screwed up, how trains stacked, how we were running things twelve hours late. Actually, Matthew ran perhaps the best session we’ve ever had with a guest dispatcher. I didn’t hear phone delays. I didn’t hear horseplay. Nobody died. What I did see was a railroad that went through its paces. Good for our division. Bad for this blog. But […]
November 21, 2017

ShowOffLog – LM&O – 11/21/2017

buddy is in town for Thanksgiving. I originally thought that maybe we could get a little time to hang out (like we do frequently, once every other year). With five kids, time is certainly a luxury for him (to me, it’s a requirement). But then he caught me by surprise – “Show us your club!” What a cool idea. So in our Monday night crew set, a couple of guys helped me clean tracks – that was really nice of them, to take time to help me with this. And my buddy Bill agreed to come out and run a […]
November 19, 2017

OpsLog – Wazu RR – 11/19/2017

nlike Doc’s last session where we piddled trains around and figured out where everything was, this time we had the dispatcher program on line, a train timetable, a fast clock and committed operators. Usual interplay on the railroad hierarchy – Train 999, grinding west with a long heavy string of coal hoppers, was ordered into the siding at Aver Siding*. Opposing him was 156, an oil can train sloshing his way east. The meet was supposed to take place at Hinkle Yard but with 156 oozing along late, I moved the meet eastward to Aver to get some rails under […]
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 […]