Train Blog
OpsLog – WAZU RR – 8/19/2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Sunday, 19 August 2018 21:18

’ve been told that there is a satisfaction to having a hand at something growing and improving. People say that about their kids. Their churches. Their businesses. But really, if there was a recent success story, it’s gotta be the WAZU Railroad.

We’ve had a couple of sputter-n-spark test sessions. Just everyone tripping over each other and fumbling around. But today, it was A-game. Today Superintendent Andy turned up the steam and released the trains. And today the crews were in top form. We had a good yardmaster (Greg), a sharp local operator (Jeff) and a crisp Dispatcher (Bruce). And all the other guys there, we were all running trains on the ball. I was passing trains two and three at a siding – the main was packed. But you could tell, standing in the other room, that the session was running tight. No cross-talk but some shared laughter. Radio calls going through on the first contact.

I ran a general freight and a hotshot produce run and both of those movements met many, many trains, more than any other WAZU session I’ve been at. It was busy and fun and the action was continuous.

Heavy trains meeting (Credit: Franky Z)









So congrats to the Doc and his associated band of engineers. We made that railroad hum. What a great time it was!

Sign me up for the next one.


OpsLog - L&N - 08/11/2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 11 August 2018 19:24












train wreck.

This occurrence took place on the Southern line at Granfield but it’s pretty representative of the entire session. But in a good way (since anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and I’m a very strong dispatcher now).

I was running the panels with Tom Wilson today – I’d ever so gracefully gave him the hair-puller panel (L&N) while I took on the sleepy Southern division. Other than the wreck pictured above (which happened with a literal run-away train), it was Smooth Operator time. I kicked out orders as needed, took the switch panel to fill in my time, and rather enjoyed myself.

 The Tom and Robert Train Drive Afternoon Show (credit: M. Anderson)












Then we stopped for lunch and everything went to hell.

It’s my belief that the sandwich shop got our order mixed up with the one to the secret government lab where LSD testing is taking place. How else to explain it? After I switched to the L&N side of the house (itself a sign of insanity), operators started leaving the phone party line open (which brought down my phone line about four times). Operators left turnouts in local control. Operators overran their warrant end points. Operators went to new and exciting places (and not the places I’d cleared them to). Operators snuck like Ninjas and ended their runs without a whisper of a hint that they’d finished. And panel coders found logic bugs during the session.

My favorite was the operator who kept pushing the damn call alarm while I was obviously on the line to several other operators, clearing orders. I’ll bet you lean over and over again on the elevator call button. And I’ll bet the elevators hate you for it, too.

I learned a valuable lesson. Never get involved with yard limits politics. When the yard backed up, the superintendent decided to tell me how to run things. Then he told me to clear southbounds through the yard. I thought that meant he’d held northbounds (and with the phones fritzy I couldn’t confirm). And this led to the great Horrific Helix Headon disaster of 2018.

But since the superintendent thinks I have an advantage here, this being my blog and all, I’ll prove him wrong and give him a place to respond.

Superintendent rebuttal:




I will say this. Everything he said above was a lie. But still, I’m a big enough man to be fair about it.

Truth be told, even through it was a shaky session, it was still a fun session. There were still laughs (laughs edging on hysterics) and occasional glimpses of good running. We introduced a number of newbies to the line (and maybe some of them might come back). But it was loads and loads of fun. Burning, wreckage-scattered fun.

Thanks, John, for having us out. Lemme know when the next one is so I can break more trains!



Last Updated on Saturday, 11 August 2018 19:45
OpsLog - CP&W – 8/2/2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 02 August 2018 22:43

kay, blame the fact that it’s the first day I’ve taken off work on a long time, that it was a two-hour drive to Tampa, that our Mr. Roboto navigation system got us lost in the cargo port area, or that the layout is big and there was so much to see. I’ve forgotten our host’s last name (sorry, John). But he’s got a kick-ass huge-ass railroad, the Chicago, Peoria and Western, that it’s mostly steam, that you have long runs and freight shifting and someday (it can’t be too soon) Time Table and Train Order. So, yes, names are unimportant in the face of all this.

My buddy Bruce and I snagged a way freight running east across the division, working off both a switchlist and dropping off waybills as we switched the towns up the line. The running was fun, the equipment worked well and everything was cool. I think Bruce was rolling his eyes about my pulling rank to have him work off the sidings (which turns out to be a blessing when a long coal string trundled past). I thought we did well but we could have done better – I had him backing long cuts into sidings when there would have been better ways to do things. Maybe next time.

After this, I got a couple of easy sight-seeing runs, the best being a PFE cut running loaded across the Illinois plains. Always fun with sound-equipped engines to blow at the crossings and ring past the platforms. Sure, it makes a racket but why not use it if you got it. To my way of thinking, you might as well leave the shell off if you aren’t going to make use of sound. I’ll admit that the PFE run was even more enjoyable since I could hear the second section whistling past the crossings I’d left in my wake. It was rather a poignant railroad moment, a sense of going places and doing things for a reason.

Anyway, thanks to John and his guys for having us out for the day. Had a great time and hope to come back in the future.


p.s. My host's full name is "John Brennan". Sorry about that oversight.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2018 11:49
OpsLog – LM&O – 07/25/2018 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 25 July 2018 22:24

ike an ecstatic divorcee leaving all their cares behind, the local I’d been running dropped everything at Zanesville, a string of empty corn syrup and paint tankers and a couple of boxcars, sans auto parts, and was now rattling along the river valley at track speed; two geeps, a T&P boxcar (with mine equipment) and a jolly green Penn Central caboose. We’re making the run up the valley to Carbon Hill in record time. Everything gone sharp with all the spottings and a run on coal has left Champion Mine clear for us to work in. It’s shaping up to be a great day.

And even better, with the miracle of folding mainlines, I can watch the action as two opposing Silver Bullets pass on time at Harris Glen, easing past each other and calling on that dinky clapboard station. It’s a sight so cool (four trains operating on the same peninsula, because a freight is waiting around the corner at Carbon) that a number of club members come over to railfan.

Hot trains at the high point (photo: Franky Z)

The club is running spectacularly tonight. The problems are minor, the noise low, everyone focused on their tasks. My waits are minimal, Cody hot on the DS panel and young Shaun is at maximum thruput in the yard. The cooperative game of railroading in at a fever pitch.

Tonight we ran everything – every passenger train, every freight, four coal movements. The Harris Local finished at 4:30am, something like a record. And for me, personally, running Zanesville was one of the sweetest sessions I ever had. It just worked. I had a great time.

So kudos to everyone who came out. This is how Orlando N-Trak runs its high iron – just like we host our shows. Professional and enjoyable.

Good work, guys!


p.s. I’m going to try to turn on comments, which I’ll leave running until the trolls find us. Let me know what you think.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 July 2018 22:32

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