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OpsLog - LM&O - 5/25/2016 PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 25 May 2016 21:55

ight night at the club - it's like that sometime. But the crew runs sharp - we're cleaned up, set up and away when the clock goes hot.

Matthew made it on time so I gave him the panel - he's off to College soon. This let me out to run the Shelfton Turn - interesting note about Shelfton; it's the oldest section on the layout. It's been in operation 25 years. And I've never run it. Nope, not once. So tonight I did. Worked it smooth - I don't know if the usual crews do my trick - I ran down with everything, ran around the cut on the passing siding and shoved them all into the tail track that runs under the passenger station. More than once, people stopped to watch and asked if I could really do that. The general opinion with that this track only held a couple of cars. Nope, I pushed at least ten in. If you are working an industrial area with tight tracks, then you want to take advantage of a long slice of empty tail.

Did all my work by noon, so it was pretty easy (especially since I wasn't digging my way into Federal Cold Storage). This gave me enough time to hop onto my second train, 271, and roll out of Bound Brook with it.

Didn't get to far - my Geeps were flaking out on me by the time I got into Calyspo. Thankfully Yardmaster Frank loaned me a couple of sound-equipped CSX monsters - rumm rumm! Swapped out in Calypso, tacked on helpers, and had a beautiful run up and over the summit, just one of those model railroad smile moments.

I was thinking how this might be Matthew's last time on the panel. He's been with us for years; came in as a young kid who wanted to learn dispatching. Of the three dispatchers, he was the butt monkey, getting kidded (and blogged) about his cornfields and laps. Just flip back through the LM&O reports and you'll see many examples. But he's grown on the job. Tonight, no headlights, no deaths. Everything was running hot and on the dot. Picked up a warrant out of Red Rock and smiled when he cleared me all the way to Cincinnati - smart move. Most dispatchers don't think it through and figure they gotta give you a warrant to the yard and another past it. But Matthew cut it correct - he could clear me to Cincy on track one and it would be my responsibility to stop in Martin Yard for setouts.

And before I could get impressed by this, I heard him cutting his last warrant of the night to the Harris Turn. And here, he pulled a sharp trick - he wrote the warrant using the Work between Calypso and Harris Glen. This gave the local total operating authority across the line between the yard and industrial area. It was a slick move that saved paperwork.

Which means he's fully fledged.

And now we're losing him, goddammit.

Good job, Matthew. And good luck on your future endeavors.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 22:17
 
OpsLog - LM&O - 4/27/2016 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 27 April 2016 22:08

ell, several crews were out, some getting married, some at prom. The dispatcher was laced on painkillers. Just another night on the LM&O.

Good turnout - always happy for that. A couple of guests got paired with crews. Me, I was running the Zanyesville makeup run. Last month this job didn't get done and now it was twice is big as normal. So out of the yard I rumbled on warrant #1, direct to Zaynesville and the pile of work awaiting me.

Wasn't too bad, really. I just used my old tricks - sorting out cuts at the bottom of the hill, using the drill track. Then up the slope to the GM plant and Coca-cola bottling plant, shifting them in using short chunks. Watched Silver Bullet 2 wrap around 202 on the main and siding below, a move I always order up when I'm on the panel. All around me, people were working their jobs and a studious quiet fell over everyone (with the possible exception of the area around Shelfton).

Had to take a little break just as I was finishing up; Bruce was coming up through the spiral tunnel with one of the drag freights, 244, and stalled. The irony here was that normally he is usually Florence Helpergale, tugging movements up to Harris Glen. So I dialed up unit 3001, crowbarred paper out of the dispatcher and ran down to find him. Hooked up, had a little problem getting him uphill but made it regardless. Once he was on his way, back down the hill I went to reclaim the local and call for paper out of Zaynesville.

Got held up in Martin for a time - the yard was backing up and Silver Bullet 1 went by, hours late. Spent the time blocking my train using the industrial trackage. Found an extra car in the lashup, probably something I'd dragged away and shouldn't have. Usually this would throw me into an upset but hell, I didn't know where I'd taken it from - I'd have to work that on the home computer to figure it out. Just stuck it on the end of the consist - I'd put it back on Martin 2 in the yard and send it back to Zanysville in the morning.

Finally got in and switched my train out among traffic hustling in and out. Overall, we ran everything but a pair of passenger trains - not bad. Everyone seemed to have fun, but yeah, we've got to overhaul some of those old, old turnouts.

I'm writing this with a smile on my face, so I must have had a good time.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 22:31
 
OpsLog - L&N - 4/23/2016 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 23 April 2016 20:56

ee, so, sometimes, I'm a sweetheart. I don't tell about truly embarrassing stories, even when there is a fiery train wreck. I don't blog out nice people.

Regardless of the burning of Ramsey, the smoke of whose burning cast down despair among the people of Tennessee, we had a great ops session. I got to run the L&N DS panel, the hot seat of the whole railroad. My pal Ken Farnham ran the Southern board, sitting across from me. Even though it was his first time under warrants, he kept his end of the railroad moving and we hardly had any conflict across the shared trackage. Overall, I pushed twenty-four trains across the division, using sixty-eight warrants. So, yeah, busy day.

Overall, it was pretty smooth operations (well, outside of the wailing of the unfortunates of Ramsey, whose fields were studded with the wreckage of boxcars and whose rivers ran black with the spillage of petroleum). I had a couple of problems with some trains overrunning their authority, a number of people who took main for siding and vice-versa, and the fact that nobody knew that one-buzz meant L&N dispatcher, two-buzz meant Southern. But it was a wild time with running trains and lots getting done.

Thanks, as always, to John Wilkes, who not only put on that amazing show of mountain railroading but served up some lunchtime stew, as well (all anyone ever gets at my sessions are months-old Christmas cookies). Had a great time and hope to repeat the fun and games very soon!

...Did anyone ever find that covered hopper?

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Last Updated on Saturday, 23 April 2016 21:15
 
ShowLog - Deland - 4/9/2016 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 09 April 2016 21:11

ell, it might be the end of our Deland Shows - we're not sure at this point. We've been told that the fairgrounds is boosting their building rentals by 1003% and the train show is passing their butt-kicking on to us. So we're not sure if we'll be out there in July.

Hard to say when we started doing Deland - back then we were hoisting our splintery N-trak modules in on our backs and taking ten hours (or more) to get the chaotically-wired monster running (honestly, it looked like the North Korea Model Railroad club at times). Here is our first real trip out with the new layout, circa 1/9/2011.

So five years later, we're packing in the kids and running trains around our massive 16 module U-shaped layout. Outside of finishing Folkston, we're almost done. And now we're getting pushed onto the siding. There are hopes (if they chase out enough venders) that we'll have space in the main building. We'll see. All I can say is that we fit well, we're a hit with the crowds, and Jerry Dunn always runs those long, long trains!

Anyway, it was a long day for us - having problems with the exit switch out of Folkston (Steve, please, come back from your round-the-world trip!), and the crossing gates through that area were misfiring (how many motorists did we kill? Did anyone count?). But it all came down to the take-down. We meandered through a relaxing 20 minute disassembly, the club stepping up to lift the modules, catch the legs, break-em, rack-em, and roll-them. An hour or so later, lazing on my outdoor lounger (next to my opulent Indian marble table!), enjoying some wine and cheese, I thought of the First Coast boys, probably still lugging modules into transport boxes and sweating them into their SUVs. Yeah, it's been a good run for us. We'll see what the future holds!

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Last Updated on Saturday, 09 April 2016 21:30
 
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