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OpsLog - LM&O - 4/27/2016 PDF Print E-mail
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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
 
OpsLog - FEC - 3/26/2016 PDF Print E-mail
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Saturday, 26 March 2016 21:48

ometimes you have ops sessions that make you want to slink away and take up stamp collecting...

But....

Sometimes you have ops that you want to lacquer up and hang on the wall, and just lean back in your easy chair and look at them, preferably smoking a big fat cigar.

Yeah, today's run of the FEC was one of those days.

Man, did we have fun!

I ran the panel and was feeling so comfortable with it, I wasn't looking at the in-out cheat-sheet, but actually working the yard throat panel logically. We had everything moving including a rail inspection car that Ken had tossed in there as a spoiler. I had to putter it about off warrants, like a little mouse under foot. But no troubles; the freight was moving and everything was getting done.

I have to hand it to the crew - everyone was on top form today. The yard (working behind my chair) were lining them up and sucking them in. At one point I had four trains (two in Palm Bay, two in Titusville) honking to get in. I'd roll them in and Mrs Bev would grab the train as soon as the crew dropped it off, pulling it into the yard and breaking it quicker than a new IPhone screen. The rest of the yard, from Yard Master on down, had trains lining up to leave. One would go out and another index card would be placed on my desk - the next departure was queued up and ready to rumble.

Out in the other shed, the road crews were running top notch. Of course, I couldn't how it really went out there - for all I know, Ken was laying about with a bullwhip. But crews would pick up when I called, they'd wait for their signals, and best - those that switched moved through their tasks briskly, freeing up the main.

For me, the funniest moment came when I lined up (early on) for a three train meet at Palm Bay. Ken said, "Are you sure you can handle this?" (a reference to an earlier blog). I heard people laughing but under CTC this sort of thing is easy to do and slicker than snot. I did three ways, I had trains overtake each other, and I even ran a four by at Pineda, pretty as a picture.

If there was one problem today, it was that we were running too fast. For a while, we were pretty much dead on the dot. But then trains started getting to their destinations earlier then scheduled. I tried to hold people in holes for a bit, but it seemed silly to make an entire room of engineers wait. After four and a half hours, we were off the bottom of the run sheets and running through the extras roster.

Afterwards, everyone just sat in the crew lounge and glowed. You know its a great session when nobody gets slapped in the face with a glove afterwards. No, everyone was smiling and as far as I could tell we were all grooving on a job well done.

So it was a blast. Thanks again to Ken and Bev for the invite, and to the crews for putting up with my toggle-tossing antics. Great fun!

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Last Updated on Saturday, 26 March 2016 22:23
 
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