Saturday, August 22, 2015

Port Townsend Southern

Union Mills at the start of the session. The Union Mills turn in the rear arrived at the end of the previous session.
Today's operations session at Brian Ferris' Port Townsend Southern was very enjoyable and time well spent. Brian is an excellent host, and the railroad ran very well. It looked like the other participants had just as much fun as I had. The PTS runs on Timetable&Train Order (TT&TO) which I didn't have much exposure to yet, with a 1:1 clock.

Conductor Jeff prepares for the next move.
My first assignment was to work the Union Mills switcher with Jeff.  Union Mills is a switching exercise with just enough space to not go crazy.

As we were getting ready to leave Union Mills, Brian came by and grabbed the two of us to run two scheduled secondary trains.  ... Uh oh. I was on my own. Grabbed the throttle and took my from Centralia staging to Wabash. ... Ok, now what? Hmmm... My northbound train 680 is scheduled for a meet in Wabash with train 673, but my orders inform me that 673 is running 20 minutes late. ... Ok then. ... ... But I don't think I should sit here for 20 minutes. ... Hmmm... Do I have enough time to make it to the next siding before 673 is scheduled to leave there with time to spare? ... Hmmm ... and I know there is an extra train in the hole at the next siding, because I cheated and looked across the room... Hmmm... that means I need to run for the yard. ... Hmmm .... but I'm a northbound train, so I'm superior on this railroad over the extra, I could pass the extra on the main, while he waits for the scheduled trains to go by. ... Hah! that should work and the timing works out, too. I should be able to get to the yard as far as the schedule times are concerned ... Of course, it took half an eternity to work through all of this in my head. I take off and make a run for the yard at Chambers Prairie, with barely enough time to spare to get in before Jeff's delayed train 673 is set to leave the yard.

Jim checks the paperwork for train 680. Brian, our host, is in the background.
Jim and Cal in the yard quickly swapped inbound and outbound cars on train 680 and thus I was able to leave the yard on-time preparing to meet first class train 407 at Kyro.

Train 680 is in the siding at Kyro waiting for train NP 407 to pass.
This time I get to take the siding, wait for the passenger train to pass and make my way out to the garage to tie down in Tacoma staging. My first solo-run with TT&TO were I really had to think through the motions was complete.

I like that taste. More of that, please?

Train 680 at St. Clair before heading through the tunnel into the garage. In the rear the Union Mills turn on the branch is waiting for 680 to clear the mainline

The Wabash turn working the coal mine in Wabash.
My last assignment of the day was the Wabash turn from Chambers Prairie. The fun part here was that the train wasn't blocked when it came out of the yard. I had work to do in Plumb, Wabash, and the Milwaukee interchange and decided to take the train down to Wabash to sort out the cars there.

I really like how the PTS has enough space and trackwork to allow operators do these things, while maintaining fluid operations. Did I mention that humans have a lot of space here, too?

Inside operator Bob hard at work copying orders from dispatch for me, while Jeff is running a northbound GN passenger train through Wabash. I finished my work in Wabash and am waiting for Bob's orders.

Lots of action today. Time to go to bed.

No comments: