Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Dave Parks' Cumberland West - Piedmont Tower

My workplace tonight: Piedmont Tower.

With some gentle convincing I took the Piedmont Tower operator position which turned out to be quite fun. I got to run the virtual CTC machine controlling the B&O main line west of Keyser, WV all the way up the hill to Oakland, MD, working closely with dispatch to write clearances, train orders, and report passing trains back to the dispatcher.

I also got the Keyser Local assigned which I promptly ran on the main line without a clearance. We're in Yard limits, right?

"What is that train doing on the main line? Let me come over."
                            --- Dispatcher calling across the layout room

Uh oh! Time to become one with the floor under my feet...

10 minutes later I was appropriately advised about the procedures I was supposed to follow. Combining the Tower Operator position with the local job turned out to be an excellent exercise to get more acquainted with the layout procedures.

With the proper paperwork the Keyser Local has made it to its westernmost point, the Western Maryland interchange yard at Luke. B&O engine #906 is preparing to run around its train for the return trip to Piedmont and Keyser.

For the local to come back on the double-track B&O main line against the flow of traffic required writing out two clearances and two train orders. Phew.

Everyone was super-friendly, advising, and helping me work through questions and rookie mistakes. A very enjoyable evening and with the chats and banter after the end of the session, it got very late.

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