The CR&E normally operates quarterly with a group of 8-10 regular crew members, many of which have seniority back to 1996 when it all started. New crew members are added occasionally, but the challenge is always to maintain a manageable crew size so the layout isn't crowded and so people don't have to stand around waiting a long time for assignments. Beginning in about 2006 on Version 1, we started running 6-hour sessions instead of 4-hour sessions. These are basically two 3-hour sessions with a lunch break. Some people stay all day and others only attend either the morning or afternoon session. This opens up a few operating slots.
Although a 4:1 fast clock is used for reference, trains are generally called in sequence as crews become available. The beginning of an operating session can be hectic, so crew calls are spaced out initially so as to not overload the railroad or the dispatcher. Off-duty crews are permitted to be in the railroad rooms observing or socializing with others. With a limited crew size, it doesn't get too crowded and everyone seems to stay rather focused. I view operating sessions as "serious fun." I like the mood of the session to be reasonably serious so we can accomplish our realistic operating goals, but I also want people to be comfortable and have fun. I want people to come back! We do our share of joking around during a session, but the crew generally knows the limits to prevent the session from falling apart from too much levity.
Our crew is comprised of a trainmaster who oversees the session (generally me), a dispatcher for each shift, a yardmaster and yard crew for each shift, and up to six train crews. We'll sometimes double people up on assignments, but generally each person serves as a train crew. The assignments for train crews include local trains, mine shifters, merchandise trains, coal and empty trains, and pusher operations.
Crews use Digitrax throttles (corded or simplex radio) to run their trains. They communicate with the dispatcher, who sits in another room away from the railroad, via FRS headset radios. The dispatcher controls traffic using computerized Centralized Traffic Control and some verbal Track Warrant Control. Most of the railroad is fully signaled, but branch lines are "dark territory."
Occasionally there are opportunities for guest operators. Sometimes special sessions are held for organized operating events such as NC RailRun or for groups of people who cannot attend on a regular basis.
The following through trains operate regularly on the CR&E. These trains are supplemented by coal and empty trains (extras) that run as needed.
|NS 136||Columbus, OH-Linwood, NC||Originates from Conrail CODI at Dickinson, WV|
|NS 137||Linwood, NC - Columbus, OH||Becomes Conrail DIIN at Dickinson, WV|
|NS 358||Charleston, WV - Roanoke, VA||Connections to/from Conrail and CSXT locals from CSXT South Charleston and Conrail Dickinson Yard at Charleston, WV|
|NS 359||Roanoke, VA - Charleston, WV||Connections to/from Conrail and CSXT locals from CSXT South Charleston and Conrail Dickinson Yard at Charleston, WV|
|NS 371||Raleigh, NC - Lewisburg, WV||Operates via CSXT trackage rights between Salem and New Castle (SJ Tower), VA|
|NS 372||Lewisburg, WV - Raleigh, NC||Operates via CSXT trackage rights between Salem and New Castle (SJ Tower), VA|
|NS 456||Charleston, WV - Roanoke, VA||Connections to/from Conrail and CSXT locals from CSXT South Charleston and Conrail Dickinson Yard at Charleston, WV|
|NS 457||Roanoke, VA - Charleston, WV|
|NS C41||New Castle-New Castle||New Castle Switcher. Works industries west to McFalls/SJ Tower and east to Catawba.|
K&N Local North. Works non-coal industries on Kessler & Northern District.
|NS C49||Fenwick-Lewisburg||K&N Local South. Works non-coal industries on Kessler & Northern District.|
|NS C54||Lewisburg-Lewisburg||New Castle Turn. Delivers and picks up local cars to/from Glace and New Castle for local switchers to work.|
|NS C60||Fayetteville-Lewisburg||Road local.|
|NS C61||Lewisburg-Fayetteville||Road local.|
|NS C62||Glace-Glace||Glace Switcher. Works industries west to Caldwell and east to Paint Bank.|
|NS C72||Lewisburg-Fenwick||K&N North End Shifter. Works loadouts between Sam Creek Jct and Fenwick.|
|NS C73||Fenwick-Lewisburg||Return of C72.|
|NS C74||Lewisburg-Sam Creek||K&N Sam Creek Shuttle. Handles raw coal to Sam Creek Prep Plant and related empties to loader.|
|NS C75||Sam Creek-Lewisburg||Return of C74.|
|NS C76||Lewisburg-Sam Creek or Clear Fork||Unit train empties to Sam Creek or Clear Fork loadouts on K&N District.|
|NS C77||Sam Creek or Clear Fork-Lewisburg||Unit train loads from Sam Creek or Clear Fork loadouts on K&N District.|
|NS C78||Lewisburg-Kessler||K&N South End Shifter. Works loadouts between Meadow Bluff and Kessler.|
|NS C79||Kessler-Lewisburg||Return of C78.|
|NS C80||Lewisburg-Lewisburg||First Hill Run. Handles coal to Paint Bank and New Castle, empties to Lewisburg.|
|NS C82||Lewisburg-Lewisburg||Second Hill Run. Handles coal to Paint Bank and New Castle, empties to Lewisburg.|
|NS C84||Gauley Bridge-Lewisburg||Coal Shifter. Works loads and empties from Gauley Bridge, Fayetteville, Meadow Bluff.|
|NS C85||Lewisburg-Gauley Bridge||Coal Shifter. Workds loads and empties from Meadow Bluff, Fayetteville, Gauley Bridge.|
|NS C91||Glace-Glace||First Glace Pusher|
|NS C92||Glace-Glace||Second Glace Pusher|
|NS C93||Glace-Glace||Third Glace Pusher|