The CR&E operates with a group of 6-8 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. Sessions typically last about four hours and represent two eight-hour shifts.
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. We tend to start a session about where we left off, so trains can be found in various places on the road at the beginning and end of a session. 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. Our goal is to operate the railroad realistically, but to be able to socialize and have fun at the same time.
Our crew is comprised of a trainmaster who oversees the session (generally me), a dispatcher and Lewisburg Yardmaster for each shift, and several 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 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 the CATS computerized Centralized Traffic Control (designed by Rodney Black) and some verbal Track Warrant Control. The mainline is fully signaled with CTC, but branch lines are "dark territory" dispatched verbally.
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 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. Works non-coal industries on Kessler & Northern District.
|NS C54||Lewisburg-Lewisburg||New Castle Turn. Delivers and picks up local cars to/from Glace, Paint Bank, and New Castle for local switchers to work.|
|NS C60||Gauley Bridge-Lewisburg||Road local.|
|NS C61||Lewisburg-Gauley Bridge||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. Delivers empties to CSXT/NF&G at Raders Jct. and CSXT/B&O at Fenwick, WV. Works loadouts between Sam Creek Jct and Fenwick.|
|NS C73||Fenwick-Lewisburg||Return of C72. Delivers loads from CSXT at Fenwick and Raders Jct. Works loadouts between Fenwick and Sam Creek Jct.|
|NS C74||Lewisburg-Sam Creek||K&N Sam Creek Shuttle. Handles raw coal to Sam Creek Prep Plant and related empties to loader.|
|NS C76||Lewisburg-Sam Creek or Clear Fork||Unit train empties/loads to and from Sam Creek or Clear Fork loadouts on K&N District.|
|NS C77||Sam Creek or Clear Fork-Lewisburg||Unit train loads/loads to and 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 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|