22.11.02

PERMIT 2201, TRACK 1, YD TO CO, CORRECTLY REPEATED AT 2:39, SHK. Where Worlds Collide has a story about Russians making section speeders to use as intercity transportation. The roads in Russia are frightful, and there are numerous lightly used rail lines. The original source notes, "Trouble is, the trolleys are not subject to traffic control. The line belongs to the local authorities, but there is just one safety inspector."

There's a similar problem in the United States. Here, hobbyists collect section speeders (OK, not me, I don't collect snakes either) and run them on railroad tracks. Sometimes those are abandoned tracks, in which case the biggest problems are defective tracks, or other hobbyists going the other way. Not all hobbyists are alert to the tracks that are still live, which poses a bigger safety hazard.

The subject line of this post gives the final line of a track occupancy permit, using a slightly out of date form of the rules. Dispatchers on the railroads issue permits for the section speeders (or, more commonly these days, pickup trucks with railway wheels) to use a section of track. Free agents are not allowed to request such permits. The hobbyists have ways of coordinating their use of abandoned track, at least the organized ones do. The organized hobbyists are still at some risk of running into a free agent joyriding on the same track. I wonder how the Russians manage.

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