Story from the Road

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by Inkyrail, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. Inkyrail

    Inkyrail New Member

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    Some of you guys have told me you wanted to hear some stories from the railroad. I have been working the yard since I've been marked up as an official employee, which isn't very interesting, but I have been thinking of stories from my student trips. The one I can remember most of is my last trip...

    I was coming home from Yuma, Arizona one late afternoon aboard an intermodal train. The first notable event was that the conductor was late. I was about to tell the engineer that I could fill in if we couldn't get a conductor there in time- I felt I had enough of a grasp of the job to give it a try on my own. But finally he came in. We looked at our paperwork and noted our power, an SD70M in the lead, followed by an HLCX SD40-2 without dynamic brakes, and a C40-8. We figured our speeds and whether or not we needed a helper for Beaumont Hill, and found we were good. That is, until we got on the train.

    We moved in all of our stuff and stowed it in our respective spots . The engineer was getting ready to run through the locomotives and the conductor was stowing his food in the ice bucket when I noticed a tag hanging from the isolation switch. I went to look at it and it said "UP Non Complying Locomotive- UP 9xxx Dynamic Brakes inoperative; use for power only." I promptly cursed and told the other guys about it. This left us with only the SD70 with dynamics. We re-figured our need for a helper and found we were still ok, but really close to not having enough braking power. The engineer suggested that when we come out of a siding the conductor and I walk back to the Dash 8 and observe the dynamic brake gauge while he puts the dynamic brakes online to see if it really did not work. So at the first siding out of Yuma we came out of we did that, and sure enough the dynamics weren't working. So we debated getting helpers at Thousand Palms, but since we were legal, we decided against the hassle. The trip was uneventful, until we got to the top of Beaumont Hill. Now was the moment of truth. The engineer set up the dynamics on the SD70, and set some air. To our surprise and pleasure, the train came down nicely. We came down the hill, and IIRC we pulled up to the crew change at West Colton to transfer crews. We made sure to tell the outgoing crew that they only had one locomotive with dynamics.
  2. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

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    WHEW! I wonder what the other crew said when you told them that! :D Now that's a great story! Keep 'em comin'! :thumb:
  3. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    Great Story!!!

    THANKS!!! Josh G.!!!:thumb: :thumb: :D GREAT STORY!!!:thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :D and to top it off, ITS A UP STORY!!:thumb::D. THANKS!, for posting it!!:D -Deano
  4. Inkyrail

    Inkyrail New Member

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    OK I thought of another one. I got caught in a big traffic jam at Niland, California, which is about 3/4 if the way to Yuma from West Colton. The track at Niland looks like the diagram below. Once again I was returning from Yuma. We got put in the north siding (top of diagram) as the MECWC, a drag from El Centro to West Colton, was entering the south siding from the wye from El Centro. Then as we watched, an eastbound took the main next to us, and there was a westbound Z train on the main opposing it, I'm guessing nose to nose. The dispatcher asked us if the east bound on the main had cleared our switch, and we replied that we could not see. The MECWC said they were clear, so the got the first highball. Then they put the Z train in the south siding following the manifest and that cleared the main for the eastbound. Once the eastbound cleared. the Z train got the highball because they were uber high priority, and then we finally left, the last ones out in our I train. We then blanched as we realized that we were going to get yellows all the way up Beaumont Hill as the slow drag ground up the hill and slowed us down. The Z train ran around the MECWC just before Indio I am guessing. That left us first in line to get delayed by the manifest. But as we caught up to them we found them in the siding at Thousand Palms, getting helpers. Recognizing this stroke of luck, we got the hell out of there. Not long after that we were pulling up the hill and we kept hearing a train calling out Approaches just two control points behind us. As I thought about it I realized that the helpers gave the MECWC a lot more power than it needed, and the fate that we thought would happen to us had befallen them instead. A certain smugness welled up inside me as we crested the hill and descended the other side.

    Attached Files:

  5. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    ANOTHER GREAT STORY!!:thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :D THANKS!, Josh G.!!!:thumb::D :D -Deano
  6. Inkyrail

    Inkyrail New Member

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    I figured you would like them! Fun times- I can't wait until they let me get on the road again!
  7. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    i CANT WAIT either:D , i would like to read some more stories of RRing on the UP!:thumb: :D :D -Deano
  8. viperman

    viperman Active Member

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    Me too! I enjoyed both stories myself, being a UP fan too (though BN has a slight lead)
  9. MilesWestern

    MilesWestern Active Member

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    YAY!! Good stories InkyRail! keep 'em comin'!
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Josh,Your traffic jam story reminds me of the time we got held up at Limeville(Ky) when I was working on the C&O under the CSX banner(C&O was NOT merged into the CSX at that time)...We had made good time from Queensgate and lost that half that time at Limeville..In fact we had to wait 2 1/2 hours before a arrival track was open in Russell(Ky)..
    Keep these stories comin'..:thumb:
  11. Inkyrail

    Inkyrail New Member

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    Man, that's insane, I think the jam at Niland lasted all of a half an hour, maybe 45 min. About the stories, it will be a little bit... I have to drum up the suspense.:D Plus, I have to think of another good story...:oops:
  12. brakie

    brakie Active Member

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    Josh,What happen there was a major derailment on the Northern Division that tied up traffic for about 2 days..tThe result was a flood of trains off the Northern Division and that backed things up at Russell.
  13. Inkyrail

    Inkyrail New Member

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    :eek:Wow. That must have been fun....
  14. Inkyrail

    Inkyrail New Member

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    I got a couple more stories- this time from the yard.

    The first one- I was on an all purpose job and we were yarding a train whose crew died. The engineer wasn't qualified on DPUs so we left the DPUs where they were with the intention of coming back later for them. We yarded the train. cut off the power and came back for the DPU locomotives. We came to a joint on them and went to hook up the air hoses when we found they were to short and wouldn't connect. Ordinarily we would use a dummy hose extension to connect them bu one wasn't available. We stood there and thought about it for a while. Then the engineer gets the idea. He told me to sit in the cab of the rear-most locomotive. He said if for any reason the locomotives roll the opposite way from the direction we were traveling (due to knuckle failure), apply the independent. I said ok, and he went to the other end to start our journey to the roundhouse. We didn't get very far before we were relieved by the next crew. but it was interesting.

    #2- We were throwing cars over the hump, as usual, when we got a car that did not want to uncouple. So we stopped and pulled back over the hill and after that car got to the top it uncoupled, but kept following the rest of the cut at a slower speed (a fraction of a mile per hour). One of the other guys yelled to me jokingly "Put your shoulder into it". I figured why not- I'll give it a shot. So I started pushing on the boxcar, and before long I managed to get it stopped! I continued pushing and it slowly started to go the other way, back towards the crest. I was thinking " No way!" When I got it moving at a good pace one of the guys from the other crew helped me push, and we got it over the top and down into the bowl! To this day I can't believe I managed to do that.
  15. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

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    WOW, IDK how I missed this thread, Great stories Josh.:thumb: :thumb:

    I look forward to reading more!!:thumb: :D
  16. viperman

    viperman Active Member

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    From one Josh to another, hehe

    Josh G - another couple great stories! Was that boxcar empty? I'm guessing it was, or had very litle rolling resistance. Either way, AWESOME!!!
  17. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

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    That reminds me of those old truck commercials where they show them pulling several boxcars. Big deal, once you get them moving, it takes nearly nothing to maintain that. Besides, Josh G. can do that with his shoulder!!
  18. UP SD40-2

    UP SD40-2 Senior Member

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    TWO MORE GREAT STORIES!!!:thumb: :thumb: :D Hey Josh G.,could you please enlighten me on what happened?:confused: i ANXIOUSLY await your next story:D . THANKS! Josh G.!!:thumb: :D -Deano
  19. Inkyrail

    Inkyrail New Member

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    Josh- Glad you found it! Hopefully there are othe rail employees on here who would like to share their stories on this thread.

    viperman- I'm sure it was empty- since then there was an occasion where another crew had to stop, but they already pulled the pin on a two loaded hopper car cut and it was rolling slowly towards the hill. Two guys started pushing to get it to go over and I joined them, but we had no chance. The hopper cars shrugged us off like we were nothing and rolled back in on the standing cut. Oh well, one more pin to pull.

    TrainNut- You are correct it does not take much- I know a guy who rerailed a car with his Dodge Cummins dually. But you better have someone on the car ready to apply the handbrake- nothing like moving a car for some reason and then having it run over your truck after you stop.

    Deano- When a crew dies it means they are over the 12 hour on duty limit set by the government. They cannot do anything with the train except if they need to save their own skins. This job at the yard takes over the trains with dead crews so they dont need to call another road crew just to pull the train into the yard.
  20. viperman

    viperman Active Member

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    I think Deano and I were thinking the same thing there. We thought you meant DEAD, hehe. Good to know they weren't