In the next three photos we are still pulling the train out of the Eastward Auxilliary track at 10 mph. The photos show approaching and traversing the Yellowstone River bridge and approaching the End of Double Track / Begin CTC at East Billings.. In the second pic you can see the ammeter showing 160 amps in Number one throttle at 10 mph.
We have traveled 10 miles since the above photos and are now at Huntley. We finally meet that lost V train with him in the hole halfway along the siding at Huntley. He is already in the clear and we will have the signal at the east end to crossover and then enter the ex-CB&Q for the 130 mile run Sheridan.
Once on the old CB&Q we were the fourth train of a 5 train fleet. There were three coal empties from Forsyth about three stations ahead of us and an eastbound V train has been on our tail since Billings. We passed a flashing yellow approaching Anita and wondered what that could be. No more westbounds were due for hours according to the line ups and the 3 eastbound empties should be farther ahead. Perhaps a track inspector is tardy getting off the track?
Yes but that isn't the worst of it. The DS calls and tells us he has an MOW permit out east of Anita for about another 15 minutes. Then he drops the hammer and tells us we are heading in to let that V train run around us because there is going to be a pile up of trains 115 miles ahead at Sheridan. Oh hooray, I do so love that :-(
We take the hole and stop at the east end. A red signal in front of us and a green on the main next to us. Apparently the MOW got off the track early. About 10 minutes later my FRED beeps at me. "Moving" it says. Ah, the V has just blasted past our last car and rocked FRED. One minute later the V blows by us at track speed. Its engineer says to us, "Ooh that DOESN'T look good". I don't know if he was referring to our predicament or the fact that the DS put a fast running empty in the hole to get run around meant there was no room at the inn. I was too disgusted to take a picture of the run around.
It was 1:30pm, and according to the line up we had printed when we went on duty 4 hours ago, there was going to be three westbound coal trains and five eastbound trains at Sheridan all at once about 3-4pm. It did not look good for us seeing as how we are sucking hind tit now. I followed the V train 60 miles to Lodge Grass on flashers and greens. There we caught the three empties ahead of us and both of us stopped for a few minutes while the DS issued us some new 10 mph slow orders over a couple of spots that had just been tamped.
I figured that the first two empties would go 35 miles to Ranchester for the 3 westbounds and the 3rd empty would go 25 miles to Parkman. The V would run the 20 miles to Aberdeen leaving us at Lodge Grass for 2 or 3 hours.
But it wasn't that bad. The first empty went all the way to town for the first WB. The next two empties headed into Ranchester and the V train followed them. The V could not get into Ranchester so sat west of the west switch. We got peeled off at Parkman but that was a lot better than waiting at Lodge Grass forever so I didn't mind. It was 4:40pm and a great evening up there.
After the first empty got to Sheridan the first WB coal departed and met the two empties and the V at Ranchester. The two empties left Ranchester for Sheridan and the V pulled into the clear. While I was sitting at Parkman waiting for that first coal train to come up the hill I walked the train along the back track. I noted that the siding was laid with 132 lb rail rolled in 1980-1982. The back track switch was also 132 lb. But at the switch fouling point the back track dropped to 115 lb rail for one length then to 112 lb rail. A few lengths later it dropped to 90 lb rail then to a smaller yet size that was not marked. The 115-112 was rolled in 1941 and the 90 lb stuff was 1927. The less-than-90 lb rail was rolled in 1904 and 1907. There used to be a wye off the back track for turning steam engine helpers. Though long gone the roadbed is plainly visible. Where the east wye switch would have been the less-than-90 lb rail dropped again. What is this stuff? 65 lb? I am amazed that stuff holds a 425,000 lb loco or a 286,000 lb coal car. It was rolled by Carnegie Steel in 1902.
Fifteen minutes after I reached the head end the first coal train appeared. It was our loaded counterpart, a C-EBMSPB also with four OWYs. A four OWY to four OWY, PGEX/PGEX meet.
A few minutes later his SD60M helpers came by about to cut off on the fly using HelperLink.
The helpers returned light back down the hill to Ranchester and we followed them. They went down the main to the east end then backed into the siding ahead of the V train that was still waiting there. We headed into the siding at the west end and stopped when we were in the clear behind the V train. The second coal train pulled by the east switch and his helpers ran east out of the siding then reversed onto his rear end. The V train left Ranchester for town and we followed it.
The V and our empty met the 3rd coal train at Sheridan after we changed crews. In the depot I chastised the V train's engineer for being such a pokey. I told him we were nice enough to let him around us at Anita 7 hours ago but he then kept holding us up. He just grumbled something about dispatchers and went home. I don't know what else he expected the dispatchers to do for him. Sometimes the pieces just fall together wrong.
Getting run around at Anita did not make much difference to us in this case since they tied up only minutes ahead of us. We tied up at 8pm. Ten hours and 30 minutes on duty on a high powered empty that usually does not even need the power put on nor an air test at Laurel. Oh well, such is daytime weekday railroading. Sometimes I think nights are better, no Maintenance-in-the-Way.
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