A fatal collision on the Casper line found me called on December 4, 2002 for a detoured H-FTWPAS (Fort Worth, TX to Pasco, WA). It had 13 loads, 45 empties, 3132 tons, and was 4423 feet long. Power was the BNSF 4539, BNSF 1022, BN 7271, and the BNSF 2156.
Immediately behind the power were three Hi-Wide loads of seismic machines bound for Alaska. For those who might be unfamiliar with such things these machines are basically a powerful earth vibrator. Hydraulic rams vibrate a ground plate through a range of frequencies. Because of the great weight of the vehicle this action sends "shock waves" through the earth. Echoes of these shock waves are picked up by a grid of Geophones laid out in advance. The echo patterns are then analysed for deposits of such things as minerals, gas, and oil.
Here I am stopped at East Parkman. Another westbound is stopped ahead of me and we are both waiting for an eastbound to get into the siding.
This picture shows one of the three indentical loads. My conductor and I could not figure out what the two large tundra tires were for as it did not appear there was any way the machines with their large crawler tracks could make use of them. Each of the three cars had two of these tires. All we could figure was that they were for some other type of machine and the company was making two separate shipments together to save money.
Here is a close up of the seismic shaker and the triagular rubber track drive.
One hundred and five miles later the MRL dispatcher stopped us at West Huntly to meet an eastbound V train. We were not very happy with this since we were still right on that other westbound's blocks that we had stopped behind at Parkman hours earlier. Both of us could have gone to double track at East Billings for the Vehicle train but instead we got held here.
Hand held night shots are never very crisp but you have to take what you can get. Here is a picture taken standing in the back cab doorway looking forward at West Huntley while we wait for the V train to show up.
|Return to Tales index||My Home Page||E-Mail me|