On May 13, 2001 I was on the H-KCKPAS1-11 and stopped behind the helpers on the rear end of a loaded coal train on the main at Ranchester. We were waiting for two sets of light helpers to come back down the hill on their return trip to Sheridan. The first set went by me before I got stopped. This photo shows the second set moving through the siding.
On February 1, 2002 I was on the Portland Rose coal empties in the siding at Parkman waiting for a westbound coal load to clear. Its helpers had shoved it from the mines east of Sheridan, through town, and up to Parkman. They cut off and returned east back down the hill ahead of me.
We both headed into the siding at Ranchester to meet two more westbound loads. The second of these trains was coming out of town helperless and this set was to get on it here at Ranchester and push to Parkman.
But before that could happen the first of these two coal trains had to get past us. This photo shows the light helpers waiting ahead of us at East Ranchester as the first of the two trains roars by in number 8 at close to 50 mph making a run for the hill.
Shoving hard on his rear end these two helpers are trying their best to keep him rolling at track speed.
This shot was taken through my rear window seconds later as the helpers pass. Within 1/2 mile gravity will foil their attempt at maintaining 50 mph and the train will soon be crawling up hill at 12 mph.
Fifteen minutes later the second train arrives. It is making considerably less speed by us than the previous train since it has no helpers yet.
When his rear end clears the switch he will stop. The helpers ahead of me will get a signal to depart but they will stop just east of the switch. The dispatcher will line the switch back for the main and talk them past the red absolute onto the rear of the train. There will be no 50 mph run for the hill for this fellow. He'll have to do it from a dead stop. I will get a green signal and depart for home.
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