Four trains at RanchesterIt is not at all unusual.
On the evening of 9-20-03 I am in the hole at Ranchester, WY on SD40-2 BNSF 7895 on the V-PTLKCK (Vehicle train Portland to Kansas City). We are sitting behind a coal empty while a westbound coal load pulls by on the main. The westbound will have to stop at West Ranchester because a third eastbound train is sitting west of the west switch waiting for us to leave so he can pull into the clear behind us.
Minutes after I took this photo the train ahead departed for Sheridan 14 miles away and I followed him to town. The unlucky crew on the train behind me had to wait at Ranchester while we went to town, met another westbound load and a V train there, and then until those two trains ran from Sheridan to Ranchester to meet him.
The reflection in the bug splattered windshield is me wearing my David-Clark headset with its microphone twisted up on the side.
Biz car tag alongAt 8:30am on the morning of September 25, 2003 I am on the C-EBMSPB (Coal, Eagle Butte Mine to Boardman, OR) at West Parkman. At East Parkman I had passed an Approach signal but by the time I rounded the curve 2/3rds of the way along the siding I could see that the eastbound V train was in the clear and I had a green signal.
I could also see several business cars on the rear end of the V train. The brass and the hotshot are in the hole for my coal train, we know where the money is. Seconds later the helpers shoving on my rear end cut off on the fly and I set the air for the 50 mph run down the hill.
SD70MAC_screensMy second unit that day, SD70MAC BN 9688, had an air brake failure. When the electronic Knorr brake valves go belly up they revert to the old standby pnuematic mode if they are trailing so its is not really a problem for us. We are stopped obviously since I am on the second unit and that is why the speedo and TE are both zero. The unit will load OK.
Later that same day while we are climbing Rowley Hill I took the following photo of the 8950's screen. At 11 mph in number 8 throttle she is putting 113,000 pounds of pull into the drawbar. The trailing MACs, 9688 and 9677, are doing the same. That gives us a total of about 340,000 pounds of drawbar pull. The couplers are good for 390,000 pounds so if none of the knuckles/drawbars on the first 15 cars have any old cracks in them we should go over the top in one piece. The train is 115 loads and weighs 16,587 tons. The grade is a measely 0.8% but occasionally trains do come apart here. You all thought it took 2% grades to bring a train to its knees didn't you.
This screen is the later version on the MACs. I like the little pile of sand at the far right indicating that the sanders are on. When you blow the horn a little bugle icon appears and when the bell is on a bell icon is displayed. But I like the growing sand pile the best.
Dunmore MeetsBelow I am stopped at East Dunmore on the M-LINLAU (Lincoln - Laurel) while a coal load is stopped ahead of me between the switches. The eastbound has just gotten into the clear and as soon as the load ahead gets out of my way I'll pull down to let the eastbound out
On another day I am stopped at West Dunmore waiting for another eastbound to get in the clear. Wow, an OWY in 2003 with an intact GM nose herald.
Cab shot?Hey I don't spend all of my time looking out the front window. This is looking out the side window at West Ranchester as I am about to head into the siding for that meet in the first photo at the top of this page.
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