Hazmat HazardI am still working the Sheridan yard engine and I was in the depot today while a crew was searching through the rulebooks and Special Instructions for the current restrictions that are placed on Key Trains. Key Trains are those that contain a specific amount of hazmat of specific types. Although we have some hazmat cars in most of our freight trains, we seldom get trains that meet the Key Train definition. Today's did.
While discussing the requirements with the road crew I was reminded of this photograph I took last summer. While stopped at Dunmore I walked back along our train to get some exercise. About midway in the train I came across these two cars. The car in front is a hazmat placarded tank car. One of the restrictions for these cars is that they can not be placed next to a shiftable load account of the obvious puncture hazard should the load shift as a result of severe slack action or a derailment. It is permissible to have the tank next to a loaded bulkhead flat as long as the shiftable load, in this case steel channels and I-beams, are not loaded above the bulkheads. In the case of my train that day, while the load of steel beams does meet the letter of the rule, I don't believe it meets the intent of the rule. The planking of the bulkhead is in such poor condition that it is not going to stop the steel beams from puncturing the tank car. In addition to the missing planks many of the ones farther up on the bulkhead were already cracked in their centers and would offer no restistance to the steel beams should they shift.
Loading CoalOn December 17, 2003 Schultz Coal is almost half finished loading their two cars of coal. In the background L&L has one of three bunkers loaded with logs. We will pull all three cars after lunch. The photo was taken through dirty windows in the cab of my SW15.
Marooned on the TurntableOn January 2, 2004 one of the Sheridan Helpers SD60Ms needed to be turned to be MU'd with its new partner. But earlier high winds had taken what little snow we had and dumped it all into the turntable pit in a large drift as deep as the walls of the pit. Sheridan's Mechanical Department had attempted to plow the drift with the turntable. In retrospect perhaps it would have been wiser to see if they could spin the table all the way around before putting the SD60 on it. The turntable did a remarkable job of shearing off the drift, up to a point. Then it stalled. The turntable was stuck. It would not go either way. The BN 9293 was marooned.
The photo below shows that part of the drift the table managed to plow through before it stalled. You can see the drift was originally up as high as the snow left on top of the wall.
It was 11 degrees so during lunch I spotted my SW15 at a convenient location to watch the fun from the warmth of the cab. Help arrives in the form of a large Caterpillar front end loader. A cable is attached to the turntable structure and the tractor manages to pull the table around 90 degrees to align with one of the approach tracks. The SD60 is freed from its prison and is MU'd to its partner just as a helper engineer comes on duty to use them.
WarbonnetsI am not a fan of the Santa Fe's so called Warbonnet paint scheme. But since it is so popular with railfans and pure warbonnet consists are getting quite rare, I offer the photo below. On January 2, 2004 three BNSF SD75's in warbonnet, MU'd elephant style, and complete with "Santa Fe" on their flanks, are on the point of a parked Detroit Edison coal empty on number one track in Sheridan yard.
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