M-LINTUL1-23 Picks Up at Waldron, MO
This photo-essay will be a little different than past essays in that the photographs are not mine. The images in the following slideshow were taken by Division Trainmaster Kevin Nevill.
Even though my current role as Train Dispatcher has me removed from the field, I still have many opportunities to do some "Real Railroading" and teach a new generation of field officers how to get things done.
The day before, 12-23-2014, the Division Trainmaster had on his task list a high-dwell car at Waldron, MO that needed to be picked up. Tank car GATX 6716 was a load of Haz-Mat destined for Tulsa, OK that was released by the customer at Waldron.
The trouble is there is no local service here and the switch opens to the west, which means that generally only westbound trains will pick-up and set-out at this location. Here there are two main tracks and this team track is off Main Two.
On the 23rd, the trainmaster had identified an H-KCKSPO train to pick up the car at Waldron and then set it out at the yard in St. Joe. I asked him if adding two work events to a high-priority train headed to the west coast was really the right move to make. Thus Plan A was cancelled.
I asked him why not pick it up with an eastbound train, splitting the power up with two crews. "No, that will never work!", said the Trainmaster.
The next day, Christmas Eve 2014, I sat down at work and the GATX 6716 was still at Waldron. "We will move this car today", I thought. There was a small (under 4000 foot) Lincoln to Tulsa manifest train on the railroad. An 0715 DCNORTH relief crew was called to re-crew this train and I would have them get on at Armour, MO.
At the same time, there was a 0135 DCNORTH crew at Phelps City, MO getting a grain train that was just loaded at the shuttle facility there. Because of concerns about crew availability due to the Christmas Holiday the decision was made to leave the grain train at Phelps and taxi the crew towards Kansas City.
This 0135 crew checked in with me as they were passing through St. Joe. I instructed them to head to CP 165 at Waldron for job briefing with the Trainmaster and the M-LINTUL1-23. I briefed the conductor on the moves that would be made to pick up the GATX 6716 at Waldron. I then called the 0715 DCNORTH crew and advised them of the same moves.
My next call was to the Division Trainmaster. I told him to print up the Haz-Mat paper work for the GATX 6716 and be at Waldron in an hour. I also told him to bring his camera and take pictures for he was going to witness some real railroading!
The Division Trainmaster and the 0135 crew met at Waldron and discussed the moves I had instructed them to make. The Trainmaster asked me to have the M-LINTUL1-23 stop at MP 16 for all to have a job briefing which I did.
At MP16 the inbound 0715 crew uncoupled the lead unit, BNSF 7012, and operated it light into the stub track coupling to car GATX 6716. The 0135 crew then took the second unit, CP 9712, and the first five cars of the train eastward on Main Two past the switch where the BNSF 7012 and GATX 6716 were. The rest of the train was tied down and left standing west of the switch. The five cars were needed to serve as buffer cars between the Haz-Mat GATX 6716 and the Locomotives.
The 0715 crew then pulled out of the stub track onto Main 2 with the GATX 6716, lined the switch, and then coupled the car onto the five cars coupled to the CP 9712. The BNSF 7012 the returned light into the stub track and lined the switch for Main Two movement.
Next the CP 9712, now with six cars, backed westward past the switch where the BNSF 7012 was and coupled to the rest of the train which was still standing on Main Two.
Finally, the BNSF 7012 was able to come out of the stub track onto Main Two and couple to the train on top of the CP 9712, reassuming its position as the lead unit on the M-LINTUL1-23.
And so it was done, in less than 30 minutes, an eastbound train had picked up a car off a westbound track, properly placed for Haz-Mat compliance, and was headed towards Kansas City and ultimately Tulsa.
The below photo album contains some of the pictures that Kevin Nevill sent me of this move:
And that, Boys and Girls, is how it is done!
I just changed the favicon from the Weebly 'W" to the Texas & Great Northern Logo. I did not use the NT&O "Meridian Speedway" logo because favicons need to be square in format.
BNSF E-SAIATM0-43 at CP Baird.....
Part of what has kept my interest while serving as Terminal Manager at Lincoln, NE is the ever-changing face of the Haymarket district. I recently noticed that the foot bridge crossing the five BNSF tracks leading to the new Pinacle Arena just received the large letters "L-I-N-C-O-L-N". The fence cage between the letters has not been installed, so photos of the area taken now will be very dated. Unfortunately, I recently damaged my wide angle lens, so getting this shot is difficult.
I visited the area on the evening of November 18, 2013 only to find MW equipment working at CP Baird. Empty Iatan coal train E-SAIATM0-43 was holding at the Coffee Shop with 5 trains stopped behind it. A call to the Carling Operator revealed that MW had time on all of the Main Tracks at CP Baird. Noting that MW was not occupying Main Track 1, I hinted to the on-duty Terminal Manager that MW could probably give back Main Track 1 so we could bring in the fleet.
Within minutes, MW released Main Track 1 and the E-SAIATM0-43 entered the scene. Just in time for the sun was quickly setting, creating a brilliant golden glow and long shadows. I like the effect of this first, distant shot as the train eases through the fog created by the track equipment on adjacent Main Track 2. The crew did an excellent job whistling for roadway workers. I was proud of them.
Having penetrated the dust cloud, lead unit BNSF 9868 is in perfect focus. The conductor can be seen glancing at the workers in his rear view mirror and the engineer clearly is straining to see the signal aspect he is approaching at CP Haymarket. The curvature and the position of the setting sun make viewing this signal particularly challenging.
This 300mm telephoto shot of the DPU locomotive, brand-new SD70ACe 8797, passing under the letter "L" gives perspective on the enormity of the letters:
Hope you enjoy -
Over the last decade or so I have amassed a sizable e-mail distribution list of individuals to whom I would share my photography in the form of a photo essay. The last one went out to over a thousand recipients!
Because of the many changes going on, it has been some time since I sent out my last essay. For ease of access and reference, I have created the "Photo Essays By CMP" Category on this blogspot.
Today I have posted that last photo-essay with thumbnail links throughout the text to the photos posted on RRPictureArchives.net. This was the story behind how the Missouri Pacific and Virginian Heritage Units ended up on the same BNSF train out of Lincoln, NE.
As I come across my older essays I intend to post them here with a tag to the Photo Essays by CMP category.
It is also my intent to use this format for future photo essays.
If any of you have saved my essays that you do not see posted here, please do not hesitate to forward them to me as I really have not archived them as well as perhaps I should have!
How I Built a Famous Heritage Consist
(Note: Below images are linked to larger files on RRPictureArchives.net)
Playing with other railroad's heritage units has provided me with a great deal of entertainment over the past two-and-a-half years that I have been Terminal Manager for BNSF in Lincoln, NE. I have managed to position a number of them for photography on the BNSF Nebraska Division. This past weekend proved to be particularly amusing for me.
Saturday evening, December 28, 2013, as I prepared for another night shift I noticed a text message advising that Chicago to Tacoma stack train S-LPCTAC1-28 was operating on the Ottumwa Subdivision with Union Pacific's MoPac Heritage unit No. 1982 in the consist. Not in the lead, though, UP 1982 was the east-facing 2nd unit on the head end consist of the train which was in a 2x1 DP configuration. Interesting, I thought...
Upon arrival at work I was quickly distracted by OpCon III conditions on the Ravenna and Creston Subs, forgetting about the "Screaming Eagle" that was racing through the night towards Lincoln. Locomotive engineer Shane Palus came up to the tower to say hello and ask if I knew where the NS 1069 was. Amid the busyness of the shift I had missed the fact that the Virginian Heritage Unit was in Lincoln.
The words did not need to be said. The challenge was in the air. Could it happen? Could I create a consist of Heritage units from two different railroads? Game on! The vision of the money shot on Firth Hill of a Heritage Unit duo from two railroads was clear in my head:
I asked Control Yardmaster Matthew Burkart where the NS 1069 was. He stated that it was in the Prepo. This unit was set out from an empty coal train earlier in the day. I consulted with the Diesel Tower Foreman and learned that the NS 1069 had been set out for a federal shell defect on a wheel on the No. 5 axle.
Back to Mr. Burkart, I asked if there was a plan to get this locomotive to the house. There was not. Knowing my penchant for playing with Heritage units, he stated that he did not want to know what I was up to; but, he promised to get after it. Within minutes a hostler/pilot team was headed to the Prepo to pick up the NS 1069 and take it to the house.
This was one of those nights where everything that could go wrong, did. It was a holiday weekend, so crew availability was problematic. The temperature was dropping from 50° to 8° so both rails and locomotives were failing. The number of unplanned power mods on through trains was very high. I had a feeling that the S-LPCTAC1-28 would not fare well. I just knew it! Heeding this premonition, I positioned a pair of ES44C4s (6922 & 6590) in my back pocket just in case this train would become an unplanned power mod.
The NS 1069 made it to the house and was first spotted to the S-F-S (Sand-Fuel-Service) facility for servicing. I challenged the ramp foreman to provide a quick turnaround on this unit and was given a commitment of an 0500 release from the wheel machine. Several follow-up inquiries throughout the night kept this unit on target.
S-LPCTAC1-28 landed on fuel pad track F-2 and was a full service inspect. Blue-flagged on arrival, mechanical car and locomotive teams began their work. Soon a machinist announced on the radio that the lead unit, BNSF 5138, had failed inspection for federal shell wheel defects, also on the No. 5 axle. Those words were music to my ears for we would fresh mod the head-end consist, replacing the BNSF 5138/UP 1982 with the BNSF 6922/6590. With this volume of traffic, processing track time was at a premium. Replacing the whole head-end consist was quicker than cutting just one and then having to hook and test the new consist. The UP 1982 was now at my disposal!
The seeds had been planted for the photo harvest that the day would yield.
I advised the Diesel Tower Foreman that the power for train H-LINKCK1-29 would be UP 1982 and NS 1069. Both locomotives were promptly assigned. I then job-briefed with the third-shift Control Yardmaster on the moves to be made. Another call to the Ramp Foreman confirmed that the 0500 predict on the NS 1069 was still accurate. When asked what was so important about this locomotive, I simply stated that we were very short of freight power and it was imperative to get this machine back in service ASAP.
Gerry Swenson is a first shift hostler who came in four hours early to fill half of a 3rd shift vacancy. Gerry appreciates such things as unique locomotives so I made sure his first move was to pull the head end consist off of the S-LPCTAC1-28. They plucked the BNSF 5138 and UP 1982 off the train, headed down Engine Running, and split the consist up in the North Yard while another Hostler/Pilot crew took the BNSF 6922/6590 to the train. The 5138 was placed in North Yard 4 and the UP 1982 was left by itself in North Yard 3 (derail protected, of course).
Upon completion of this move, I overheard the Control Yardmaster line them up with their next move...according to plan. He told them to get a van, head to the wheel machine, grab the NS 1069 and couple it onto the west end of the UP 1982 in North Yard 3. At 0530 they were on their way to the wheel shop and by 0600 it was done. The train was built in Departure 2 and the two Heritage Units were together in North Yard 3, ready for diesel forces to hook-and-test. Thanks for coming in early, Gerry!
Fortuntely, this was my Friday so I could afford to play during the day. I had already arranged for a chauffeur. The morning was a waiting game of processes--shift change, locomotive hook-and-test, power hostled to train, train inspection. Before I left the desk I called a DC South crew for 0906 to be on-spot for the inspection and departure. This crew would also bring other trains into Lincoln.
To pass the time while the train was being inspected, we headed out to Grafton, NE on the BNSF Hastings Sub. "Lincoln-Laurel" train H-LINLAU1-28 had just departed with a pair of brand new, consecutively numbered, CitiRail ES44ACs, 1341 and 1340. These striking silver, blue, and yellow beasts won't be clean for long. The effort was worth the time.
Back in Lincoln to check on the H-KCKLIN1-29, things were progressing slowly. The power was on the train, but the cold temperature meant the air pressure was slow to come up in the train line. In addition the carmen were attempting to make repairs to slack adjusters on four cars. It was cold! Though time consuming, their efforts were successful and the cars did not need to set out. Here is the view form the yard tower of the train being inspected in Departure 2.
After a quick bite to eat, the train was finally highballed - no bad orders. Normally, the shot first referenced above on Firth Hill would be the first photo location, but on this weekend day Superintendent of Operations Rich Duncan was conducting operations testing. Arrangements had been made to perform a stop test on the train at the Control Signal at Hickman, NE. This known delay would allow us to shoot the train at Roca, NE and still make it to Hickman and Firth. The colorful duo looked good rolling through Roca.
As the train was rolling through Roca, Rich and I discussed the tonnage of the train (11,000) and the viability of the stop test at Roca. We decided to proceed with the test as both units were AC and the route would be the less severe Main Track 2. Both the crew and the train dispatcher performed flawlessly for the Hickman stop test and after proceeding at restricted speed to the intermediate signal at Panama Road, the Heritage Duo marched the train up Firth Hill without missing a beat! They sounded great! After getting the vision shot on Firth Hill linked above, we were able to capture this head-on view of the UP 1982 cresting Firth Hill.
Though cold, the day was beautiful. This consist provided an excuse to spend some time on the division so we took in the spectacle several more times....
And charging through Humboldt, NE:
After arriving at Argentine in Kansas City, the units remained together
and traveled to Alliance, TX on train M-KCKALT1-30, Slaton, TX on train
H-ALTSLA1-01, and Barstow, CA on train H-SLABAR9-03. We will see
how long they stay together.....
Many thanks to all of the team players who helped pull this off!
Athearn even got in on the Action!
Today I had lunch with my father, Michael Palmieri, and we discussed a number of ideas about this website. I expressed my interest in hosting some of his writings on this site and specifically asked if he would write a essay about someone who had a very influential model railroad in our home town, Mr. Frank Ellison.
Mr. Ellison's concept analogy comparing a model railroad to a theatrical stage is classic. This is a theme I allude to many places on this site as I attempt to create the perfect "stage" for the Meridian Speedway.
Much to my delight my father had already written such an article that was posted on his Louisiana Railroad website which, sadly, disappeared at the hands of Hurricane Katrina. He e-mailed me that article within a few hours.
I have created the "Library" page on this site where that article is available for viewing.
Also, with this blog posting I am creating a "What's New" category for this site to aid viewers in finding new content. If all goes well I will link this category under the home page.
If any of you would like to contribute material to the Library please sent me your ideas via this "Contact" link.
C M Palmieri
Welcome to THE MERIDIAN SPEEDWAY website and now blogspot. This would be the first posting. I have varied interests within the realm of railfanning and model railroading. While the primary purpose of this website and blog is to focus on my proto-freelanced model railroads, I am also a railroad photographer.
The two do go hand-in-hand as prototype exposure rolls over into modeling accuracy and realism in operation. The photos also serve as excellent reference material for modeling.
In the past I have sent out photo essay e-mails to those on my distribution list. As I come across those older essays I will repost them here for ease of access. I will also share future photo-essays on this blog.
I am looking forward to the conversations that will transpire on this forum. The intent is to share, learn, and have fun! It is expected that all comments will be respectful of the various skill levels of the participants. Some of us will teach, others will learn, and the lucky ones will do both!
Christopher M. Palmieri