Monday, June 23, 2008

June 20 Jam-up

With L4T world headquarters here in Wadena being graced by the presence of Mrs. L4T's mother, it seemed that some entertainment was in order the evening of Friday, June 20. Since the Staples Dairy Queen has attained a certain status in our clan, the logical thing was to head east and see what could be seen.

The run to Staples revealed something interesting-a merchandise train holding a couple of miles west of the detector on Main Two. I soon heard that major machinations were underway in the town of Staples, with a vehicle train trying to get out of town eastbound, and a grain train heading up the Staples Sub with a mission of wyeing its power that very evening.

The vehicle train head end had just crossed the 6th St crossing when the radio reported a "lurch" and possible train on the ground. Progress at that point came to a screeching halt and dispatcher SWA instantly had his hands full. The conductor from the vehicle train was out walking his train, while the grain with power to turn asked if he could proceed up Main One. The dispatcher allowed him to continue up the main at a creep, and both crossings in Staples were tied up for at least 7-8 minutes.

The problem with the vehicle train turned out to be an air line that had come apart right behind the engine. After a quick reconnect, the train was able to get the air built up and scoot out of town. At the same time this was going on, two other eastbounds cleared their warrants as they passed through Wadena and got the bad news they needed to find a place to park for a while. Also, a coal empty off the Brainerd was looking for permission to enter Staples. Trains were stacking up in three directions from Staples.

And the plot thickens, as the vehicle train calls dispatch once again with the news that they had not even made it to Philbrook before going into emergency again. It seems one of the air hoses was a tad short and any movement threatened disconnection. After a few minutes of fruitless search for a longer hose the remedy was to unhook the cables that support the hose and hope for the best. It must have worked as I heard no more problems from that end. However, the train that was to wye it's power (3 C44-9W's, all in different paint schemes-never did figure out why turning the power was so important?) had the entire yard tied up. I headed east to catch the waiting coal empty near Motley.

When I returned the three light engines were paused at the depot for some reason, and my patience was wearing thin.

I decided to head back to Wadena. Interestingly, one of the waiting eastbound trains was a loaded coal train sporting an ES44DC pusher facing the right way, stopped just as he cleared the crossing in Verndale. The crossing gates were still down. I decided to try once again to get his reflection in the railhead.

One more eastbound was heading through Wadena just as we arrived, and I could hear the dispatcher was still wrestling with the light power as it moved from the Brainerd to the Staples on the wye. I made it home while things were still tied up, and listened to heavy traffic from my easy chair until bedtime.


1 comment:

Scott said...

Great Job on this SITE!!!

L4T was discovered reading the article of the Depot in the Wadena Pioneer Journal.

I'm a third generation railroader myself, My Grandfather worked for The Pennsylvania Railroad (Penn-Central), my Mother and myself for The Union Railroad in Pittsburgh PA. I was a Track Laborer during the early 80's and loved every moment of my whole entire job there. The Union Railroad was US Steel's switching railroad encompassing many miled of Main Line track between all the US Steel Mills in Pittsburgh and north to the Bessemer & Lake Erie Railroad junction in North Bessemer. These were the best days of my life and were it not for the decline of the Steel Industry, I'd have been set for life.

I have many tales to share with any who care to hear them. As one of Sebeka's newest residents, I'll be around for quite a while.

Thank you for your hard work and continued successes with this site.

Scott Lamont