By B. Smith
Today’s run out of Sanderson was somewhat delayed waiting for the tank car to finish being unloaded. Then the crew found a longer than normal train awaiting them at the interchange. At least it was there when they arrived. And the cement cars were all together as were the cars of rip-rap. The return trip to Sanderson took somewhat longer due to the greater tonnage, but the train made it with hours of service still remaining. Behind the engine were five cars of riprap, four cement cars, a box car for the team track (bagged feed), two empty extended height open hoppers for scoria loading, and the caboose.
The crew cut off the train behind the riprap cars, pulled ahead, and then backed into the team track to pick up the three empties there.
The load of scoria was added to the rear of this pull.
Fortunately today there were no cars for Safeway or Western Wool that had to be run around so the scoria load and three empties were then spotted on the east end of the main.
Much to the relief of the project manager, the five loads of riprap were then spotted on the team track for unloading. Not taking time to relocate the unloading crane, the riprap car adjacent to the crane would be unloaded first.
The two empty scoria cars were spotted next.
Then the boxcar of feed.
Finally, the cement cars were spotted. The first riprap car was already being unloaded.
The caboose was picked up off the main.
And the engine and caboose moved to the water plug, the crew tying up with just minutes left on their hours of service.
As the sun begins to set, the much-relieved project manager wasted no time getting the auger under a car of cement and the unloading started there. Wonder how many cars will be unloaded before tomorrow’s run?
By B. Smith
As soon as the cars are spotted work begins on unloading the motor grader.
The project boys have a lot of unloading to do tonight to keep on schedule.
The next morning when the train crew arrives. They find a rather upset project foreman. The two cement cars have been unloaded so he needs more cement. The two riprap cars that were not next to the feed bins are empty and his unloading crew is sitting idle waiting for the other two riprap cars to be re-positioned so they too can be unloaded. The lumber has been off loaded from the flat car. The motor grader up by the molasses tanks has been ramped off, but the big dual-motor scrapper has not, although it appears someone is working on getting it off. The tank car of gasoline is still not empty but a connected unloading hose and the whine of a small pump can be heard working on getting all 8,000 gallons out of the tank car and into the storage tank. As the engineer and fireman inspect and prepare the locomotive, the conductor informs the project foreman that as soon as the tank car is unloaded the riprap cars will be moved, but not until the unloading hose has been disconnected and the fuel dealer manager says it’s OK to move it.
Finally, the tank car is empty and the locomotive and caboose back down the spur and couple up all the cars except the flat with the motor scraper.
The empties are shoved down against the scoria load and the two loaded riprap cars are spotted so unloading can begin on them, which happens almost immediately.
The caboose just clears the crossing and the engine takes on fuel oil. With all the extra project traffic, the crew wants the fuel level to be as full as possible before leaving town, especially after having to remain at the junction a couple of nights ago. No way to refuel there!
The contractors remain busy unloading.
All that remains to be done is to pull the empty box from Western Wool, move it and the locomotive to the head end of the train, do an air test, and head to the junction.
The train finally pulls out.
The question now is, will the cars for Sanderson be at the junction? How many will there be if and when they show up? Tune in to the next post to find out!
Meanwhile, back in Sanderson, the motor scraper has been unloaded as have the two riprap cars. I’ll bet the project foreman is burning up the phone lines demanding to know when his cement and riprap will arrive.