DJ of DJsTrains May 4, 2023

  1. DJ of DJsTrains

    DJ of DJsTrains TrainBoard Member

  2. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

    While DJ speaks from his 21st Century experience of happenings between Cumberland and New Castle (mostly between Connellsville and New Castle). My experience is somewhat different when it comes to yard operations.

    During my career as a Trainmaster in B&O terminals in Baltimore in the early 1970's. The various yard jobs used power that varied from the little 44 ton GE to the then current line of road power and virtually everything in between.

    The 44 ton engine was used on the Pratt Street yard job that started at the Poppelton Street crew room and serviced the industries that were on both sides of Pratt Street. The track was in the middle of the street with exceedingly tight switches and curves into the various customers facilities on either side of the street. The job worked at night so the automobile traffic was at its minimum on the street. The job worked geographically East from the Mt.Clare roundhouse that is now the B&O Museum straight down Pratt Street to a interchange with the PRR at President Street. The work was predominately taking loads to the various industries and pulling the empties and then returning to the on duty point. It was a descending grade from the Museum down to President Street. If the crew was to return from President Street with more than 8 cars, they would have to double the hill.

    While the Pratt Street Job was working there was also another street job. The Key Highway Job would originate at Locust Point yard and service the water side industries along Key Highway, Light Street and Pratt Street. The job would be powered by a EMD SW-1 yard engine and generally had a caboose that was shoved ahead of the job was would be lit with upwards of a case of fusees per night to warn street traffic of the trains approach. Most of the industries along this route were ship candlers and ship repair dry docks as well as the McCormick Spice Company. It was a common occurrence at 3 AM on Pratt Street to see both the Key Highway Job and the Pratt Street Job both working their customers.

    When I was first assigned to Baltimore Terminal the standard yard power was the Fairbanks-Morse H10's & H12's opposed piston engines, that were equipped with MU abilities and could be used in pairs when necessary. The terminal also had a number of the Fairbanks-Morse H16 engines. The H16 tended to be used in operating the Terminal Drag - a job that moved freight between the four major yard areas of Baltimore Terminal (Bayview, Curtis Bay, Locust Point and Mt. Clare). The H16's were also use on a job known as The Dive Bomber which could be use for any 'unexpected' job function that may arise and was also used as rear end helper to shove trains through the Howard Street Tunnel and over the Baltimore Belt Line from Camden Station to Bayview. All power in Baltimore used Riverside Shop for their routine servicing with a job known a The Peddler hosteling the power between the various yards and Riverside. Riverside is also where all line of road jobs would go on duty and either be taxied to a crew change location in the Terminal or get their road power and caboose to operate to the yard where their train was being originated. Between the Drag, the Dive Bomber, the Peddler and the cab light moves to the various yards there was a lot of activity besides just line of road trains - originating, through or terminating.

    Bayview was the primary support yard for the Baltimore General Motors Assembly Plant, Dundalk Marine Terminal and Bethlehem Steel at Sparrows Point and interchange with the PRR (PC-CR). Curtis Bay supported the coal & ore piers as well as many chemical plants that were located in the immediate area as well as down the Marley Neck Branch. Locust Point in addition to the Key Highway Job supported the break bulk piers of the Locust Point Marine Terminal and the Indiana Grain grain pier as well as interchange between the B&O and the WM. Mt. Clare supported a number of industries on lines in a number of different directions from the yard itself, including the Pratt Street Job, a job that worked between 'A' Yard through 'B' Yard and on down to the Museum, the Gutter Job that worked industries in Mt. Winans Yard as well as on Wicomoco Street. Mt. Clare also supported the Halethorpe Industrial Park that had about 30 different industries including warehouses of the A&P Supermarket chain as well a Goodyear Tire, Carlings Brewery and a host of others. Halethorpe had its own crew room and jobs that started there around the clock. Mt. Clare also supported the Wicomoco Street Trailer Ramp which was the B&O's intermodal terminal in Baltimore at that time.

    Each of the above identified yards would have between three and six crews each of three tricks to accomplish their job functions.

    In the middle 1970's the terminal got reequipped with EMD power. Various 'butt heads' and some cow and calf combinations. Where heavier power was required GP9's and GP30's would be used. The 'railroad way' has applied to locomotive since time immemorial - Newest power gets the premere service with the prior generation of power being moved back a notch and so on and so on, until the oldest make their trip to the scrappers. In the early 1970's GP40's was the prime road power of the B&O. In the 2020's and onward GP40;s & GP38's are the 'small' yard engines in most locations. Most of the customers whose facilities would only support 'butt head' yard engines have been forced to either upgrade their facilities or driven from the rail transportation market.

    Over half a century - things change.
    BoxcabE50 and Hytec like this.

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