Storytime with Charlie

Charlie Mar 31, 2007

  1. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Great story Fireball!!!

    Luv it! Especially the shoveling in and out! LOL


    Charlie
     
  2. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    My daughter now lives on the northwest side of Chicago,in the Portage Park neighborhood,bordering on the Jefferson Park neighborhood. I live in the West Lawn neighborhood near Midway Airport. When our daughter and grandson spend a weekend here, I will usually drive them home after dinner on Sunday evening. Part of my route is along I-94, the Kennedy Expressway. that road parallels the UP RR(former C& NW)main line coming out of the city center.
    As I go along northwestbound, I find myself glancing at the signals on the main tracks and mentally calling out the signals to myself. I guess it keeps my mind active but as they say,"old habits die hard". I remember one time when I took the city bus home during my "respite" from my commuter train job, as I stepped off the bus, I found myself giving the bus driver a "highball"! LOL
    Another time,while a passenger in a friends van, we encountered a flashing yellow signal and I muttered under my breath, "Approach medium" ! Such creatures of habit we are!

    Charlie
     
  3. fireball_magee

    fireball_magee TrainBoard Member

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    Done those! My favorite is at the drive thru at anywhere "Thats correct over". Yelling that will do! when driving with my daughter( shes actually a real good driver lol) Almost blowing a red light cause it had in my mind a number plate and that means restricting ( Honest officer I would stop within half the range of vision)

    I am kinda let down here this year. I was told we would have a real bad winter! No digging out or hitting snowdrifts with the train so far :(.Plus in the yard till wed I think then back on the road I hope. We are short of engineers and had to force a couple guys. So cant wait for the new piglets to be done. I hate the yard with a passion!

    Someday Metra or Amtrak will call me ;) I can only hope lol
     
  4. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Greetings All!

    I wish you a Happy Easter or a holy,blessed Passover to you, whichever may apply.

    I am back from my annual hiatus.

    Any questions?
     
  5. fireball_magee

    fireball_magee TrainBoard Member

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    Happy Easter to you as well! How was your Hiatus?
     
  6. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    It was nice. I take the time off during Lent to concentrate on more metaphysical things. I remove myself from the distraction of "everyday" things and try to concentrate on my higher ideals.
    HOWEVER, I was endowed by the Almighty (and genetically by my father)with a great love of trains, so I did occasionally view some of my rail videos to take my mind off of distracting and disturbing issues. You can take the boy away from the trains, but you can't take the trains away from the boy!
    I notice there was a derailment today in the N.W.corner of Indiana, just over the line around Miller & Hobart. The radio wasn't telling me which railroad. Just two trains with a "cornfield meet". No fatalities but a minor injury or two. Nothing life threatening or hazmat.

    Charlie
     
  7. fireball_magee

    fireball_magee TrainBoard Member

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    Huh I havent seen anything on that. I will look around. Welcome back and glad you had a good Sabbatical ;)
     
  8. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    I had a little exchange of words a short time back over on the YouTube site. Seems it involved a question as to what really was the move they were making. I wont give the title but I will tell you this... it is NOT - I say again - NOT the way to make a motive power pickup. The original question about the video was from a railfan who was commenting about why this move was done the way it was. My original reply was that I thought it was intended as a training video and I enumerated the reasons, among which was that one of the members of this crew kept refering to himself as "mentor".
    If it was a training video, A/ It was never indicated as such, and B/ If it was, those trainers need some training themselves. To begin with, this move was merely a pick-up of an apparently dead locomotive and required shuffling the consist around to get a good "leader" for the train that was doing the pick-up. It could have been done with 2 people but it appeared to be about 6 people running around. 2 people who know what the heck they are doing could probably have made this move in just about the same amount of time as the crew doing it. The weather was "severe clear" and mild temperature. This move could have been made using hand signals since the distances involved were well within "range of vision". Too many people = more chances for accident/injury.
    This crew was constantly yammering on the radio AND they were using names!!!! That is a "Bozo No-No"! You reference the move with the locomotive number or job name or number ie "come west two cars, East Yard". Someone was there to film the whole move AND there was a company vehicle in the film.Company vehicles are used by company officials or by the U-man or messenger(or the "mentor"?). Either this is unbridled foaming involving trespass to railroad property or someone was making a training film.Needless to say my further comments about too many people and the constant yammering and my questioning about proper job safety briefings struck a nerve of one of the members of that "crew" although (s)he is identified only by screename without any indication of what their "position" or title is. I was also told that I must be a lot of fun to have in the cab for 12 hours. I suppose that would be uncomfortable for someone who doesn't have a "clear and present" concern for safety. That is how I roll, I value my physical and mental health and welfare. If one wants to jeopardize ones health and welfare, do so on ones own time. Disregard for safety by a fellow crewmember jeopardizes their health and mine as well. This will not make one popular with me and YES I will be difficult! So anyway, I flat out told these people they were unsafe and if they didn't know how to make these moves with hand signals or telling me how to build a watch when all I wanted to know is the time of day, they have no business on the railroad. So if any of you were observers of that particular exchange, please know that it is over and done with and that my opinions regarding their abilities still stand and I still believe it was a training film they were making.

    Charlie
     
  9. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Just keeping the thread current!

    Any questions, prototype or otherwise?

    Charlie
     
  10. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

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    Charlie,
    I asked a while back, about winter problems etc..
    This time, I'm wondering what kind of problems you may have had
    due to severe thunder storms, heavy rain/hail.
    Such as wash outs, rails under standing/running water, signals out, close calls.
    Thought of this last night, after some wicked thunder only, got my attention!
    Have seen end results! Not pretty! Just something else that caught my curiosity.
     
  11. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    While a student engineer, I was running an EB stack train. It was an unusually warm February day. We were holding MT 2 at Savanna IL waiting for a WB to come in off the C & I and then we could continue on. At any rate a rather severe T-storm passed over us. Lotsa lightning and extremely heavy rain. By the time the WB arrived, the storm had abated somewhat and we headed out onto the C & I. Then the front came thru, the temperature dropped and a pea soup fog took over, I couldn't see the whistle posts until I was right on top of them. I missed several of them completely. Now I'm getting worried about the crossings. If I can't see the whistle posts or the crossing it's very likely a motorist wouldn't be able to see the headlights of the train until it was right in his ear!!! I was having a difficult time and then my mentor realized I was struggling to maintain control over the whole situation so he relieved me. We weren't the only ones having a rough go of it. There was another WB coming at us and he was having a hard time too. This WB would take the siding for the meet.(Chana? CRS) The C & I is CTC operation so the DS can see where the trains are. He got on this WB wondering why he hadn't taken the siding yet, the hogger replied that he couldn't see the signals(neither could I). The DS said "Didn't I tell you that you were going in at xxxxxxxxx"? To which the hogger(who was not to be cowed) said "Yes you did, but I still can't see the signals"! Enehay... my mentor took over the controls from me and brought us into Cicero and I yarded the train, the fog had lightened just a bit. My mentor told me later that he had seen fog that bad only once before, and he had a lot more railroading under his belt than I did! I suppose if I wanted to, I could have told the DS to put us in the hole since I couldn't see the signals or crossings and let us wait out the weather a bit. We weren't short on time so that was no problem. When I was a student conductor I was qualifying on the Western Ave. "Lumber District" job. We had to switch out a food purveyor on an industrial siding. It was on 2nd shift and dark and with heavy rain. The regular helper on the job walked ahead of the loco(an SW1500) thru deep water(drainage is poor in that part of the city)to make sure there were no hidden objects that could derail the loco. No problem, we got the empty that the customer wanted out of his warehouse. I was a conductor on a late summer METRA commuter train, afternoon job. We were EB during a heavy T-Storm. Very heavy rain and frequent,vivid lightning. We could see water getting near the head of the rail. Consider that the "Aurora Racetrack" runs thru some fairly affluent burbs and there are roadways and homes on both sides of the tracks on the closer in 'burbs. The DS called us and told us to be alert for a reversed turnout at Monroe St in Westmont. Sure enough it was reversed, we told the DS and he said that he had a signal maintainer on his way. The deep water had shorted the circuits and reversed the switch. The DS told me that I needed to flag the Monroe St. crossing so that the traffic wouldn't back up. Mind you, there is still a pretty strong T-storm still going on. Fortunately I had rain gear with me as well as my mini-maglite which I used to flag the traffic. I got out in that storm and flagged traffic. I didn't have to worry about any WB commuter trains since we would be the next WB anyway. If there was a WB freight, the DS would either hold him a while or let me know he was on the way. The hogger kept the customers appraised of the situation. The maintainer showed up and he had to manually restore the switch. It amounted to about a 1 1/2 hour delay. It also affected our WB time. I think I wrote a snow story in the body of the thread. If it's not there, give me a shout and I'll tell the story. By rule, if water is over the railhead, we ain't supposed to be running a train.
    CRS if I told the story about the July 3rd storm that cancelled the city fireworks display. Lemme know if you want to read that one again, it's sorta humorous!

    Charlie
     
  12. indiana&ohio

    indiana&ohio TrainBoard Member

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    Charlie, these stories help me get through class all the time! Thanks for making my day alittle bit more bareable!
     
  13. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    You're quite welcome! Are you a student railroader?


    Charlie
     
  14. indiana&ohio

    indiana&ohio TrainBoard Member

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    Im a student student lol, and a railfan but hopefully someday a railroader!
     
  15. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    [video=youtube;iQ1yeJNyQAA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iQ1yeJNyQAA[/video]


    CRS if I posted this earlier,(and I really don't feel like paging thru the thread)but here is SP4449 on it's 2009 "Trainfest" trip to Michigan as it arrived at Eola IL to pick up an engineer/pilot.
    Eola is my old haunt and home terminal.
    I'll set the stage for you...

    The opening camera shot is looking west, alongside the lead to West Yard at Eola. The yard office and other buildings are off camera to the right of the scene. The building in the distance fronts on Mc.Clure Rd and is a "pick-a-part" auto junkyard. In the far distance is Farnsworth Ave going over the main tracks. Just beyond that bridge are the leads to the Aurora Transportation Center and Hill Yard where the METRA commuter trains are based. All the BNSF METRA trains originate/terminate at Hill Yard. The special is coming at you on MT 1. He was probably lined onto that track for ease in picking up the pilot. The DS will cross the special over to MT 3 just a bit downline. On the left margin of the film you will notice a LOT of cars parked. That is a normal railfan viewing spot. It is sort of a neutral turf and a good spot to view trains. There is a lot of activity at that west end since that vacant spot is adjacent to the East Yard lead, the industry lead(which was formerly a lead to the olde Aurora Depot and the "running track" . You can't see East Yard as the coal train on MT3 is blocking the view.
    The signal bridge you see sets up the signals for the leads to the ATC and also to the junction of the "C & I" and the "Mainline". As the camera pans the departing train, you can just make out West Yard in the distance. That hogger on 4449 brought her to a nice stop. You notice he will "whistle off" which is a pretty good safety rule considering all the railfans watching. While you can't see it, I'd be willing to bet that everyone in the Yard office is stading outside watching the action. There is a picnic table and benches out behind the yard office on the green lawn.
    As I mention, the lot on the left margin of the view is a good spot for viewing and for photo ops.
    You get mainline freights, AMTRAK passenger trains, METRA commuter trains and all sorts of switching operations happening at that end. The "industrial lead" is used a LOT for switching moves and normally with the length of switching moves, crewmen may be standing there "shooting car numbers" on their switch lists and then hop on the cut and ride into East Yard for switching. If things are slow, you might sometimes be able to speak to a crewman, you might get an answer depending on how "foamer friendly" they are. Don't bother them though when cars or trains are moving. They may be standing there but they are actually "at work". You can get some good photos without having to tresspass. You will also find other fans to chat with and they may give you some hints. Most of the guys/gals are regulars there anyway and mostly just to watch the action.


    Charlie
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 24, 2012
  16. fireball_magee

    fireball_magee TrainBoard Member

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    Love the SP in Eola!! Severe weather is always fun to play in. the other day it got to raining pretty hard and I watched a student put on his full rain gear and guess what? it stopped raining by the time he got out the door! Railroading damned if you do damned if you dont. Here is a question for you Charlie. The Eola interchange with us ( up on the hill by Diehl road) is that taken care of by BNSF MOW or ours? Whoever does it took a hunk out of rail on 2 track placed a derail but there was nothing in our track condition messages. Needless to say this could have been a disaster! Oh well nothing like a surprise to make your day liven up!
    Charlie is right about foamer friendly and dont talk to someone when equipment is moving !! If his radio goes off please understand he will ignore you till its done talking. You can tell a rail cause when he hears the radio start talking he stops and listens.
    I am foamer friendly, bring me food or a cold drink ona hot day and I will give you a train schedule for three months out lol
     
  17. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Hi Fireball,

    I think the tracks west of the "J" main is BNSF. Don't quote me as the authority, but I'm pretty sure that's how it is. I always liked it when the YM told our job to "go pull the "J" cuz that normally meant our day was over. It was good just to get out of that yard and work from the east end. I used to work 2nd shift East Yard regularly as a yard monkey. One summer's evening the YM put a WB train together that was over a mile long! We had to shove up onto the south leg of the wye leading to the "J" in order to get that train into the clear on one of the departure tracks(1-3). Since I was the field man, I had to protect that shove and ride it up onto the "J" until they got the head end in the clear.

    Charlie
     
  18. fireball_magee

    fireball_magee TrainBoard Member

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    I kinda thought it was ours. I have shoved stuff around the corner so to speak. The BN didnt seem to want to pull those cars so we plugged it up a lot last summer.
     
  19. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Keeping the thread current, but to answer Fireball's question, when things get too busy or the boards are short and it's difficult to get crews, it seems that the interchange cars have the lowest priorities.
    I have a tale about that earlier in the thread. I think the carrier may have cut a couple of jobs at Eola so that means that the regular jobs get the "hot" cars moved in the yard and put into trains and then go pull/set some industries. The interchanges come last or as part of the industry switch. When I worked 2nd shift East Yard regularly our normal last move would be to pull the "rip track" in East Yard, sometimes we might have a crossover move too,but if that happened, the foreman would go on ahead to the yard office and the helper would do the crossover. Crossovers are snap to do and in the summer time it is nice to ride the cut and get a cool breeze. When I was the helper, I would tell the foreman to head home and I would tie the job up for us.

    Charlie
     
  20. fireball_magee

    fireball_magee TrainBoard Member

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    I liked days like that! BTW going to have to change the Signature line again soon.Going to be hauling Livestock ;)
     

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