Storytime with Charlie

Charlie Mar 31, 2007

  1. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    18,274
    14,937
    232
    Happy new year to all.

    Charlie, did you ever have to deal with this situation, or were these all gone by the time you worked for the RRs?
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  2. Flash Blackman

    Flash Blackman Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    13,326
    205
    149
    Did it break at the weld or just along the CWR? Did it crack vertically or diagonally? Thanks.
     
  3. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,880
    109
    37
    Nope, friction bearings were gone by the time I went railroading. I did set out one boxcar for a suspected "hotbox". It triggered a detector and once we got the train stopped, I went out to check with my handy crayon. Couldn't find it at first and the crayon wasn't helping. I visually checked the required number of axles ahead of and behind the reported axle. I was able to find a discolored wheel, you know the sort of pearlescent hazy blue color that metal gets when its heated, It was the only wheel so discolored so we set the car out on a stub track in Chillicothe IL, tied her down and blocked the wheels and reported it. Didn't have any more detectors give an indication after we resumed travel.

    Charlie
     
  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

    12,117
    2,077
    162
    IIRC, the break was at a factory weld within the CWR span because it was vertical, as if cut by a saw. I assume the break would have been jagged and distorted if it had been caused by contamination within the alloy when it was originally poured at the rolling mill.
     
  5. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,880
    109
    37
    To all the gang...

    It is that time again! I will be taking my annual Lenten hiatus. I'll be rejoining you on or about Easter.
    I wish all of you the best and I will have you in my thoughts and prayers during Lent.
    I do check my e-mails so if anyone has anything of importance to report, please use my regular e-mail in my profile vs. the private message on Trainboard.
    I hope to be able to answer some questions or tell you some stories or help you understand some of the things you enjoy about railroading.
    See you soon, God willing!

    Charlie
     
  6. SD40E2

    SD40E2 TrainBoard Member

    73
    1
    10
    Extreme cold weather plays havoc with cwr,i was lining switches for a coal train one night.it had been in the low teens for three days, and this train and another one had been sitting for two days.my engineer and I were tasked to take both trains to be dumped,so after inspecting and doing a brake test,i lined the railroad for the first train,so by the time I was done,i was about two miles away.I radioed the engineer to pull ahead,and he said we were in emergency.i got a ride back to walk the train, and found the 86th through 96th cars on the ground.the rail had become so brittle that as soon as 20,000 tons of train started moving,BOOM! One of the cars almost fell onto a busy boulevard,imagine a driver going underneath coming face to face with a loaded coal hopper!luckily,it didn't go off the bridge so no one was hurt.
     
  7. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,880
    109
    37
    Hi Gang, I'm back now. Hope all are well!
    The unfortunate incident described above(falling onto a busy boulevard) did happen last year in the Chicago area on the UP(former C&NW) and crushed an elderly couple. Did the carrier give you time off or give you a "whiz quiz"? The BNSF would try to hang that on you by claiming you should have known that the rail was brittle and should not have been travelled on!
     
  8. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

    9,146
    1,245
    124
    Hey Charlie, OT, but Welcome Back!! When you went off the net at the beginning of Lent, I thought "What a sacrifice for those of us who are addicted to the net and especially to the railroad sites." I admire you for doing that. I usually give up my beloved beer for Lent. Anyway, it's over. He is risen.
    :blush:
     
  9. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,880
    109
    37
    Thanks for the "welcome back" Fitz! Hope all is well out Oregon way. Love Oregon! Made several visits to Portland when I was a kid. Actually rode the Portland Traction to both Oregon City and Bellrose. Used to go railfanning and train watching. Our friends lived on S.E.Francis St. and I would go to the end of the block where the S.E.Francis St.ended and then go downhill and this way and that way and would wind up crossing some tracks where I often witnessed a diesel switcher moving passenger cars somewhere, then I would make my way to the Portland Traction tracks. They were in a fairly broad right of way at that point and I would wander the tracks. There was a point where a couple of steeplecab locos were parked. I "inspected" them. Seems to me I recall a fairly large electrical substation or powerhouse,not for the Traction but for public power. I have located the block on Google Earth where our friends lived and the street still ends at the end of the block. I have followed my route downhill past where Oscar worked, but then I sorta run out of familiar landmarks and apparently all the train tracks I knew at that time are gone. I think I should try Sanborn maps and see if I can get a lay of the land that way.

    Charlie
     
  10. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,880
    109
    37
    Went to the Loop today with my 9 y/o grandson to attend the "Railroad Days" exhibits at C.U.S. Went thru some private cars on display and an Amtrak train composed of several type of AMTRAK
    cars.There were several locomotives on display but not available for tours. A couple of model RR clubs had displays as did some hobby manufacturers. There was also an "excursion" train operated by AMTRAK which,for a nominal fee, could be ridden into the Lumber St. coach yard and return.Lots of fans taking lots of photos. I ran into a former trainmaster from Suburban Service on the BNSF. He had left them to go to AMTRAK where he told me he was now a Terminal Sup't. We chatted briefly and I learned that another T.M. I had worked for had passed away. I enjoyed the visit and my grandson got a charge out of touring the cars. He was duly impressed by the different kinds of sleeping accomodations as well as the dining cars. In one sleeping car we inspected two deluxe bedrooms connected "en suite" and he remarked that it was just like a hotel room. I told him that it was indeed a "hotel room on wheels" . Altogether it was a pleasant afternoon
     
  11. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,880
    109
    37
    Just refreshing the thread.

    hope everyone is enjoying the hobby!

    Charlie
     
  12. hoyden

    hoyden TrainBoard Supporter

    729
    299
    21
    In between Charlie's stories, you can supplement your railroad story desire with "Burlington Northern Adventures -- Railroading in the Days of the Caboose" by William J. Brotherton. I picked this book up while on vacation to MN North Shore. Bill worked a brakeman's job out of Grand Forks, ND, and a bit in Minot, Denver and Alliance, NE. This is a nice collection of short stories. The theme "it's freaking cold" in ND when working low seniority jobs is a common theme.

    I always look forward to hearing folks share their railroading experience. I've been slated for a different kind of "engineer" in this lifetime.
     
  13. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,880
    109
    37
    I'll have to pick that one myself. Stories like that have more meaning when you know what the context is. I always got a kick from the stories that the "old heads" tell. There are some real hair-raisers as well as a bunch of x-rated ones.

    Thanks for the "heads up"

    Charlie
     
  14. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

    4,168
    924
    68
    Another good one:

    Samuel A. Dougherty
    Call The Big Hook
    Golden West Books, 1984
    ISBN 0-87095-087-8
    Library of Congress catalog No. 84-21224

    A somewhat autobiographical story
    of the authors years of service with the
    Denver and Rio Grande Western. And transcends
    the changes from steam to diesel electric motive power.
    Illustrates the evolution of safety the Rio Grande has made
    during the lifetime of the author.

    Loaded with railroad lingo, with a glossary of terms included!
    A very good, and interesting read.

    Found a copy, for a good price several years ago, and jumped on it immediately!!
     
  15. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

    4,168
    924
    68
    Speaking of safety, Charlie, anything regarding minor
    problems, such as a yard derail etc...Running a switch or...??
    Just minor, nothing that results in major damage, or serious injury!
    Thanks.
     
  16. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,880
    109
    37
    I was foreman on a 3rd shift switch engine in West Yard, Eola IL. Had a pretty new guy working as helper. Wintertime and we had a little bit of snow early on during the shift. I told my helper to make sure all the switches were cleaned before lining them for a move. He was OK with that and had a broom with him. I was acting as the field man and had him turning the moves to me so that I could give the "kick" and pull the pin. We had moves to make that used both the front and back leads to West Yard and the crossover switch between the leads was where I had the man working. We would shove the back lead because it was a facing switch to the front lead and all he need do was throw that switch and I got the rest. I prefered it that way since there is a problem with "roll out" in West Yard and I could better handle a problem from my end. My helper started to send a move back to me on front lead after having reset the switch after a back lead move. We were using radio for the move since both of us were not in the hoggers vision. The helper started the move towards me and then suddenly said "that'll do West Yard" and gave a "washout" with his lantern. Seems we put one truck of a boxcar on the ground. I think it was a combination of a sharp flange and just the smallest of gaps in the knife rail. No damage save to a little wear on a tie or two. That pretty much ended our night, we didn't have much of it left anyway. We had to take a "whiz quiz" and do some paperwork. There was never any investigation, no damage,no injury and no time lost. The Company called out some gandies from Cicero and they rerailed it early that AM.
    Tell you another one later.
     
  17. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,880
    109
    37
    That sounds like a good one too! A friend of mine from Cub Scouts was a railroaders son. His dad was on a wrecking train crew for the Pennsy. I sorta lost track of him after Cub Scouts, but he turned up again in the late 1960s and got me into the model RR club he belonged to . It is the same one I now belong to but I left after the first couple of years(combination of reasons) and rejoined a couple of years ago. A couple of the guys from my first time are still around but most of the ones I knew from that earlier time have gone on to their reward!

    Charlie
     
  18. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

    1,880
    109
    37
    got another one about switches. I may have told this one before. First of all if any railroader ever tells you they never "flopped" a switch or had a derailment, don't believe them. You can't get more than a week's "whiskers" without having encountered a transgression like those.

    We were working the "East Yard Job" which also did some switching at a paper products plant and other work in that area.(Sheepyard) At the west end of the "sheepyard"(a former feedlot for the animals described in the nickname) there was one of those big ammonium hydroxide tanks. That area of Montgomery IL is still fairly rural and there are still a couple of farms around and the farmers would come in and refill their fertilizer tanks there. At any rate, the valve on that tank was getting a bit dicey and it leaked a lot! The farm suppy company was told about it quite often and it would get a temporary fix only to leak again a few days later. This particular night in early summer we had switched out the paper plant and were going to come back in. It was still light as it was early summer.Well this stupid tank took to leaking again. I was riding a cut of several cars ahead of the power which were were going to drop in the yard,double a track, run around it and haul a large cut of cars back to Eola. Anyway this particular night I had to throw a switch just past the leaking tank , and it was really leaking a lot, you could smell it a 100yards or so. What I had to do was work with hand signals. As we approached the area,just before the smell was too strong, I took a deep breath, stopped the move by hand signal, ran up to the switch(for me "running" is little more than fast walking)throw the switch, run back to the cut(the hogger couldn't see me at the switch), exhale, take another deep breath, start the move and ride past the leak to the cut we wanted. I think that is the longest I have ever held my breath. It was not long after that incident that that particular facility was closed forever.

    Charlie
     
  19. Keith

    Keith TrainBoard Supporter

    4,168
    924
    68
    I'd be highly worried about a possible explosion hazard!!
    Don't know that I'd want to work that spot, if it didn't work correctly.

    Ever had a situation where something just flat refused to work, preventing
    you from getting that job done??

    Interesting stuff, as always!
     
  20. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Staff Member

    18,274
    14,937
    232
    Ammonium hydroxide is not particularly explosive like its notorious cousin ammonium nitrate. However it will screw up your lungs in a hurry and can kill you.
     

Share This Page