Storytime with Charlie

Charlie Mar 31, 2007

  1. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    In the mid-70s I recall an EJ&E engineman's request to Barrington (IL) Tower to use the C&NW interchange track to run on to get closer to a restaurant the crew had chosen. The Op approved the move and set up the route. The engineman thanked the Op and added that he "didn't know if they could do that". The Op replied, "Well who's going to stop you?" :)

    1970s Mid 047 EJE Barrington IL - for upload.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2020
  2. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

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    Hardocaler, it is just a question of practice, the brain will know what to pick up and what to ignore.
    I can tell you my first weeks on the Air Traffic frequency (English is not my native language) were a nightmare, but I can tell you with practice I was able to monitor 3 frequencies (mine and the 2 adjacent sector ones - the guys that will handover planes to me) and two open mike phones at the same time.
    My instructor told me at the beginning, I really could not believe I could manage.
    If you work at a small airport you will even recognize the voices of the pilots, which is another telltale, in this case I think the crews recognize the voices they need to listen to (eg. the DS, or their YM).
     
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  3. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

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    That's interesting minesweeper. When I read your post, I remembered a conversation I had with the Operator in Barrington tower. I asked him how he was able decide to give a signal or not to approaching EJ&E trains. He said he knew the crews well and his decisions depended on where the train was and who was making the request. Slow runners were often denied a signal if a C&NW commuter train was due, but he also knew the fast runners who'd "pour on the coal" and always make good on their promise to clear the plant.
     
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  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Wonderful. During my 50 year career I saw, and really appreciated the difference between the "gotcha covered", and the "Oh, I'm not sure I should" types.

    Funny how every discipline has the same people in critical positions, many who had been hired by mistake. I fired a few, but not enough.
     
  5. Mr. Train

    Mr. Train TrainBoard Member

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    Wonder that same dim or not thing. Wife always ask can't they dim? Now I have a real answer for her.

    Sent from my SM-G930R4 using Tapatalk
     
  6. Charlie

    Charlie TrainBoard Member

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    Hello All,
    Well it seems that this is the time for me to take my annual Lenten sabbatical.
    I hope to be with you again on April 3 or 4. In the meantime, be good, stay well
    be kind to one another. If anyone needs to contact me they may do so through my e-mail in my profile
    Enjoy the hobby!
    Charlie
     
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  7. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    A post from Watash in Dec. 2000. I remembered asking about a similar subject and went back in time..
    "If you have watched any of the videos that had sound and showed the double and more engines, you heard a lot of whistle blowing. A LOT of whistle blowing! There were different signals used by the various railroads. It has been so long I can not at this moment call to mind what they all were. You would think we would never forget that, but diesels killed the heart out of real railroading. I'll have to unpack a few boxes and see if I can find the old rule book, then I could copy off more than you could remember! Ha. For a Rotary Snow Plow, basically, you had like one toot was go, 2 toots, stop, one long toooot would be to back up fast, maybe 2 long ones for slow back. For double heading, the lead engineer was usually, not always, calling the shots. One I remember was 2 longs, wait a second or two, then 2 more, meant take up slack and ahead very slowly til slack got to the rearmost engine. You would listen for him to give a long blast that you were dragging him. Then there were different signals depending on how many engines you had. It got pretty dicey when there were 4 at the head end, three in the middle, and 4 more at the rear. And that wasn't the most at all. Starting from the front, each engineer had his own signal, so if the first engine wanted the train to slow gently because he was topping out and getting ready to go down a grade, then he wanted the rear most engine to keep pushing, but he wanted the other engines to start slacking off. As the cars started coming over the top they began coasting down on top of you. You have to be ready to control them, while you feel them give a little kick in the butt as each one catches up to you. You have to signal the center engines to slack off, so you toot out the call signal for all three to listen up guys, then you give the slack signal twice in a row. Each engine answers with his call signal if he heard you. Then you do the same for the rearmost engines. By now you are grey headed, haggard looking deep lines in your face with eyes the size of golf balls, because you either made it alright and are gently decending the grade with all under control; or as sometimes happens, you are screaming your little lungs out dashing headlong downhill toward Widow Maker's Curve with 10,000 tons of runnaway behind you, and your fireman has just jumped without so much as a good bye! He usually waved at the other engineer's to let them know he had decided to sit this one out. It was all just a combination of whistle sounds, quite simple, really. It was a little more exciting than boreing. But I really do like retirement!! [​IMG]"

    ------------------
    Watash #982 [​IMG]

    Watash #982
    The Hurrier I go, the
    Behinder I get, but I'm
    always prompt no matter
    how long it takes!
    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    delete
     
  9. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    OMG, I never realized how complicated the no-radio, whistles only, engineer's life was.

    My only experience with steam whistles was in 1957 on the Roanoke, VA N&W station platform. I was standing as an "enormous" articulated approached from the west. (My steam experience were "tiny" NYC Hudsons or Niagaras.). As the lead engine passed, its engineer blew two long. Almost immediately the second engineer right behind responded with two longs. Shortly after I heard two longs from w-a-a-y in the distance.

    The lead had passed me at about 10 mph. By the time the w-a-a-y distant pusher passed, I swear he was doing about 25 mph. That was one heckuva long coal drag heading for the docks at Newport News. :eek:
     
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  10. Helitac

    Helitac TrainBoard Member

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    That was more what my question was about, how did they communicate with helpers and no radio. It doesn't sound easy at all.
     
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