Time for an Amtrak pic thread!

Kurt Moose Aug 28, 2021

  1. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    While I am glad that Amtrak exists - I still miss the old Class 1's and their passenger trains and the delight to the eye they were.

    B&O with their Blue, Gray & Gold livery. Northern Pacific with their two tone green. Great Northern with the Orange and Green. Even the PRR and its Tuscan Red and on and on!
     
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  2. BNSF FAN

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

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    You are probably right about that power move Hank and honestly, I don't remember is I could hear her running or not.

    Now way back in the F40PH power days when they used to split the train in Birmingham, 3 units was normal as the one extra unit was cut out at Birmingham to power the cars that were removed there.
     
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  3. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Is the #1 still around? Heard it was wrecked a few years ago, maybe?:cautious:
     
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  4. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Totally off-subject, but your mention of F40PH reminded me of a seriously embarrassing event for Amtrak.

    About a year after the GE P40s were delivered to Amtrak, the westbound Sunset was being configured in Florida. Turns out there were no GE units available due to unscheduled maintenance. So, two F40s were pulled out of storage and off #1 went. Unfortunately, nobody in Operations remembered that the intermediate fuel stop in Pensacola had been cancelled because the P40s had 2800 Gallon tanks vice the F40's 1800 Gallon tanks.

    I happened to be in my backyard in Gulfport as #1 approached. I heard her approaching, then all of a sudden, I did not hear her. Both engines ran out of fuel at about the same time. #1 coasted to a stop about a mile west of me. The solution was to borrow a CSX yard engine from Pascagoula. It came to Gulfport, coupled onto the rear of #1, and pulled it back to the Beauvoir siding where it could run around to the front. Then it pulled #1 into NOL nearly five hours late, passing the intermediate stops at Gulfport and Bay St Louis.

    The downside for the passengers was that #1 stalled in the middle of the woods. Nobody was allowed off the train onto raw ballast for safety. What made it even worse was the loss of head-end power meaning nothing worked in the middle of a hot July afternoon in south Mississippi. No A/C, windows that can't be opened, and no way to move air from open vestibule doors. :eek:
     
  5. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Wow, that would be a miserable stop! Thanks for sharing!
     
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  6. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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  7. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    And of course nobody who made the initial decision was called to the office for an ear burning session.....
     
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  8. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    I would expect they did get called down on the daily conference call - very little 'business' happens in offices any more.

    Would that running out of fuel was a 'rare' experience - but it is a happening that has plagued man ever since he started using 'fuel' in his transportation endeavors. In steam days, it wasn't the running our of fuel that caused the problems, it was running out of water that made HEADLINES, on every garbage wrapper in area where the incident happened.
     
  9. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    That's sad. Why wouldn't an engineer or conductor check fuel levels occasionally, especially on passenger trains? The fill cap on every tank contains a gauge to the best of my knowledge. A check might result in a call to dispatch to arrange a quick top off at the next stop. Better a short delay than high dollar reimbursements to irate passengers, and renting a locomotive and tying up a main for five hours.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2021
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  10. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    For whatever reason, running out of fuel happened several times in the 1980's, on the BN branch in my old home valley. Unfortunately a couple of those times it blocked a road which had no alternate outlet for several hours. I was there as a spectator for one of those. The engineer got down on the ground, and banged the tank with a hammer. Bong. Quite hollow. She was very empty!
     
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  11. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    One thing all carriers (rail, road, air, marine) take into consideration is the price of fuel and where it is cheapest. They endeavor to fill and utilize their equipment in the least expensive manner possible.

    Most gauges in 21st Century railroading are electronic and report through the locomotives computer system. Amtrak locomotives MAY be old enough that they rely on analog gauges, such gauges have historically had a high failure rate.

    The case specified in this thread was Amtrak's Locomotive Managers failing to understand the range differences between classes of locomotives and making the necessary plans to have the locomotives fueled inroute.

    I retired from CSX 5 years ago. At the time of my retirement, CSX Train & Engine crews were normally reporting the fuel level of all their units when taking charge of their trains and reporting the information to the Train Dispatcher, who will handle with the Chief Dispatcher on duty who will contact Locomotive Management to arrange for fueling if it is necessary.
     
  12. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    Thanks for this explanation. You confirmed my initial question of head end crews being aware of their fuel status as part of normal operating procedures.

    As you commented, the next morning's conference call would have been interesting. However, the more probable explanation considering the urgency of getting #1 out on time, the locomotive manager may not have considered fuel because F40s never had fuel problems in the past. Still, that's no excuse for not knowing and considering a locomotive's limitations, and asking a question.
     
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  13. mmi16

    mmi16 TrainBoard Member

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    I have no idea what kind of Locomotive Management computer system Amtrak is internally using. On CSX the Locomotive Management System keeps track of the fuel status of each locomotive on a continuous basis. Locomotive records can be searched by personnel from each Operating Department desk computer, should a individual have a question about any particular locomotive, be that a CSX locomotive or a foreign line locomotive operating on CSX. A routine part of the record is the fuel status - the record also shows the range for the locomotive when used in the various classes of service - from Bulk Commodity unit trains to Primere Intermodal. Only those in Locomotive Management can make any changes to the individual records in the system. Maintenance procedures will update records as necessary. CSX has (or maybe had) a Fuel Desk that was charged with the task of sourcing fuel, as necessary, for the lowest possible cost.
     
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  14. Hytec

    Hytec TrainBoard Member

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    That brings an interesting question. The Sunset's locomotives were foreign power operating on CSX tracks. Granted, it's an Amtrak train. It's not a CSX train, or a foreign road's train with trackage rights. But, wouldn't CSX Line Management monitor Amtrak fuel levels and ranges, if only from a CYA need to know what's happening on their line. Agreed, Amtrak is different situation with the Feds trying to get in your shorts every day. But wouldn't CSX Line Management be authorized to call some "desk" in Amtrak to report a potential problem or to status current situation? If not formally, then maybe a casual call to someone met over the years in the same area of responsibility. I admit I know nothing of the railroad industry's daily operating culture. This might be considered consorting with the enemy.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2021
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  15. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

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  16. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Passing Gavin Yard east of Minot, ND. Another 20 minutes and the truck would have been fully lit, oh well...

    _MG_8342.jpg
     
  17. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Love that semi-truck/trailer!! Would be a great restoration project!!

    (y)
     
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  18. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

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    Thanks Kurt! It's a great photo prop. I don't know its lineage, but in my mind, it's faded Glacier Green and former GN! :)

    BNSF does this when inbound to Gavin Yard in Minot, ND. When they get their signals into Minot eastbound, they call "on the bridge" when they get to Gassman Coulee Trestle, and report engine number, and fuel status of each unit in the train, usually as a simple number. "BNSF 6749 east, on the bridge. Fuel: 28, 24, 25, waiting for instructions." They will then get a track assignment (north or south Inspection, Old Yard 1, or a specific Gavin Yard track).
     
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  19. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

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    All I know is that those newer Amtrak locomotives would look SO much neater painted to match the cars behind them with the old red, white, and blue stripes running down the side centers.

    Doug
     
  20. Kurt Moose

    Kurt Moose TrainBoard Member

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    Amen!

    Always wondered why they were so mis-matched ever since the F40PH's left the roster.

    The brand new Chargers have some cool paint on them though, finally!!o_O
     
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