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Bad weather and 14 hours of the NS F units on the CNO&TP

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  • Bad weather and 14 hours of the NS F units on the CNO&TP

    This past Friday (June 7th 2013) , NS sent all 4 of the F units and a 12 car deadhead OCS South down the CNO&TP, to position the train for an inspection trip out of Memphis this week. With plenty of advanced notice on the move, I decided to take a 3 day weekend and chase them South. Normally, a short train like that would be a rocket on the CNO&TP, but thanks to a comedy of errors and issues (mostly non-human), what I had expected to be a fast paced day turned into anything but.

    John Owens decided to join me on the trip, and after keeping track of the train Thursday night, we decided to leave at 0400. I had been up since 0500 Thursday morning, and tried my best to get some sleep, but that didn't work out to well. We arrived at North Wye (Just North of Danville KY) about 0445, and just 30 mins ahead of the train. We had figured the train would find daylight around Burnside...but that was not to be. After a fairly quick trip from Cincinnati, OTTO (The new fangled GE Auto-Dispatching system NS is using) decided to run the OCS in behind a crewless 239 which was tied down on #2 track at North Wye, trapping out train for pretty much no good reason.

    After over an hour, a decision was made to have the OCS back out onto single track at Faulkner and run around the still crewless 239. By the time that move was made, a long and heavy M-17 had arrived in Danville and while fueling, lost 1 of it's only 2 engines. With M-17 hanging back over 1 1/2 miles North of Danville, the OCS was trapped again. It took another hour and a half to get another engine for M-17 and get it on the move, and the OCS finally got to fuel and depart Danville almost 3 hours after it got there.

    The rest of the day the OCS would follow that long, slow, heavy M-17 all the way to Chattanooga. OTTO had several chances to run that pocket rocket around that drag, but didn't. Instead the 955 crept along on bad blocks most of the day, never even getting close to track speed. That worked out great for John and I, but I am sure the crew was less than pleased. In the past 4 years, I have followed the OCS (both deadhead and occupied) across the CNO&TP, several times and only came away with a handful of shots...this time it was like shooting fish in a barrel. I cant tell you how many times we actually caught them, but it was a lot.

    The weather for our trip ranged from dense fog and rain early in the morning (My kind of shooting right there!!) to almost full sun later in the afternoon, ending in Chattanooga with storms. By the time we drug our sorry selves back home early Saturday morning, I had been awake for over 45 hours straight (and John was pretty close to that himself).. we had been on the road for over 19 hours, and it was all worth it.. .I think I am getting to old for these "death-marches"...but I don't guess that will stop me anytime soon...

    Below are a few of my favorites from the day, and the entire set in high res can be found at this link..be sure to take a look! >>>>>>>>> NS Heritage & OCS Power 2013 Photo Gallery by E.M. & Carmon Bell at pbase.com

    The classic EMD nose of NS 4271 appears through the pre-dawn fog as Southbound 955 eases past the signals at "Old Jerry's" at MP 115.2 on the North side of Danville Ky yard. The 2nd shot of the day, and pretty close to my favorite of them all.


    After spending almost 3 hours in the Danville area, NS 955 finally gets on the move, seen here passing the searchlight signals at South Danville on a foggy Friday morning.


    The morning fog clings to the knobs as NS 955 eases through the Green River Dip, ready to stop just ahead at Southfork to meet train 216 before continuing a painfully slow trip South to Chattanooga.



    "One Last Time" The 4 NS F units are wound up tight, bringing the OCS up the hill at Kings Mountain at pretty close to track speed..... As the train passes under the old signal bridge, a crew is hard at work installing the foundation for the new signals that will soon put those old searchlights out of business. For 50+ years now, those old signals have stood, but I can almost guarantee you this will be the last time they will ever see a set of covered wagons and varnish pass by.


    After a crew change at Burnside KY, 955 rolls through the cut at Parkers Lake, KY...still following that slow moving M-17


    The Southbound 955 eases around at Highpoint TN (just South of Pemberton), ready to stop in behind M-17 which was waiting for a Northbound at Helenwood.


    Deep in the hills of Scott County, TN, the OCS crosses over at CP Glen Mary to get around a track crew working ahead.


    The short mast searchlight signals are still standing at Spring City TN for now, framed with the NS 4271. The new signals are up and ready to go though (and cropped out of this image....)
    E.M. Bell, KD4JSL
    Salvisa, KY

  • #2
    Originally posted by jonnyseeandoh
    How I won't miss 45 hour days when I retire!
    Don't count on it!

    Comment


    • #3
      That's one classy looking engine.

      Why'd you edit the ditchlights out in that one shot?

      Comment


      • #4
        Is that Train crew Management or union? Are those old units modified with newer air brake systems or electronics? just curious. If it is Union, Is it a "hand picked crew", XB or just however the pool turns land? I know BNSF has "preferred" engineers for its officer specials.
        "I would rather die on my feet than live on my knees"
        Emiliano Zapata 8/8/1879 - 4/10/1919

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TinLizard View Post
          That's one classy looking engine.

          Why'd you edit the ditchlights out in that one shot?
          Short answer..because I can I have edited one shot like that every time I have shot those things in the last 4 or 5 years, just to see if anyone was paying attention...and finally someone was paying attention!

          I cant say for sure, but I doubt they had a hand picked crew on there for a deadhead..probably just who ever was rested and next in line. There was a RFE onboard, but that was it as far as management. Now, when Wick and the boys are on board, Id say they probably do handpick a crew.

          Back in 2007 when they ran a Board of Directors trip with those things from Cinncy to Chattanooga, a friend of mine was picked to be the Conductor on the South End, and that was his last ride (planned that way).. When they got to Debutts, he shook hands with Wick, jumped in a cab and went back home a retired man after several decades of service. I guess that is not a bad way to hang it up..
          E.M. Bell, KD4JSL
          Salvisa, KY

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by EM Bell View Post
            This past Friday (June 7th 2013) , NS sent all 4 of the F units and a 12 car deadhead OCS South down the CNO&TP, to position the train for an inspection trip out of Memphis this week. With plenty of advanced notice on the move, I decided to take a 3 day weekend and chase them South. Normally, a short train like that would be a rocket on the CNO&TP, but thanks to a comedy of errors and issues (mostly non-human), what I had expected to be a fast paced day turned into anything but.

            John Owens decided to join me on the trip, and after keeping track of the train Thursday night, we decided to leave at 0400. I had been up since 0500 Thursday morning, and tried my best to get some sleep, but that didn't work out to well. We arrived at North Wye (Just North of Danville KY) about 0445, and just 30 mins ahead of the train. We had figured the train would find daylight around Burnside...but that was not to be. After a fairly quick trip from Cincinnati, OTTO (The new fangled GE Auto-Dispatching system NS is using) decided to run the OCS in behind a crewless 239 which was tied down on #2 track at North Wye, trapping out train for pretty much no good reason.

            After over an hour, a decision was made to have the OCS back out onto single track at Faulkner and run around the still crewless 239. By the time that move was made, a long and heavy M-17 had arrived in Danville and while fueling, lost 1 of it's only 2 engines. With M-17 hanging back over 1 1/2 miles North of Danville, the OCS was trapped again. It took another hour and a half to get another engine for M-17 and get it on the move, and the OCS finally got to fuel and depart Danville almost 3 hours after it got there.

            The rest of the day the OCS would follow that long, slow, heavy M-17 all the way to Chattanooga. OTTO had several chances to run that pocket rocket around that drag, but didn't. Instead the 955 crept along on bad blocks most of the day, never even getting close to track speed. That worked out great for John and I, but I am sure the crew was less than pleased. In the past 4 years, I have followed the OCS (both deadhead and occupied) across the CNO&TP, several times and only came away with a handful of shots...this time it was like shooting fish in a barrel. I cant tell you how many times we actually caught them, but it was a lot.

            The weather for our trip ranged from dense fog and rain early in the morning (My kind of shooting right there!!) to almost full sun later in the afternoon, ending in Chattanooga with storms. By the time we drug our sorry selves back home early Saturday morning, I had been awake for over 45 hours straight (and John was pretty close to that himself).. we had been on the road for over 19 hours, and it was all worth it.. .I think I am getting to old for these "death-marches"...but I don't guess that will stop me anytime soon...

            Below are a few of my favorites from the day, and the entire set in high res can be found at this link..be sure to take a look! >>>>>>>>> NS Heritage & OCS Power 2013 Photo Gallery by E.M. & Carmon Bell at pbase.com

            The classic EMD nose of NS 4271 appears through the pre-dawn fog as Southbound 955 eases past the signals at "Old Jerry's" at MP 115.2 on the North side of Danville Ky yard. The 2nd shot of the day, and pretty close to my favorite of them all.


            After spending almost 3 hours in the Danville area, NS 955 finally gets on the move, seen here passing the searchlight signals at South Danville on a foggy Friday morning.


            The morning fog clings to the knobs as NS 955 eases through the Green River Dip, ready to stop just ahead at Southfork to meet train 216 before continuing a painfully slow trip South to Chattanooga.



            "One Last Time" The 4 NS F units are wound up tight, bringing the OCS up the hill at Kings Mountain at pretty close to track speed..... As the train passes under the old signal bridge, a crew is hard at work installing the foundation for the new signals that will soon put those old searchlights out of business. For 50+ years now, those old signals have stood, but I can almost guarantee you this will be the last time they will ever see a set of covered wagons and varnish pass by.


            After a crew change at Burnside KY, 955 rolls through the cut at Parkers Lake, KY...still following that slow moving M-17


            The Southbound 955 eases around at Highpoint TN (just South of Pemberton), ready to stop in behind M-17 which was waiting for a Northbound at Helenwood.


            Deep in the hills of Scott County, TN, the OCS crosses over at CP Glen Mary to get around a track crew working ahead.


            The short mast searchlight signals are still standing at Spring City TN for now, framed with the NS 4271. The new signals are up and ready to go though (and cropped out of this image....)
            Still amazes me how bad the rail looks through a camera lens (Pic #1). Scares the shit out of me!

            HB
            "Never argue with an idiot; people watching might not be able to tell the difference".

            Posts by Hornblower are merely opinions of Hornblower and are for entertainment only. Hornblower does not represent any railroad anywhere. Feel free to pass over any post that offends you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by cornhusker View Post
              Is that Train crew Management or union? Are those old units modified with newer air brake systems or electronics? just curious. If it is Union, Is it a "hand picked crew", XB or just however the pool turns land? I know BNSF has "preferred" engineers for its officer specials.
              1. Union train crew. However, a RFE is required to be on the units on all movements, whether the train is occupied or not.
              2. The units, as well as the business cars are equipped with ECP braking. Prior to the ECP installation, they had the 26 brake. The A units also have the almighty LEADER system, as well as cab signals with LSL.
              3. Hand picked crew when occupied, and usually just the first out crew when not occupied.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Hornblower View Post
                Still amazes me how bad the rail looks through a camera lens (Pic #1). Scares the shit out of me!

                HB
                Long focal lengths have a tendency to pick out ever small detail, flaw, dip and rise in rail for some reason. Makes good NS track look like perfect CSX track every time

                That one shot you are talking about was at 250mm plus the sensor crop on my camera, which works out to be about 500mm or so total. You should see what it looks like at 600mm!
                Last edited by EM Bell; 06-14-2013, 03:29 PM.
                E.M. Bell, KD4JSL
                Salvisa, KY

                Comment

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