Happy Birthday Graham!

Operations Support June 27 - 28th, 2003.

Trip number 8 to the DS&N Division finds summer in place (finally!) after several long weeks of almost constant rain.  The rain didn't do the ballast any favors, and the sun was out to point out all the spots that didn't have adequate expansion capability, as three heat kinks were immediately noticed.

Pruitt yard has been well oiled by the senior DS&N crew.

Saturday morning broke sunny and bright, as light jackets were quickly displaced by mid morning as temps soared into the high 80's.  Pruitt yard had been given a final ballasting and a coating of oil by order of the superintendent, and the rail heads were wiped down.  Unfortunately, our lack of experience with this would show up later, when we learned just what happens when this task is not completed thoroughly.

Work begins at MP 50 as engine 241 anchors the 5 car work train.
Additional junior help is on hand this weekend, and was a
significant asset.

Thanks to advance preparations by the Track Department, 10 fresh panels were on hand at the start of the day.  All 10 would be laid by the construction gang by 2:00pm.

Engineer in training I. Burke is ready to take the work extra West, for another load of panels.

Five panels were laid by break time, with the other five going down afterward.  Ballasting commenced immediately after that.  By the end of the day, 100' of new rail was in place, taking us up to MP 65.0

Workers load panels for delivery to MP 60.

Fortunately, this heat kink did not prevent progress for today.

Freshly laid track and ballast looks good at MP 60.0, as engineer M. "Turtle" Agne backs the train down.

Extra 241 passes MP 65 heading west towards the engine
house, high above.

After completing the 100' of new line, the crews gathered to service the needs of this sprawling system.  Three trains were required to perform the nights run.

Extra's 241, 970, and 2200 at the new end of line, MP 65.

On the following day, the track department released an additional section, which was promptly installed, bringing the weekend total up to 110' of new line.

Construction engineers M. Agne and I. Burke complete the last section.

Engineer for today's work extra is C. Green, at the throttle of 2300.

The work crew encountered difficulty with the returning train, when it was discovered that oil had fouled the main on the grade in the vicinity of MP 30 to MP 25.  A single unit was not able to pull the train up the grade.  The train was cut, and the unit returned light to the shop to pick up additional power.  Units 2300 and 2200 returned in consist to the stranded train, and were successful in conquering the grade.

An unusual sight - Two units on the work train, necessitated
by the oily rails.

Road Foreman of Engines M. Agne is in charge, masterfully
controlling the throttle for maximum traction.

Next time... MP 70.0

The weekend closed out with 970 pulling Gon MV200201 as various engineers qualified over the division in it's lengthened state.  A contractor has been called in to erect a pedestrian overpass near MP 25, and this work is expected to be completed by next month.  The superintendent has set a goal of October for the golden spike ceremony, so the track department and construction gangs will be working diligently to meet this target.  Only 300' or so are needed to complete the first stage of the railroad.  If all goes according to schedule, this should be realistically achieved.  

Railroad employee Graham Agne celebrated his 8th birthday during this weekend of work.  The hard working crew took a break from track laying on Saturday for a water balloon battle in his honor.  A cruise on the Millersburg Ferry was the order of the day, as the crew deadheaded back to Millersburg to catch the next southbound Moose Valley freight to Berkeley Springs.

Back to the crewroom