Operating Session February 17, 2001
This was the first operating session of the new year 2001, and the second for the 2000-2001 winter season.
Cold February air swirled around the outside of the
basement, but inside it was a hot summer day in 1971 on the Moose
Valley. Today would see some unusual operations, and two new operators,
Nathan Murry, and Mike Manwiller. Startup was prompt at 1400 hours,
and despite unusual events, the performance was excellent.
Compare the statistics with the last OS.
A full 12 hours were put in by the crews. Three men who stayed overnight
in the YMCA were working late into the night. The rail fan
contingent was high, as this evening would see two special trains chartered by
the Western Maryland chapter of the NRHS, complete with double-headed photo
freight. These trains ran in honor of the late O. Winston Link, who passed
away only days before this OS. On hand for this special occasion, is the
master of steam operations and excursions, Engineer Michael Manwiller, a legend
and true steam genius. Power for the passenger train is straight
from Cumberland, off of the WM, and two 2-8-8-2's are visiting from Roanoke, and
are in the capable hands of Mike Keiser. Rounding out the collection of
Mike's today, is Superintendent of the Middletown Belt Line, Mike Kohl.
|Weeter Mine operator N. Murry is making good progress with Moose Valley train MV-30U, bound for Consolidated Power at Enid. He's smiling because he wants Amtrak F-40's to pull that train! Everybody eventually gets a nickname on this railroad, and Faf is gaining popularity. Faf=Foaming Amtrak Fan!|
Over at Hermann-Beers yard, Crane operator K. Mazer gets things ready for the
PA-171. PA-171 is an Excursion chartered by the Western Maryland chapter
of the National Railway Historical Society, and is being operated under the auspices
of the Weeter Mining company. PA-173 is the support train, which consists
of WM F-7's, and MV Crane #20, as well as a gondola load of coal for the steam
locomotives. PA-173 is switching here at HB.
M. Manwiller, watches his empty hoppers that have been added for braking
capability, as he leans out the cab window. Soon he will pull his head
back inside and hold a damp cloth over his face, as number 817, the H-9 he is
riding in, enters New Oxford tunnel.
|Things are really heating up on the railroad, as the Berkeley Springs dispatcher balances the need to move the nations commerce, against the will of the hundred rail fans on board train PA-171. The Moose Valley has always placed customer service number 1! Not an easy task when potential customers are riding the rails. Here we see various crews vying for space on the line. Enginemen J. Gantz, and M. Kohl are dozens of miles apart, but both know the situation on the railroad today.|
Train PA-171 is engaged in another photo run-by at Valley Loop. The photographers are not happy about the down-hill location, and would much prefer to see an uphill run. Engineer Manwiller knows this, and his fireman is hard pressed to make decent smoke for the cameras.
The train has stopped to let the riders off. Most move away from the crossing and down the line for a better view.
|With a less than satisfactory run-by under their belts, the NRHS members walk to their waiting train.|
|"Now, this is more like it!" Exclaims a number of camera toting enthusiasts, as they walk up the hill. Try as they may though, some riders refuse to get back in the clear. Here then is their opportunity at Mary's Cut. Train PA-171 comes under the bridge, as PA-171-2 lumbers overhead. Cursed by the lack of negative gravity, the engines smoke is dismal.|
|PA-171 makes it's way to HB, where the power is cut off,
watered, fueled, and serviced. Here we see Moose Valley crane 20, with a
clamshell load of coal, toping off the tender on the 817.
A number of rail fans have run the long way around to photograph the action from New Windsor street.
|Finally, after a long day of riding the Moose Valley, the NRHS members are treated to a tour of the Weeter Mine #2, and given some more photo opportunities. They will spend the night in a local hotel, before returning on their train the following day.|
|Later, after the excursion trains have cleared out, mine operator M. Manwiller takes his shift loading the black diamonds. Coal is king on the Moose Valley, but people are what make a railroad run. Many many thanks to everyone for a great OS! And many thanks to Mike Manwiller for making the long trek from Cumberland to join us! The next OS is tentatively scheduled for March 31st.|