Operating Session February 8th, 2003
In any field of human endeavor, there are triumphs and tragedies. So it is in the exploration of man's last frontiers. The sobering realities of life often make themselves known when one is in the act of attempting to escape from them. It was during the creation of the work now known as Columbia Cut, that the crew of NASA flight STS-107 perished on a bright Saturday morning over a clear blue Texas sky. The valiant crew now has a permanent place of honor on the Moose Valley, and it is to them that this area, and operating session are dedicated.
One week later....
The first Moose Valley operating session of 2003 kicked into high gear, with 14 trains moving the nations commerce through the hills of Appalachia. A large crew contributed to a high volume operating session. View the statistics here.
The run began smoothly enough, but as trouble often does, it came in three's. Witness helper Engineman M. Kohl, and lead Engineer J. Gantz, with train MVC-3 making light of their dilemma at the south portal of Hot Springs tunnel. It seems the Hazmat car in their consist has sprung a leak, sequestering the mainline for a time, while local officials respond to the spill response.
The next sign of trouble comes as northbound AJ-2 picks the switch at Northbranch. The Moose Valley 250 Ton crane, number 20, is dispatched to the scene. Under the watchful eye of Wreck Forman K. Mazer, the right of way is quickly restored.
Trouble strikes thrice. This odd looking train sits here for a reason, but before that reason could be fully explained, the locomotive "overheated" and nearly caught fire while the crews were dinning in the Y.
This Lionel "Railscope", a product of the early 90's, but basically brand new in the box, survived for only a few short hours before self destructing. It's purpose was to feed video images to the monitors installed over Millersburg yard, so that crews could watch their trains in the now fully enclosed New Oxford tunnel. The fate and future of this feature is yet to be decided.
Several special guests and visitors stopped by the various locations on the system this day. Present in the yard office at HB, is DS&N Superintendent E. Pruitt.
Also on hand is Tanglewood and Southern Super G. Sollenberger, with his son Reilly.
Engineer trainee R. Caldow is at the throttle of the first coal drag of 1973, with MV-20U making a run up Gantz grade. Off duty engineers N. Murry and T. Mazer, heckle the inexperienced Caldow in hopes of shaking his confidence in the Weeter Mine paperwork.
MV20-U is making for the rotary dumper at Consolidated Power. An accident occurred later in the day here, after MV20-U arrived, which nearly cost the operator his life. He accidentally got caught between moving parts when the dumper was operating.
Western Maryland SD-35 #7435 leads MV21-UE down grade at Valley Loop.
Reading Yard at Carlisle, and the Reading's Carlisle Yard are both full by the end of the evening. Even Greenspring is at capacity. A sign that almost all of the scheduled trains made it to their arrival terminus.
Railfan Philip provided the following photos (much better than our own too!). Thanks Philip!
the grade at Adams. The town of Kohl is visible to the right.
Springs engine facility has a nice line up of units bathing in the morning
Springs repair shop.
Equipment Leasing unit MELX 2003 is on the table with a load of sand for
Berkeley Springs. The 2003 was built as part of an order of 6 for the
Alaska railway, but never delivered when the order was cut back from 6 to 5.
Here we see
the 2003 trailing WM 7435 on Moose Valley local DMBS-80. The MELX unit is
on long term lease, while the WM unit is running off horsepower hours. The
Moose Valley prefers the clean WM power over the often neglected Penn Central
Reading engine #50 switches the Reading's Carlisle Yard. In the background, Moose Valley #947 is working the Moose Valley's Reading yard.
The NHRS operated this steam excursion, seen here on the B&O.
Special thanks to the Moose Valley YMCA for feeding 24, and to Cindy Kohl and Mike Keiser for the delicious deserts.
Check out CSX Engineer Steve's web site at http://www.stevestrains.com/
Thanks to all our operators and friends who joined us!