Moose Valley

Operating Session February 8th, 2003


Mission Highlights
Mission: Space Research
Shuttle: Columbia

Jan. 16, 2003
9:39 a.m. CST


15 days,
22 hours,
20 minutes

  Columbia and crew lost during entry 16 minutes before landing Feb. 1, 2003
150 nautical

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.  

First train through Columbia Cut

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.

Crew of MVC-3The 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.

Hazmat spill!

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.

Northbranch wreck

Columbia Cut
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.

Burned up Alco!
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.

DS&N Superintendent PruittSeveral 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.

T&S Superintendent Sollenberger

Engineer Caldow
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.

The rotary cruncher at Enid.
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.

Carlisle FullReading 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.

Greenspring full 

Railfan Philip provided the following photos (much better than our own too!).  Thanks Philip!

MV20-U ascends the grade at Adams.  The town of Kohl is visible to the right.

The Berkeley Springs engine facility has a nice line up of units bathing in the morning light.

The Berkeley Springs repair shop.

Moose 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 power.

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.

The crew at the Moose Valley YMCA

Check out CSX Engineer Steve's web site at

Thanks to all our operators and friends who joined us!

Moose Valley