Operating Session March 6th, 2003
The first Moose Valley operating session of 2004, and the last for the 2003-2004 winter season, saw a dozen trains and some very unusual mishaps on a relaxed 8 hour work day. A stout crew contributed to a high volume of freight operating with little coal oriented movements during the session. View the statistics here. Not surprisingly, this OS did not come anywhere close to beating the monster runs of November and December of 03', as neither of those had anywhere near the number of 'incidents' which served to delay trains and burn out crews. Let's take a closer look at what made this OS different.
Things got off to a good start, but trouble has a way of coming to roost. Here we see TV-10 innocently making it's way along the mainline, while silently to the rear of the train, a weld is breaking....
Without warning, a fifth wheel hitch breaks loose from the flatcar deck and a trailer rolls down hill, careening into the following trailer. The disjointed trailer, jams between the tunnel portal and the flatcar, jarring the train to a quick halt.
Inside the tunnel, the resultant jolt, busts another hitch from it's mooring, sending a second trailer off it's platform. What a mess!
Emergency! Emergency! Emergency!... Valley dispatcher, this is TV-10, in emergency at Cowan Tunnel.
A call is quickly placed to the Berkeley Springs engine facility, to get a locomotive out to clear the rear of the train. Engineer Nate Murry is assigned to the big six axle unit, and is to go from Berkeley Springs to Potomac junction, but before he can get out of town, the unexpected happens.
Engineer Murry is hard pressed not to laugh, as he endures the ribbing of fellow engineer Bill Gingrich, who is enjoying the fine display of locomotive handling at the turntable. Well at least it's not in the pit!
Engineer Murry does eventually get his engine back to the task at hand, and makes it to the rear of TV-10 to extract the two remaining serviceable TOFC cars.
Meanwhile, Wreck Foreman K. Mazer has been called to duty, and the wreck train is assembling at HB for the ride to Cowan. The power from TV-10 is cut off and moved ahead to allow the WOR-6 to access the damage.
A large crowd has gathered to watch the wreck train at work.
A sling is used to move the trailer into position on the damaged flat car for temporary movement to Herman-Beers yard.
Elsewhere on the system, things have ground to a halt, as the single track main is blocked, with trains stacking for miles in both directions.
Engineer s Matt Adams and his father Jeff pass the time with idle chat, while train MVRG-32 languishes at Columbia.
Here train WMBT-1, a WM train detoured by Hurricane Eloise, sits at Newpass and wonders if they were better off staying on home rails, while down the line, train MVCX-5 experiences the same fate waiting for the signal at Mazerville.
Eventually the beleaguered cars are set out at HB, and TV-10 is able to resume it's trip, albeit quite a bit shorter than it was. The B&O was handling MV traffic very expeditiously during the mainline tie up, and train BUBO-1 is passing the Weeter Mine #2, which is starved of empties thanks to the TV-10 debacle.
Oops! Engineer J. Adams and Conductor T. Bupp stare in amazement at yet another calamity. It seems that the rear of BUBO-1 has been shoved off the end of the Spring Garden siding, and onto the main line. A difficult night to be sure! The wreck train was already into overtime, and not about to tackle this challenge without a crew change!
Not to be outdone, Engineer M. Kohl has discovered a leak in his train, and has stopped at HB to check it out. Meanwhile Engineer B. Gingrich ponders the conditions that lead to his trains derailment.
Special thanks to the Moose Valley YMCA for feeding 21, and to Cindy Kohl and The Gantz crew for the delicious deserts.
Thanks to all our operators and friends who joined us! See you next fall!