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    Default Doubling Heavies

    The Experiment

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    This past summer, with the advent of longer, heavier DPU powered coal and grain trains, the Montana Rail Link opted to split these trains into two sections for the trip over Mullan Pass. Trains were broken apart in Helena, with Rail Link power fore and aft on the first and longer section. That movement was closely followed by the smaller section section, handled by the road power and rear DPU's.

    A bit of a novelty these days, let's take a little closer look at how the "Merle" once again rose to the challenge of heavy trains versus a forbidding mountain.

    Part One: Breaking a Heavy

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    Out, just east of Helena Yard, a single DPU idles away a hot afternoon. Stretched westward across the Long Lead sag is a string of 112 loaded coal cars, waiting for a work window to lift and the show to begin.

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    It's showtime! A road crew has been vanned out to the head-end and pulls the train up to the Helena Depot. Out on the main, yet another coal train waits its turn to do battle with the grades to the west.

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    The road power is cut from the train and backs into the the clear past the roundhouse lead. On the adjacent track, a 3-set of ACe helpers makes ready to couple onto the first 77 car cut.

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    Coupling made and the air up, the first cuts leaves town where a 4-set of SD 45-2's is waiting to tie onto the rear for the push over Mullan Pass.

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    With the first section clear of town, the road power backs down and couples to the remaining 35 cars and DPU. Pulling up to the depot, they will have to wait for the frist section clear the switch at Tobin before given the high green.

    Next:
    Part 2: Like a Hound Chasin' a Hare
    Last edited by Martin Burwash; 11-09-2008 at 04:21 PM.

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