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Thread: One Tough Day

  1. #1

    Default One Tough Day

    It was the beginnings of a nice summer Sunday in 1988. I could just picture the first trick Seattle East Dispatcher taking the desk, his first cup of coffee steaming to his right. Just about the time the third trick man is out the door, the radio speaker crackles with the bad news. An eastbound stack train, already short on hours, has stalled halfway through the Cascade Tunnel and has to perform a reverse move. It was the beginnings of one tough day on the mountain.

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    Backed free of the Cascade Tunnel, the crew of the troublesome East 8137 tie down their train at Scenic all the while trains continue to funnel east on the siding. Meanwhile, calls have been made. A fresh crew and two additional units hustle west from Wenatche to assist the stalled train.

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    Yet another fresh crew has arrived by van and prepares to cut in the two units arriving from Wenatchee, but once again things go wrong. The 8137 dumps its air, dies, and refuses to start. While the additional units wait on the siding, the combined crews work to restart the stubborn locomotive. Eventually calls to the roundhouse crew at Interbay produce the solution.

    Attachment 1173
    If things are not complicated enought, the 8088 arrives with East 10, SeaLand stacks in tow...and promptly goes dead on hours. The mountain is now officially, "tied up".

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    The 8137 brought back to life, the extra power from Wenatchee is switched into postion. As the maneuvers are being completed, the off-duty engineer of East 10 (left) talks things over with his releif.

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    Finally! Five hours after the eastbound freight backed out of the Cascade Tunnel, the train is once again underway. The fresh crew assigned to East 10 gives the train a roll-by.

    Attachment 1178
    The 8088 slips down through the Nason Creek Canyon with East 10, having to wait at Scenic for nearly 2 hours for opposing traffic that had built up during the ordeal. His shift nearly over, the Seattle East finally has the mountain fluid once again. Maybe now he can take a drink of cold coffee before signing is transfer and going home.
    Last edited by Martin Burwash; 04-09-2006 at 02:00 AM.

  2. #2


    Okay, here's an essy shot back in my telephoto phase.

    Martin Burwash

  3. #3
    TomNanos Guest


    Nice view into what can happen when that Murphy guy (and his damned law) decides to play with the railroad. I like the more pictures than text on this one - seems to work well for me. Thumbs up from this easterner...


  4. Default

    The text flows nicely ( as usual ) and the photos support it well. I like the blow-by-blow description of an all too common problem on the Scenic Sub.

    It's a thumbs up!

  5. Default

    I like the way Martin's text worked in the visuals of the dispatcher sitting down to work and then working frantically through his shift only to have things fixed just as he leaves. Nice addition to the photos of the action.

    On item I questioned Martin was this statement "The 8157 brought back to life..." shouldn't that be the 8137? 8157 appears to be on the rescue power.

    Other than this one comment, I approve this.

  6. #6


    8137 it is! I KNEW I'd do that! Thanks, Steve. To many close numbers. Did anyone notice the rescue power were consecutive numbers as well? Just adds to the confusion of the day!

    Martin Burwash

  7. #7
    16CSVT Guest


    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Burwash
    Okay, here's an essy shot back in my telephoto phase.

    Martin Burwash

    A good and informative photo essay with the emphasis on the human element.

    The opening paragraph really pulls the reader in and sets the scene.
    I like the photograph of the conductor conducting the Engineer with the requesit handsignals.

    The fourth photograph is the weakest of the bunch and could probably have been dropped, I find it a bit of a jumble, units all on top of each other, the building is a big distraction, I guess you included it for the men trying to start 8137, but I think they are lost in the resulting melee. The shot with the guy on the radio covers all the bases for this subject and the photograph is a strong one. There are a couple of titles for this shot that I can think of.

    Photograph six, although similar to number four is a much better composition and works well.
    You have to wonder why the Dispatcher allowed East 10 up and didn't hold the train back 'out of the way' unless he already had the relief crew on the way with minimal delay ensuing.

    The guy with the pony tail has got a bit of a Village People thing going on there me thinks.

    Ten and eleven are nice shots completing the 'move', a nice claggy start from the locos and perfect timing for shutter release, then the roll by which is very illustrative and nicely composed with both the guys looking in the same direction.

    Topped off with a classic Scenic sub view.

    Thanks for an illustrative, informative glimpse of an everyday railroad cockup.

  8. #8


    Thanks for the review, Steve. I agree with you on Photo 4. I've never printed it, as when looking at the negs the medium format shot of the guy with the radio was indeed the stronger image telling the same story. (The trouble with scanning negs vs printing the the darkroom, it becomes a little too easy to throw in everything including the kitchen sink!)

    East 10 came up the hill due to the fact the relief crew that brought over the rescue power from Wenatchee took charge of 10. The crew that was vanned in from Seattle took charge of the stalled train.

    Martin Burwash

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    durham, sc


    "A fresh crew and two additional units hustle east from Wenatche to assist the stalled train."

    I believe this should be "...hustle west from Wenatchee..."

    The text and photos are both well done, and blend nicely together. But I don’t think a little more text could hurt this any. This really captures a theme that seems to draw my attention to the pass. Something always goes wrong, and its never a usual day...

    God, I need to get up there again!
    Freeze this moment a little bit longer
    Make each sensation a little bit stronger

  10. #10


    Change noted and made. Thanks Jonathan! And yes, this is just one of about 4 different essays I have of being there when things went wrong.

    Martin Burwash

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