Wednesday, July 30, 2008

All Aboard!

Now that the drawing is done (with adjustments to be made), it is time to run some virtual trains. Let's take a imaginary trip along these routes.

It's 1:50AM on a cold Texas winter. BNSF grain train arrives at north end of Tower 17 from Fort Worth, Texas with BNSF 964 (C44-9W Heritage 1), BNSF 779 (C44-9W Warbonnet), BNSF 887 (C40-8W Warbonnet) and 30 BNSF loaded grain hoppers in tow. BNSF awaits for the green signal to proceed to BNSF West Yard on Galveston Island via BNSF Galveston subdivision.
At the same time, BNSF manifest with 28 cars pulled by BNSF 779 (C44-9W Warbonnet) and BNSF 964 (C44-9W Heritage 1) has been waiting for 1 hour at the siding a few yards away from the Tower for the grain train to arrive.

The Tower 17 dispatcher has just given the clearance to the grain train to proceed southbound to Galveston. The BNSF manifest will have to wait for another 15 minutes for the grain train to clear. The track to Fort Worth via Searly is a single track. As the grain train passes the manifest loco, the driver gave a "hello" hoot. Speed at the junction is limited to 20mph as the grain train clears the switch. BNSF manifest train was given the green light to proceed to Searly.

The grain train picks up speed and rumbles down the quiet night towards Algoa. It is a clear line all the way for BNSF grain train as there is no northbound train expected for the rest of the night. UP intermodal is waiting at the UP yard on Galveston Island but not expected to leave way past the arrival of the BNSF grain train.

Two miles outside Algoa, the grain train suddenly loses power. The train begins to slow down and comes to a complete halt 5 miles from Algoa. The lube indicator showed a sudden drop in reading. The engineer and conductor went to the engine room to check. One of the hoses broke and sent the lube spraying all over. Oh boy, this is going to be a long night. After two hours of fixing and refilling, the grain train proceeds on to Virginia Point. It is now 6am and BNSF just arrives at Virginia Point. The UP intermodal is supposed to leave Galveston at the same time. The dispatcher gave BNSF train the priority to proceed to Galveston on the single track causeway.

After 20 minites crossing the Galveston Bay, BSNF grain train finally arrives on West Yard. The locos then proceed to its next assignment.

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