Author Topic: Joe Fox at his day job...  (Read 1244 times)

Joe Fox

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2017, 03:13:19 AM »
I have some interesting stories in the few years I have been a railroader, but I am not sure any are really book worthy. One day I got a train over the road with a blown high pressure gasket, just barely though. Or the time when we had to use steam to save the day. There are a few more stories I might be able to think of, but those two are the most interesting in my opinion.

John McNamara

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #16 on: September 20, 2017, 03:32:32 AM »
Or the time when we had to use steam to save the day.
Inquiring minds want to know.....
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Bill Baskerville

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #17 on: September 20, 2017, 12:21:30 PM »
Dito what John said.......
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Joe Fox

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #18 on: September 20, 2017, 12:41:27 PM »
One of my first days as apprentice fireman, the "sisters" (two f units) had air compressor problems which took the normal valley train engine off the valley to go assist the notch train. While sitting in front of the station with steam, two other engines were attempted to be started but with dead batteries they would need to be charged for at least an hour.

Then it was decided to run steam on the valley train to Bartlett ahead of the notch train which was still disabled at Mountain Junction. It was an interesting run to Bartlett and there were more people out taking pictures than on the advertised steam run to Bartlett for Railfan weekends.

If we didnt have steam ready to go, there wouldn't have been a trip to Bartlett. It was a great first day for me on steam, and added to my first year of experiences on the full size stuff.

John Stone

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2017, 12:15:06 AM »
I'm glad to see those 7500's went on to a new home with a good hand behind the throttle! I've always liked the standard cab as opposed to the wide body format. The fellow who was my conductor for many years in assigned service said that the 7500's had excellent "sleeping cabs"! Do they still have the horn valve you can quill, or did they get the solenoid?
 

Joe Fox

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #20 on: October 08, 2017, 09:42:03 PM »
Another favorite memory of mine reverts back to "job briefing" and why they are so important.

One day when running a tourist train in NH, we were on our return trip about 3 miles from the station when I heard a sudden loud air hissing noise coming from the engine room.  After telling the conductor we would be stopping so I could check ot out, we slowed and came to a stop at the bottom of the last big hill before the station. I opened the doors and realized we had blown a gasket on the compressor and time was critical as we were losing air pressure. The conductor and trainman walked up to the engine, just in time for me to get back in the seat and tell them we had to go. So the conductor told me ok to continue back to the station. Thinking they got off between the first and second car, I throttled up rather quickly. I glanced back and saw them still walking by the train and thought, oh this isnt good and applied the brakes and began throttling down. (We had already increased to 8mph) The trainman jumped on, and the conductor was running trying to catch the last step. He made it, but his radio fell off his hip. After we stoped again and he got his radio, we continued back to the station with the bad air leak. By now the engine resevoir had dropped to 110 pounds. We got the train up the hill, across the 3 whistle crossings in good time, but the challenge was yet to come. Going over the final crossing before the station the bell quit working. As you enter the station theres a slight down hill grade at the beginning of the yard. Air pressure had now dropped low enough that the train brakes had began to apply. By the time we stopped at the station the brakes were dragging so bad that I had the engine in Notch 5. The brake pipe had been reduced from 90psi down to 77psi. Not only did we arrive 1 minute late, but none of the passengers really knew what was going on. (Before someone fires off that running with the train line lower than intended pressure is risky, let me explain how it works. On a short train, even the slightest air leak will apply the cars. The only thing to be aware of is that once the brake pipe pressure drops below 50psi the brakes may begin to lose effectiveness. Below 45psi and an emergency brake application can no longer be made reliably.)

After doing a power swap, we left on the next trip about 14 minutes late. Knowing how to make up time on rough track will come in the near future.

Paul Uhland

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2017, 04:00:27 AM »
Nice  to know how a pro uses his experience, intelligence, and with a little luck, smoothly makes a possible disaster into a "no problemo" outcome.  ;)
Way to go, Joe..   
Paul Uhland

Joe Fox

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2017, 10:44:39 PM »
That was one thing I valued the most from my training at Conway. Was learning the experiences of the guys who trained me, rather it was running machines, track work, or being on the train. Many of my mentors have passed on, but I think of them often and value the knowledge they shared.

Joe Fox

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2017, 10:34:31 PM »
Knowing how to make up time on a scheduled run was one I learned from my ex Maine Central and BM engineers at Conway. The Maine Central engineer taught me how to run to Conway, which had no schedule in between the two stations, so he taught me on schedule and no speedometer such as steam or the f-unit 4266, you go by the point at this time, this point at this time, etc. And if you need to make up a little time, you can do so in the smoother points, and easier done while traveling uphill. In my previous story, we left for the 1:30 Conway trip at 1:49, 19 minutes off schedule. So doing the best I could do and not make people feel uncomfortable we arrived at Conway at 2:08, a mere 13 minutes off schedule. With a quick run around, and set and release on the last car we were off at 2:15, now just 12 minutes off schedule. Again doing the best possible we arrived back at North Conway at 2:36. The trip back always seemed quicker which made making up time a bit more difficult.

On the 2:30 Bartlett run we departed at 2:45, and with track being a bit smoother to Bartlett I was able to get right after it. We arrived at Bartlett at 3:15, only delaying the notch train by 6 minutes. Not bad at all.

Joe Fox

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2017, 12:12:10 AM »
Another huge aspect of being an engineer is knowing what is needed to keep an almost tonnage train moving in less than ideal conditions. Sometimes theres nothing you can do, but it still sucks to call up and tell the dispatcher you have stalled.

1: sometimes less power means more power.
2: in cases of extreme wheel slip, even sand won't help so you need to use a little engine brake to help provide a little resistance to the wheels.  The only time this doesn't work is if you have engines dead in tow or not providing power, as it makes more pull on the engines.

Steve Smith

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2017, 03:51:25 AM »
Joe, your comments re wheel slip reminded me of a visit a fellow railfan and I paid to the east end of the Hoosac Tunnel--around 1996 or 97 I think....not sure. Just a few feet inside the tunnel there was a humongous gouge ground out of one rail. We had no straight edge or rule to measure the depth, but our conservative estimate was 1/2 inch. No train came so we didn't hear what it sounded like when wheels encountered it, but I suppose the bangs were pretty loud. We wondered how long it would take a slipping wheel to grind a gouge that deep. There was a Pan Am section gauge working just east of the tunnel, and we asked if they knew when new rail had been laid there the last time. They didn't know, but thought it had been some years back.

I've written Pan Am, but it may have been long enough ago that the name was still Guilford.

Joe Fox

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2017, 05:01:01 AM »
Believe it or not it doesn't take long to leave even a slight indintation. A train in notch 8, and a sudden stop can cause wheels to let go and spin uncontrollably. Which at night can make for one very interesting display of sparks.

Steve Smith

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2017, 02:19:25 AM »
Joe, you wrote:
Quote
A train in notch 8, and a sudden stop can cause wheels to let go and spin uncontrollably.

Does that mean PanAm's diesels don't have automatic wheel slip control?

As all can see, I'm very ignorant about...well, a lot of things, but diesels in particular. I hope John McNamara will forgive me. ::)

Bill Piche

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2017, 03:30:50 AM »
Believe it or not it doesn't take long to leave even a slight indintation. A train in notch 8, and a sudden stop can cause wheels to let go and spin uncontrollably. Which at night can make for one very interesting display of sparks.

Reminds me of the time right after they put the concrete floor in the roundhouse at Conway Scenic. The rails in the new floor were higher than the ones that were in the old brick\dirt floor and the table hadn't been shimmed on that end yet.

You had to have a good rolling start going into the house to get over the bump. I found that out the hard way my first day firing with the new engine house floor when I was putting the engine away for the night by myself. After the tender went up fine, the first set of drivers hung up and were effectively chocked by the lip. Rather than roll forward and back again I first tried a little extra power and ended up leaving 6 shiny spots on the table rails. They're probably gone now but they were a reminder of my shame for the rest of that season.
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Joe Fox

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Re: Joe Fox at his day job...
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2017, 11:45:44 AM »
Lol. It happens to everyone Bill.

And Steve, they do have slip control, but if it takes off at a steady rate the slip control just thinks the engine is going very quickly and will not drop the amperage. Then theres times when you have a small wheel and larger wheel because one axle got turned and the other did not, that you get constant wheel slip.