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Messages - john d Stone

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I'm surprised the driver (doesn't sound right, but trying to stay with the British theme) was able to get things rolling again after that stall! A couple of trips ago, I was on my usual intermodal run to Philly. Railroads now seem to be addicted to distributed power, so my two 4400hp GE's were separated by 3500'. Leaving Acca, in Richmond, the distributed unit failed to load. Ringing up the dispatcher, I told him of the situation. I knew we could get over the road in a reasonable fashion, we had about 4200 tons and about 7000' of train. The question was whether or not we could make it across the Baltimore Belt Line. With a long grade, exceeding 1% for a good portion and that portion being nicely curved, it has been the downfall of many tightly powered freights. We were a few hundred tons under the tonnage, but the long cars and damp rail would make things close. Not wanting to be delayed and full of misplaced pride, I told the dispatcher we'd make it. When we got into the BE dispatcher's territory, at the entrance to Baltimore terminal, he informed us that we'd be pulling through the Mt Royal siding and cutting off the setoff in said siding. This siding is on the worst part of the grade and 10mph to boot. Gulp. "Do you think you can still make it?" "............yes...sure." As we headed in the greasy siding at the prescribed 10, I could feel the train tightening up behind us. The 6th notch was as high as I could go and still sorta hold the rail. 9..8...7.....6.....5 not looking good for the home team. A nice coating of leaf grease was challenging GE's wheelslip protection and shaving our speed ever lower. An old trick is to play the independent against the wheels to clean some of the goop off and keep a runaway wheelslip from killing the momentum completely. Distributed power means that the engine brake would also apply on the dead unit, so that option was out. Down to 2, BE dispatcher calling "I032?" We hit a little straight stretch at the east end of the siding, conductor dropped off and the speed climbs back up to 4. Slipping and chewing rail through the east switch, we attained better rail conditions on the main. The speed slowly gets up to 10. Made it! The conductor cut the rear 2000" off and hung a new EOT and a van brought him to the headend. Off to Philly! 

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Work and Events / Re: Engine House - Official Work Thread
« on: October 25, 2021, 08:38:07 PM »
Amazing progress!

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Volunteers / Re: October 2021 Work Reports
« on: October 13, 2021, 11:02:57 PM »
I don't know if I'm putting this in the right category, but I just wanted to express my thanks to those who organized and participated in the mini-work weekend last Saturday. As always, I am amazed at the progress made during the intervals between my visits. With a two year gap this time, the difference was absolutely staggering! It was so nice to see and work alongside the good folks who make things happen. It's very rewarding to feel like I've at least participated a little bit in this wonderful venture and I eagerly look forward to my next visit.

Thanks again!

John Stone

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Work and Events / Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« on: September 10, 2021, 11:03:34 PM »
Quite the spectacular line! I've never tried the sweet-talk and beer method to get a cab ride, though I think it would work on me!
Cass also features some frightening grades on the line to Bald Knob. I think they may have a stretch of 11% too. Diana and I went out there one year and took the ride to the top. We were dressed for warm temperatures. It was not warm at the top! During the layover, we huddled up next to the firebox of the Shay. Two Shays had shoved us up there and one had already departed down the mountain, running lite. The engineer took pity on us and invited us to ride down the mountain in the cab. It was quite an interesting ride! I don't believe they turned up retainers, but brakemen would snug up the handbrakes on certain stretches. At one point, there was a rather heated exchange between the engineer and the relatively new fireman about water level. The engineer was not too happy that fireboy hadn't gotten the water a little higher in the glass before they tipped over onto a real steep stretch. I guess the water in the front of the boiler was barely covering the tubes!

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Volunteers / Re: August 2021 Work Reports
« on: August 13, 2021, 10:04:14 AM »
And I will third Wayne!

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Museum Discussion / Re: Maps of the WW&F Museum
« on: July 23, 2021, 09:33:43 AM »
Really cool map! If you scroll back a bit, Wiscasset looks nice and close!

7
We've hosted four exchange students over the years. The first was a girl from a small town in the north of Germany, just west of the former east-west border. She had taken English since grade school but actually had a very limited grasp of the language. I'd taken two years of German in high school, most of which I slept through. My wife's Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry was only good for a few phrases, mostly dealing with odd types of food. But after a couple of weeks of American TV she was able to speak and understand quite well. I asked her how similar German was to Austrian. She said "It is close. They can understand us but we can not understand them." Same response for Dutch!
The following year we had another German girl and a girl from Taiwan living with us, both with decent English skills. When the Taiwanese girls parents came to visit, she would speak to them in Mandarin and immediately switch to English to talk to us. My brain ain't wired like that!

In the world of railroading, I grew up around Pennsylvania Road and PRSL people in South Jersey. My railroad career has been out of Richmond Virginia on the Southern and then RF&P/CSX. Hand signals were pretty much the same as I'd experienced growing up though a few terms were different and track hand signals seem to be kind of a local language. When I started visiting the WW&F, "trig" was a term I had to get used to. I had been exposed to car counts by hand when the RF&P hired a former Rock Island brakeman, but that was not our normal practice. We just waved 'em back or ahead to start the move and resumed signaling as we closed in on the joint, decreasing the speed of the hand signal and then steadying up with the lantern or hand held high prior to waving down for the stop.

I came across this safety video from the Great Northern and found out that hand signals were not necessarily the same, even on a basic level, from coast to coast!  https://youtu.be/BqpayZ2JqlU

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Work and Events / Re: Coach 9 - Official Work Thread
« on: June 20, 2021, 10:23:17 AM »
Beautiful!

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Work and Events / Re: Mountain Extension - Official Work Thread
« on: June 06, 2021, 09:49:31 PM »
The track is really looking good!

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Work and Events / Re: WW&F No. 11 - Official Work Thread
« on: May 19, 2021, 10:44:01 AM »
Looks like an extremely productive session. It's great to have such a talented team at work on this project. Thanks for the detailed report and photos. The excitement builds!

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Work and Events / Re: WW&F No. 51 (The Brookville) - Official Work Thread
« on: January 01, 2021, 03:25:39 PM »
Here's a SWW photo of 51 by the water tower. Didn't take on water, as I recall. Not sure which year, but it rained a lot.

Happy New Year!

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Work and Events / Re: Coach 9 - Official Work Thread
« on: December 15, 2020, 01:54:44 PM »
Absolutely beautiful!

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Other Narrow Gauge / Re: ‘The Steam’ short film
« on: November 06, 2020, 12:12:34 AM »
A very well made film, even with the questionable coupling practice! The greatest lesson to be taken away from it is the importance of welcoming volunteers to participate in this fascinating history. I think the WW&F does a wonderful job of this. That's what first attracted me and that's what keeps me coming back!

14
Sounds like a really great event! Well done!

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Volunteers / Re: July 2020 Work Reports
« on: July 20, 2020, 04:08:55 PM »
Wow! You guys are really making tremendous headway with the ballasting (and anything else you touch)! Thank you all for your dedication and hard labor!

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