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Bloviating Zeppelin: Trains Keep-a-Rolling

Bloviating Zeppelin

(in-ep-toc'-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Trains Keep-a-Rolling

Today I awakened at 7 am sharp and could not go back to bed. Sunday is usually a great day to sleep in but that was not going to occur.

I ended up taking breakfast at The Summit restaurant in Soda Springs at about the 7,000-foot level in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Great breakfast!

I shot some photographs of the Donner Lake area and spied a Union Pacific train heading downhill past Shed 47, which is on the south side of Donner. I shot this next photograph in Norden as the UP train headed downhill in dynamic braking mode.

"Downhill" became a recent issue with another train where two Harsco employees recently lost their lives. I decided I would hike to this spot, to see if I could approach the area for photographs. This decision cost me four hours hiking, 7 miles over rocky ballast, and yielded an area not unlike that of a ghost town.

Two men died here. I could smell the diesel fuel all over. The winds blew and the pines shed their needles. Two light generators sat unattended. Pizza boxes were discarded about. A cardboard box marked "drinking water" sat atop a generator. I afforded myself a few of these bottled waters. Like most derailments I've seen, wheelsets sat pushed aside. At first blush, the train on which they were riding began to accumulate speed downhill and efforts to scrub this speed yielded no results. Perhaps by my accompanying photo you can see that the train derailed to the right on a curve to the left.

Union Pacific managed to re-open the two damaged tracks. The track on the left is the downhill or westbound track. The right track is for uphill traffic. A slow order is in effect for this area.

Of the cars present, I could see that those remaining had burned horribly. Whilst I was examining the wreckage, an eastbound #6 California Zephyr Amtrak passenger train passed at 10 mph under a yellow caution flag.

No doubt, each and every passenger, and every crew member looked closely at the wreckage remaining at this site where, clearly, two persons perished.

Passengers note this with amusement; train crews shake their heads and speculate: could this have been me? What will my family say upon my passing?

UP purposely opens the trackage as quickly as possible so that commerce can continue.

And the trains keep rolling.



Blogger Kip said...

To B Zeppelin

Glad to see you got out and enjoyed your morning started off with a good breakfast, and yes, you are a man of nature. Also I can remember catching trains as they passed by the small town I grew up in I would run and grab on to one of the bars on the side of a train car and ride on down the tracks. But I was careful not to let my foot slip under the wheels.

There was a man who was clairvoyant he lived in a house where an old lady had died, and he would see her sometimes in the house walking around even though she had died years ago. And he was friendly to all of us little kids he would talk to us about what he had seen inside the house how the doors would swing back and forth real fast and how he would see the old lady walking around the house especially when it rained he would see her more frequently. He said when it rained if we were to come to the house and look over his left shoulder we would see her standing behind his left shoulder.

The house was haunted a childhood friend of mine lived next door and knew the old lady when she was alive -- and he even verified to us kids that the house was haunted from things he had seen and heard. Many of the kids I grew up with experienced ghost (dead people) and demons (evil spirits) and other supernatural phenomenon. We had many names to describe a dead person or evil sprit. Well I moved away and now that I am an adult my way in this world. I found out that the clairvoyant man died in a train accident.
The train came passing thru the small town and he ran and grab one of the side bars of the train and rode it. Then he decided to jump off the train he jumped and his head hit a concrete block that was along the rail road tracks and he died. God bless his soul he was a kind and friendly person I was shocked, may he rest in peace.

Take care, Bloviating Zeppelin

By Chance

Mon Nov 13, 03:16:00 AM PST  
Blogger BB-Idaho said...

Very nice photos. Regarding the
rail-grinding train, are they equipped with dynamics? What sort of grade was involved? Do you think the Donner route has more
accidents than other mountain rr
operations..say Marias on the BNSF, Sherman & Blue Mt on the UP?
On a little lighter side, I recall
seeing photos of about 85 antelope that got run down near Granger, WY a few years back...they got caught in a wonders
if the train crews ever have a
'normal' run.

Mon Nov 13, 10:16:00 AM PST  
Blogger Bloviating Zeppelin said...

Chance: I've never "hobo'ed" a train because, knowing me, I'd be the one to slip under the wheels!

BBI: Yes, their locos have dynamic brakes -- that's what I find so puzzling. There are three braking systems on trains, the loco brakes, the train system and the traction motor dynamics. And evidently they all failed. I find that rather amazing. I'm guessing there's another factor involved, but it was quite obvious that excessive speed was the primary cause.


Mon Nov 13, 12:17:00 PM PST  

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