Lately and regardless of the day, Gardner gawking has been a Friday the 13th for me, but today, Friday the 13th plus a week, Gardner gawking was active.
At 0726, ED495 with NewBlues 505 and 607 stopped on 2 a bit west of CPF-345 with however long or short a train obscured around the curve to wait for EDPO and a following TC to go west. ED495 was next supposed to go down Da Hill and take 1 to the place still called the Bike Shop. By 0729, OldPaints 333, 510, and 379 plus 73 were west of 345 at a good clip with a good amount of slurries, some LPGs, and a couple each of TiO2 and HCl tanks plus boxcars. Curiously, there were neither lumber loads nor MTs. At 0735, the 346.6 talker called out 3,418 of length without the infamous "train too slow." This was just seconds before the westbound TC cleared 345.
The signal on 2 stayed solid red, so I got into looking-around mode and saw more ground-up sand on the trucks and lower carbody of 505 than I had ever noticed on any other OldPaint, Smurf, or NewBlue. Just about then and in explanation, D-3 asked 505 if it was still having wheel slip and got the answer yes, but then it would dig in. The signal still didn't change, and at 0748, D-3 told ED495 that it would be held until the OCS -- which still hadn't left Ayer -- went west. The prospect of a wheel-slipping 505 on wet rail maybe stalling east of 345 and west of the summit on the single and thus delaying the OCS was seemingly enough to go into caution mode.
Maybe ED495 set out at Fitchburg, but it wasn't until 1059 that it rolled through Ayer on 1 with 17(yes, seventeen).
"A gray crossover is definitely not company transportation."