• Gardner Gawking

  • Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.
Guilford Rail System changed its name to Pan Am Railways in 2006. Discussion relating to the current operations of the Boston & Maine, the Maine Central, and the Springfield Terminal railroads (as well as the Delaware & Hudson while it was under Guilford control until 1988). Official site can be found here: PANAMRAILWAYS.COM.

Moderator: MEC407

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  by jaymac
Bruce Macdonald's http://photos.nerail.org/s/?p=249407" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; shows POED with the 7500 going through Montague 0940/03-13, so dunno if there had been a power swap and/or split at Ayer for POED and ED-9.
  by jaymac
For 0335-0525/03-15-2019, there was naught visibly in motion -- as the short trip-time might indicate -- but lotsa radioactivity with -- surprisingly -- AYPO being the principal contributor, starting -- for me -- at 0347 when AYPO with the 7594 began a series of Yard-Channel reach-outs to D-3, D-3 advising AYPO at 0401 to stand by. There had been earlier Yard Channel garble and would be more in a bit, but the source and audience was lost to me.
At 0403, the 333 WLs were dark, as would be the 334s and 335s, There was a 0414 garbled D-3 answering of POED, Mount Wachusett limiting any further info.
Up Da Hill, the 345s were and would remain dark for the brief time I was there. Yard 2 was almost FP-FP with general that included a large amount of covered hoppers, a few more of which -- plus a shortie and a KCS box were on the east end of Yard 1 and just onto the Extension. There were MT centerbeams on the east end of Yard 4, but how far west anything else might extend was blocked by Yard 2's occupants. The Sameoldsameold Ledger entries continued to be the brush cutter on the House and the probably-still-untucked stone on the Heywood, probably because there was still to much snow cover and darkness to be certain.
The post-offering straight-shot trip east offered the sounds of AYPO doing car countdowns and -- at 0436 -- D-3 telling Q427 to stand by, more about which in a bit. That was the same time the 333 WLs were dark.
Further east, the 330.8 WBs showed a Stop for 1 and a Clear for 2. The Kimball Street Zombie Zone offered up D-3 breakingly asking Q427 at 0442 if they were tying down at New Bond, response and acknowledgment unheard. Also unheard had been Q427's Form D being called fulfilled, but given the combined effects of Zombie Zones and AYPO being busy, that was not a surprise. The 330 1 WL showed a Slow Approach and the GL Controlled Siding WL a Medium Approach.
The FG WLs were dark, and at 0447, a dark KCIR 5943 was facing west on the west end of covered hoppers in the FI-1/2 parking spot, prompting musings about the large number of covered hoppers in Gardner. Are hoppers being brought west to help keep East Fitchburg fluid?
At 0450 and later, there were sounds of AY-4 being busy, alternating with sounds of AYPO being busy, and 0453 was when the EB staggers for Derby were dark.
0505 was when D-3 advised AYPO he was ready to copy. I wasn't, so only the total of 97 cars got remembered. D-3 at 0508 would tell AYPO they'd wait for 400 to get by on 1 and meet POED -- remember them from 0414? -- between AY and WL
There would be occasional spurts of static, the last clear words coming at 0519 from AY-4.
Unheard was anything to, from, or about AY-3, 22K, or AY-5, AY-5 being the subject of Bruce Macdonald's 03-14 http://photos.nerail.org/s/?p=249437" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; at Wachusett, not the not-unexpectable WB AY-5 in the days of 287, but an EB AY-5. Dunno -- but hope somebody else does -- if this was a 1-off or the new order of things. The new order of things would make sense as a way running through CPF-AY with a dedicated move, but does raise the question where a new EB AY-5 might originate.
  by jaymac
For 0335-0535/03-18-2019, static/garble served as 𝜜 and 𝜴, but there were sights and sounds of interest in between.
Early on, the sole bit of clarity was Boston West thanking LA-5 for something, proof that at least some scanner circuits were functioning. At 0400, the 333 WLs were dark, as would be the 334s and 335s in their turn, garbled receptions persisting.
Up Da Hill, the 345s were and would remain dark for the duration of my transit. There was general FP-FP on Yard 2. mostly covered hoppers with a tank, a few coil cars, and 1 each MT mini-bulkhead and mini-centerbeam. There were a few racks west on either the Bull Run or Yard 1 and mebbe -- hoonose -- some few obscured on Yard 4. The House still had the brush-cutter, and enough icepack had melted to show that the Heywood's stone was still untucked.
An offering was made, immediate return on which coming at 0423 when a mostly-clear D-3 answered AYPO, the repetition of 11x38 clear, but the tonnage and length lost, and giving an OK on signal indication at 0424. D-3 would reach out to AYPO -- 7545 being given as the leader -- and ask if the marker was armed, the acknowledgment and/or repetition being lost.
The straight shot down Da Hill produced the 0434 view of the 333 WLs all at Stop -- what? no Medium Clear for the Controlled Siding? -- cuzza an EB EB on 2. Further east the 330.8 WBs were both at Stop and the 330 WLs showed a Slow Approach for 1 and an Approach for 2. KCIRs 7620 and 7727 got a slowing 79 -- yes, more than the recently departed AYPO's 49 -- east of the Bike Shop/Zeda's at 0444. There were Ciment Québec and other shorties, full-size covered hoppers, placarded and unplacarded tanks, a coupla scrap-company gons, a coupla MT centerbeams, and boxes that included a Smurf. Guessing EDPO, but never heard an over-the-air ID to confirm. Among the garble while the EB was going by, "22K" was a bit of clarity.
In a break with recent sightings, the GL WLs were dark, and further east, the FG 1 WL showed Clear -- more about which quickly -- and the 2 WL was at Stop for the not-yet-on-scene presumed EDPO. At 0451, D-3 told 400 they'd be going on 1 between FG and Derby, and at 0452, a dark, solo, and east-facing KCIR 5973 was in the FI-1/2 parking spot, and further east on West Side were dark -- except for number-boards -- and immobile 7595 and 7635 doing an elephant act on the west end of cars that started with a rack. POED? ED-9? AY-5? Dunno.
After a refueling stop, somebody -- ID unheard by me -- did a car countdown and then asked for a stretch and 3-step, just before I crossed under the Rte. 13 UGB as 400 was slowing to their North Leominster stop. The EB staggers for Derby showed a Limited Approach for 1 -- dropped at 0505 by a total of 3 flats and 1 bi plus the 1138 -- and a Stop for 2 plus a marker. Dunno what the marker was marking, but it couldna been 2 KCIRs and 79 cars if 400 was crossing to 2 at Derby. I another few, D-3 asked AY-4 if they were clear of 1 yet, the response being that it would be a coupla minutes more.
Among the unheards were 40.2 reports for the 400 and the presumed EDPO and anything to, from, or about AY-3 or Q427.
Among the many things I dunno, I do know that gas is getting more expensive.
  by jaymac
For 0328-0540/03-20-2019, lotsa busyness.
The 0328 point of precision is because that's when the scanner was turned on and also when B&M Detector Mileage 7.8 turned itself on. The NB trip on Rte. 140 was in time -- 0335 -- to see the last few cars clear the crossing and hear the talker give a no defects. a 7-minute talker-transit at 10 MPH MAS meant this wasn't among the longer trains experienced, but at a time of day when movements are normally WB, this was an EB. There would be some broken D-3 transmissions to Q426 -- "Sterling" and "timetable" emerging clearly at 0424 -- but Form D fulfillment wasn't heard. Also unheard was anything to, from, or about AYPO.
Starting at 0344, there was a series of D-3 partials -- mebbe to ED-9 -- about 0x25 and a pickup up of 2 Deerfields off West Main, closing at 0346 with words about a 0x22 pickup off Freight Main West, the list to be sent to Fitchburg. To save suspense, naught further would be seen or heard on this matter.
At 0352, AY-6 -- yes, six -- did a car countdown, more about which later. 0353 was when D-3 did a shoutout to an audible 22K, yarding instructions coming at 0357 -- the same time the 333 WLs were dark -- followed at 0401 by something broken about the 330 signals. More will follow on 22K.
The 334s and 335s were dark, but there was an EDPO shoutout to D-3, immediate developments lost to increasing distance and Mount Wachusett's intervening bulk.
Up Da Hill, the 345 ELs and WLs were at Stop, 1 more bit of intermittent red coming from a stationary WB marker on 2 across from the platform. POED with KCIRs 7727 and 7620 was partway through lifting a self-reported 18 racks and 1 freight from Yard 4. What mighta been on Yards 1 and 2 was obscured, but the fabled rest-of-the-train had a few slurries and 1 Smurf. An offering had been made, and there were no brush-cutter or untucked-stone changes, so it was back EB, D-3 asking EDPO at 0439 to hold at Slab City and giving thanks for a presumably favorable response.
At 0433, the 333 WLs were dark, and further east was a stopped 22K, the marker however far west of the westerly River Street UGB. The 330.8 WBs were at Stop, the 330 1 WL at Limited Approach and the 2 WL at Stop, 22K's dark power to the west. The attempt at IDing the power -- possible UP leader -- went for naught, despite a trip through the former GE plant. 400 went by, making noise, and a few later, the GL and FG WLs were dark. There had been and would be more D-3 garble, thanks to the Fitchburg Zombie Zones.
At 0507, dark and solo KCIR 5973 was sitting facing east in the FI-1/2 parking spot, and at 0514, the EB staggers for Derby were dark.
At 0520, D-3 would reach out to EDPO, AY-3 responding, D-3 going back to EDPO at 0521 and OKing them to continue east. EDPO asked if they could shove back to the yard, D-3 agreed, and told AY-6 at 0529 that they'd have to wait for EDPO to get by, and then do their Camp business, next asking if they could be done by 0610, further immediate reception lost, a garbled 241 among the activity.
At 0537, D-3 advised AY-3 that he hadn't heard their earlier transmission, but would send a cab, confirming whether the Pine Tree was the site and rogering whatever they said.
  by jaymac
For 0335-0606/03-23-2019, the dominant visual was the huge flag at the Westminster Aubuchon HQ -- its weight augmented by yesterday''s rain -- at full and unremitting horizontal cuzza the full and unremitting west wind. The snow that was accumulating west of West Fitchburg was fun, too.
Between 0348 and 0352, D-3 and Q426 would engage in a only-sometimes-both-sides-clear-to-me convo involving Greendale and 2359 as 426's on-duty time. There was neither a Form D nor a fulfillment of 1 heard, but more will follow.
There was not even garble audible on Yard Channel, and at 0408, the 333 WLs were dark, the 334s and 335s ditto in turn. At 0412, a Zombiefied D-3 had thanked somebody for something, adding something else, with "22K" being the only other bit of clarity.
Up Da Hill, the 345 ELs were at Stop, stopped EB brightiewhities on 2 west by New Switch. D-3 cleared up any ID mysteries by asking 22K how they were making out with the PWs, the response being that the switches were being checked. The 345 WLs were also at Stop, and stopped NSs 8756 and 9347 were holding for their come-ahead. Just after the 22K convo, a now-breaking D-3 gave POED -- more about which later -- the OK to proceed on signal indication. In other yard observations, Yard 4 had racks, and there was a solo rack on the Extension. The Sameoldsameold Ledger entries -- a day late -- continued to be the brush-cutter on the House and untucked stone on the Heywood, and there weren't any plow berms on the Main Street crossing to serve as activity gauges. After the offering, 22K's car countdown became audible, not that many racks up front and no idea how many or few were for the PW. Also, no idea if PW racks on 22K is a weekend thing or an adaptation to reduced rack traffic.
On the way EB and at 0448, POED called out an Approach at 333, and 2 minutes later was slow-rolling WB on 2 through the WLs. 0352 was when the Stop for the 334 ELs was called, dimmed power later visible across from the Caraustar switch. So -- 1400 would be due outta the facility for a 0630 Wachusett departure, the only marginally favorable aspect in the neighborhood was the 1 stagger at Approach, and 22K was and would be still west. What would happen? 1400 should have no probs, cuz -- in this, the era of short POEDs -- POED's marker was a bit east of the east end of the platform, so there should be no probs when D-3 put the route in, though the 333 WLs being all at Stop at 0515 showed that hadn't yet happened.
Further east, the 330.8 WBs were both at Clear, the 330 WLs both predictably at Stop, and the GL WLs -- as would be the FG WLs -- dark.
At 0529, dark KCIR 5973 was facing east in the FI-1/2 parking spot, and 1 track north sat dark KCIR 7585 on the west end of however many racks. AY-5? Dunno.
At 0538, the EB staggers for Derby would be dark, and radio-silence discipline was being maintained -- until 0552 when D-3 gave Q426 permission to enter Ayer Yard, adding that POAY's crew would do the power swap. At 0557, a now-garbled D-3 would reach out to POED with the 7517, nothing further intelligible heard. In a few there was some Yard Channel garble, possibly Q426 and POAY, things closing out with a D-3/TC 669 exchange that hopefully made more sense to them than it did to me.
Never heard anything from D-3 acknowledging a 22K update.
  by jaymac
For 0335-0550/03-25-2019, activity -- both audible and visible -- prevailed.
Things were quiet at the start, the first clarity coming at 0346 when someone advised Mike that there was no water in the trailer, followed quickly by D-3 giving AY-3 with the 7549 permission past the Stop signal on 1 at CPF-WL east to the Freight Main, followed at 0349 with a mutually garbled D-3/FI-2 exchange, followed at 0356 with a partialized D-3 241 to POED with the 7489, followed at 0357 by D-3 giving EDPO with the 7797 the OK to proceed on signal indication, all of that followed by the 0401 arrival at Wachusett and the sight of a Clear on the the CPF-333 1 WL an already-bright 7797 finishing pumping off, proving that good luck is a good thing.
0402 was when POED was on the move, KCIRs 7797, 7627, and 5972 getting 67 east at 0405. Ciment Québec and CFEX shorties were in a coupla cuts, plus full-size covered hoppers. unplacarded, corrosive, and LP tanks. Boxes included FBOXs and a solo SOU, and there were a few scrap gons and a solo MT centerbeam. 2 6-packs seemed plenty for the train, so guessing that the 5972 was returning from a stay at the shops.
0409 was when the 333 WLs went dark, so I went WB. A new series of progressively broken D-3/FI-2 exchanges began at 0410 that involved FI-2 having 1 car to go to East Side, but ED-9 was there, and if they couldn't make the move before the trucks started unloading the plastic cars, they'd have to wait. D-3 said to stand by while he talked to the Chief. Getting further west and getting into Mount Wachusett's electromagnetic penumbra complicated things, but "Keating" got mentioned, as did POED having to pick up 0x25 racks off Freight Main West, but not the single engine that was west out, my increasing distance increasing the garble. Oh yeah, the 334s and 335s had been dark.
Up Da Hill, the 345s were and would remain dark for my duration. Yard 4 was pretty well FP-FP with general -- covered hoppers and coil cars among them -- west and MT racks east. The Heywood's untucked stone and House's brush-cutter remained constants, and a Case loader -- seen, but not mentioned in the Saturday report -- was between the House and Heywood.
An offering was made, and at 0431, a garbling D-3 asked somebody about their loads and MTs, later -- 0433 -- advising POED about the 0x25 rack pickup, further advising that FI-2 would have the engine outta the way. Never heard a number, so can't say if that was the same 1 that was there for the 03-23 report.
Down Da Hill, the 333 WLs were dark at 0441, the same time as D-3 told AY-3 he'd call a cab, going into garble mode, and then mentioning the Willows.
The plan was to stay ahead of 400, but double-deep computer woes during a refueling stop killed that, 400 east of the rotary River Street UGB before transactions were complete. At 0456, D-3 would tell 400 about POED being at FG and that the 1 North Leominster mini-high had been damaged, the E relaying that to the C. The 330.8 WBs showed a Stop for 1 and a Clear for 2, the 330 WLs Stops, and the the GL Controlled Siding WL a Medium Approach for the upcoming Stop at FG.
At FG, POED with KCIRs 7489, 7622, and 7643 got 18 crossed over from 2 to 1, the 1 WL went to Clear at 0504, 400 with a total of 4 flats and 1 bi plus the 1129 getting east at 0505. At 0506, the 2 WL went to Restricting, D-3 gave permission to move on signal indication, and POED did just that.
Further east, dark KCIR 7528 plus ? sat on East Side a bit east of the FG ELs. Mebbe ED-9? Dunno. At 0518, the FI=1/2 parking spot was MT, but further east and on West Side, at least 2 units -- number bards obscured by tree branches -- sat on different tracks.
At 0524, D-3 would tell 22K with mebbe-NS 9563 that the commuter was well ahead of them, but since that was the same time the EB staggers for Derby were dark, it mighta been a short 22K and/or 1 that was still west of me.
At 0545, AY-4 would make themselves audible, their car countdown closing things out at 0550.
Not that lack of audibility means anything, but naught was heard to, from, or about AY-5, AYPO, POAY, and Q426/7. D-2 was unusually quiet, as well.
  by jaymac
For 0330-0550/03-27-2019, there was a repeat of the level of audible and visible activity from 03-25, starting with 0335--0337 garble that included "1x37," "Derby," and Gardner." 0440 would bring "AY-4," followed by naught intelligible to me.
0352 was when D-3 asked 22K if he could drop 333 on them, response unheard, but the 0401 arrival at said 333 showed the WLs all at Stop and NSs 7627, 9064, and 7716 sitting dark on 1 with racks just behind. Given what had already been heard and seen, what did we relearn today? Always look east before driving around the building at 333 cuz after the circumnavigation, WBs at road speed were on 2, racks up front and general to the rear, clearing 333 at 0404. At 0406, the 1 WL went to Medium Clear, air got pumped off, lights got bright, and things were on the move, 0415 being when 9 racks and 130 table and well positions -- only about 1/2-occupied and with single-high containers -- got east. To not be passed again by the WB, 334 and 335 were bypassed for a rare straight shot up Da Hill. At 0418, it had sounded like it was D-2 reaching out to AYPO, but static then ruled. At 0422, D-3 reached out to Signal 1159, but static again ruled.
Up Da Hill, the 345s were dark, so an anticipatory offering was made and a ride to the west was taken, revealing racks on Yard 2, general on the western stretch of Yard 1, and a pair of racks and a coil car on the Extension. What -- if anything -- might be on Yard 4 was blocked by the racks on 2. The brush-cutter was still on the House, the untucked stone was still on the Heywood, and the Case loader was still between the House and Heywood.
The view from the Jade lot showed that the 345s had come on, and at 0441 and a bit more, there was an ED-9/ D-3 exchange, ED-9 asking D-3 to advise when they cleared 345. Headlights showed up on 2 and KCIRs 7528 and 7535 hauled 19 racks, 5 non-Ciment Québec shorties, and enough other general -- mebbe enough to fill out the earlier 1x37 -- to a stop, the power west of or on West Switch and in back of the SpeeDee. The 345 1 WL was at Clear, but the 346.6 and D-3 were both silent about any imminent EBs, so I filled that role with a straight shot to 333.
At 0458, a now-clear D-2 OKd AYPO on signal indication, the where not heard, and at 0501, the 333 WLs were dark, 400 already well east. The 330.8 WBs showed a Stop for 1 and Clear for 2, the 330 WLs Stops, and the GL WLs darkness, The FG WLs showed Stops, 22K having already done that on 2. At 0509, a dark and solo KCIR 5973 was in the FI-1/2 parking spot and obscuring at least 1 more unit 1 track south on East Side.
0516 was when the EB staggers for Derby were dark and also when D-3 gave 22K the OK to proceed east on signal indication. Another D-3/22K exchange would happen at 0521 with yarding instructions, the racks then to go to San-Vel and the power back to 2, a cab to be called, plus the hedzup that AY-4 was still working the yard, but would soon finish up.
Unheard -- not that that means anything -- was anything to, from, or about AY-3 or at appropriate times from the 40.2 for either 400 or 22K. What was heard at 0546 was the D-3 OK for a presumed 22K to take the Track 2 signal at WL for headroom. Stopped listening before 402 was in the picture, so no idea if they'd change to 2 at AY or WL.
  by jaymac
For 0330-0525/2019, the data input was primarily audio, as the shortness of the trip would indicate.
Except for occasional spurts of static, things were quiet until 0345 when D-2 initiated his side of things with AYPO and the 7575, culminating at 0549 when he rogered whatever AYPO had just said. In between there was also a D-2 shoutout to DOBO with no details heard by me. Having acknowledged Q426/427 west and clear of Burncoat, D-3 fulfilled Form D G301 at 0359, adding a garbled question about whether they'd be holding or running through.
0400 was when the 333 WLs were dark, as would be the signals at 334 and 335. At 0402, there was a garbled -- except for "Slab City" -- D-3 shoutout to 22K -- more about which later -- and at 0405 and 0407, equally garbled shoutouts to POED -- naught about which later.
0412 was the return to D-3 clarity when 22K with NS 9303 got their yarding instructions -- 1, overflow to 2, overflow to 3, and racks to San-Vel, adding that the assist cab was called for 0430.
Up Da Hill, Yard 4 was FP-FP with MT racks, Yard 2 had general, Yard 1 had rack loads and a few general -- including a coil car -- mixed in, and the Extension had a solo rack. The Sameoldsameold Ledger entries included the brush-cutter on the House and the untucked stone on the Heywood, the Case loader having left its spot betwixt. An offering was made, but unlike usual EB trips, the radio was not in a giving vein this ayem during the straight shot.
Down Da Hill at 0433, the 333 WLs were dark, but a Restricting was called out for 22K, so the shove into the yard was about to start. The plan was to keep ahead of 400, and further east, the 330.8 WBs showed a Stop for 1 and a Clear for 2 and the 330 1 WL a Slow Approach, the GL and FG WLs being dark.
Sitting dim and facing west on East Side were KCIR elephant impressionists 7535 and 7585, a string of racks just north of them, any lingering identity questions answered at 0448 when ED-9 with the 7535 reached out to D-3, the 0451 upshot being that they would pick up the P&Ws, pick up the racks, and then pick up the Deerfields. Beyond my knowledge is whether the PWs were original WBs and/or EBs about to be WBs cuz they had been brought east cuzza Gardner congestion that ED-9 would soon alleviate. It does seem that efforts are being made to keep Ayer and Gardner fluid, if at a cost to Fitchburg. FI-2's power? Invisible.
At 0455, the EB staggers for Derby were dark, and at 0500, D-3 would OK 22K to reverse direction from where they stood and go east to 2 at AY, that the start of the San-Vel drop.
0505 was the start of a Yard Channel D-3/ED-9 exchange, resulting in in a change to Channel 1 and a 2-east-to-2-at-FG 241. There would be additional spurts of garble, including a 0522 partial in which someone advised D-3 that they were looking for a signal, followed by an almost totally garbled car countdown. 22K at San-Vel? Dunno, but do know that naught was heard to, from, or about AY-3, AY-4, or the previously mentioned FI-2, not that hearing naught means aught.
  by jaymac
For 0335-0600/04-01-2019, there is no deliberate April Fooling, however you, the reader, might judge the content.
0335 started off with broken train information -- 3 units and 31x47 being the sole bits of clarity -- and then D-3 announcing that since Q426/427 had called themselves east and clear of MP X25, Form D G302 was fulfilled, almost immediately issuing Form D G301 to CSXT 3360 for MP X25 to Burncoat, time effective 0336, asking if they would be tying down at Still River or elsewhere, Still River getting the nod. At 0338, D-3 rogered that there was no Q426/427 marker, saying he'd talk to the Chief. Dunno the results of that confab, but D-3 acknowledged them into DCS territory at 0342, and rogered the Still River tie-down at 0407. Naught further was heard to, from, or about Q426/427.
Things otherwise initially seemed unusually quiet, but the 333 WLs showed a Clear for 1 at the 0402 arrival. The west did get bright, and EDPO with KCIRs 7635 and 7517 got 58 east at 0406. There were separate cuts of Ciment Québec and CEFX shorties, full-size covered hoppers, more than a coupla bulkheads of structural steel, some scrap gons, a few boxes non-placarded, and LPG, HCl and other corrosive-placarded tanks. At 0413, the 1 WL went to Approach and the Controlled Siding WL to Medium Clear, prompting thoughts about another EB, a partial answer coming at 0416 when D-3 told AY-3 with the 7541 that they'd be holding for 2 EBs and Keolis 400, the EBs being EDPO and AYPO. AY-3 had 0x8 that would go East Wye to South Track when things were clear. So -- the announced EBs were east of me, but the WLs had remained on. Had the WLs been returned to constant on? There wasn't a WB marker visible from the 333 lot, so mebbe so. The 334 ELs and 1 stagger were all at Stop. Had they been changed? Nope -- there was a dark WB a couple hundred yards east, and D-3 began a convo with them, advising ~0420 that they'd wait for 22K -- now about halfway between 345 and Westminster -- and 400 to get past and then go west. What were they? The 7489 and POED, a remarkably -- as will be seen -- short POED.
At 0425 the 335 ELs were still dark, going on at 0430. The west did get bright and NSs 8359, 7716, and 9064 got 11 racks and 87 all-single-high-occupied positions east at 0439, mostly wells but one tri-pack and a coupla 5-pack tables to mix things up. 400 with 2 flats, 2 bis and the 2018 got themselves east at 0444, and some extended D-3 Yard Channel garble to AYPO mighta prevented my hearing 400 OK themselves to depart at 0450. Now it was the east's turn to get bright, and POED with KCIRs 7489, 7622, and 7605 plus NewBlue 305 got 12 -- yes, twelve -- west at 0452, slurries and boxes principals among the dozen. (Shakes head at the thought of WB Q426/427 with 78 and equally WB POED with an unequal 12.) Just guessing that at least some of the units were going to the East Deerfield shops. Oh yeah, at 0421, AY-4 had been heard and would be likewise heard throughout the balance of the trip.
Given the time and the activity, the decision was made to forego Gardner. Since that 2-mile stretch had been so providential, the decision was therefore made to make today's offering to The Shrine Of The Deity Of The CPF-333 Dunks, the exchange with the acolyte taking place when D-3 acknowledged AYPO's train information at 0504. It sounded like there were 4 units, and the OK on signal indication was given.
A couple later, the 333 WLs were dark, and further east, 22K's marker was sitting on 1 a bit east of the westerly River Street UGB. After a refueling stop, the 330.8 WBs showed Stops, as did the 330 WLs. The GL and FG Wls were both dark, and at 0523, dark KCIR 5973 was sitting solo and facing west in the FI-1/2 parking spot.
At 0526, 402 would say their air was good and D-3 would OK AY-3 on signal indication. The RVJ lot was busy, but at 0531, the EB staggers for Derby seemed dark from Nashua Street. 0532 produced a garble storm, "AY-3" and "East Wye" being clear. Then, D-3 would hedzup AY-3 about AY-4 being in the yard. AYPO with the 7518 would get a 241 for 2 at 312 to the Single at 0533, and at 0543, there would be a garbled D-3 shoutout to EDPO. D-3 had earlier asked a TC Foreman if he was ready for his Form D, but naught further was heard on that matter, ask AY-4 closed things out at 0559.
No fooling, at least by me.
  by jaymac
0330-0605/04-03-2019 was -- as the length of the trip might indicate -- busy. Static -- appropriate for the mixed-precip weather -- was an early feature, partial reception clarity emerging at 0348 with ????'s power -- the 7635 -- discussing picking up a recrew, something about a cab, followed by something about the No Name. At 0350, ED-9 with the 3400 reached out to D-3, wanting to go back to their train. followed by garble, followed by D-3 moving from Channel 1 to 2 and giving the 3400 a 241 east on 1 at FG to 1.
The 0405 arrival at 333 showed the 2 WL at Clear, dropped to Stop a minute later, w/o the Controlled Siding WL going to Medium Clear. Also present was a stopped and dark 22K with NSs 9303, 9736, and 9930, a few racks, and enough wells and mebbe tables to extend past the all-Stops 334 ELs and 1 stagger to just a bit east of the State Road/Rte. 2A UGB east of 335. Back to the 7635: At 0407, D-3 asked if they were in DCS yet and then fulfilled Form D G302 at 0407. No new Form D and no train info was heard and/or acknowledged, so 7635's assignment was a mystery, possibilities to follow. And yes, it was all red at the 335 ELs and WLs.
Up Da Hill, the 345 ELs and WLs maintained the all-red theme and would during the duration of my drive-through, KCIRs 7628, 7575, 7595, and 7797 sitting dark on 2 across from the platform and followed by covered hoppers to however far west of the Timpany Boulevard UGB. Given the amount of power and the consist, guessing that they were an LGT, though not 1 visible hopper was a BNSF. There were racks on Yard 1 and at least 1 more on the Extension. Dunno about Yards 2 and 4. Do know that the the brush-cutter was still on the House and the untucked stone still on the Heywood.
An offering was made so that baked goods would be consumed so LGTs and smaller shipments would remain in demand. A trip west was forgone for a straight shot east for the 400, during which ??PO was heard. The 0447 arrival at 333 showed a Medium Clear on the 333 Controlled Siding WL and a dimmed headlight down by the EL and a dark 7797 sitting on 1. 400 got on the move, a total of 3 flats and 1 bi plus the 2028 doing the 0451 dropping and making noise.
Suspended animation became the near-term mode, the 1 WL not going to Medium Clear until 0504. In the meantime, D-3 had been busy to the east OKing AY-3 on signal indication from WL to East Wye and then advising 22K at to hold west of of Ayer Station for the local. Just after the 1 WL had gne to Medium Clear, the EB got bright and on the move at 0506, KCIRs 7797 and 7627 and NewBlue 3?? getting 41 east at 0508. There were some MT centerbeams, and the boxes included a coupla Big Gs a a 1/2-dozen-or-so string of CPs.
At 0510 came "AYPO?" with naught further, except for things getting bright at 0511 down by the 333 ELs. ED-9 with NewBlue 3400 and KCIRs 7594 and 7561 got 21 -- yes, twenty-one -- west on 1 at 0515, covered hoppers and corn-product tanks among them. At 0516, ED-9 would call out an Approach for 335. Never heard anything further on the subjects of the presumed-LGT or ED-9, but if ED-9 had any heavy or light lifting to do at Gardner, the presumed LGT would have to get east of West Switch first. 0516 was also when a breaking D-3 called out to AYPO about the pig and the local. Dunno if AYPO was trapped in the yard and equally dunno if the 7635 was part of AYPO's power. hearing naught further.
The 333 Wls had gone dark, so I was EB, seeing the 330.8 WBs at Clear, the 330 1 WL at Slow Approach, and the GL and FG Wls dark. At 0532, a dark KCIR -- the 5974? -- was sitting on the west end of covered hoppers in the FI-1/2 parking spot, and at 0537, the EB staggers for Derby were dark. 0542 was the start of hearing 22K's car countdowns.
In a puzzlement piece, at 0602, the CSX NA Desk asked someone about 127 cars on the siding and gave an OK on signal indication for CP45. No idea if this was for Q427 or somebody else. 0602 was also when "AY-6" was heard, and things closed out at 0605 with "22K, half a car."
AY-4? Unheard.
  by jaymac
For 0330-0520/04-05-2019, the key and unifying theme was Wrong Place at the Wrong Time for Good Reception. At 0334, AY-3 with the 7542 got 241d 2 east to 1 at CPF-AY, and at 0345, it was garble time, "AYPO" and "EDPO" being the sole bits of clarity. There was D-3 garble 0352, and at 0354, D-? answered POED, naught further immediately heard.
At 0358, the 333 WLs were dark and a couple later, D-3 advised AY-3 he'd be sending 22K and needed them to clear, then garble, then "West Wye," and then a semi-clear permission to reverse direction from where they stood. Next came a D-3/ED-9 exchange, there being 11 Deerfields on Freight Main East, but ED-9 needing to check what was in the yard. Then the plan to take care of West Side and then do East Side. The 334s and 335s? Dark.
D-3 would answer POED with the 7518 at 0410, telling them to go ahead after whatever they had just said, the rest of the chat blocked by Mount Wachusett.
Up Da Hill, the 345s were and would remain dark. Yard 1 had 2 -- yes, two -- loaded racks just west of the switch, and the easterly end of the Extension had another rack pair. There was general on both Yards 2 and 4, and the Sameoldsameold Ledger entries continued to be the House's brush-cutter and the Heywood's untucked stone. In more garble news, at 0413, D-3 acknowledged Q426/427 west and clear of Burncoat, further Form D fulfillment deets getting lost.
An offering was made, a straight shot east was begun, and at 0426, AY-4's car countdowns were heard. At 0428, the D-3 side of an AY-3 exchange was heard, but they musta cleared up cuz D-3 then gave 22K the OK to proceed east.
The 333 WLs were dark at 0430. and further east the 330.8 WBs showed a Stop for 1 and a Clear for 2 and the 330 1 WL a Slow Approach, the GL WLs being dark.
At 0440, the FG WLs were at Stop, but then changed to a Clear for 1, showing that -- with 22K east, 400 would be on 1 at least as far as AY and mebbe as far as WL. Never heard anything to or from 400 on that matter. So why were the FG Wls lit well before 400 left Wachusett? The presumed EDPO with 7605 and 7523 was sitting dark on 2.
Further east on West Side sat dark KCIRs 7541 and 5946, an odd coupling that impersonated elephants. The corn-product tanks up front kinda hinted that they were ED-9. Never heard the post-400 choreography for FG, But it did seem like the presumed ERDPO would have to get east before ED-9 could pull 11 from East Side and shove back to West Side. Also never saw anything in the FI-1/2 parking spot, and FI-2 was not an occupant of the airwaves, not mine at least.
At 0452, the EB staggers for Derby were dark, and garble would continue, AY-4 sometimes, and then 22K sounding like they were starting their shove at 0514, and their 0520 car countdown getting last word.
  by jaymac
It was a slow start for the 0330-0545/04-07-2019, as might be expected for a predawn Sunday, there being only a garbled "POED" at 0636, more to follow besides the 0349 and 0401 garbling on Yard Channel.
0403 was when the the 333 WLs were seen to be dark, as would be things at 334 and 335, for that matter.
Up Da Hill, the 345s were dark, and there were a few racks -- no visible internal reflections -- on the easterly end of Yard 2 and a solo rack on the Extension. Yes, the brush-cutter and untucked stone retained their respective places. Post offering, a slight trip west was taken, since it was a day for the 2400 and I wouldn't have to try to see them. There was no sign of any equipment of materials staging or other activity at the still-OOS Pleasant Street OHB, and a later check of the MassDOT website showed that -- while design was complete -- construction wasn't yet even begun, mebbe an indication of the political clout of the north central part of the Commonwealth. The darkness theme was maintained at the 346 WL and again at the 345s for the straight shot down Da Hill.
At 0443, the 333 WLs were still dark, and after a refueling stop, the 330.8 WBs showed Clears and the 330 WLs Stops. The GL WLs were dark, but the FG WLs were at Stop, POED with KCIRs 7523 and 7605 pulling about 40 racks west on 2 and getting a 2-east-to-2-at CP-FG 241 at 0504. Why so many cars on the headend to do an East-Side pickup? Just guessing, but if the racks in Gardner were being lifted, then the racks would be already blocked for East Deerfield. Proof that not all technological advances are universally beneficial came at 0505 when POED's C told the E that there would be a slight delay cuz the last car was aluminum and the lantern wouldn't stick to it. A work-around was quickly found and the shove east started. At 0507, solo and dark KCIR 5973 was in the FI-1/2 parking spot, and it looked like covered hoppers might be going west.
Holding dark on 1 just west of the Rte. 13 UGB in North Leominster were NSs 4040, 4155, and 3655 -- numbers not usually seen around here -- followed by racks and making for a presumed 22K and the EB staggers for Derby both showed Approaches at 0517. At 0520, POED and D-3 would start a Yard Channel convo about whether they were clear of FG and could a signal be put in, POED then calling out an Approach on 2 to the C. There was more, but by then I had entered the Yard Channel Zombie Zone.
Now the convo --sometimes clear, sometimes not -- involved D-3 and Q426/427. CSXT 754 was tying down at MP X8.3, and after 426/427 reception problems causing D-3 to swap antennas, Form D G302 was cancelled at 0526, the cancellation cuz 426/427 would be unattended equipment. A bit after that, there was nothing visible on the Oakdale causeway and no visible marker further east, but there were a separate centerbeams -- wrapped (irvings?) and MTs -- visible at the Rtes.12/140 UGB,
At 0540 nd later the convo now shifted to AYPO with the 7797 -- 27x88, 6310 tons, 7100', and a CSXT marker, the advice being not to take the signal until D-3 talked to D-2 in case D-3 could put in a more favorable signal. Dunno what got said, but at 0544, D-3 gave AYPO the OK on signal indication. 115 cars mebbe working Lowell, Lawrence, and beyond?
Otherwise, things were quiet.
  by jaymac
For 0330-0520/04-10-2019, befogging of audio and visual perception provided the key and unifying theme.
The first bit of audio semi-clarity came at 0356 with a broken AY-4/D-3 exchange, AY-4 to be going Track 1 momentarily. However foggy the Wachusett area was at 0359, the 333 WLs were dark, as would be the 334s and 335s in short order. On my way up Da Hill and at 0408, there was a both-sides-Zombiefied 241 to AY-3, more about which later. Up Da Hill, there were racks on Yard 4, general -- including lotsa covered hoppers -- on Yard 2, loaded racks from about midpoint on Yard 1 and east onto the Extension, and no changes for either the brush-cutter or untucked stone.
During time at Gardner, D-3 reached out to Q426, making Form D G302 from Burncoat to MP X25 effective at 0415. Yes, EB. To get 426 wrapped up, D-3 would reach out to them again, the only clarity being "0452," probably -- as events would show -- their time into DCS. My 0511 crossing of the Temple Street/Rte. 140/MP X7.8 crossing showed crossing protection not yet activated, but headlights to the west, 0512 was when the 7.8 announced he was checking train, so the 7.8 annunciator must be piggybacked on the crossing-protection circuit. My relief at being on the good side of the crossing was tempered a bit at 0515 when no defects got announced. It was probably a light-power move, since a few later in my driveway, things were unusually quiet to the north/TT east. Dunno what mighta happened earlier, so I'll leave it up to others to determine if this should be an entry in imPrecision Railroading News.
Back to chronological sequence: The post-offering straight shot down Da Hill had featured another and somewhat-clearer set of D-3/AY-3 exchanges, 0424 D-3 garble giving permission to reverse direction from where they stood and clearing into 1 west to CPF-AY, followed at 0425 by D-3 asking to confirm that things were lined and locked normal for movement on 1. At 0433, the still-befogged 333 WLs were still dark and there was D-3 garble to someone somewhere about something.
Further east, the 330.8 WBs showed a Stop for 1 and a Clear for 2, the 330 1 WL at Slow Clear. The GL and FG WLs were dark, and at 0446, dark and solo KCIR 5973 was sitting facing west on West Side. If it had been in its more normal site on East Side, the fog mighta made the ID a lot more difficult.
At 0449, D-3 would reach out to 22K with NS 9055 with yarding instructions -- 1 to 2 to 3, racks to the South Track, and power to somewhere garbled. At 0458, a still-breaking D-3 reached out to a breaking 22K, my comprehension difficulty matched by theirs. D-3 then twice asking if they could hear him on "this one." Things were a bit clearer at 0500 when 22K asked D-3 for a light, and then a "Far enough, 22K" coming at 0502, yarding transmissions following.

Dear PAR/S Powers That Be:
Clear and reliable communications are important. Not only that, they are possible.
  by johnhenry
Off topic but since it was mentioned - 427 passed MP7.8 (2 engines and normal length train) at 1024 this morning - just enough time I imagine for that power that was mentioned to get to Ayer and bring a train back. At 1200 the train was parked at New Bond. Funny, with CSX supposedly crewing, how trains get parked at New Bond still - even having to give D# fuel readings at times.
  by jaymac
For 0330-0550/04-12-2019, there was a goodly amount of data, starting at 0330 and sometime after the start of the D-3 side of a convo, asking whether someone had a marker, confirming its number and status, and wishing them a good trip. Just guessing, but it was probably AYPO, naught further being heard.
To get Q426/427 matters over and done with, at 0353, the 7.8 came on and at 0356 announced no defects, so mebbe another light power move. At 0420, D-3 answered Q427 with CSXT 5429, acknowledging that they were east and clear of Burncoat by marker, asking if they were tying down at New Bond or would be taken by CSX, and then acknowledging that they were getting a live recrew at New Bond.
To get a non-RR hedzup outta the way, the usual entry to 190 North in Sterling was shut down for prep work, and when paving season starts, it's expectable that both sides of 190 south of 117 will present challenges. Add Summer Street, Fitchburg to that list, as well. It's been stripped from the Keoilis Engineering entrance to just about the Leominster line. The good news about the detour to 140 was that the 0356 7.8 transmission was audible, not always the case on 190.
At 0402, the 333 WLs were all at Stop, naught visible east or west, so 334 was the next stop, where the 334 ELs and 1 stagger mighta been at Stop, but there was a slowing EB on 2 and a WB with a large number of BNSF covered hoppers on 1. Back at 333, 7528 and 7523 were sitting dim at 0410. There had been shorties seen at 334, but no Ciment Québecs had been seen, so mebbe it coulda been an ED-8, but later events hinted more likely it was a less-than-4K' EDPO. Over at 335, the ELs were at Stop at 0415, the WB, a bit west.
Up Da Hill, the 345 1 EL was at Approach, and the 2 EL and WLs at Stop, cars on 2 from just in back of Chair City Oil to however far west beyond the Timpany UGB. A D-3/POED-with-the-7655 convo had started , D-3 advising that the Chief wanted to know how long they'd be, 1/2 hour the reply, and the word that the EGT was getting near Gardner, and they'd follow.
Offering made, a position was taken and maintained at the Jade, notations for the Sameoldsameold Ledger entries being the House's brush-cutter and Heywood'd untucked stone. Not only that, the easterly potion of the yard seemed MT. At 0432, the Grainer called the Approach. KCIR 7595 was the leader and KCIR 7609 was the trailer with at least 1 other unit. At 0433, D-3 asked the EGT to advise if they didn't have a signal at 346, and at 0439, 114 covered hoppers -- mostly BNSFs -- had gotten west of the Heywood Switch, 0442 being the time of the 1-west-to-the-Single-at-346 241.
A series of D-3/POED exchanges about a hazmat car, its position, and waybill began at 0443, and the 346.6 came on at 0446. D-3/POED convos continued, eventually including a 14x32, 2599 ton, and 2378' update, that came right on toppa the 0455 346.6 farewell to the EGT, the EGT acknowledging a no defects a bit later, but also at 0455, D-3 then advising POED that he might need to 241 them at Parkers, an event I didn't stay for.
The straight shot down Da Hill showed the 333 WLs dark, the EB having followed 400. At 0509, D-3 gave 22K with NS 6973 permission east on signal indication at FG, 0510 providing the yarding instructions -- 1 to 2 to 3, racks to 11, and power back to 2. Further east, the 330.8 WBs were both a Stop, the 330 1 WL at Slow Approach, and the Stop on the 2 WL reinforced by a moving 22K still not having cleared. The GL WLs were dark, but the FG WLs were at Stop, 22K still running through. At 0516, a dark KCIR was in the FI-1/2 parking spot, but a good ID was compromised by 22K rolling east. At 0518, D-3 answered 22K, saying that the assist cab had been called for 0530 at Ayer. The EB staggers for Derby showed an Approach foe 1 and a Stop for 2, 22K not east of the North Leominster platform until 0525.
I know -- as a mere mortal civilian -- that mere mortal civilian speculation can be wildly out of phase with reality, but the length of 22K, the earlier activity in Gardner along with the lack of any visible racks or general in that yard did lead to the speculation that an ED-8 might be along, a speculation reinforced by the lack of anything audible to, from, or about EB holding earlier at 333 mebbe being a POED and moving through on signal indication.
Oh yeah -- AY-4 had been heard a few times, but AY-3 hadn't.
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