• Gardner Gawking

  • Pan Am Southern (webssite: https://panamsouthern.com ) is jointly-owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern, but operated by Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary Pittsburg & Shawmut dba Berkshire and Eastern,
Pan Am Southern (webssite: https://panamsouthern.com ) is jointly-owned by CSX and Norfolk Southern, but operated by Genesee & Wyoming subsidiary Pittsburg & Shawmut dba Berkshire and Eastern,

Moderator: MEC407

  by jaymac
The 0815 view from Rte. 2 on 10-01-2011 made it look like PAS was putting on a static display for the nearby annual Gardner train show. On 1 was what D-3 would later call an auto extra with NSs 8378 and 8360 a la elephant, and on 2 -- to maintain the train-show theme -- was a kit-bashed NS 8814 (the Dash-9 C-40 with the EMD cab and nose) leading an LCT. What the LCT trailers were I couldn't tell because 8378 and 8360 were too far east and I didn't want to pick up a trespass charge by leaving the friendly confines of the Jade lot. Both EBs were facing triple reds, but D-3 wasn't doing much talking, so there could either have been another EB descending Da Hill or a spurious shunt. At 0908, the LCT caught a middle green, and at 0922, D-3 called the LCT, but didn't catch a response. Having an urgent mission at Home Despot, I headed headed east on Rte. 2, just in time for D-3 to call and get a response from the LCT at 0925. The response to the question of when departure would take place was as follows: "As soon as we knock off 95 handbrakes, we'll be going." That eliminated any temptation on my part to reverse course. That also eliminated any lingering regrets about my not being part of a train crew. Gardner was doing a very good impression of the inside of a carwash.
Further down Da Hill at Wachusett was a stopped ECT on 1 with NSs 9819 and 7500.

After an inquiry from MEC407, a trip to the NS forum and some subsequent reading helped teach me the difference between D-9s and D-9Ws. In the matter of kit-bashing mentioned above, to go all Emily Litella, never mind.
  by jaymac
Mebbe it was cuzza the return to Standard Time, but on 11-06-2011, things finally aligned so I could again swing by the top of the world, Pan Am style. The only thing missing was something in motion. The yard was MT except for a string of MT racks and, further west, 3 "experienced" hoppers of stone plus a covered hopper of who knows what if anything. An uncrewed, solo, and idling OldPaint 335 was on the Heywood, and the Dead Track, like much of the yard was also MT. All of this still life was at 0930.
At lower mileage and lower elevation, a spike-puller was on the Westminster siding and the rust-and-green Terex front-ender was off to the side.
  by jaymac
At 1400 on 11-11-2011, all that was in Gardner -- besides large numbers wind-driven wet snowflakes -- were racks on one yard track and pretty much filling the Dead Track. The Heywood and old layover stub were MT, as were all the other yard tracks. The stone that had been there on 11-06 seems to have been dropped in the yard, the west end of which now looks nicer than someone's basement layout. D-3 a bit earlier had talked to someone about a 99-car pig. but whether the Gardner racks would be picked up wasn't clear. Having burned most of my available time waiting for a tire repair, I had no time to hang around to find out.

(What did we learn today? If at all possible, don't have tire trouble on a holiday cuz that's when everybody goes to tire stores!)
  by jaymac
The 11-14-2011 pre-0830 viewing of Gardner offered comparisons and contrasts with the 1400 11-11-2011 viewing The Dead Track was MT. There was a mix of general freight, probably left by PW -- coil wire cars, boxes, and MT scrap gons, including a Sullivan and GACXs. There were racks in the yard, as well, and both the Heywood and old layover stub were also MT.
  by jaymac
D-3 let the world know at 0735 on 11-18-2011 that POED was in Athol, which kinda let me know to expect a still-life at the top of Pan Am's world. A muffin, a coffee, and a crossword later, the only activity had been a quick visit from the PW truck. The Dead Track was MT, but pretty much the rest of the yard -- at least the eastern stretch --was full with a fair number of racks and some general freight. Also, the Heywood had gotten a polishing since the recent rains. Demonstrating my strong ability to choose windows of inactivity and long after I'd gone, D-3 told an LCT at 1136 it would be holding west until a tamper at Westminster got out of the way.
  by jaymac
11-28-2011 offered more evidence of the "timing is everything" proverb. D-2 had already talked to and about both an LCT and ED495, so that reduced the chances of any EBs going through Gardner, and a muffin, coffee, and crossword later, the only activity was the pre-0900 arrival of the PW truck. The yard had a couple of tracks of racks and a few DOWX covered hoppers. The Dead Track, Heywood and old layover stub were MT, and the only WB audible on the radio was the T patrol, so it was past time to obey gravity.
  by jaymac
The 12-05-2011 morning show was pretty much the same as the recent past: MT Dead, Heywood, and layover stub, and a couple of tracks worth of racks. So why bother with a post? The racks were it -- no other freight visible. And as additional proof that the PW pickup truck and its driver serve a purpose, a solo rack was set out -- presumably RIP -- on the east end of the yard.
Oh, yeah, an LCT actually went through while I was there. NSs 9260, 8373, and 9775 got a piano keyboard's count of cars east of CPF-345 at 0822. Dunno if it was a different and denser grade, but even from the somewhat elevated vista of the Jade lot, there was no mounded coal visible, despite the low-riding bolsters. Also interesting was that there was not one NS or CR reporting mark. All cars were Helms, either HCSX or HLMX. Some had been completely repainted while others still displayed Frisco ancestry. The 346.6 talker had given the train a length of 4250' at 0811, but given the car count, some recalibration might be needed.
  by bunky
I think that is a lime train for the scrubber at Bow. I saw an empty with the same consist of cars heading south thru Nashua NH a couple of weeks ago and the cars were covered in white dust.
  by jaymac
Coulda been, but there was no white -- except for paint -- showing on any of the cars, which woulda happened in dump-loading, unless the cars had been in enough rain later to be rinsed clean.
  by jaymac
The 12-09-2011 drive-by at 0850 showed a pretty full yard, with a mix of racks and general freight. Again, and as seems to have become practice, the Dead Track, Heywood, and old layover stub were likewise MT.
At 0915 and down Da Hill at Wachusett, POED was on the 1 pad with OldPaints 617 and 515 waiting for a new crew. The train was long enough -- around the reverse curves but well short of the steam plant -- that starting upgrade from a dead stop would be interesting. By radio, POED's D 316 Line 13 permission to move was made effective at 1058, and that might have given the rail enough time to be less slick.
  by jaymac
For the 12-16-2011 viewing, the yard was fairly full with a mix of racks and general freight. As has become SOP, the layover stub and the Dead Track were MT, but despite the earlier downpours, the Heywood was still bright and shiny from recent traffic. The usual coffee, muffin, and crossword may have contributed to the local economy, but didn't even produce the usual PW truck. The switch at the PW end of the yard is still low and will probably need the jet's intervention once the snow-thaw-refreeze dynamic gets busy. At 0822, D-3 let me know what a good choice of locations I'd made by engaging in a series of chats with the Grain Extra about when and how and how fast to start yarding at the Milling. Down Da Hill and a bit later at CPF-335, the MOW stub was occupied by a dead (not idling) spike puller, grapple, and tamper. There was a personal pickup there, but no visible crews.
  by jaymac
On 12-20-2011, as your yet-again fully-provisioned correspondent pulled into the Jade lot for a presumably yet-again long-and-train-free wait, the 346.6 talker fired up at 0801, announcing at 0802 that 1322 feet had cleared. ED495 acknowledged, and soon, OldPaint 335 and NewBlue 512 came around the curve on 1 with 23, getting east of CPF-345 at 0806. There wasn't much else different at Gardner, except for the NW (yep, NW) gon on sitting solo on the east end with bright, shiny sidewalls like it had a recent retarder run-through at Selkirk.
Speeds on the east side of Da Hill seem to have picked up because a leisurely trip to Wachusett didn't get me there ahead of 495, which at 0833 was told to set out its Fitchburgs and Ayers on Freight Main West. ED495 was east of the Ayer platform on 1 at 0939, down to 9 after the set-out.
Trackwork is still going on because after 495 got east a foreman at CPF-335 asked permission to get a regulator out on 1 and was eventually given limits to Rollstone.
  by MEC407
  by jr145
It was bound to happen sooner or later. I'm surprised it took that long.
  • 1
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 214