Update: Oct/21-23/11; I can't verify if there was (or wasn't) a train this weekend. I was out of town and also received NO heads-ups one way or the other. Likely no train.
Update: Oct/28-30/11; as with the previous weekend, I have no data whatsoever supporting there having been a 510. Shame, too, as Spring Grove received over 6 inches of heavy crystalline snow. This would have been a SWEET deal for me but a sucky one for any Conductors working outside. I was prepared to go out- tire cables at the ready, but with electricity flickering constantly I stayed home and prepared for an outage. Good thing, since at around 11:45 A.M. power went out and stayed out for over 29 hours. Sure it got cold in the house, and sure it was 'fun' cooking with a camp stove on the dining room table and sleeping in our above-20-degree bags. Sure, packing coolers full of snow is cheaper than buying ice should we lose power in warmer weather. Sure, it was tragic losing about eight mature trees due to the snow gathering on the leaves of weak limbs; on the bright side, I had an excuse to buy a new Craftsman 18" chainsaw- although I had to order online then drive to Baltimore to pick it up since all chainsaws in the State of Pennsylvania had already been sold. But no train chasing. I didn't hear any scanner talk, but with snow falling I likely wouldn't pick up much even if there was definitely a train in the area.
Update: Nov/4-6/11; Question: WHEN DOES A PAIR OF ACEs BEAT THREE 9s? Answer: when it's a pair of SD70ACEs instead of the usual trio of D9s !
Yep! The wait is finally over, although it hasn't been a very long wait at all...Thanks to RK for an email heads-up, although to be fair to my own efforts, I didn't know of the HU until I sat down tonight to write about this big event. This weekend's 510 came east and into Enola with ACEs 1022 and 1008, back to back.
The 510 ALWAYS gets a third 6-axel unit in Enola, even if the first two are 80MACs. Until Friday. This pair did not receive a third unit (unless Yorkrailway is hiding a third ACE up their sleeve...), and the train was sent on to Spring Grove as-is. This marks the FIRST time ACEs have come to town, and perhaps even been put on a 510 at all. As noted above, this is also a day of another FIRST, as only TWO units brought the train to Spring Grove! Thankfully, the weather was beautiful and lots of good chasing was accomplished!
Operationally, as usual, 30 loads were brought into the mill at around 7 A.M. Saturday. Crew One operated the 1022 and crew Two had only one unit instead of their traditional pair:the 1008. Since there was a switch being worked on inside the mill, cuts would be limited to 9 carlengths today. I'm not sure how the first string of 15 was divided, nor how crew One ran around and dumped them, but crew Two took 6 cars to the dumper, came out and retreived the other 9, then backed all 15 in and dumped the rear 9. Crew Two had waited on a pocket-track with 1008 and their first 6 cars while Crew One was working. Perhaps this was to keep 1008 out of the way while 1022 dumped their string as two smaller cuts. This would have allowed room for half of Crew One's cars to sit on the main (with half of crew Two's cars) while they dumped their other half. Nine car lengths was apparently the space limit east of the shaker to the trackwork. Crew one brought in only 9 cars from the main as their second turn, while crew Two was working.
Of note, fall-colorwise: the rich earthtones near the Colonial Valley Rd crossing are mostly gone, with some lingering deep yellows and browns clinging to the oaks. Over in town at Railroad Rd, the one 20-foot Sugar Maple has finally changed from green to gorgeous peachy-oranges, and made for quite a nice shot in the low sun.
The 1008 is set to lead the 511 westbound out of Spring Grove Sunday morning or afternoon. Due to delays unloading today, several cars may still need to be unloaded Sunday A.M. As of 11:15 P.M. Saturday (NOT adjusted for Daylight Savings Time), there are still about 16 loads remaining. Only time will tell if these will be left for the morning. In my (too many) years of paying attention to this operation, I've never known crews to go beyond 11-11:30 or so, although it is now MIDNIGHT (not adjusted yet) and the crew is shoving cuts of empties out near Colonial Valley. I still believe that about 16 loads remain...
When the 511 does leave town, it could get an NS crew promptly in York and roll to Enola or even straight through, OR it could sit in York only to sit in Enola and not roll west until Monday. Not much of a heads-up, I'm afraid.
Another observation from today, other than just being happy to finally see ACEs down here: I'm not big on the horns on these units. They both had the same horn, and it's like a minor chord with some flat notes or something like that... And, its' a very deep tone with no high notes. Not really pleasing to MY ears...
Will update tomorrow or so,
WM York Sub MP 2.2
PS- Please don't forget to set your clocks BACK an hour, and replace batteries in ALL smoke / carbon monoxide detectors!