• Yorkrail / NS weekly coal 510, 511

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in Pennsylvania

Moderator: bwparker1

  by teamgunzi
The Eastbound NS 510 coal train brought an SD80MAC to Spring Grove PA this weekend ! The 510 was led by D9-40CW # 9474, back-to-back with 80MAC # 7207, then elephant-style with another D9 # 9177. Unfortunately, the 9177 will lead NS 511 back West. This will likely occur tonight after 10PM, but COULD happen Sunday in daylight. This is a rare occurance, with only two other MACs visiting Spring Grove back in June.

I didn't get to see the power until about 5:00PM, as I have been in Baltimore with the Disney train all day. Sorry I couldn't give a timely heads-up.

If you get to see the Disney train tomorrow at the B&O Museum (final day there), get there early as the line grows quickly. Admission to the museum and the entire event is FREE, with the bill footed by Disney! The train has two engines and perhaps 6 cars (couldn't see the whole train to count the cars, and didn't think to count the vestibules as I walked through). The cars are modified Heritage Fleet, stripped-out and modified with high-tech, interactive displays on both sides. You can 'explore' scenes from the feature film, as well as get a behind-the-scene glimps of animation filming techniques. On the exterior, the engines and cars are "wrapped" in "hp" computer generated vinyl 'paint'. The train is not displayed well outside for photographers: it is crammed in with museum equipment blocking almost all of it. The wide-open sunny side of the train is roped off in a hidden area that is guarded by Baltimore City Police. From the back of the museum's car shop, you can get a decent shot of the open-platform observation, but only if you can shoot through a standard chain-link fence. :-(

The 3D computer-animated feature film opens nationwide on November 6th. Also to be shown in IMAX, where available. The previews, which are shown in a portable, air-inflated theater that seats 90, looked VERY interesting ! Disney has gone all-out with both the display and the movie!

Google christmascaroltrain.com for Tour scheduling information. The train will be displayed in PA in Philadelphia on Tuesday Oct 27 only! Good Luck.

Ted G
  by teamgunzi

Oct / 9-11 /2009: No train this weekend.

Oct / 16-18 /2009: There was a train this weekend. D9-40CW # 9918 led the 510, back-to-back with SD70-M2 # 2678, which was elephant style with ES40DC # 7584. The 9918 worked alone at the mill, while the others worked as a pair. The 7584 led the 511 out of town. I didn't spend much time with these catfish, as the Pennsy E8's were due on the Port Road around lunchtime.

Ted G
  by teamgunzi
This week things are a little different than usual. There is only one crew working (as opposed to two), so it will take longer than usual: look for a possible Sunday departure. All three units are working together, at least for the first two cuts to the dumper. You never know what'll happen next: sometimes they shove one unit out of the way and park it in this situation. Loads are being fully backed into the dumper, then pulled across one by one.

Also, only two strings of 15 were brought into the mill: one left near Rt. 116 and the other worked right away. The first cut of empties was left near the warehouse rather than shoving it down past Colonial Valley x-ing. Anyway, the power will be running out to Railroad Ave. earlier than usual to retrieve more loads. First loads started at 7AM, and second cut at 9:55AM.

Oct 23-25: I don't know if there was a train- none reported to me, and I was out of town.(Probably was one).

Oct 30-Nov 1: There was no train this weekend.

Nov 6-8: Inbound 510 led by 9188 in old paint, back-to-back with 2759 in Thoroughbred paint, elephant style with 9160 in old paint. 9160 will lead the 511 Saturday night or Sunday AM.

Ted G
  by ztabel46

The reason that things looked different this week is that in the morning- the train derailed somewhere in York City, near the fairgrounds, I think. At any rate, they had to leave half the train back in York until the derailment could be straightened out. The rest of the train is supposed to be unloaded in Spring Grove tomorrow morning.

Take care

  by teamgunzi
Z- thanks for the info.

The RRofYork group also says the locos were near the fairgrounds and some cars were dragging west of the Codorus Creek bridge. Not a big wreck, but likely just some dragging equipment cutting up ties, goughing a road at a crossing, and breaking a switch.

I was unable to get into town to poke around, myself, and a cover-to-cover viewing of The York Daily Record from Sunday and Monday failed to show even a mention of it (unless I just looked too hard).

Ted G
  by teamgunzi
Possible BLUE LEADER for the outbound 511 !!!

Today's 510 was led into town by #9397, back-to-back with CONRAIL QUALITY #8415, with 8987 also facing backward. The bad news is that this morning is a misty drizzle. The good news is that it's 50/50 for 8415 to lead the outbound 511. The 8987 handling the first cut AND facing backward means that, operationally, the crews mixed-up the power in the morning: the 510 leader usually takes care of the first cut of cars. Look for the 9397 / 8415 pair to be out in the open around 11:30-12:00 at Colonial Valley x-ing, followed by Railroad Rd to fetch more cars.

UPDATE: 11/13-15/09: 9397 led the 510 inbound, Conrail BLUE 8415 followed (possible 511 leader) facing rearward, and 8987 also facing rearward.

Ted G
Last edited by teamgunzi on Tue Nov 24, 2009 3:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by teamgunzi
This weekend's operations were very different from past practices, although I'm not sure how last weekend went, since I was on a West-Slope adventure.

The three engines brought only 60 cars to town: 15 spotted at the Railroad Road crossing, 15 left just inside the mill, 15 left with the 2nd and 3rd units on the Flank (Plank?), with the lead unit handling the first cut to the dumper.

After the first cut was finished, it switched places with the two units and their cut on the Flank. The first unit then did it's normal routine of running around then shoving past Colonial Valley x-ing. Then it retreived the third cut, as normal, and went to the Flank. The pair of units, when done with their cut, then pulled onto the Flank so the single unit could back cut #3 to the dumper. After running around, and shoving to Colonial Valley, the pair went to retreive the fourth and final cut. Here's where things got screwy.

Cut #4 was left on the Flank, then the pair came back out and continued on to York to get the rest of the train! Not sure where it was stored, but I would guess in Windsor yard.

Not sure if this is related to new operating proceedures after the derailment two weeks ago, or not. But, if this continues, it will make for some great photo-ops in the future. ;-)

I did not spend any more time with the pair once they were past Thomasville, due to having a life beyond trains (if you can imagine that).
The good thing is that the "leader" for the second section was CONRAIL blue (CRQ) D8-40CW # 8323 ! Hopefully someone else was able to get some shots ! Let's see what happens with the next train. (I'm predicting no train on Thanksgiving weekend, as there have now been three consecutive weeks with trains. And, it's a holiday weekend.

11/20-22/09 the 510 was led by black SD70M # 2644, followed elephant-style by CRQ #8323, followed back-to-back by black SD70M-2 #2649. The 2649 led the 511 outbound.

Ted G
  by teamgunzi
NO train as of 10:30 today. The locals were expecting one, after skipping a weekend for Thanksgiving. Rumor has it it may have been cancelled (held until next weekend) due to the big wreck this week in McVeystown PA. Or, it could be delayed due to the big backlog of trains that were held up. We'll see if it arrives late or not at all. Anyone have any real information?

It's snowing heavy in Spring Grove, just starting to stick to trees, but not laying yet. Would be nice to see a late 510 with snow on the ground Sunday :-)

Ted G
  by teamgunzi
At 4:30 PM sharp, with two to three inches of snow on the ground, the 510 arrived at Railroad Rd in Spring Grove. A G&W trainman was waiting at the crossing as I arrived, with the train coming downgrade within minutes. At the 30 car mark, the train was split, with the rear being tied-down by the trainman. 15 cars were left just inside the mill, and all three engines pulled to the flank (plank ?) and proceeded to back their 15 in to the dump area. They wasted absolutely no time getting going! There may be only one crew working tonight, under not-so-nice of conditions. Look for a departure in a SNOW COVERED York County on Sunday. Hopefully, in daylight!

Update: The 510 has three black NS units: led by 9773, back-to-back with 9582, and 8361 also facing to the rear. If there is only one crew and they don't separate the power, the 8361 will lead the 511 outbound. In SNOW !

Ted G
  by teamgunzi
On Sunday evening, the coal train was finally finished unloading just before 5:30pM, and by 6:30 the train was assembled and rolling toward York with only 89 cars (as heard on the radio). Possible, but unlikely, that a cut of empties (14?) was taken to York earlier. Train has had 105 cars the dozens of times I've counted. The YRC crew was short-timed (as heard on the radio) and was rushing to get to Windsor Yard to turn over to the NS crew.

Ted G
  by teamgunzi
Operational data:

A field report from Thomas A. at MP198 on the Pitt Line had the 511 running with different power and more cars than it left York with. Presumably in Harrisburg, the 9582/8361/9773 lashup was swapped for 9224/9197/9142 and picked up cars to total 130. Hmmm...

I've heard of inbound 510 power being swapped in H-burg, and I'm wondering if this is usual practice to swap power there for both trains. To further complicate things, I've also had reports of the 511 out west with only two of the three same units it left York with.

Ted G
  by teamgunzi
Operationally, the coal trains on YRC rails are quite a bit more interesting since the York derailment several weeks ago. The train is now brought to the mill in two sections, making for great chase and photo opportunities (the second section moves in daylight). Cold weather makes for interesting moves, and the addition of a second section only helps. With the Winter need for car heaters, the power must find ways to get behind the cuts that are pulled in: the Flank (Plank) passing siding only holds about 15 cars. The way the heaters are situated west of the dumper, the power must now be east of it's loads so the power will not sit atop the heaters while dumping the cars coupled close by. And, since the track the dumper is on cannot handle the weight of two 6-axel units, one of the three units must be put out of the way and jockeyed around a bit.

Saturday's operations took a lot longer than expected, as cars were frozen and required lots of heating, the 2677 (SD70M-2) "cut-out" several times through the day but restarted easily (at least until this evening), and now it seems the car heaters are shut off altogether.

As of 11:45PM a crew was STILL WORKING, but shortly thereafter was to leave one engine in Spring Grove (presumably the troublesome 2677) and take the other two (8734 and 9380) to Lincoln Yard. On Sunday morning, they plan to get "the rest of the train" and take it to SG for unloading.

Does anyone know if the second section ever made it to SG or why at least some cars were left in York? The 2677 and 8734 (D8 standard cab) left SG for York shortly after 12 PM, but I never saw any more loads come to town. My guess is the power returned back to SG light for reasons unknown, and the second section is what they'll bring in the morning. (EDIT: Sunday at 9:26AM I saw the two units with a very short train cutting through the Little Creek Golf Course in Nashville, while on my way to church. Did not get to count the cars but it was perhaps 15 or so).

Anyway, apparently lots of issues holding up the operation this weekend.

If the 511 ever gets to leave, the ratty-looking 8734 will lead as it's the only unit facing forward.

12/11-13/09 The 510 had 3 black NS units led by 2677, followed elephant-style by 9380, back-to-back with 8734.

Ted G
  by teamgunzi
There IS a train this weekend !

Rather frustrating with this much snow, as I might miss my 510/511 altogether due to road conditions. As of 10:00 PM, I have my scanner on: a crew is still working in these blizzard conditions, dumping coal loads, clearing off switches and shoving empties out into the countryside. Not a good weekend to be a conductor on this operation. What a thankless and brutal job this can be !

No idea what the power is, but shortly, two units will head to Lincoln Yard. No idea how many loads remain for Sunday AM, but the 511 will be a Sunday departure ! If anyone can get out, please let me know what the power is.

Here in Spring Grove, we've got over TWO FEET of snow: my lighted lawn Deer are covered up to their necks !

Ted G

Update: due to lots of issues including frozen cars and an engine derailment overnight Saturday, the train left town on a BEAUTIFUL Monday morning through untouched snow ! The power on the outbound 511 was D9-40CW # 9460 ,followed by ES40DC # 7643 and another D9.
Last edited by teamgunzi on Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by teamgunzi
With no train over the Christmas weekend, there is GREAT news for the New Year's weekend !

A field report sent to me has D9-40CW #9943 leading TWO SD80MACs, #7205 and 7200, at least as far as Enola Yard. Lets hope the power was not swapped-out at Enola, as has occasionally happened before. The train is in York and will sit over the holiday break until YRC takes over around 5 AM Saturday.

Should make for a busy weekend for myself and a few locals !

Updates to follow....

Ted G
Last edited by teamgunzi on Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by teamgunzi
Well, in Enola, they lost the D9 and 7205, replacing these with TWO 80MACs off the 594 ! 7207 led the 7209 and 7200, both facing rearward. The 7207 is working the first cut solo, and with the others together, it means the 7200 will lead the outbound 511.

Operationally, the entire train was brought in at once: no second section today :-(

30 cars were brought in off the main, with the rear 15 being left on the 'Plank'. They pulled clear of the Plank, then backed past the Plank with the front 15 and stopped just inside the mill off of Rt. 116. The lead unit 7207 then cut loose and went to get the 15 that were on the Plank. She can now pull her cars past the heater/dumper. When this cut progressed and was clear of the switch where the other two units were sitting, they pulled their cut to the Plank and ran around, setting up to pull their cut through when it would be their turn.
Well, news of 3 MACs in town spread far and wide on the 'net: I sure did my part ! Wile on most weekends it'll be just myself and maybe a local or two bopping around through the day, this event brought lots of 80MAC fans. The main crossings had a group of maybe dozen or so braving the extreme temperatures and wind-chill (@24 degrees with 30 MPH gusts). Besides PA tags, cars arrived from Ohio, VA , WV, and Maryland. Those who returned Sunday (only three others) were finally treated to shots of all three MACs together.

As has been the norm this Winter, this weekend was full of delays: mostly due to frozen coal loads. As of 3PM Sunday, when the one crew called it quits, there was a full cut of 15 loads remaining. Starting about 8:30AM Monday, the YRC crew and mill workers made short time breaking up the coal. About 11:00AM the 511 was rolling out of Spring Grove. Personally, I missed the departure(something called work got in the way), but picked up the chase in York, with at least one other photographer. I didn't count the loads on the 510 (a trace showed 111 into Enola), but the 511 only had 93 empties. The 511 was given authority at Wago onto the Port Road to Enola at 4:30PM, and should have been in Harrisburg about 5PM. No idea if the power remained intact, or when the train was allowed to roll west.

The YRC local, RJ2, did not run this day, I'm told.

Of note this week, is that this is the first train that was brought through York in one movement to Spring Grove since the York derailment several weeks ago. I'm told that the derailment ocurred at 16 MPH in a 10 MPH zone, and that the engineer was having trouble going slowly with the assigned power. (There's an opening for an engineer). An audit showed that the trains must be shortened to run that slowly. The MACs, however, are capable of moving 110 loads at a crawl, so this weekend's train was allowed to go in one section. :-( The one lashup you really want to chase in daylight does not run in daylight !

Let's see what next weekend brings!

Ted G
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