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Western Railroad Discussion > Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown


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Date: 02/14/19 21:59
Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: Railbaron

Oakridge (Oregon) manned helpers is now a "go" but even between managers there is disagreement as to the actual starting date. The bids are out and the new board for the helpers is to be assigned tomorrow (Friday). However, one manager says the actual helpers will start this Saturday (16th) and another manager thinks it'll be next weekend, perhaps the 23rd. Either way manned helpers look like they will return.

However, the dispatchers and corridor managers are adamant they do not want the helpers; they claim they create too much extra work for everybody. So now everybody is wondering what kinds of games the dispatchers might do to mess things up hoping to get rid of them.

The manager here also claimed they are looking at manned helpers out of La Grande over the Blue Mountains. They are running a lot more "conventional" trains, many of which have trouble getting up the hills out of Glenn's Ferry. 

As reported here on TO recently, Hinkle hump is indeed being closed; there was a difference of opinion if it was the 19th of this month or middle of March. A number of yard jobs will be eliminated, almost all yardmasters will be gone, and this is in addition to the diesel shop practically closing. There will be no more "HK" trains; most/many through trains will now do work at Hinkle picking up or setting out. All remaining yard jobs will go back to conventional with an engineer.

Back to Eugene. UP has now decided they will no longer supply CORP with power for their trains; CORP will need to use their own power. CORP has reportedly told UP they will no longer block the trains for UP, which will cause more congestion in Eugene with the extra switching. In an ironic twist it now appears UP may rebuild the old "40 Yard", which was just a group of tracks in the middle of Eugene Yard that was removed many years ago. All yard engines will also go back to having engineers.

Another possible twist is that UP is looking at running 10,000 foot trains out of Roseville to Dunsmuir. Because of restrictions north of Dunsmuir the trains would be split to run north. There is an unknown question if the trains would be combined at Klamath to create 10,000 foot trains north of Klamath or if they'll run them shorter the rest of the way north.

In addition to the UP cops fired on Arizona, the UP cop up here (Eugene) got fired Wednesday so there is no longer a UP police presence around here.

Cost cutting is going amok on UP. Of course any/all of these things could change but UP is turning into a joke of a railroad.


 



Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 02/15/19 06:41 by Railbaron.



Date: 02/14/19 22:51
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: portlander

We sent a pair of Sierra Dpu's to Dunsmuir last week to facilitate these longer trains. The idea being the train is split at Lakehead with a "helper" crew called to take the "other" half of the train from Lakehead to Mott where the train will be put back together. We can't wait to see how well this plan works!



Date: 02/14/19 22:58
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: TCnR

The previous owners would reduce tonnage in Dunsmuir and then run the Weed Local to move the cars to the small yard at Black Butte. The next day's train would reduce in Dunsmuir then pick up the previous day's cars at Black Butte. The Weed local power and the Siskiyou Line helpers would often be seen at the engine facility in Dunsmuir. At some point the local turned into the DumBum, Dunsmuir to Black Butte Merchandise or close to it. Curious how the more things change the more they stay the same.

Saw those two locomotives go through Dunsmuir the other day, thanks for the explanation.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/14/19 23:02 by TCnR.



Date: 02/14/19 23:26
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: pdt

Well, the new guy at UP said he wanted to reduce the motive power by 100 units, and need less employees.

Right now it looks like hes throwing spaghetti at the wall......


The helpers are gone from SLO now.
Any loads going over the grade...bring your own extra power.
Any stalls on the hill.  Back up and double it.
Any special moves...Use the guadalupe switcher power.



Date: 02/14/19 23:39
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: coach

When the UP took over the SP, I had hope.  UP's plans sounded so optimistic.  Now, it's almost depressing.  I don't hear talk about growth, getting customers back, re-activing old spurs and capturing more market share.  It all seems focused on rewarding managers at the top, and that's about it.



Date: 02/14/19 23:46
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: CaliforniaSteam

Only one thing to say....... PSR! I think they need to bring some more mental giants from CSX into the fold to re-event the wheel. The PO out of Yermo was laid off as well down south. The UP Police may go away all together from what I have been told.

CS



Date: 02/15/19 06:44
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: RRTom

Do I understand the OP correctly that yard remotes are being replaced with manned yard engines?  That would be good, right?



Date: 02/15/19 06:50
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: Railbaron

RRTom Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Do I understand the OP correctly that yard remotes are being replaced with manned yard engines? 
> That would be good, right?

That's the plan - more productivity. Of course things could change but as of yesterday that's what they plan on doing.



Date: 02/15/19 06:54
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: HH

Wow!  Thanks for the newsy post, Railbaron!  Can you say "circling the drain?"
I followed a "junk train" up the hill last Friday (photos may come later) and scoped out those rear-end helpers to see if they were manned.  Nope. 
Now I see that the timing is not yet.

Hopmere Hank



Date: 02/15/19 07:30
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: WAF

Cars were reduced at Dunsmuir down to 3900 tons. Excess tonnage that was set out, was handled to Black Butte by the Black Butte Turn. Next eastbound would fill at BB with excess tonnage brought up by BBTs



Date: 02/15/19 08:25
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: donner_dude1

TCnR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> At some point the local turned into the DumBum,
> Dunsmuir to Black Butte Merchandise or close to
> it. Curious how the more things change the more
> they stay the same.

That brings back memories, I remember the DUNBUM. In the mid-late 90's it was typically 2- SD40's for the power. The Northbound would reduce In Dunsmuir to 2/3's of the original train (xx tonnage I presume) and would proceed up the hill. The DUNBUM would take remaining tonnage and follow it up the hill and they would typically meet at Black Butte and reasemble. Sometimes for various reasons (Black Butte was occupied by a Southbound for instance) they would go all the way to Andesite. From a Railfans perspective that was pretty cool since you would get 2 trains at a certain spot vs 1 plus you would get helper power returning to Dunsmuir.   



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/15/19 08:27 by donner_dude1.



Date: 02/15/19 08:32
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: TAW

Railbaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> However, the dispatchers and corridor managers are
> adamant they do not want the helpers; they claim
> they create too much extra work for everybody. So
> now everybody is wondering what kinds of games the
> dispatchers might do to mess things up hoping to
> get rid of them.


That is just beyond words. There is a lot of problem in the industry that is related to lack of skill, but lazy too? They need to change the title of the job. They are not train dispatchers.

TAW



Date: 02/15/19 08:54
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: donner_dude1

portlander Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> We sent a pair of Sierra Dpu's to Dunsmuir last
> week to facilitate these longer trains. The idea
> being the train is split at Lakehead with a
> "helper" crew called to take the "other" half of
> the train from Lakehead to Mott where the train
> will be put back together. We can't wait to see
> how well this plan works!

I'm trying to envision how this would work efficiently. I guessing UP will try to space 2 Northbounds apart so that they can get 2 helps from the same Helper crew. 

So now the reduced N/B hits Dunsmuir. What happens if there isn't a rested crew for the train? The RV crew ties down the train in Dunsmuir. What about the 2nd Section with Helper crew? What do they do? Tie down the train? 

Using Mott as the reassemble point. Isn't Mott on a decent grade vs BB? I know its not the 2.2% grade of the Dunsmuir to Mott Section. Would they have to tie down brakes before the helper power is removed from the 2nd section).

I haven't been there in a while but Mott was often a place where S/B's waited for slow N/B's to crawl up the canyon. If you tie up Mott you push meets to the next long siding North (Upton?).       



Date: 02/15/19 09:13
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: Railbaron

To be honest about it, I am not intimately familiar with the Black Butte Sub because I have never worked it on freight. However, looking at the timetable I do NOT see Mott as the place the'll put the trains bacxk together - it 2.44% grade!!! Black Butte is the first place it somewhat levels off but even there it would be a chore to reassemble the trains. Then leaving BB you're facing 1.4 to 1.5% grades until Grass Lake. I certainly don't see Mott working, Black Butte is much more likely, but personally I think Klamath Falls would make the most sense. 

Of course then you'll have fun bringing a 10,000 foot train down the hill from Cascade Summit to and through Eugene and on to Portland. All I can say is - I'm glad I'm retired!!!!



Date: 02/15/19 09:41
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: TCnR

After having some coffee I should poiint out that in those SP days the traffic flow was mostly empties north (SP east) so there was little concern about delaying anything important. Many variables through the years, cutting tonnage at many places from Lakehead to Dunsmuir, adding manned helpers at many places from Lakehead to Dunsmuir, many different train designators,  Weed Local or DunBuM, that's what made the District so interesting. Agree, the Dispatchers are doing a different job than they did many years a go for better or for worse. Back to my coffee.



Date: 02/15/19 10:07
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: callum_out

Uh, SP ran enough trains that they didn't need to run 10,000 foot "asking-for-troubles".

Out



Date: 02/15/19 10:35
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: TAW

rantoul Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Affected dispatchers and corridor managers
> probably not lazy, rather reacting to what they
> see as unnecessary inefficient operating approach,
> the reference to 'everybody'. 

The term they used for opposing was too much work. If they didn't mean  that, they could have framed it another way.

> Would today's
> dispatcher process and technology enable a
> dispatcher to make decisions independent of
> corridor managers and operating plans?

If not, what's the point?

TAW



Date: 02/15/19 11:03
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: portlander

donner_dude1 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> portlander Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > We sent a pair of Sierra Dpu's to Dunsmuir last
> > week to facilitate these longer trains. The
> idea
> > being the train is split at Lakehead with a
> > "helper" crew called to take the "other" half
> of
> > the train from Lakehead to Mott where the train
> > will be put back together. We can't wait to see
> > how well this plan works!
>
> I'm trying to envision how this would work
> efficiently. I guessing UP will try to space 2
> Northbounds apart so that they can get 2 helps
> from the same Helper crew. 
>
> So now the reduced N/B hits Dunsmuir. What happens
> if there isn't a rested crew for the train? The RV
> crew ties down the train in Dunsmuir. What about
> the 2nd Section with Helper crew? What do they do?
> Tie down the train? 
>
> Using Mott as the reassemble point. Isn't Mott on
> a decent grade vs BB? I know its not the 2.2%
> grade of the Dunsmuir to Mott Section. Would they
> have to tie down brakes before the helper power is
> removed from the 2nd section).
>
> I haven't been there in a while but Mott was often
> a place where S/B's waited for slow N/B's to crawl
> up the canyon. If you tie up Mott you push meets
> to the next long siding North (Upton?). 
>      

It is probably Black Butte. I'll see if I can gather more information. From what I read, it's only going to be for the MRVHK. It'll be one "help' per day. At least for now. The HK has to roll the most traffic of the northbounds, so it's a logical first step.



Date: 02/15/19 11:32
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: EsPee1229

I know I'll miss seeing the UP power in Roseburg. Seems like UP is just playing a shell game as CORP delivered pre-blocked trains to Eugene minimizing UP switching. All flat switching, too, as the hump was torn out long ago.

Keith in Roseburg



Date: 02/15/19 12:04
Re: Update: Oakridge Manned Helpers and Hinkle Shutdown
Author: callum_out

Can you imagine what the turnover trains will look like? There won't have any sense to them and UP can sort that out
with ease I'm sure (not!!). Also, one wonders what big power will migrate back to CORP from other locations. UP may
have done us all a favor.

Out



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/15/19 12:29 by callum_out.



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