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Date: 09/29/23 01:58
The Great Convergence
Author: funnelfan

Had a interesting convergence of three trains in Ontario, OR last night about 6:30pm. The Oregon Eastern, UP LCA-44 and LCA-45 locals all showed up at the same time. The LCA-45 was doing some unusual stuff, and I'm not sure why. On Thursday and Tuesdays they go to Huntington from Ontario to exchange cement hoppers. They usually return to Ontario around 3pm. But yesterday they didn't even leave until almost 3pm. They were racing back to town at 6:30 since they were set to expire on hours at 7pm. There was much question on weather they would be able to get their cars tied down and power back to the tie up spot across from the depot in Ontario. The conductor on the LCA-44 local came up with a game plan to save the day. They went downtown and backed their train into the north pass extension then waited for the LCA-45 across from the depot. When the LCA-45 arrived, that crew simply got off the train and the LCA-44 crew jumped onto the train and pulled down to the South Pass and added the cars from the South Pass Extension onto the head end and then pulled into the clear on the South Pass to walk the air test. Before they could take off for Nyssa to do more switching there, they had to let a eastbound get past first. This delayed our OE train for a hour and a half before we could drop our 8 cars and take 22 inbound cars back to Vale. While making our drop, a eastbound empty soda ash train passed by on the mainline.

On the way to Ontario I passed a nice buck bedded down in the weeds at the edge of our right of way just west of MP12. I waved at it and said "hello". He just stayed put and watched the train pass, never getting up. This buck looked similar to the one I photographed at Hilgard, OR a couple weeks ago. These bucks unfazed by passing trains is a new thing to me. I was used to seeing many more deer on the Washington Eastern, many times 50 or more in a trip. But they were always running away from the train.

I also saw the full moon rise up over the mountains to the east passing through some cloud layers. It's amazing how fast it moves when it's passing something that is relatively stationary.

Ted Curphey
Ontario, OR

Date: 09/29/23 02:13
Re: The Great Convergence
Author: funnelfan

Some additional info for those unfamiliar with these trains. LCA-44 is the Nampa, ID to Ontario, OR local that does switching enroute and exchanges cars with the LCA-45 in Ontario. typically leaving the inbound cars on the North Pass siding, but sometimes the extension track. They typically pull cars from the South Pass extension track. But on Tuesdays and Thursdays the additional cement hoppers from the LIG-32 local based at Huntington (which switches the Ash Grove Cement Plant at Nelson, OR) overwhelms the extension track so the often nearly mile long string of cars is left on the South Pass siding blocking out the Oregon Eastern RR from interchange until the LCA-44 comes and removes them in the evening. LCA-44 often runs with a pair of SD70M locomotives.
LCA-45 is based in Ontario using a pair of SD70M locomotives. They sort out the inbound cars off the north pass and the switch around town. Later they will travel north to switch at Payette and/or Wieser, ID. They go to Huntington on Tuesdays and Thursdays taking the saved up empty cement hoppers and bringing back loaded ones.

Ted Curphey
Ontario, OR

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/29/23 02:14 by funnelfan.

Date: 09/29/23 06:25
Re: The Great Convergence
Author: ChrisCampi

I'm curious as to how an SD70M works out as a switcher. Does it have a desk top control stand? Lots of locomotive to walk around.

Date: 09/29/23 07:20
Re: The Great Convergence
Author: WW

ChrisCampi Wrote:
> I'm curious as to how an SD70M works out as a
> switcher. Does it have a desk top control stand?
> Lots of locomotive to walk around.

I believe that some UP SD-70M locomotives (the "notch cab" locomotives, I think) have standard control stands.  In any case, I see mostly SD-70Ms used on UP locals these days, either "regular" cabs or "notches."

Date: 09/29/23 09:34
Re: The Great Convergence
Author: Ritzville

Thanks for the interesting narrative Ted.


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