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Western Railroad Discussion > Cascade, Moffat, Caunnaught, Mt McDonald, Tennesse Pass


Date: 07/03/05 00:30
Cascade, Moffat, Caunnaught, Mt McDonald, Tennesse Pass
Author: Detector

Since the Moffat, Cascade, Caunnaght, Mt McDonald, Tennessee Pass Tunnels have had their Certains. A few years ago a BNSF train was going to fast in the Cascade Tunnel and hit the Certain while it was going up. How many times have each of those tunnels had their certains hit by a train? Thank you for your information and have a happy and safe July 4th. Detector out



Date: 07/03/05 10:40
Re: Cascade, Moffat, Caunnaught, Mt McDonald, Tennesse
Author: hoghead22

Am not certain how many times the curtains have been hit.....



Date: 07/03/05 19:01
Re: Cascade, Moffat, Caunnaught, Mt McDonald, Tennesse
Author: RioGrandeFan

I can't say for the other tunnels but the Moffat's curtain probably has never been hit. That is to say that unless there is a defect with the curtain system, a runaway train, or the crew isn't paying attention it can't get hit.

There is signal protection for a westbound meaning the signal will be red unless the track is clear AND the curtain is fully up and locked. The signal also has a delay of about 5 seconds after the curtain is up before it drops to yellow. Westbounds never get a green when going into the Moffat Tunnel. I think that is the same for eastbounds. Only one train can be in the block from East Winter Park to West East Portal at a time as well.

I think the Tennessee Pass tunnel worked the same way though there were two curtains there, one on each end. Never visited TP when it was active so I don't know much about how the curtain system worked.

I would imagine that all tunnels with curtains would have signal protection to where the signal will display red until the curtain is up.

Now if there were a runaway train or something that is a different story....





Date: 07/03/05 21:07
Re: Cascade, Moffat, Caunnaught, Mt McDonald, Tennesse
Author: drgw

RioGrandeFan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I can't say for the other tunnels but the Moffat's
> curtain probably has never been hit. That is to
> say that unless there is a defect with the curtain
> system, a runaway train, or the crew isn't paying
> attention it can't get hit.
>
> There is signal protection for a westbound meaning
> the signal will be red unless the track is clear
> AND the curtain is fully up and locked. The signal
> also has a delay of about 5 seconds after the
> curtain is up before it drops to yellow.
> Westbounds never get a green when going into the
> Moffat Tunnel. I think that is the same for
> eastbounds. Only one train can be in the block
> from East Winter Park to West East Portal at a
> time as well.

Actually, I have spoken to a crew member who was in the lead unit on an eastbound train that DID hit the curtain in the Moffat. I don't remember the details (maybe never heard all of them), but I think it had to do with a curtain malfunction and smoke obscuring the signals. I don't know if the crew was absolved of responsibility or not...

BTW, how many of you knew that there are actually TWO curtains at the east end of the Moffat (in fact three if you count the old DRGW curtain which still exists but is bolted in place to prevent accidental movement)? When the structure was redone for the new venting system (installed in the 70's or 80's), they installed two curtains several feet apart to afford them redundancy in case one was hit. They have to have the the curtain to vent, and keeping the tunnel vented is vital to keeping it open. For anyone who has visited the tunnel lately, you may have noticed the logos of the historical railroads on the line being displayed on the curtain. The logos are on just one of the two curtains. They alternate the curtains, usually weekly, so you may see the logos or you may not on any given trip.

The guys who tend the tunnel have a wealth of technology and information available to them. It is a much higher-tech operation than one might envision.

Also, they have the ability to vent either direction. They have two fans positioned for venting to the east, and one for venting to the west (the fans are all at the east end). Generally, venting is done to the east because it is faster and also to not dump too much smoke on Winter Park (not as big a problem now as it was on the Grande--I about gagged once around 1980 during venting to the west). However, they can and will vent to the west, especially when the trains are fleeted to the west. In fact, they can seriously reduce the vent time for a following train. Train lengths figure into the equation, but the bottom line is that the train in front will continue to pull the smoke with it until the rear emerges, and the air continues to move for a bit after the train exits. When they do this, the curtain stays up until the train (assuming a westbound here) exits to allow the train to pull the air. Then after a short vent (perhaps as little as 2-3 minutes), the curtain will rise, and the following train enters the tunnel, pushing the remaining smoke from behind a buffer of fresh air (provided by the short vent cycle). There are carbon monoxide detectors which provide data on the smoke levels, and therefore the amount of vent time needed.

The fan that vents west is also used to cool eastbound trains as they approach the apex. Dampers help control the air forces, especially when it is time to raise the curtain.

If I learn more about curtain accidents, I'll report back...
-Wes



Date: 07/04/05 12:12
Re: Cascade, Moffat, Caunnaught, Mt McDonald, Tennesse
Author: BNSFEng

That was the only incident at the Cascade Tunnel.. They used a replacement curtain that was built in 1956 when two were made, when diesels took over from electrics, in the event there was a collision. Now there is a door that is normally used which is heavier and more solid and slides south to north vise up and down.



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