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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Staring into that sun


Date: 09/17/18 19:47
Staring into that sun
Author: santafe199

I remember a trip from Missoula, MT to Spokane, WA back in the late summer of 1988. It was the first summer of MRL’s brand-new existence. I was working with an engineer who was a pretty good guy at heart. But he had a somewhat combative attitude about his job in general, and toward management in particular. After hearing a couple of his “war stories” I can’t blame him. I had witnessed similar situations in 9 previous years with the Santa Fe. So I knew this guy wasn’t just blowing smoke. By 1988 I had 10 years of train service under my belt. Even though I wasn’t officially qualified as an engineer, whenever the need arose I could handle running a train for extended miles in most situations. But this particular engineer was so jaded with his own past experiences he never once asked me to “run a spell”.

And there was one time I was glad he didn’t. We caught an intermodal hotshot out of Missoula late one afternoon. Without digging out my old timebook, I believe it was in July. And for most of the mileage we rode it seemed like we were headed directly into the biggest, brightest setting sun I ever saw. In fact, I’m surprised the Science Channel didn’t have a special about this day. That mean ol’ sun must have hung up there in the sky, shining right through our windshield for about 6 hours! It has to be the longest sunset in the history of Astronomical Physics. I’m totally shocked the scientific world never even noticed…

Of course, I may be stretching the truth a tiny bit… Maybe. But I’m here to tell ya: that was one of the most headache-producing times in my entire career. It’s no picnic staring directly into the sun at upwards of 60 MPH. While looking for exact mileposts so we could observe temporary slow orders. Not to mention keeping a vigilant lookout for less than clear signals, plus any other safety anomalies along the way.

I used a slightly different sequential shot for a thread I posted about 5 weeks ago ( here’s a link: https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,4610597,4610597#msg-4610597 ) . Take another look at the 2 guys in the cab in this shot posted below. They’ll only be running this hotshot stacker for a few miles while that sun shines right into their eyeballs. But this photo so reminds me of that trip I just described up above. My heart will always be with the RR crews who have to deal with safe visibility against a bright sun. Been there ~ done that, big time

1. UP 4108 points a westbound stacker into the setting sun at Herkimer, KS on August 9, 2018.

Thanks for the shades!
Lance Garrels
santafe199



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/18 19:48 by santafe199.




Date: 09/17/18 21:56
Re: Staring into that sun
Author: PCCRNSEngr

Or the other way facing a sunrise between the rails for about an hour after you have been on duty since 10pm.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/17/18 23:02 by PCCRNSEngr.



Date: 09/18/18 08:09
Re: Staring into that sun
Author: Trainhand

The only thing worse than watching the sun set over brake gauges is watching it rise over them when you are running for the law



Date: 09/18/18 08:10
Re: Staring into that sun
Author: Trainhand

I agree with that 



Date: 09/18/18 14:38
Re: Staring into that sun
Author: Trainhand

didn't mean to post twice



Date: 09/23/18 23:48
Re: Staring into that sun
Author: SP8100

santafe199 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I remember a trip from Missoula, MT to Spokane, WA
> back in the late summer of 1988. It was the first
> summer of MRL’s brand-new existence. I was
> working with an engineer who was a pretty good guy
> at heart. But he had a somewhat combative attitude
> about his job in general, and toward management in
> particular. After hearing a couple of his “war
> stories” I can’t blame him. I had witnessed
> similar situations in 9 previous years with the
> Santa Fe. So I knew this guy wasn’t just blowing
> smoke. By 1988 I had 10 years of train service
> under my belt. Even though I wasn’t officially
> qualified as an engineer, whenever the need arose
> I could handle running a train for extended miles
> in most situations. But this particular engineer
> was so jaded with his own past experiences he
> never once asked me to “run a spell”.
>
> And there was one time I was glad he didn’t. We
> caught an intermodal hotshot out of Missoula late
> one afternoon. Without digging out my old
> timebook, I believe it was in July. And for most
> of the mileage we rode it seemed like we were
> headed directly into the biggest, brightest
> setting sun I ever saw. In fact, I’m surprised
> the Science Channel didn’t have a special about
> this day. That mean ol’ sun must have hung up
> there in the sky, shining right through our
> windshield for about 6 hours! It has to be the
> longest sunset in the history of Astronomical
> Physics. I’m totally shocked the scientific
> world never even noticed…
>
> Of course, I may be stretching the truth a tiny
> bit… Maybe. But I’m here to tell ya: that was
> one of the most headache-producing times in my
> entire career. It’s no picnic staring directly
> into the sun at upwards of 60 MPH. While looking
> for exact mileposts so we could observe temporary
> slow orders. Not to mention keeping a vigilant
> lookout for less than clear signals, plus any
> other safety anomalies along the way.
>
> I used a slightly different sequential shot for a
> thread I posted about 5 weeks ago ( here’s a
> link:
> https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?1,
> 4610597,4610597#msg-4610597 ) . Take another look
> at the 2 guys in the cab in this shot posted
> below. They’ll only be running this hotshot
> stacker for a few miles while that sun shines
> right into their eyeballs. But this photo so
> reminds me of that trip I just described up above.
> My heart will always be with the RR crews who have
> to deal with safe visibility against a bright sun.
> Been there ~ done that, big time…
>
> 1. UP 4108 points a westbound stacker into the
> setting sun at Herkimer, KS on August 9, 2018.
>
> Thanks for the shades!
> Lance Garrels
> santafe199

Lance,

I know the feeling as I did it for about 3 hours heading west/northwest on the "CW" branch line (old NP/BN branch from Cheney to Coulee City) till the sun set a few minutes before 7pm (that is just about the local sunset time for this time of year.)  Oh course the CW doesn't have signals, but I did have to keep checking the mileposts to make sure I knew where I was at..   I had a good case of retina burn, for sure!!!   We were off in the middle of the night, so I didn't have to "run for the law"..


SP8100



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