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Railroaders' Nostalgia > heat, sand, serpents,.......


Date: 12/27/18 10:53
heat, sand, serpents,.......
Author: aronco

A recent post included some photos of the very scenic Hassayampa River Canyon on the BNSF Phoenix line.  Those photos brought to mind a very tough few days I spent in that canyon....In the very hot summer of July, 1970, I was assigned to assist in the cleanup of a derailment in the Hassayampa River canyon South of Wickenburg.  We could not get dozers or loaders to the wreck site due to the wide, sandy river bottom, so we elected to rerail about 10 cars which were down the side of a fill by using only the Winslow derrick.  We grabbed one end of a car and dragged it up the slope, then teetered the center of the car on a stack of blocks while swinging it around parallel to the track.  We only dropped three cars back down the hillside. 
The worst part of the experience was, after all day on the rocky, fiercely hot river canyon, we had to shove the whole train, wrecker, outfits, and that day's rerailed cars, back to Wickenburg, about three miles.  As we walked alongside the train in the dusk, we would hear the rattlesnakes warning us when we got near them, but, being dark, we couldn't see them.  Finally, a veteran "desert rat" showed us how to take care of the snakes - when we heard one, lite a fusee and throw it toward the sound.  The snake would strike at the red flame and that problem was solved.  For three days, we fought the heat, gravity, and the damned snakes! 

Norm

Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar

Norman Orfall
Helendale, CA
TIOGA PASS, a private railcar



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 12/27/18 23:54 by aronco.



Date: 12/27/18 14:09
Re: heat, sand, serpents,.......
Author: Westbound

Reminds me of a long departed former rural neighbor. Drove himself and his wife from central California up to Oregon to visit their daughter in pre-freeway days. When they came back home my future father-in-law noticed his car looked pretty rough and asked the old guy how his trip went. "Awww it was pretty good. We only rolled over once" ! 

aronco Wrote:
  ...We only dropped three cars back down the hillside... 
 



Date: 12/27/18 19:28
Re: heat, sand, serpents,.......
Author: CCDeWeese

In my limited experience, it is not hard to turn cars over again in rerailing.  We had a car dereailed in East St Louis, in Q Tower interlocking plant that we rolled three time whist trying to set it on the trucks.  Turned out the car had been previously derailed on another railroad, the commodity which was granular had gotten wet, and was slewed to the side.  This was over 40 years ago, so details are limited.



Date: 12/28/18 16:51
Re: heat, sand, serpents,.......
Author: PHall

Snake, it's what's for dinner!  Pan fry, goes great with salsa!



Date: 12/28/18 22:47
Re: heat, sand, serpents,.......
Author: ConductorsSon

Norm,
Is there anything you haven't done, what a life.

Happy new year!



Date: 12/29/18 10:00
Re: heat, sand, serpents,.......
Author: Txhighballer

I remember being called out to a derailment in Maryneal ( Norm you might know where that is) and I was quietly requested to bring my rifle AND pistol. Two cars we had to rerail twice and in six hours, I killed sixteen rattlesnakes....



Date: 12/29/18 11:12
Re: heat, sand, serpents,.......
Author: KskidinTx

You should have caught those snakes instead of killing them and brought them to the Sweetwater, Tx Rattlesnake Round-up.  However I would have done what you did.

Another thought:  Norm dropped 3 cars back down the embankment and you had to rerail two of your cars twice.  Reminds me of a derailment of one set of trucks on a locomotive at the SP connection track in Caldwell, TX.  The ,mechanical department had set frogs and had the engineer pull ahead.  The wheels climbed up the frog, onto the rail, then immediately fell back within the gauge.  So after examining everything they had him to back up.  Same thing occurred, the wheels came up onto the rail then back down within the gauge.  This occurred about 5 times.  I didn't know how the mechanical foreman would take any advice from an operating employee but I went up to him and inquired if they had a come-a-long.  Yes, they had one.  I suggested they hook it onto the leading end of the locomotive truck and onto the frame.  As the wheels came up on the next attempt they kept ratcheting the come-a-long and then the truck stayed on the rail.  I always wondered how many additional attempts they would have made if I hadn't offered my suggestion.  Oh by the way, he didn't seem to be offended by my butting in.

Mark


Txhighballer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I remember being called out to a derailment in
> Maryneal ( Norm you might know where that is) and
> I was quietly requested to bring my rifle AND
> pistol. Two cars we had to rerail twice and in six
> hours, I killed sixteen rattlesnakes....



Date: 12/29/18 15:40
Re: heat, sand, serpents,.......
Author: retcsxcfm

There are two examples that I think are the hardest to rerail.
Wood chip hoppers,I think are at least 50' long and 12 or so
feet high.They are very felixable pick up one end and the car
twists in the middle.Best to unload if possible.

Also,tell me about tri-mount locomotive trucks.Sounds like
the post about the "chain-jack" or "come-a-long".Your choice.

Uncle Joe
Seffner,fl.



Date: 01/04/19 23:14
Re: heat, sand, serpents,.......
Author: CA_Sou_MA_Agent

ConductorsSon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Norm, Is there anything you haven't done, what a life.
>
> Happy new year!


I agree, Norm.  Your career sure ran the gambit.  At one end of the spectrum you had the difficult assignment of having to dine in an Amtrak train to make sure it was maintaining the standards of the Super Chief.  The other end of the spectrum you're fighting off rattlesnakes after a day of working in 100 degree heat rerailing freight cars.  

Speaking of re-railing cars, here's a funny story I heard FORTY years ago.  Wow.  Where has the time gone?  

https://www.trainorders.com/discussion/read.php?18,2943923,2943923



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/05/19 13:04 by CA_Sou_MA_Agent.



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