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Railroaders' Nostalgia > Memories on Main Street


Date: 01/10/20 12:34
Memories on Main Street
Author: santafe199

We all know if we didn’t have a sense of history we wouldn’t be railfans. Even if it’s only on a fundamental level, railfanning wouldn’t exist without our love of history. And as a railfan, it’s something special to know that you have shot from, or at least stood in the same spot where a well-known photo was taken. Or in the same spot where a well-known photographer once shot his photos.

In 1972 Bill Gibson made a pass through the Big Sky. He visited some of the very same spots I would be railroading (& shooting a few pics) beginning in 1987. The name on the railroad might have been Burlington Northern. But he knew he was deep in the heart of Northern Pacific’s “Main Street of the Northwest”. He started in Missoula by shooting Amtrak’s train #10 at the same Missoula Depot I would be sampling micro-brewed beer circa 1990. Bill chased #10 and got shots at Butte, on Homestake Pass and again at Livingston where he spent the night. The next day he would record this shot of the 9794. A job well done.

My own sense of railfanning history, more precisely my railfanning heart of hearts took a huge ping when my scanning & archiving labor of love came across this sequence of slides in Bill’s body of work. In my 23 years with MRL (1987 ~ 2010) I spent 19 of them working out of Laurel. A goodly portion of that was spent working the engineer’s extra board at Laurel. Which in turn, covered all engineer’s jobs working out of Livingston: 1 local & a handful of helper jobs. That means I walked the same ground where Bill stood to shoot his slide so many years before. Countless times in that same Livingston roundhouse area I hefted my grip up onto engine platforms, climbed aboard and ran many engine consists in my duties with MRL. Of course, the names had changed, and the paint was now dark blue. But I betcha Bill, who passed in 1983 would have been proud just the same…

1. AMTK 9794, still in Northern Pacific “Main Street…” livery sits at the roundhouse in Livingston, MT on August 22, 1972. It appears ready to go west on #9. I believe Amtrak owned a group of ex-BN F-units, including this one. But as always I will cheerfully defer to someone with better info…
Photo by William A. Gibson (WAG) Sr.

Thanks for looking back!
Lance Garrels (santafe199)
Art Gibson (wag216)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/20 15:40 by santafe199.




Date: 01/10/20 17:46
Re: Memories on Main Street
Author: WoodwardEJ

Burlington Northern FP7 #9794 was originally Northern Pacific #6601, purchased February 23, 1952. NP bought FP7s #6600 and #6601 mainly for service on trains 61 and 62 between St Paul and Duluth and trains 11 and 12 between St Paul and International Falls.  Since they were intended for these trains, in relatively flat territory, they were not equipped with dynamic brakes.  The space that would have been occupied by dynamic brake equipment was instead devoted to additional water tankage for the steam generator.  #6601 was renumbered to BN #9794 in 1970, and obviously found its way to Livingston while in use by BN.  #9794 became BN #726 in September 1976. 

See page 14 of http://www.nprha.org/Equipment/Numerical%20Registers/Non-NP/BN%20Diesel%20Locomotives%206500%20-%209999%20Car%20Register%20Sheets.pdf and page 11 of http://www.nprha.org/Equipment/Numerical%20Registers/NP%20Locos%20and%20Misc/NP%20Diesel%20Electric%20Locomotives%203600%20-%206601%20Register%20Sheets.pdf, also pages 137 and 138 of Northern Pacific Railway - Diesel Era by Lorenz P Schrenk and Robert L Frey.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/10/20 19:10 by WoodwardEJ.



Date: 01/13/20 07:14
Re: Memories on Main Street
Author: ntharalson

WoodwardEJ Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Burlington Northern FP7 #9794 was originally
> Northern Pacific #6601, purchased February 23,
> 1952. NP bought FP7s #6600 and #6601 mainly for
> service on trains 61 and 62 between St Paul and
> Duluth and trains 11 and 12 between St Paul and
> International Falls.  Since they were intended
> for these trains, in relatively flat territory,
> they were not equipped with dynamic brakes.  The
> space that would have been occupied by dynamic
> brake equipment was instead devoted to additional
> water tankage for the steam generator.  #6601 was
> renumbered to BN #9794 in 1970, and obviously
> found its way to Livingston while in use by BN. 
> #9794 became BN #726 in September 1976. 
>
> See page 14
> of http://www.nprha.org/Equipment/Numerical%20Reg
> isters/Non-NP/BN%20Diesel%20Locomotives%206500%20-
> %209999%20Car%20Register%20Sheets.pdf and page 11
> of http://www.nprha.org/Equipment/Numerical%20Reg
> isters/NP%20Locos%20and%20Misc/NP%20Diesel%20Elect
> ric%20Locomotives%203600%20-%206601%20Register%20S
> heets.pdf, also pages 137 and 138 of Northern
> Pacific Railway - Diesel Era by Lorenz P Schrenk
> and Robert L Frey.

Thanks for this.  I knew 9794 was one of the two ex-NP FP7's, but not the rest of it.  I believe it was eventually scrapped.  

Nick Tharalson,
Marion, IA



Date: 01/13/20 10:58
Re: Memories on Main Street
Author: Cabhop

The NP's two-tone Green Passenger scheme was one of the all time best.  Don't bother, not excepting any arguments.



Date: 01/13/20 11:10
Re: Memories on Main Street
Author: Cabhop

The 9794 was an ex- NP FP7 right?  As I remember NP's FPs didn't have Dynamic Brakes.  If it were to be used on No.s 9 and 10 meant that it would have go down Bozeman Pass with air only?  Not that that is a big deal as Bozeman hill isn't all that long but by this time I'm surprised that BN would run trains on air braking only. 



Date: 01/13/20 11:42
Re: Memories on Main Street
Author: WoodwardEJ

As stated in my earlier reply (01/10/20 19:46) in this thread, the FP7s did not have dynamic brakes; however, the other two units in this consist very likely did have dynamics, so they could handle at least part of the braking load as westbound train 9 descended the west side of Bozeman Pass (ruling grade 1.9%), as well of the steeper west sides of Homestake Pass  and Evaro Hill (both with ruling grade 2.2%).  

That said, I cannot help wondering if Lance's description of this photo might be slightly mistaken.  Perhaps the reality was that this consist arrived from the east on the previous day's train 9, and is now poised to return eastward on train 10.  If that were the case, presence of dynamic braking would not be much of an issue, given the mild grades the trains faced east of Livingston.

For NP Track Profiles, see 
http://www.nprha.org/NP%20Track%20Charts%20%20Profiles/Forms/AllItems.aspx



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/13/20 11:49 by WoodwardEJ.



Date: 01/13/20 15:38
Re: Memories on Main Street
Author: santafe199

WoodwardEJ Wrote: > ... I cannot help wondering if Lance's description of this photo might be slightly mistaken ...

You certainly know your power! I went back a double checked the lead unit for #10 which Bill shot in Missoula, Butte and again on the Pass. It was the 9764 instead of the 9794. Thanks, I have amended the caption...

Lance/199

 



Date: 01/13/20 18:27
Re: Memories on Main Street
Author: WoodwardEJ

For what it's worth, NP F7-A second #6502C became BN #9764 on September 14, 1970.  It was later sold to Amtrak in December 1972.



Date: 01/14/20 08:31
Re: Memories on Main Street
Author: Cabhop

WoodwardEJ 
Even though NP's FP7s didn't have Dynamic Breaks they must have DB controls?  I worked for the SP and every road engine I ever had had DBs.  So even if its DB was B/O you could control the trailing units.  I guess the NP FP's had the Dynamic "throttle" to control the trailers?



Date: 01/14/20 10:18
Re: Memories on Main Street
Author: PHall

Cabhop Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> WoodwardEJ 
> Even though NP's FP7s didn't have Dynamic Breaks
> they must have DB controls?  I worked for the SP
> and every road engine I ever had had DBs.  So
> even if its DB was B/O you could control the
> trailing units.  I guess the NP FP's had the
> Dynamic "throttle" to control the trailers?

Normally if a unit is not dynamic brake equipped then it won't have the controls.
And the field loop MU receptacle won't be there either.
These days with everything going through the 27 pin MU cable the Dynamic Brake control circuits may be trainlined through the unit.



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