Crews commented on the red glow from the new dispatcher clock. With the addition of a LCD TV in the office, the dispatcher's clock is now much larger and can be seen easily across the layout.
XtrFE - Larry - Went on duty at Davenport at 5:15a with a GP40 and two "Boomtime" blue GP7s. Larry typically gets this train. In the past he has been held for long periods of time as the passenger trains whiz by. With changes in Davenport, Larry was able to make good time out of the terminal keeping him a step or two ahead of the passenger trains. Previously Larry would have to board his train in West Davenport and then switch cars in East Davenport yard. Now, the yard crew takes care of this work eliminating time for the crews out on the road. Larry simply grabs his power and caboose, backs on to his train, performs an air test and departs. The trip was pretty uneventful passing the outlawed XtrFW at Rock Island. Although Larry feared being held to be overtaken by a passenger train, he was granted permission all the way into Chicago. A first for Larry. Larry did have to stop at Stockdale to set off a bad order CNW covered hopper. The car will be picked up later for repair at Carrie Ave Shops. Larry marked off at 6:55am (1hr 30m)
Larry engineering XtrFE by the outlawed XtrFW at Rock Island
#12 Peoria Rocket - Marcus - Went on duty at 6:00am at Peoria for the inaugural run of the Peoria Rocket actually departing from Peoria. The train was lead by Rock Island FP7 #409. The wheel slip light came on as Marcus traveled up the grade north of Peoria. They had to back down the hill and give it a second try. Although still slipping, they were able to make it into Bureau. Marcus had no issues traveling into Chicago after wying his train at Bureau. Marcus marked off at 7:41am on time in Chicago. (1hr 41m)
#6 Quad Cities Rocket - Steven - Went on duty at 6:15am at West Davenport. Motive power was a sole EMD E7. They passed still outlawed XtrFW train at Rock Island. Otherwise, it was a pretty uneventful trip following #12 Peoria Rocket into Chicago. Steven marked off at 8:19am on time in Chicago. (2hrs)
#6 Quad Cities Rocket making its station stop at Rock Island. The outlawed XtrFW is still rusting to the rails in the passing siding. Many of the towns people have began rocking the train breaking out the locomotive and caboose windows.
XtrFW - Larry - Larry was called at 7:40am to bring the outlawed XtrFW train into Davenport. He marked off at 8:15am 35 minutes later earning a day's pay for a quick job. (30m)
Stockdale Local - Marcus - The Stockdale local had been partially completed before the crew simply quit and left the train on the AT&SF interchange at Joliet. Marcus was called to duty at 7:50am to complete the switching in Joliet and return to Chicago. Motive power included two freshly painted "Prosperity" Red RS2s. Marcus called into the clerk's office to report a misspot. Evidently, when management ran the train last, they misspotted a car of Recycled Paper at American Can Co. which was actually destined for Midwest Paper Stock Company. The crews gave management a good ribbing over that snafu. Marcus corrected the car missport and marked off duty at 11:35am in Chicago (3hrs 30m)
After completion of his run on #6 Quad Cities Rocket, Steven went on duty in the yard classifying the cars received in from XtrFW and assembled/blocked the Grain and Rock Island locals.
Extra Grain Local - Larry - Went on duty at 9:15am at West Davenport Yard. Motive power was a "Boomtime" Blue GP38-2 and U25B. When given his orders, it was stated that it would be "rare" for spotting a 40' box car behind Sunrise Feed Mill. Not only did he have to pick up one of these "rare" cars, but had to spot a replacement. Larry questioned just how "rare" this occurrence would be. :-) No other major issues out on the road. For once, the Extra Grain Local wasn't thrashing around in Stockdale at the same time as the Stockdale Local which made for some pleasant running. His only delay was being held short of the Mississippi River bridge on the return trip for a few minutes before yarding his train. Larry marked off at 5:00pm. (7hrs 45m)
Rock Island Local - Steven - Went on duty at 11:00am at West Davenport Yard. The train was powered by a sole GP40 today. He had a pretty uneventful trip to Rock Island and back. No major issues were reported. Steven marked off at 2:20pm (3hrs 20m)
We broke for about an hour lunch to recharge our batteries for the remainder of the session.
Blue Island Local - Marcus - Went on duty at 12:01pm at Burr Oak Yard in South Chicago. Marcus reported his "Boomtime" Blue GP7 wasn't loading properly. That unit will be tagged for repair at Carrie Ave Shops. Marcus marked off at 2:32pm. (2hrs 30m)
Peoria to Davenport Transfer - Marcus - Went on duty at 3:00pm at Peoria. Marcus departed Peoria with two freshly painted "Prosperity" Red RS2s. The trip was a quick one over to Davenport. Marcus marked off at 4:10pm. (1hr 10m)
Railfans were pretty happy at all the activity in Bureau Wye. Three trains within an hour: Peoria to Davenport Transfer, Grain Local and XtrFE #2.
XtrFE #2 - Steven - Went on duty at 3:00pm at West Davenport. Motive power was an interesting lash-up consisting of a FP7, U25B and GP40. The trip was uneventful arriving in Chicago at 4:15pm (1hr 15m).
XtrFE #2 pulling up grade by the station at Rock Island, IL
Another view of the same train rolling through Rock Island, IL
#5 Quad Cities Rocket - Marcus - Went on duty at Burr Oak Yard in South Chicago at 5:15pm. Today's #5 Quad Cities Rocket was a combined train with the #11 Peoria Rocket. The train was a monster consisting of 3 baggage cars and 7 passenger cars pulled by a single E7. Marcus informed the dispatcher that he would be required to make two stops at each station due to the length of the train. It was originally planned for the entire train to travel to Davenport with Peoria bound passengers disembarking the train at Bureau to be bussed the final distance due to a crew shortage. Marcus brought up the fact that Peoria Rocket's train would still need to be moved over to Peoria for it's next run. It was decided that Marcus would drop off one baggage car and two passenger cars at Bureau. The Peoria Local currently working in the area would travel up to Bureau to pick up the train to bring back to Peoria for tomorrow's Rocket. Larry was quick to take on this assignment ensuring a claim for passenger train pay for handling the cars in addition to his local day's pay. Marcus only incurred at 10m delay dropping the cars at Bureau. He arrived in West Davenport a minute late making up time over the road. He marked off at 7:20pm (2hrs 5m). A special thanks to Larry and Marcus for making a very prototypical situation out of the combined train. Excellent work guys!
Peoria Local - Larry - Went on duty at 5:15pm. The train was powered by a single ALCO RS2. It was rumored that the hemp fiber car bound for Peoria Cordage was 15-20lbs shy of its load weight upon arrival. The crew had no comment. Larry traveled up to Bureau to bring back the Peoria Rocket's train. He marked off duty at 7:30pm. (2hrs 15m)
The Peoria Local bringing in the Peoria Rocket's train to be parked for tomorrow's run.
Davenport to Peoria Transfer - Marcus - Went on duty at 7:25pm. It was powered by two ALCO RS2s. Again, a quick run over to Peoria. Marcus marked off at 8:15pm. (50m)
XtrFW #2 - Steven - Went on duty at Burr Oak Yard in South Chicago at 7:30pm. The train was powered by two GP40s and a U25B. Steven met an XtrFE #3 at Rock Island. Steven marked off duty at 8:45pm. (1hr 15m)
XtrFE #3 - Larry - Went on duty at West Davenport Yard at 7:40pm. This is the first time a third section of a train was required. Eastbound traffic was stacking up in Davenport requiring the additional train. The train was powered by newly acquired Kato SD40-2s in primer gray bound for Peconic Shops in Warwick, NY. Larry met Steven at Rock Island. A call was placed from Bureau wye reporting coupler issues (the Kato's come from the factory with dummy couplers). The power was cut off at Bureau Wye as replacement power was called down from Chicago. XtrFE #2's power was brought down to rescue XtrFE #3. Larry marked off duty at 9:15pm (1hr 25m).
Marcus commented "Oooooh...look at those!" when the primer gray SD40-2s made their first appearance out of Carrie Ave Shops earlier in the day. The railfan hotline lit up this afternoon as fans lined the mainline to catch a glimpse at the newest power on the road. Here the consist is pulling XtrFE #3 out of West Davenport through the crossover.
XtrFE #3 meeting XtrFW #2 at Rock Island, IL
I must say the op session ran well with three people today. There was more breaks between trains. We ran the optional Stockdale local today which tightened up the schedule some, but it was still a more relaxed pace.
The random car request generator I created in Excel seemed to work well. Twice on locals run by Marcus, he noted how few cars were being picked up. In the past, nearly half of all spotted cars would be picked up which wasn't very prototypical. Now, there are variances in traffic flow as exampled by the third eastbound extra. I'm pleased with changes made in this department.
The restructuring of the Carrie Ave Shops facility was a dramatic welcomed change. Crews adapted well. It was definitely a more prototypical feel with crews obtaining their power, pulling a caboose and backing onto their train for departure. I love this change!
Other than the late addition of the primer gray SD40-2s that were called into service, this was the first session to operate all Rock Island power. A very nice feeling! I'm quite pleased with the development of this layout. It's hard to believe that none of this was here 16 months ago.
Overall, it was a great day running trains with friends. Thanks to Larry and Marcus for sharing in the experience with me.
Next week, CRI&P management will be traveling to the Lehigh & Hudson River Railway to assist in operations in New York.