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BNSF's Panhandle wreck.

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Posted by tree68 on Monday, August 1, 2016 10:15 AM

When I was in tech school at Chanute AFB, hard by the IC main, we were done for the day about noon.  I spent a number of afternoons on the platform at the Rantoul station.  

Occasionally the station agent would hang orders on the crane in front of the station for northbounds (and probably for southbounds, too, although I don't recall that happening as often).  Trains getting the orders would then cross over to the "wrong" main just north of town.  

As I recall, the agent told me it was for maintenance going on on the "right" main north of Rantoul.  I never really dug to find out what that work was.

That line is single track now.

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Posted by Buslist on Monday, August 1, 2016 2:15 PM

tree68

When I was in tech school at Chanute AFB, hard by the IC main, we were done for the day about noon.  I spent a number of afternoons on the platform at the Rantoul station.  

Occasionally the station agent would hang orders on the crane in front of the station for northbounds (and probably for southbounds, too, although I don't recall that happening as often).  Trains getting the orders would then cross over to the "wrong" main just north of town.  

As I recall, the agent told me it was for maintenance going on on the "right" main north of Rantoul.  I never really dug to find out what that work was.

That line is single track now.

 

 

At that point the IC was 2 track ABS. So crossing over was indeed "wrong maining" it wasn't until you got to Gilman that it became bidirectional CTC. Southbound would rarely get orders as a new crew would get on at Champaign and get their orders while passing Champaign Tower ( with Dick Stair as first trick operator , the tower at Monticello named after him). 
 
Just south of the Rantoul along the base was a somewhat unique installation, a so called intermediate siding. This was between the 2 mains and could be used by both north and south bounds.
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Posted by Buslist on Monday, August 1, 2016 2:40 PM

schlimm

 

 
schlimm

 

 
main IC/ICG.  That is research by consulting with someone with first-hand, expert knowledge.  I may also reach a former UP/CNW dispatcher for more expert knowledge on an older period on those lines.

[added]  I found a 1972 IC employee TT.  Running against trffic on a second main was permitted, but it sounds quite involved, i.e., not your usual, everyday practice.  As I recall, the IC had a 3rd main in some stretches north of Kankakee and the TT shows 5 long (for that time) sidings 79-206 cars with engine) between Kankakee and Champaign, 8 south of CHA to Centralia. By 1972, the speed limit north of Champaign for passenger trains was 79, freight 60.  South of Champaign was still a 100 mph speedway to Branch Jct. near Centralia.

 

 

 

n012944:  Sorry, I was wrong.  I finally heard from the former CNW/UP dispatcher.    He said:

"There are NO WRONG tracks- in signaled territories it would be called Against the Current of Traffic, & dispatchers could reverse the current to enable the signals to work properly- from Proviso to Salt Lake City the UP had/has 2 main tracks, sometimes 3, & a few short areas of single track- it was a delight for dispatchers to have two (shooters we called those fast trains) side by side at 70mph speeding toward Geneva. Whichever went through Dekalb first would be crossed over & get to take the train into Proviso. In single track territory sometimes trains would be put in sidings to allow another to pass."

 

 

so I'm curious why you needed to consult with your dispatcher when you won't believe N012944 who is apparently a dispatcher. If you want to talk to an IC dispatcher look up Terry Shearer on Facebook. He is a former operator on the Illinois Division of the pIC that rose to Chief Dispatcher before he  recently retired.  Or talk to me as I worked for the IC on the Illinois Divison in the late 60s. 

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Posted by schlimm on Monday, August 1, 2016 6:39 PM

Buslist
so I'm curious why you needed to consult with your dispatcher when you won't believe N012944 who is apparently a dispatcher. If you want to talk to an IC dispatcher look up Terry Shearer on Facebook. He is a former operator on the Illinois Division of the pIC that rose to Chief Dispatcher before he  recently retired.  Or talk to me as I worked for the IC on the Illinois Divison in the late 60s. 

I really had no idea of what n012944's job was. I did not notice your posts on that thread.  Many railroaders do not identify what their experience is. "Tower Terry" as he was known in 1970 (met him through his late sister) is an old friend from Urbana/UofI days back then.  I tried contacting him about this on FB messaging (he's a friend there) but no response as of yet.  

I've admitted my error (something few ever do on here), but I guess that is insufficient in your book?

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Posted by Reading467 on Thursday, March 9, 2023 10:14 AM

Overmod's comments in a more recent thread led me to look up the NTSB docket (DCA16FR008) on the Panhandle Collision. There were 82 files there. The best summary is the Party Submission- BLET file.  Other illuminating files include the Interview with the Dispatcher and the surviving engineer from Q-CHISBD6-27L.

Both trains were on Main 1.  There's a siding at Panhandle just north of Main 1. The dispatcher planned for a meet between westbound CHISBD and eastbound S-LACLPC1-26K, which had departed Amarillo about 0645 CDT.  CHI was lined for the siding and LAC was supposed to stop on Main 1 at signal 5261.  The DS said he did this in order to run a Z Train around LAC on Main 2 at Panhandle after the meet with CHI. He also said he contacted both CHI & LAC about 10 mins prior to inform them of the meet. CHI's engineer responded to the DS and acknowledged the meet details.  The DS said he thought he heard a reply from LAC, but it was garbled and unitelligible. 

CHI had a diverging signal and was slowing to 40 mph for the RH switch at 5261. The Engineer noted he thought that LAC had passed a road crossing that he knew to be to the West of signal 5621 and that once LAC had passed that point, he realized they were going to have a head-on collision.  He put his train in Emergency and told the Conductor they were going to have to jump.  They both left the cab of lead unit BNSF 5416 on the engineer's side &ran to the rear steps.  He saw the conductor behind him just before he jumped. That was the last he saw of her.  

He also stated he couldn't see any movement in the cab of LAC's leading unit, BNSF 5162.

LAC was travelling at 65 mph (east) and CHI was at 37 mph (west) for a closing speed of 102 mph.  Both lead locos were stripped to the frame as a result of the collision. 

 

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