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Helper Districts

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Posted by mackb4 on Sunday, October 16, 2005 2:08 AM
If your mentioning "pushers"or helpers as your saying,the NS uses them everyday on the majority of their trains on the Poca.Division from Williamson,WVa to Bluefield, WVa.The pushers are a one man crew (yeah stupid)[#wstupid],that get in behind the trains in various locations according to traffic (because they may have to find a place to park and wait)[zzz],and how slow the train is going.Most pushers have three units for coal drags,and two for time freights.I usually run from Portsmouth,Ohio to Williamson,but I am qualifed to Bluefield,but have only been pushed a couple of times.Pretty much all the pusher engineer does is put he throttle in no:8 and go along for the ride [:-^] .The NS use to run some "radio cars" which some call "slave units" in the middle of the train.When I was in engine school in 1993 we had to qualify on them but never used them on this territory.The school doesn't even train for it anymore to my understanding.Oh the NS used them(radio train) from Portsmouth to Cinncinnati Ohio at one time.That route The P-Vine" is now closed.[:(]

Collin ,operator of the " Eastern Kentucky & Ohio R.R."

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Posted by ericsp on Saturday, October 15, 2005 10:38 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by Mark_W._Hemphill

QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

I don't think we have any left in Canada since CN took over BC Rail and the Pemberton Pushers were removed.


How do you *remove* pushers from a hill? Bigger locomotives? Smaller trains?

1. Convert to distributed power.
2. Do a line change to reduce the grade (this is what was done on Rogers Pass)
3. Reduce trailing tonnage.

Generally, bigger locomotives doesn't eliminate a helper district because the larger locomotive will pull more on the flatter sections of the district, too, so the trailing tonnage just goes up and you *still* have a helper.


How would converting to distributed power eliminate the need for pushers? Wouldn't you still have the same horsepower trying to pull the same tonnage over the same grade?

I believe that, usually, the limit to the weight the locomotives up front can pull over mountains is the knuckles on the couplers (drawbars). When the train is ran with DP, you can have more tractive effort (force) pulling and pushing than just pulling without breaking a knuckle.

The locomotives will then probably be able to exert more force over the flatlands than is necessary. Of course with this extra force, the train can be accelerated and slower quicker. Also, the extra power (not to be confused with force) can be used to move the train along faster.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Saturday, October 15, 2005 10:04 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Mark_W._Hemphill

QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

I don't think we have any left in Canada since CN took over BC Rail and the Pemberton Pushers were removed.


How do you *remove* pushers from a hill? Bigger locomotives? Smaller trains?

1. Convert to distributed power.
2. Do a line change to reduce the grade (this is what was done on Rogers Pass)
3. Reduce trailing tonnage.

Generally, bigger locomotives doesn't eliminate a helper district because the larger locomotive will pull more on the flatter sections of the district, too, so the trailing tonnage just goes up and you *still* have a helper.


How would converting to distributed power eliminate the need for pushers? Wouldn't you still have the same horsepower trying to pull the same tonnage over the same grade?

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Posted by nanaimo73 on Saturday, October 15, 2005 1:15 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

I don't think we have any left in Canada since CN took over BC Rail and the Pemberton Pushers were removed.


How do you *remove* pushers from a hill? Bigger locomotives? Smaller trains?


QUOTE: Originally posted by Mark_W._Hemphill
1. Convert to distributed power.
2. Do a line change to reduce the grade (this is what was done on Rogers Pass).
3. Reduce trailing tonnage.


4. Reroute traffic.

Most of BC Rail's traffic was forrestry products heading to eastern Canada or the USA which BC Rail interchanged with CN in North Vancouver. CN now runs most of this traffic north to another former interchange at Prince George which avoids the 2.2% grades. At Pemberton there were 4 SD40-2s in this service.
CP Rail at Rogers Pass had 2 sets of 6 SD40-2s at Rogers but I only got in 2 visits before the new tunnel opened.


Wouldn't the extra mileage of running north before running south negate any savings in avoiding the 2.2% grade?


Once the cars come off of the ex BCR onto CN at Prince George or at North Vancouver it would still have to go through Jasper heading east where both routes come together.
The mileage is about the same or less now. BC Rail liked to send everything south to get the long haul.
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Posted by ericsp on Friday, October 14, 2005 10:52 PM
It appears that BNSF has an agreement to run high priority trains over UP from Portland to Mojave (and vice versa). Beinging sometime last year I have been regularly seeing a BNSF H train (with DPU) run on the UP tracks through here. In January, or February, I caught one in a siding and was able to talk to the conductor (who works for BNSF), he said that BNSF routes the H EVEBAR on UP now and that it was not a detour. Now in addition to that I see loaded BNSF stack trains headed north on UP.

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Posted by Murphy Siding on Friday, October 14, 2005 7:23 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

I don't think we have any left in Canada since CN took over BC Rail and the Pemberton Pushers were removed.


How do you *remove* pushers from a hill? Bigger locomotives? Smaller trains?


QUOTE: Originally posted by Mark_W._Hemphill
1. Convert to distributed power.
2. Do a line change to reduce the grade (this is what was done on Rogers Pass).
3. Reduce trailing tonnage.


4. Reroute traffic.

Most of BC Rail's traffic was forrestry products heading to eastern Canada or the USA which BC Rail interchanged with CN in North Vancouver. CN now runs most of this traffic north to another former interchange at Prince George which avoids the 2.2% grades. At Pemberton there were 4 SD40-2s in this service.
CP Rail at Rogers Pass had 2 sets of 6 SD40-2s at Rogers but I only got in 2 visits before the new tunnel opened.


Wouldn't the extra mileage of running north before running south negate any savings in avoiding the 2.2% grade?

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by nanaimo73 on Friday, October 14, 2005 1:05 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

I don't think we have any left in Canada since CN took over BC Rail and the Pemberton Pushers were removed.


How do you *remove* pushers from a hill? Bigger locomotives? Smaller trains?


QUOTE: Originally posted by Mark_W._Hemphill
1. Convert to distributed power.
2. Do a line change to reduce the grade (this is what was done on Rogers Pass).
3. Reduce trailing tonnage.


4. Reroute traffic.

Most of BC Rail's traffic was forrestry products heading to eastern Canada or the USA which BC Rail interchanged with CN in North Vancouver. CN now runs most of this traffic north to another former interchange at Prince George which avoids the 2.2% grades. At Pemberton there were 4 SD40-2s in this service.
CP Rail at Rogers Pass had 2 sets of 6 SD40-2s at Rogers but I only got in 2 visits before the new tunnel opened.


I probably sell some of those Canadian forrestry products.[:D]


B. C. wood is great for houses !
Dale
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Posted by Murphy Siding on Friday, October 14, 2005 12:47 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

I don't think we have any left in Canada since CN took over BC Rail and the Pemberton Pushers were removed.


How do you *remove* pushers from a hill? Bigger locomotives? Smaller trains?


QUOTE: Originally posted by Mark_W._Hemphill
1. Convert to distributed power.
2. Do a line change to reduce the grade (this is what was done on Rogers Pass).
3. Reduce trailing tonnage.


4. Reroute traffic.

Most of BC Rail's traffic was forrestry products heading to eastern Canada or the USA which BC Rail interchanged with CN in North Vancouver. CN now runs most of this traffic north to another former interchange at Prince George which avoids the 2.2% grades. At Pemberton there were 4 SD40-2s in this service.
CP Rail at Rogers Pass had 2 sets of 6 SD40-2s at Rogers but I only got in 2 visits before the new tunnel opened.


I probably sell some of those Canadian forrestry products.[:D]

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by rji2 on Friday, October 14, 2005 11:48 AM
CSX (former L&N) uses a helper from Lacon, Alabama, to Holmes Gap.
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Posted by chad thomas on Friday, October 14, 2005 11:24 AM
I think CORP uses helpers over the Siskyous too.
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Posted by nanaimo73 on Friday, October 14, 2005 10:54 AM
Montana Rail Link has or had helpers as well.
From Livingston west over Bozeman
From Helena and Elliston over Mullan
Evaro as well ?

http://www.rrpicturearchives.net/srchThumbs.aspx?srch=helpers&search=Search
Dale
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Posted by chad thomas on Friday, October 14, 2005 10:06 AM
Hi Broncoman,
Those BNSF trains are probably the north / south trains that compete against UPs I-5 coridor. They originate in Seattle,Tacoma or Vancouver / Portland. From Vancouver,Wa. they go east up the Columbia River george to Wishram then cross the river and head south on the Oregon Trunk line through bend and down to Chemault (?sp?) and then into Klamath Falls on UP track. From there they go down the former BN highline to Beiber. Then on to Keddie on old WP line. BNSF got the old WP(UP) line from Beiber to Keddie when the SP merger happened and then they got track rights from Keddie to Stockton. Some of this traffic terminates & Originates in Stockton. The rest is LA traffic (and possibly some for Barstow or points east). They call the northern part the Inside Gateway. I used to live by this line when I was a kid and back then it was a 1-2 train a day operation. When the WP merged with the UP the traffic had dropped off from 6-7 trains a day to barely one each way. And if the UP wasn't in beiber to exchange cars when the BN showed up, The BN units would return light to Klamath Falls and the UP cars would have to wait for the next days train. At one point there was a tunnel colapse down close to Keddie and the line was almost abandoned. For a while the only traffic on this line was a BN turn down to Bieber from K-Falls to serve the mill and occasionaly a few loads of rock from the Tionesta pit. Even before the tunnel colapse the UP line was in poor shape. It was jointed rail and trains traveling 13-17 Mph would derail from harmonic rocking quite often (they had a rule where if the train couldn't pull 18 Mph or better had to slow down to 12 Mph). Things were looking pretty bleak.

Things have changed for the better on that line now . After the SP-UP merger BNSF got the UPs portion between Keddie and Beiber and fixed it up. The Beiber to K-falls section was kept in tip top shape even through the darkest hours. With a good route to compete with UP and I-5 for the north / south traffic things started picking up in the late 90s. These days it's common for there to be 6 trains or more a day EACH WAY on the inside gateway. And Amtrak occasionaly detours the starlight on this route too. They also ran a roadrailer train on the inside gateway for a while, But they axed it and sent the equiptment back east about a year ago.

As to the DPU question, They probably cut them in at Klamath and Stockton, although I have seen them come out of Vancouver with DPUs (I used to live in the george). The line north of Klamath is relativly flat and they don't need the extra power like they do on the exWP and the FRC.

As a side note they still use cabooses on the Oregon Trunk on some manifests because this is dark territory and they have to line there switches behind them.

BNSF also has track rights on the overland. So you might be seeing trains from the east too, but there main pair of overland trains are running on Donner because of the Reno local traffic (That's getting to be a respectable amount from what I hear). But if we are talking stack trains they are north / south as BNSF has a better eastward route from the bay area / San Joaquin valley in there transcon to the south.
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Posted by broncoman on Friday, October 14, 2005 1:20 AM
Lately I have been seeing a lot of BNSF stack trains coming down UP's Haggin route. When they pass through the Sacramento area they still have two helpers in the back on the westbounders. Where would those units have originated from? I am assuming they are going down to Stockton.
I am seeing about 2-3 BNSF stack trains a day through Davis. They usually have 4 lead units on the eastbounders versus UPs 2 units on theirs. I am assuming both are loaded, but the BNSF has to takle the Feather River Canyon. Anyone have any information on expanded trackage rights fro BNSF on UPs line?

Dave
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Posted by chad thomas on Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:38 PM
Yes Jim, He goes under the name of Modocer I think, at least thats what he uses on Altimont Presses forum. He rarely posts anything though, just reads mostly. I just sent him a e-mail to see if there are any new developments on the Modoc. Last week I talked to him on the phone and he said as we speak the Alturas turn was dropping of one of the Modoc Northern's units in the alturas yard. So I was trying to find out if he had seen it yet or had any pix to share. I expect him to return my e-mail tonight or tommarrow. I'll let you know if I hear anything. We have been discussing where to go on our next trip. We were going to go check out the Frasier & Thompson river canyons up in BC, But I think we are going to run out to Nebraska this time and do BC later. The only question is when can we both get a week off at the same time.
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:21 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by chad thomas

JD? he lives out that way (but I don't know him)


No, don't think Jeff would know. A hogger I know out there will have the answer.
Is your dad a TO member? I noticed on a TO subscrbtion map that there is a TO member in Alturas.

Jim
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Posted by corwinda on Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:20 PM
I don't believe there have been helpers on Montello hill since before the UP/SP merger.


As for helpers out of Oakridge I read that as the DPU wasn't working due to the tunnels.
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Posted by chad thomas on Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:18 PM
JD? he lives out that way (but I don't know him)
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:15 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by chad thomas

Jim, I know it's a little out of your territory, but do you know if they are using helpers on Montello hill?


I don't know, but I know who to ask, and will pose the question.

Jim
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Posted by chad thomas on Thursday, October 13, 2005 3:01 PM
Jim, I know it's a little out of your territory, but do you know if they are using helpers on Montello hill?
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 13, 2005 2:58 PM
Donner Pass on Union Pacific's "Overland Route" is still a helper district. Although they have done a number of things to cut out manned helpers on the sub. First, they have in the past year or so reduced tonnage of some trains using this line. Next, at Roseville power is added to the head end of eastbound trains for the trip over Donner, added power is cut off at Sparks. Likewise westbound trains get additional head end power, which is cut off at Roseville.

Recently in the last couple of months heavy trains such as the MNPFR, MFRNP, MRVGR, MGRRV, QFRNP and QNPFR have been generally rerouted off of Donner to the Feather River Canyon.

For train handling on those trains using Donner that require helpers on the rear, they are receiving DPUs. Normally one unit on the head end and one or two units on the rear for the push between Roseville and Sparks - Sparks and Roseville. I haven't seen mid train helpers on this route for 5 or 6 years.

When conditions warrant, such as derailments and work windows in the Feather River Canyon, or regional and/or temporary power shortages, manned helpers are brought out and used on Donner, the Roseville Subdivision, on some trains.

Subjectively it is my observation that the Espee was much better at managing the Roseville Sub than the Union Pacific has done to date. Last winters' storms are a case in point.

Jim

Manned helpers running light back to Roseville, pictured at Shed 47 on the Roseville Sub - 24 September 2005.



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Posted by chad thomas on Thursday, October 13, 2005 2:12 PM
I spent almost a year in Dorris (just below K-Falls) in 03' and during that time I never saw DPU units. So if they were using DPU they must have been pulling them off in Klamath. And I saw manned helpers being cut out at Grass Lake (summit) so they were still using manned helpers at that time. That could have changed though.
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Posted by PNWRMNM on Thursday, October 13, 2005 2:04 PM
I saw photo in Trains showing helper set at Oakridge on UP (ex SP) working Oakridge to Crescent Lake. This was DPU. They probably figured out DPU was more expensive than manned helpers.

Dunsmuir would be the base for the Northbound help on this line.

Mac
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Posted by Anonymous on Thursday, October 13, 2005 1:52 PM
The Pocatello sub in Idaho has manned helpers on Reverse hill out of Glenns Ferry....called from the Xtra board...
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Posted by nanaimo73 on Thursday, October 13, 2005 1:09 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by Murphy Siding

QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

I don't think we have any left in Canada since CN took over BC Rail and the Pemberton Pushers were removed.


How do you *remove* pushers from a hill? Bigger locomotives? Smaller trains?


QUOTE: Originally posted by Mark_W._Hemphill
1. Convert to distributed power.
2. Do a line change to reduce the grade (this is what was done on Rogers Pass).
3. Reduce trailing tonnage.


4. Reroute traffic.

Most of BC Rail's traffic was forrestry products heading to eastern Canada or the USA which BC Rail interchanged with CN in North Vancouver. CN now runs most of this traffic north to another former interchange at Prince George which avoids the 2.2% grades. At Pemberton there were 4 SD40-2s in this service.
CP Rail at Rogers Pass had 2 sets of 6 SD40-2s at Rogers but I only got in 2 visits before the new tunnel opened.
Dale
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Posted by chad thomas on Thursday, October 13, 2005 12:45 PM
Cajon Pass, these units were working on the hill two weeks ago

And these were working a month or so ago


Beaumont hill, these were working at W Palm Springs in June


They are used on Donner when there is a lot of traffic, like when the Feather River route is out of service (Jim could probably tell you more about that)

And I think there is a helper in Dunsmuir too but I'm not 100% on that
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Posted by Murphy Siding on Thursday, October 13, 2005 12:40 PM
QUOTE: Originally posted by nanaimo73

I don't think we have any left in Canada since CN took over BC Rail and the Pemberton Pushers were removed.


How do you *remove* pushers from a hill? Bigger locomotives? Smaller trains?

Thanks to Chris / CopCarSS for my avatar.

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Posted by nanaimo73 on Thursday, October 13, 2005 1:52 AM
I don't think we have any left in Canada since CN took over BC Rail and the Pemberton Pushers were removed.
Dale
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Posted by ericsp on Thursday, October 13, 2005 12:54 AM
QUOTE: Originally posted by TheS.P.caboose

I believe there are helpers in use in the Techachapi Mountains between Bakersfield and Summit Switch.

I did enjoy seeing the helpers get cut in at Bakersfield and cut out at Sylmar (Los Angeles area) back in the day when Southern Pacific was still around,

I am not sure, but I think manned helpers over Tehachapi are gone. The long/heavy trains that run over Tehachapi (usually MRVWC and MWCRV) usually have DPU all the way from Roseville to West Colton and vice versa. The last few times I have been at the yard at Bakersfield there were very few locomotives there. The engine terminal has been shut down. I have even been seeing more BNSF trains come through the valley with DPU.

The last I heard there were still manned helpers over Cuesta though.

"No soup for you!" - Yev Kassem (from Seinfeld)

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Posted by TheS.P.caboose on Thursday, October 13, 2005 12:51 AM
A couple places in California require helpers. At Cuesta (between Santa Margarita and San Luis Obispo) helpers are needed for the "loaded oil cans" at 10,608 tons and 2.2% grades. Another is in Cajon Pass with some of the loaded coal trains that Union Pacific runs.
Regards Gary
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Posted by TheS.P.caboose on Thursday, October 13, 2005 12:26 AM
I believe there are helpers in use in the Techachapi Mountains between Bakersfield and Summit Switch.

I did enjoy seeing the helpers get cut in at Bakersfield and cut out at Sylmar (Los Angeles area) back in the day when Southern Pacific was still around,
Regards Gary

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