West bound freight operations over the high line

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West bound freight operations over the high line

John McCutcheon
Been reading Mike's comments about the operations to Dickey and I have been wandering how freight was moved and set out on west bound movements. If a west bound freight leaves Breckenridge for Leadville and arrives at Dickey with set outs for Dillon and Keystone are the cars left at Dickey and an extra run later or is the train broken up and a run made to Dillon first. This would also mean any pick up's at Dillon would be dropped off at Dickey for a future east bound movement. Also the same for Kokomo and Climax or is everything hauled to Leadville and then run as an extra. If set outs are made on the way this must have been a been an interesting operation to watch as the train broken up and put back together less the set outs and pick ups that would eventually go to Leadville via standard gauge or back east bound. This would make for a long day taking into considerations for train weight and weather.

John McCutcheon
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Mike Trent
Administrator
Hi John,

During the time when we were able to spend time with Doug Scharbusch and Clinton Eshe, Doug was adamant that no switching or set outs were made at Dickey on Westbound Extra freights. No runs to Dillon or Keystone.

While I'm sure about the lack of any switching on the Dillon and Keystone Branch Westbound, I just can't imagine they didn't set out Dickey bound coal cars.

Switching was done on all Eastbound runs along the line. Most of that work was probably handled by the lead helper, as it was the first engine in after being cut off at Climax. If Dillon and Keystone cars had been cut off Westbound it would have made things a lot easier rather than having to wait for the following train to set out cars.

Doug still complained about having had to make those runs, because he said he and his engineer hardly had any time at all for lunch. He also said they never made any extra pay for the run, because it was simply a switching operation. This also implies the caboose was not used to Dillon because then it would have actually been classified as a train. Enginemen on road engines were paid a higher wage than helpers.

Not sure this makes sense to everyone, but it sure is consistent with Chris' comments about the "company" (whatever and wherever it was) being run by pinchpenny skinflints.

Presumably, this was a carryover from DSP&P days, when the "Fastest Freight to Leadville" campaign began. Afterward, since every trainman on the West End lived in Leadville, the practice was never changed.
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Lee Gustafson
Was the lack of the use of a caboose due also to the impact it would have had on tonnage capacity as well as classification as a "train"? Thanks.

Lee Gustafson
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Mike Trent
Administrator
No, my understanding is that for rules to define a "train", a caboose and conductor are involved. In a switching operation the crew has orders from the conductor, and a brakemen. It tonnage was a problem, they would have simply used a second helper. But I doubt that happened often.
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Rick Steele
Engine.--  A locomotive propelled by any form of energy.

Motor:-- A car propelled by any form of energy

Train:-- An engine, or motor, or more than one engine, or motor, coupled, with or without cars, displaying markers.

Regular Train:-- A train authorized by a time-table schedule.

Section.-- One of two or more trains running on the same schedule displaying signals or for which signals are displayed.

Extra Train.-- A train not authorized by a time-table schedule. It may be designated as--

     Extra.-- for any extra train, except work extra;
     Work Extra.-- for work extra trains.

Superior Train.-- a train having precedence over another train.

Train of Superior Right.-- A Train given precedence by train order.

Train of Superior Class.-- A train given precedence by time-table.

Train of Superior Direction.-- A train given precedence in the direction specified by time-table as between opposing trains of the same class.

Time-Table.-- The authority for the movement of regular trains subject to the rules. It contains the classified schedules of trains with special instructions relating thereto.

Schedule.-- That part of the time-table which presribes class, direction, number and movement for a regular train.


When you start talking about Conductors and Engineers and who gets what and clearance and train orders, those enable the train to occupy the track where it is going to move. They have nothing to do with the definition of a "Train".  As you can see, a train doesn't even have to have any cars, so long as it is displaying markers.

This lead to the old definition of a conductor:

Conductor.-- A brakeman, promoted, with or without brains, displaying pencils.

Rick
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Mike Trent
Administrator
Excellent. Thanks for taking time to straighten that out, Rick. Much more clear!

So, by whatever definition you choose, making the helpers switch the Dillon Keystone Branch resulted in no extra pay for their crews while their conductor stayed in Dickey sharpening pencils. Got it!
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Rick Steele
I knew that I would get you to understand railroading, Mike.

Rick
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Mike Trent
Administrator
;)
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Jim Courtney
This post was updated on .
In reply to this post by Lee Gustafson
On page 6 of the "Freight Trains at Dillon" thread (http://c-sng-discussion-forum.41377.n7.nabble.com/Freight-trains-at-Dillon-or-Keystone-td1868i80.html) I posted 1918 valuation maps for all the stations on the Keystone branch north of Dickey.

It was apparent that by 1918 the wye at Keystone had been removed from service, so there was no way to turn a locomotive north of Dickey. The only double ended siding north of Dickey, to allow run around moves, was the house track at Dillon (which often had cars spotted on it). Essentially, the entire Keystone branch was a 7 mile industrial spur.

If a helper engine crew was assigned the task of delivering inbound cars to locations on the Keystone branch, the consist of cars would have to be blocked at Dickey such that cars for facing point spurs (the stockyard track at Dillon, the Keystone house track) could be pushed ahead of the locomotive (north of the locomotive). Any inbound cars destined for stations with trailing point spurs (Sterne's spur and Colligan spur) would have to pulled behind the locomotive (south of the locomotive).

Thus, a typical consist of 5 inbound cars for the Keystone branch stations might have 3 cars ahead of the locomotive and 2 cars behind the locomotive as it left Dickey northbound. A caboose would have likely complicated switching.

Remember this photo:


In the Klingers' C&S Highline Memories . . .

This is what a freight consist on the Keystone branch would likely have looked like as it crossed the Snake river trestle just west of Keystone.

Mike has stated that Keystone branch business was handled by one of the helpers of the east bound freight train.  Does this mean that the fireman commonly got down from the locomotive to line track switches, make couplings, connect air hoses, set a hand brake, etc? Or did the locomotive crew take along at least one brakeman?

In my brief railroading career, union rules prohibited the fireman from getting off the locomotive to perform any chore other than servicing the locomotive. They didn't even line track switches in the round house area of a terminal, that being the union prescribed job of the hostler!

Did the unions make special concessions to the C&S narrow gauge management, in order to keep the line operating -- receiver Miller on the RGS was able to negotiate such concessions. Anyone know about the C&S??
Jim Courtney
Poulsbo, WA
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Mike Trent
Administrator
Interesting stuff, Jim.

They would have had a Brakeman. Two, if warranted. Brakeman were always involved in switching operations. That was their work, their job.
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Rick Steele
Absolutely true. I am sure that a brakeman (two or three) were sent ahead to get the switching done.

Crews back then could have three brakemen if the work called for it, head brakeman, rear brakeman and a swing brakeman who would swing between head end or rear end where needed.

If the switching was simple, and the brakeman capable, the Conductor would probably send one out on his own. If the switching was complicated, then two would probably be sent.

As for the photo, if it was me working the train, I would have cut off the Keystone cars clear of the Dillon siding on the Main Line toward Keystone. I would then spot the rear end set out at Dillon and pulled the Dillon pickups. I would leave the Dillon cars to be picked up and taken to Dickey tied down on the run around track. Then pick up only the Keystone cars that I had earlier set out, gone up and spotted and picked up at Keystone. Return to Dillon and put the Dillon cars behind the Keystone cars. Head back into Dickey and left them as a single block there for the Freight train pickup.

The fewer cars that you have to handle in any given move, the easier it is. Sawing back and forth with cars on both ends of the locomotive is a pain in the butt.

Rick
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Jimmy Blouch
In reply to this post by John McCutcheon
I have been standing on the sidelines during this discussion.

I thought I could add a couple of my thoughts.

I do not profess to know all the ins and outs of DSP&P/C&S operations. However I feel they would be very similar to D&RG operations.

On double header trains the lead engine was the helper engine.  The engine next to the train was the road engine. Any and all movements, such as switching etc., was done by the road engine.  In some instances the helper engine may have been un-coupled during that procedure.

All trains were under the control of the conductor in accordance with operating rules and regulations.

Train movements from Dickey to Keystone would have been made using the road engine.  Control of the train would not have been transferred to the engineer and/or fireman of the engine moving the train to Keystone.  Conductor and brakeman would have accompanied the train with or without a caboose. Caboose was most likely part of the consist moving to Keystone. All switching, spotting of cars etc. was done under the direction of the conductor.

These thoughts are based on what I know of operating rules.

Jimmy
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Mike Trent
Administrator
Hi Jimmy, thanks for pointing this out. However, this is an exception. I can't say that normal operations were the same or different on the C&S as they were on the D&RG as a rule, or what the extent of union rules may have prevailed under normal circumstances, but freight operations out of Dickey on the Dillon /Keystone Branch were absolutely handled by the helpers at the Conductor's direction. The reason for this, as I have often mentioned was that all switching operations between Leadville and Denver, were done Eastbound. An Eastbound train out of Leadville involved switching at Climax, done by the Road engine, placed in the train as you described. The helpers were sent down ahead of the train several minutes apart, in the order they had been in the train, the lead engine being cut off upon arrival at Climax. Upon arrival at Dickey, each of the engines were serviced, including taking water and coal, and having all the flues bored out. By the time the road engine arrived in Dickey with the train, any cars for Dillon/Keystone were immediately set out or added to whatever may have been previously set out, and dispatched to switch as needed up the line usually by the lead helper, which had arrived first and was the first to be ready for the assignment. While switching was done up the line, the Road Engine was serviced and ready to go by the time the helper(s) returned and then the train could be made up to continue on to Como. For the Road Engine to have switched up the Branch, it would have added more than an hour to the trip, which was long enough already by any account.

I have no doubt at all that the Road Engine handled any further switching duties at Breckenridge. Upon arrival at Boreas, the helpers were once again cut off in order and sent down the hill, where the crews could leave the engines to the Hostlers and go home.

This was explained in several conversations with Doug Schnarbush, who was apparently generally assigned Fireman on the lead helper and still seemed resentful that "Sanchez" always seemed to tag them for switching on the Branch out of Dickey. Clinton Eshe confirmed this practice. He was the last promoted Engineer on the West End, shortly before abandonment. I never asked about this, but he may have been eventually promoted to replace Charlie Williamson, killed on #75 at Boreas in January 1936. Oddly, Esche was firing #75 when it was wrecked.    
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Keith Hayes
Never say never, but I cannot think of a D&RG equivalent to the Dillon-Keystone branch. Seems like most of the branches--Lake City and Pagosa come to mind--had a loco stationed at the terminal that would bring the train to the junction and switch cars. Longer branches like Silverton, Monarch, Crested Butte and Santa Fe had scheduled trains that made the run along the branch. Pat Student illuminated an odd practice where the eastbound trains from Gunny set out loaded gons at the top of Marshall and subsequent trains would pick up particular cars at a later time and date (I am still not sure about this practice, so perhaps Pat will start an new thread to explain it in more depth and share how Crested Butte coal got to Como and points beyond?)

It was common practice to send the helpers downgrade individually. I don't know how many times Earl Knoob has educated the participants at the NGDF that the D&RGW rules (as I recall) forbade running downgrade with a helper. This practice was documented in photos on the RGS where 461 (I think) drifted downgrade to Rico ahead of its train late one afternoon and the tender derailed on the south side of Lizard Head. [Hint: it would be awesome if someone is willing to scan a C&S timetable and the rules and post it in the Documents section--I could really use this as I develop operations at Leadville]

As a timesaver, it makes sense to me that the first helper to Dickey would travel down the branch to do switching with the train crew. But, railroads are conservative beasts that need to adhere to strict logical rules for safety.

I can attest if I had a train on a model railroad that looked like the one in the photo, I would be deep in a barrel of you-know-what. I learned a while back to keep the cars in your train on one end of your locomotive, or the other, but not both. I am sure the train crew had a plan--a well thought out plan.
Keith Hayes
Leadville in Sn3
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Jeff Young
What about the Calumet branch?  Did it have scheduled trains?
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Mike Trent
Administrator
Jeff, are you talking about the Calumet Mine near Walsenberg?

I have no idea. If anything was scheduled, it would have had to have been some sort of mixed service, but I wouldn't think any freight operations would have been scheduled, it would have been extra service, as on the narrow gauge.
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Jeff Young
Hi Mike,

Huh, I wasn’t even aware of that Calumet.

I had in mind the one served by the D&RGW narrow gauge about 7 miles east of Hecla Junction in Browns Canon.  I was wondering if it might have operated similarly to the Keystone branch.

Cheers,
Jeff.
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Chris Walker
Jeff,
the Calumet branch would have been run out of Salida, since the extreme grades on the branch required several class 56 to have modified crownsheets.  I'll see what I can dig up later this evening.
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Robert McFarland
Didn't these engines have wagon top boilers?
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Re: West bound freight operations over the high line

Chris Walker
Wagon Top boiler on one out of three clear photos I have, Robert.  Le Massena states that there were raised fireboxes but gives no numbers.  There is a beauty picture of a Class 70 on the Calumet Br. here  http://digital.denverlibrary.org/cdm/fullbrowser/collection/p15330coll21/id/9920/rv/singleitem/rec/12  check it out.
UpSideDownC
in New Zealand
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