Working a freight extra [1]

Back in January I photographed a freight extra on the Port Rowan branch, to document a typical operating session.
There are a lot of photos to upload and describe, so I’m going to share this in sections. In this first section, the crew on CNR 10-wheeler 1560 works west with five cars plus a van, and the photographer captures their switching at St. Williams.

With bell ringing, X1560 West arrives at St. Williams and crawls across the Charlotteville Street crossing with the assistance of the station agent, who is flagging the traffic. (He doesn’t always have time to do that but it does save the ears of the family who live in the blue house across from the depot, and they often give him a pie to take home, for which he’s grateful.)
X1560 West: Flagging Charlotteville Street photo Tour-2013-01-001_zps829eda07.jpg

X1560 West: Arrival in St. Williams photo Tour-2013-01-002_zps98cdfaa7.jpg

The engineer stops the train with the van at the depot, so that the conductor can climb down and collect waybills:
X1560 West: Picking up waybills photo Tour-2013-01-003_zps21747f49.jpg

There are two cars to collect from the spur at St. Williams, and two cars to spot here, so it’s a busy day!

With orders in hand, the crew pulls forward to the west end of St. Williams. The rear end brakeman unloads and walks ahead two cars to make the first cut:
X1560 West: Making the first cut photo Tour-2013-01-004_zps5c34e0a2.jpg

Meantime, our head-end brakeman heads forward to unlock the switch to the spur. He watches as the locomotive and first two cars pull past the switch and signals the engineer to stop. He then lines the switch for the spur and signals for the engineer to come back:
X1560 West: Pulling ahead photo Tour-2013-01-005_zpsf382c963.jpg

X1560 West: Bending the iron photo Tour-2013-01-006_zpscfe08195.jpg

Our rear-end brakeman has crossed the tracks to the spur, inspected the two freight cars that X1560 will lift today, and opened a knuckle on a tank car:
X1560 West: Brakeman in position photo Tour-2013-01-007_zps6f0e71ed.jpg

(The guys are working safely, yet quickly and efficiency, today – they must be eager for lunch in Port Rowan!)

CNR 1560 shoves two cars back into the spur to collect today’s lifts:
X1560 West: Into the spur photo Tour-2013-01-008_zps34d93e98.jpg

After backing onto the tank car and making sure the pin dropped in the coupler, they shove back further to collect an ATSF boxcar:
X1560 West: All coupled up photo Tour-2013-01-009_zps3b9444d9.jpg

The crew pulls forward to clear the spur, then the head-end brakeman lines the switches so the train can back into the siding:
X1560 West: Aligned for the siding photo Tour-2013-01-010_zps6ded1162.jpg

The two cars just lifted will be stored here to collect on the return trip – a move that saves a run-around manoeuvre later:
X1560 West: Dropping two photo Tour-2013-01-011_zps907b2554.jpg

With the lifted cars tied down in the siding, the rear brakeman once again positions himself to help spot the set-offs. These are backed into position on the spur and the brakes tied down:
X1560 West: Ready to spot photo Tour-2013-01-012_zps6a534d96.jpg

X1560 West: Two for the spur photo Tour-2013-01-013_zpsd519fe03.jpg

The crew reassembles their train, lines and locks switches for the main, and performs a brake test. With three cars and a van in the train now, it doesn’t take long. Everything looks good, so the engineer whistles off and with bell ringing, X1560 West departs St. Williams, crossing a short overpass as it heads into the Lyn Valley:
X1560 West: Brake test photo Tour-2013-01-014_zps4f658baf.jpg

X1560 West: Leaving St. Williams photo Tour-2013-01-015_zps4108baba.jpg

(On to Part Two…)

7 thoughts on “Working a freight extra [1]

  1. Great pics. The layout is really coming together. Looking forward to seeing it again, in person, soon!

    • Thanks Daniel.
      As I noted, this sequence was taken back in January. I’ve made progress on the layout in a number of areas since then so some photos look outdated now. For example, there’s no cornfield in St. Williams.
      But the sequence will illustrate how much work there is to do during an operating session. I hope it’s instructive.

  2. Great work Trevor, and a very interesting series. Your beautiful scenery gets me fired up about moving further along on my own meager attempts.

    What time of year are you modeling? I really like your fields with the variety of wildflowers.

    • Hi Joe:
      Thanks for the feedback – glad you’re enjoying it!
      I’m modelling late summer. The grass is drying out, but the trees are still green. Weeds are in full bloom.

  3. “…with the assistance of the station agent, who is flagging the traffic. (He doesn’t always have time to do that but it does save the ears of the family who live in the blue house across from the depot…”

    Casting back to this post (this is one of the most informative series of posts I have seen on the web), I wondered bout the above comment. Not being from North America, little details like this are a surprise to me. Does the presence of the agent (or brakeman, etc) mean that the whistle does not need to be continually sounded? Does the bell still have to sound?

    Just wondered.


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