Portland & Western Railroad Eugene HaulerPart 3: CTC Main to Eugene
With Lou Thelen and Toby Van Alvorst
At last get clearance from the UP Omaha Dispatcher 70 to enter the main at Albany. We're finally underway from Ashahr.
The wood trestle approach from the west to the Willamette River bridge borders a golf course and allows a good look back at our train.
We're just about to enter the main line southbound at Albany. The shorty signal is an Absolute Uncontrolled. This means that if its red you don't go by it- just like a controlled signal in CTC, but this signal the dispatcher cannot control. Because we are within yard limits the dispatcher has no control over the switch (it is manual). If this signal is green, we may
proceed. If the signal is red, we must establish protection on the main by lining a switch, waiting five minutes and then we may proceed. (This results in all signals approaching this switch from either direction to indicate less favorable than clear. The five minutes is in theory time for the train on the main that the dispatcher forgot about to get stopped before he runs into us. The signal will be red if there is a switch lined off the main anywhere in Albany yard limits, or there is any engine or car on the main between N. CTC Hallawell and S. CTC Millersburg. This signal never displays yellow. If this signal is green, we proceed.
For the next couple miles, we proceed slowly as our train leaves the Toledo line and we continue past the yard.
At Hallawell we pass the yardboard on the left, a high green signal on the right and enter CTC. Lou widens out the throttle to Run 8.
We can watch the output of the locomotive on the computer display on the electrical cabinet. At first our 4,000 HP locomotive is only putting out 2200 HP, but as our speed builds, so does our output, up to 4018 HP at our track speed of 50 MPH.
The line up the Willamette Valley is arrow straight. This through truss bridge over the Callapooya River offers a scenic diversion in our passage
along fields and Oregon 99E.
Web Master's Note: These pictures were taken through the windshield of the SP9820 look south, into the sun, and pick up substantial glare. Rather than cull them as unacceptable, they are included here as the view from the head end, warts and all.
Ted Curphey, webmaster of Funnelfan's Railfan Website, took this picture a later edition of our train crossing the bridge pictured above. Date: December 24, 2000. Lead locomotive: SP9821 Typical of the small bergs in the Willamette Valley is Shedd, shown here with a CTC siding and spur track to the left. North of Harrisburg we receive a Yellow/Yellow Approach Diverging signal. We're going into the hole at Alford to await northbound traffic. A look at the time suggests Amtrak 14 will be coming along....if it's on time.
We reduce our speed to 25 mph as the north switch at Alford approaches where we are met by a Red/Yellow Diverging Approach and head into the siding.
We ease to a stop just short of the signals at the south end of Alford. Our train is just a couple hundred feet shorter than the siding. Toby grabs his radio and heads for the shoulder of the highway to give Amtrak a roll-by.
A few minutes later a headlight appears, approaches quickly and 14 blasts past at 70 mph. After it passes Toby gives it the hiball on the radio.
Note the Tri-color signals heads which are not common on the Brooklyn Sub. These were installed in the 80's after a wreck at this location.
After a freight follows Amtrak past us at Alford, the turnout throws for the siding and our signal goes to green. We ease way out of the siding, maintaining 25 mph for mile and a half as the train enters the main and then returning to our 50 mph track speed.
South of Harrisburg we slow to 30 to cross the Willamette River on a series of through truss spans. Looking back and to the north, we get a look at the Oregon Electric (BNSF) lift bridge.
Rolling on towards Eugene we pass through Swain and an interesting combination of grade crossing signals and cantilever signal. Judging from the use of the cantilever and the location of its base away from the main, another track was once in place to our right in this view. At the Irving Lead we get a green. Lou speculates that we'll be on the main right on through the Eugene Yard to the crew change point. Part 4
Lou brings the Hauler down the main and we get a look at what's left of the yard. We take over our new train and, after a couple trips through the yard, have it assembled. All Pictures and Text © 2001 by Larry Tuttle
Special thanks to Lou Thelen, Toby Van Altvorst and the Portland & Western Railroad
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