Monday, November 28, 2016

Seahawks F40PH NPCU!

Members of the National Football League Seattle Seahawks team are involved with many facets of fans lives here in the Pacific Northwest. From outreach initiatives with youth, hospital visitations, football camps, and many other community interfaces, including fans up in Vancouver B.C!

This is yet another example of the Seahawks lining up behind another worthy cause, what I call the railroad/human interface, protecting human lives from tangling with rail traffic. AMTK 90250 with a beautiful Seahawks vinyl wrap.

The Seahawks Amtrak Cascades service operates between Vancouver, British Columbia and Eugene, Oregon.

A significant realignment of the BNSF/Amtrak corridor will open in 2017 affecting rail traffic between the Puget Sound and Columbia River. With that change, high speed rail will be running through communities that haven't seen a train for years. More about that alignment later.

In conjunction with that alignment, the Amtrak Cascades/Seahawks partnership will formally launch the "Stay Back from the Tracks" safety campaign, with Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin will serving as spokesman.

Baldwin and the rest of the Seahawks organization will work with WSDOT and Amtrak Cascades to drive down the number of train-related fatalities and injuries by creating better awareness of rail safety for people to be more cautious and alert when around trains, tracks, and crossings.

The train safety campaign is partnership between the Washington State Department of Transportation -WSDOT, the Oregon State Department of Transportation - ODOT, Operation Lifesaver, Amtrak Cascades and the Seattle Seahawks.

Safety campaigns are being expanded in Washington state to try to keep more people away from train tracks. The efforts come after a record number of pedestrians were killed by trains across the state in 2015. 27 pedestrians were killed by trains in Washington state in 2015.

About one-third of the deaths were the result of suicide. Other factors contributed to the rest, including people trespassing on railroad property, people not paying attention to their surroundings, the weather, and distractions from technology like cell phones.

The Seahawks Amtrak Cascades service operates between Vancouver, British Columbia and Eugene, Oregon.

Railroad Stuff:  Some readers will recognize AMTK 90250 as an F40PH NPCU - Non-Powered Control Unit. This unit began life as AMTK 250:

•  Built as F40PH (F=full width cab, 40=3,000 hp, P=passenger, H=HEP, "hotel" power, supplying electricity for heat and light to the passenger consist.
•  Prime mover: EMD 16-645E3, 3,000 hp (2.2 MW), turbocharged.
•  Out shopped in 1977.
•  SN 777001-20.

(You may have picked up on one of  Electro Motive Divisions hair pulling inconsistencies. "40" for a 3,000 hp motor. Why not F30PH?)

Rail fans often dub this non-powered locomotive a "Cabbage Car." The Cabbage Car story follows.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Believe it or not, this is the 10th Thanksgiving for Oil-Electric. The notion of writing a Blog running this long, was something I never planned. It just happened!

Coming from a long career in audio-visual communication, I got frustrated with the Worlds Number One Posting site. It’s fine for their website model. But that format just wasn’t the right fit to allow me to “express” myself.

I was airing my frustration to someone who recommended “Blogging” as being the perfect outlet for my creativity. I discovered a Blog is whatever you want it to be. Self-publishing made simple!

And I get to screen - approve - the photographs!

Now, almost 800 articles "in the can." Life events resulted in a slow down.  But many interesting articles " are in the oven."

My sister and I were brought up to celebrate Thanksgiving every day, not just during the official holiday. One of the many things I am grateful for is this Blog and cadre of faithful readers.

The Blog is the perfect outlet for sharing my modest railroad photo collection. Several readers have asked me if I have a “favorite” photograph. Yes I do. While it isn’t dramatic, it evokes a rush of memories and feelings about my early days of “railroading.” And it captures for me, the essence of three years living in Prince Rupert. (1957 - 1959)

Realizing I only had only a few months left before we move back to Seattle, I begin to focus on capturing "memory shots."

This was my favorite spot, out at Pillsbury Point, south of the Government Grain Elevator, where my Dad's rail barge was processed. You can see the lead down to the barge bridge in the foreground.

I was 14 years old when I snapped this shot south of Prince Rupert, at Mile Post 118.5 on the Skeena Subdivision, with my hand-me-down Kodak folding 120 camera.

I title this photo, “Running Out the Slack.” It was taken in late evening, August 4, 1959. Fourth Class Freight 922 drifting eastward out of Prince Rupert with 9700 tons. Pulling at a slow speed, 567C’s issued  an anxious, raspy exhaust. Those V-16's were anxious to pull!

It was on this stretch of track where freighters began "winding up." The last rays of sundown reflect off the stainless steel grills of the lead unit.

CNR 9116 was built by General Motors Division (GMD) in London, Ontario.  She was out-shopped in November 1952. Her assistant, CNR 4807, rolled off the erection floor at GMD in October 1953.

When the crew car clears the yard lead, the conductor will signal the engineer with two short blasts of the communication whistle. The engineer responds, sending two long blasts into the evening. The anxiety of the motors changes to a commanding roar as the throttles are nudged in steps to run eight. Time Freight 922 has cast off into the darkening wilderness, along the Skeena River to Pacific, 118.5 miles to the east.

A trainman gives me a friendly wave.  They were used to seeing me with my camera. He pulls up the cupola window.  The crew car gently rocks from side to side down the line. Gradually, the sound of the working V-16's fade.

There is a chill in the air. I pick up the pace walking between the rails toward home. I wished I had worn a jacket.

Only the sounds of ballast crunching beneath my feet and a "CAW!" from the leader of an unkindness of ravens, as I approached them, feasting on grain at the government elevator.

I realize how much I am going to miss Prince Rupert ...

Related Posting:  "Boxcars Go to Sea."