View single post by Salada
 Posted: Fri Dec 27th, 2013 02:20 pm
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Joined: Mon Nov 4th, 2013
Posts: 1190
With Admin's permission I thought I'd submit a few occasional events from my full size standard gauge footplate experience. Mostly set in England,Poland & perhaps one each from Ireland & Italy. Some dramatic, some slightly interesting & some plain boring !.

First to Poland in 2011. Due to engineering works elsewhere the Fat Controller has decreed that we'll run through to Zbasyn',a small station on a main Berlin-Warsaw line, to form the connecting local service back through to Leszno.
All goes well, & just before Zbasyn' we cross over from the West bound Slow to the East bound Slow & run into our platform where we uncouple & run-around our train (no turntable). On the return we are booked to run tender first to our first stop, Wolsztyn, where we'll uncouple again, run across the yard, turn (turntable), take on additional coal, rake some clinker out, rebuild the fire, run back across the yard & back onto the same train; we have sufficient water until Leszno. We then have a bit over two hours booked for the approx 50 mile, all stations to Leszno with two bad grades against us. Perfectly possible under ideal conditions but absolutely no time to spare. Polish railmen & the system still retain a pride in running to time.

Shortly before our booked departure time from Zbasyn' we are ordered to wait for 3 passengers off the Warsaw express who urgently need to get to Leszno; the express is down (behind schedule) by "up to 1/2 hour" according to Control. Our inclination is to go as we cannot possibly make up the time - we'll be behind schedule for the rest of the day. Whilst waiting we 'get & lose the road' several times (i.e. our slow line signal goes Red, Green several times) but we have to wait. Finally, the Warsaw pulls in & sure eneough 3 passengers alight, walk along the platform but then exit the station showing no interest in our waiting train !. After we (my mate & I and our Polish reserve crew)had finished yelling every English/Polish profanity at the Box (Control Tower) we got the road again (a Green).

My mate takes her at a reasonable speed the short distance along the Slow until our facing (diverging) turnout and a near 90 deg curve onto the Leszno line. "Her" by the way is a mixed fast traffic PKP Class PT47, 2-8-2 about 187 ton all up. Clearing the curve he really winds her up ..35..40..45..50.. mph. The faster he winds her up the more the loco is riding in a very strange way, no side roll roll but bucking up & down fore & aft like a wild Bronco. Neither of us has ever ridden a loco like that but after a few words we agree to press on to about 60 mph. Our Poles look equally puzzled but seem to be looking to us for guidance. I open the fireman's cab door & lean right out to check the tender riding ahead of us. As I look, the whole tender is bouncing up & down so violently that lumps of coal are flying into the air, some nearly hitting me in the face. The floor of the cab is now like riding a Pogo stick; the rocking tender is rocking the loco up & down via the drag box link (the tender to loco 'drawbar'). I check again outside - as far as I can see the tender wheel flanges aren't quite leaving the track - there's still (just ?) eneough travel in the axle boxes. The loco sounds fine, no ominous motion/side rod/valve noises - just a heavy thump every 2 or so seconds as our trailing (now leading) pony truck bounces about.

The weather is fine & the road ahead is almost dead straight to our first stop. By the time we got the road at Zbasyn' we were over 20 minutes down; the whole of that day's schedule on the Zbasyn' - Leszno line is now in our hands.There is zero 'slack' allowed in the Timetable.

This was an actual real life situation, I've provided some clues. Now it is over to you, what would YOU do ??

I'll tell you what happened after we've had some answers.

Regards Michael

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