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Salada
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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

Herb Kephart
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Myślę, że chcieliby wyskoczyć że zło maszyna i autobusem do najbliższego tawerny. Przy odrobinie szczęścia barmanka będzie Hoża blond, który będzie tak zachwycony z spotkanie mnie że będzie zapewnia bezpłatne napoje, a następnie wziąć mnie na górze i kurwa moje skarpetki off But to nigdy nie miał szczęścia--i najprawdopodobniej pęknie mojej szyi lądowania po skoku.

Didn't want to give the answer away too quickly, Michael

Herb

JawboneFlats
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Woodie,

Twoja radość życia zupełna nie może być wyrażone jaśniej, lub Twoja racjonalna świadomość, że los i fantasy rzadko crash do siebie.

Dennis aka JawboneFlats

P.S. But I agree about the first part.

Salada
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Aha, I see we have 2 comedians on board ma, purtroppo, non parlo Polska io.

Gentlemen,I only know one USEFUL Polish word "Koorva !"
except I can't spell it.

Buon Cappo d'Anno a Tutti.

Complimenti Signori
Michele

Salada
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I've just seen "kurwa" in your reply Herb so I think I get your approximate meaning !.

Michael

Helmut
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Oh,oh, look what those translating machines made out of it:
"I think that (I) would jump out that evil machine and (take) the bus to the nearest tavern. With any luck, the bartender will Hoza blond, who will be so thrilled with me that the meeting will provide free drinks, then take me to the top and whore( huh? Shocking!) my socks off But I never had any luck - and probably break my neck landing after the jump."

Salada
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Hi Helmut,
From my miniscule knowledge of Polish I know you got one word (nearly) right - "whore", but as a VERB !!. (4 letters, ends in ...k).

Gutten tag Michael

Herb Kephart
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Michael-

Did we derail you train of thought?

Expiring minds want to know how you survived.  You did survive, didn't you??


Herb

Salada
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I am an unreliable witness as to my own existence.

Just waiting to see if any more interest .... ZZZZZZ !!

Regards Michael

Ray Dunakin
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I'm interested!

Salada
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Happy New Year all, & my thanks for all the help that some of you have so far so willingly provided to a US RR rookie!.

I thought it would be fun/interesting to enquire what YOU would do in certain real-life RR situations BEFORE I give the answer. This one (the rocking tender) is really very simple - probably so basic that you would perhaps overlook it.

Consider the facts:

Initial outward journey 'chimney 'first', full coal, full water, running on time, as booked, so no rush.No problem.

First leg of return journey Tender first, still 3 hours of water on board & nearly full coal (*); steady running until clearing the turnout & curve onto the branch. No problem.

Now over 20 minutes 'down' so full regulator after the curve & all Hell gradually breaks out. WHY ??

(*) What would have happened if Tender had been nearly empty (i.e. much lighter) ??.

Regards Michael

Salada
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Well, NOTHING happened. Only later did we find out we'd nearly had a serious derailment.

At our first stop, whilst we turned &  took on a 'top-up' of about a ton of coal, we quickly examined the tender springs, boxes & axles - no obvious defects. We changed over crewing, my mate now on the shovel & myself as engineer, for a really determined attempt to get to Leszno on time (to date the best run of my life !).
Now running chimney first she ran like a dream at up to 60mph between stops; see photos by my wife below:

It was only on finally 'booking off' duty 3 days later that we found out, quite by chance, that although a Pt47 was good for over 60mph chimney first she had a very strict absolute max linespeed of 40mph when running tender first  -- & we'd been +50% over that !. Having an almost full tender is what probably saved us.

The Moral :  Always know your loco before setting off !.


Now turned & coaled, myself on the regulator, waiting for the road. I've given my mate 'the wink' &, 1/2 an hour 'down'  & knowing me, he knows what's coming so he's shovelling the black stuff on for all he's worth :





Regulator about 3/4, cut-off held at about 75-80 % !! :


  

Now nearly full regulator but cut-off still nearly 80% !!! :

















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The 3rd & 4th photos above are obviously in the wrong order despite my best efforts at trying to use Admin's photo system. (I'm still having problems inserting words & photos correctly). Passing by the camera I've still hardly reduced the cut-off  so we are accelerating real fast for about a 325 ton train, almost full regulator.

Regards                   Michael

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This story reminds me of an incident on the Festiniog when we were running downhill ( tender first, almost empty ) with 'Linda'. My driver was nicknamed 'Crazy Horse' ( guess why ), and I was the fireman. On a section where the line is perched on a steep slope suddenly some sheep ran in front of us and seemed to disappear under the tender. Knowing what a carcass can do to a rather light-weight NG vehicle, I took a big breath of relief when they came out left and right unharmed....

Ray Dunakin
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Fascinating story and great pics! Very cool to see so many steam locos in one place and not a diesel in sight! Looks like good old time railroading!

Salada
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Unfortunately Ray this is about the last of regular scheduled service passenger steam operated "old time railroading" , probably just about anywhere in the world - excluding 'tourist' lines. I shouldn't think it will last many more years, diesel electric lightweight multiple units already cover this route.

Regards                            Michael

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Just to show that the Leszno route services also have infernal combustion prime movers:






Just book on, put the key in, start up & Go - in a clean uniform, shirt, tie & jacket.

Ain't the same though !!!  (you don't work up the same thirst/beer capacity either).


Regards                    Michael  (Archangel of the Anti-Progress !!).


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