NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sun Oct 12 03:46:30 EDT 2014

I was at Coopers on Friday (in the rain), and noticed a cut of loaded
hoppers with a FRED on the Bluestone branch.  I went to the junction and
videoed a westbound covered hopper unit train going into the tunnel.  As I
was about to leave, I heard horns so I stuck around a few minutes and an
eastbound coal drag stuck its nose out of the tunnel and then stopped with
its units just West of the switch.  I hung around a few more minutes hoping
to be able to video this train, but the rain picked up and I headed back
around the curve.  About a third of the way back to Cooper I heard the air
start pumping into the cut next to me.  My supposition is that the lead
units cut off from the train and coupled up to the cut on the branch.  I
imagine that when the air was good, they pulled the cut out onto the main
and then someone threw the switch and they backed up to couple with the
rest of the train that had been stopped in the tunnel and on the bridge.
My question is this:  it seems like someone would have had to have been on
the ground to throw the switch, couple the hoppers and remove the FRED from
the end of the cut, but this would put him a long way from the head end
after making the coupling (83 cars to be exact).  How did he get back
aboard?  Did he have to walk to the head end?  Did the pushers stop for
him?  Is anyone familiar with this operation or care to speculate?

Jim Cochran
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