Algoma and Gilliam

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sun Dec 3 11:05:34 EST 2017

On 12/1/2017 10:26 PM, NW Mailing List wrote:
> Jim,
> Certainly no need to apologize, you are welcome, and I hope all is 
> well. I split up your questions by topic.
> On 11/26/2017 10:44 AM, NW Mailing List wrote:
>> Grant,
>> First off, let me apologize for the long delay in responding/thanking 
>> you for the wonderful information; sometimes life gets in the way.  
>> Second, your descriptions inspired further questions that I have 
>> inserted below the pertinent part of your text and set off by ***.  
>> Thanks again for your insights.  Jim
> The job was broken up into three round trips from the junction up the 
> branch: first to Algoma up the Buzzards Creek Branch, then to Gilliam 
> and Rolfe, then to Ashland and Crumpler.Algoma was at the end of the 
> spur with no tail track to pull past, so empties were pulled off the 
> junction-end of the storage tracks while backing out onto the main 
> line, then shoved forward up the branch main track, then up the spur. 
> Loads came back to Byrd Yard.
>> ***Allow me to check my understanding here. The diagram of Algoma in 
>> the Branchline book appears to show 3 side tracks splitting off from 
>> the Buzzard's Creek main, one of which swings out wide around coke 
>> ovens. All of these then recombine just past the tipple into what I 
>> assume was the single empty hopper storage track. Empties would need 
>> to be pushed into this track as there was no way for a locomotive to 
>> run around them to get back out. I assume these cars were gravity 
>> dropped past the tipple when being filled and stored full on the 
>> tracks below the tipple. After shoving empties up past the tipple, I 
>> assume the locomotive would drop back down below the throat of the 
>> side tracks then move forward to couple onto a cut of loaded hoppers 
>> and then proceed to back them down the branch and into Byrd yard. Let 
>> me know if any of this is correct.***
Your description of working Algoma is correct to my knowledge, at least 
after the ovens were removed. From photos on page 19, empties had to be 
shoved up the runaround track (empty track farthest from hillside) past 
the tipple into the tail/delivery track. Yes, most tipples used gravity 
loading, so to help get your bearings in tipple photos, empties are 
uphill from the tipple, loads downhill. Tipple carmen ("droppers") rode 
the cars down from the "delivery" track(s) through the "tipple" tracks 
to the "outlet" tracks.
>> Gilliam and Rolfe were delivered by trailing point moves from the 
>> main track, so empties were pulled up the branch on this trip. The 
>> engine backed down with loads trailing to Elk Ridge and swapped the 
>> loads for the remaining empties.
>> ***Again allow me to check my understanding here. The diagram of 
>> Gilliam in the Branchline book appears to show a siding coming off 
>> the main just before a crossing of the creek and continuing under the 
>> tipple. After the creek crossing at least a couple other side track 
>> branch off of the main and then recombine with that first line just 
>> past the tipple near the next creek crossing. This recombined siding 
>> continues to parallel the main past a third creek crossing and then 
>> rejoins the main. Therefore, the empty supply run could pull hoppers 
>> through the side tracks past the tipple, drop them on the track East 
>> of the tipple, and then re-enter the main in a trailing points move. 
>> To pick up loads, I assume he would drop back down below the start of 
>> the side tracks, enter moving forward and couple onto a cut, then 
>> back them down the main.***
The switch on the main track farthest down the hill from the Gilliam 
tipple appears to be for an oven track that would have been taken up 
later. The next one was for two outlet tracks below the tipple for loads 
and the switch above was the delivery inlet for empties. The mine run 
would pull empties around the tipple on the main track, pull past the 
delivery inlet and back them into the delivery tracks. It would proceed 
to Rolfe with the remaining empties and do the same, then back down 
running light past the trailing-point outlet there to pull and block the 
loads. In reverse with loads behind, it was back to Gilliam, pull and 
block the loads there, return to the storage tracks at Northfork and set 
off the blocks.

Grant Carpenter
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