N&W Bicentennial celebration equipment
NW Mailing List
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Wed Mar 16 16:48:41 EDT 2016
I can't speak to the consists generated by clerks, but shortly
after the bicentennial equipment went into service, railroads
turned to road-side scanners that produced a print-out of the
train. Known as ACI (Automatic Car Identification),equipment
(including cabooses) were fitted with ACI labels. You've
probably seen them -- colored ribbons arranged horizontally on
a black backing pasted on the side of the car. From memory,
the ACI label had fourteen stripes (+ or -) enough to identify
an ATSF car with six digits. An additional stripe was used as
a "check stripe" -- it summed up the numbers of the reporting
stripes. That left three or so stripes to identify the equipment.
It would not identify equipment as an H-12 Or SD-45, but did
define what type of rolling stock it was, e.g. CH for covered
Railroads shopped cars to apply the ACI labels and the
innovation was put to the test. N&W had scanners at Roanoke
only, holding off purchasing scanners system wide until the
method had been proven. A good thing too -- because on
average, scanners reported only 70% of a passing train.
Particularly hard to read were the labels pasted on the
curving contour of tank cars. Accumulated coal dust on
hopper cars made labels hard to scan too.
But the railroads came up with much more dependable
scanner. In checking N&W locomotives to make sure they
complied time-wise for the government's 92-day test, many-a
time, the locomotive number was traced to find location and
alert SOC (System Operation Center) that the engine was
about to expire. One N&W locomotive had been placed in
a run-through with the SSW. With two days left to make the
test, UP scanned their system and found it leaving Las Vegas.
The test was performed at North Platte. No fines.
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