Virginian Coal Cars

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Mon Aug 10 08:40:15 EDT 2020

-Okay, I'll admit to wondering why the specific limit for NKP coal cars, and not Wabash, VGN, P&WV, or .??  
Frank:Circa 1960, N&W accident investigators concluded that a derailment had been caused by anN&W H-9 hopper.  The H-9s had a 50-ton capacity, friction-bearing trucks, and peak ends.  Between18 and 22 MPH, the H-9s had a tendency to rock and roll.  N&W then issued special instructionsthat loaded 50-ton hoppers (inc. VGN, N&W, NKP, and others) were not to be placed in throughfreight trains unless approved by the Superintendent.  Trains handling the loaded 50-tonners wereto avoid speeds 18-22 MPH and the maximum speed for the train was 25 MPH.
When coal loadings decreased, the 50-tonners were stored so that coal drags didn't have tocontend with them.  One place they were stored was Island Yard in Lynchburg.  Then one night,some pirates floated down the James, docked at Island Yard, jacked the hoppers up and took thebrass out.
In the 1970s, the computer geeks concocted a program that simulated train movement.  What theyneeded was actual information to compare a computer-generated trip with an actual run.  The System Operations Center (SOC) drafted number dummies to record speed, meter readings at ever mile post, and delays.  One item - power had to be a single class of diesel units -- no mixing EMD with Alco,etc.  No GP-9s mixed with GP-35s.  When I reported to South Yard for a trip to Norfolk, the train Iwas to ride had three SD-45s, 180 loaded hoppers, including 3 H-9s.                Harry
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