Stampede Pass Diary

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MP 72 - BNSF Spokane Sub.

I know for sure that I will be visiting Stampede probably 2-4 times this coming year...

I will be posting photos of what I see on my trips...

Hi all - haven't posted here for a long time but I've been following this thread closely. I'm planning trips up to Stampede and east this coming year too. I've been up Stevens as well a few times and will put together a post later this season. Thanks for all the good information.
It seems that whenever we go up to Stevens Pass, in the time of year when the weather is nice, there are multiple work windows. I don't think I've ever seen more than 1 train there at a time. My rule of thumb for there is "if its nice and the sun is out, there aint no trains running on Stevens"

PS - Was there a "Tracks in the Snow" this year? Don't recall seeing any posts about it.
I was part of a group that toured the old MILW ROW and the general Stampede Pass area back around 1994 or so, prior to the line being reopened. We spent a full day mostly on foot, covering a lot of ground including what was left at the time of the old railroad town down in the valley. A smaller group of us walked about a half-mile into the tunnel at both ends. At the time it seemed like only a distant dream that the line would ever be reopened. I seldom get up that way any more.
I'm hearing a lot of traffic today on Stampede. An eastbound (4569E) just left Ellensburg, another eastbound is in the approach to Eburg, while a third is coming into Easton (1700 PDT). I haven't been active on this thread for awhile, so haven't looked back in the thread, but is this normal or abnormal? A fourth eastbound crosses MP43.5 at 1730 (5284E), and NBD is giving a TW to 5925E Lester to Easton at 1745. Whoa! A whole lotta trains this afternoon over the Pass!

At 1754 5284E is having sander problems - not functioning and asking questions to Mechanical HQ about what to do regarding what the rules are to continue operating (answer is until 2359 tomorrow and notify the outbound crew as to the defect). 1830: At MP 12, 5284E is given TW Ellensburg to Kiona. NBD is moving these trains through in a hurry.

Detector at MP43.5 sounds off at 1838, and NBD will get back to that train for a further TW when the previous train clears. Busy, busy! At 1855, detector at MP124.2 announces 414 axles, which must be the 5284E out of Eburg. I heard earlier that one of the EB's from Eburg would tie down around Pomona or thereabouts and be picked up by taxi, so they seem to be flipping crews fast and furious out of Eburg. Or with the new triangle arrangement are crews running through Eburg to as far east as they can get? 5925E gets Easton to Eburg TW at 1901, and releases its Lester to Easton TW at 1902, crosses detector at MP36.9 with 458 axles at 1908.
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5810E headed into Eburg at 1343. NBD says she'll head him into the siding, a "change of plans" that she'll let him know about shortly.

At 1400, 5810E and NBD are engaged in discussion. "You sending us back to Pasco, over?" "That's the plan," answers NBD. "You want us to tie this down?" asks 5810E. "Tie it down, tie it down, tie it down," says NBD. "OK, we'll lasso this puppy to the ground!" says 5810E.

7072E rolls up to West Lester at 1433, and gets another TW from CTC East Lester to Eburg.

5216E releases TW from Easton to Eburg at 1820. 7072E gets TW from Eburg at 1820 eastward, but I'm not sure about that, since:

5216E gets TW from Pasco East Dispatch at 1828 Eburg to CTC West Pomona, following hot on the heels of 7072E. One or the other is across MP124.2 at 1838 with 466 axles. 7072E woud have to be giving rollups for the 5216E and I hadn't heard that so I may be mistaken about the 7072E. Time will tell.

Well, at 1929 7072E rolls up to Toppenish, and then PED gives 5216E TW from Pomona eastward, so guess they're chasing each other after all.

At 2100 the two eastbounds are moseying down from Yakima to Pasco. No sign of anything between Auburn and Eburg, so all seems quiet over Stampede at the moment. Over and out.
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PED gives TW to 7675E Pomona to Toppenish 0352. There's one ahead of him that should be rolling up track shortly, which 9224E does at 0411 (Eburg to West Byron). PED is a very efficient and competent dispatcher, with a voice that reminds me of Reese Witherspoon or Kristin Chenowith. The other night a conductor (male) was in flirtation mode with her while releasing a TW, and she flirted right back. At 0413 she fires out another TW to 7675E to run Toppenish to West Byron. The TW from Pomona to Toppenish is released by 7675E at 0444.

And another one seems to be coming into Eburg at 0450, triggering the detector at MP 20.5 with 454 axles. Busy, busy Stampede Sub! 4446E asking to get lit up from Eburg at 0518, saying they have a warrant for Yakima Valley Sub. Clears up TW MP101 to Eburg (student conductor). 7675E gets further permission east from Byron at 0527, and gives back previous track, while 4446E pulls past MP124.2 at 0530, still with 454 axles.

Detector at MP43.5 (up on Stampede) announces someone at 0758. Yet another eastbound, I suspect. So is this how this triangle thing working out? Everyone going east, opposite Horace Greeley's advice? ;-) Eastbound is then down to MP36.9 at 0817 with 402 axles. 5494E gets TW 432-64 from PED Eburg to Kiona at 0905. 5494E releases track from Lester to Ellensburg, and 4505E immediately gets TW 431-61 Lester to Ellensburg at 0917, as well as releasing track from Kanasket to Lester. Another eastbound is due to depart Auburn "shortly."

MP 43.5 detector sounds off at 1021, and 4505E gives up TW 431-61 clearing West Easton at 1029, crosses MP36.9 with 478 axles at 1038. 5354E gets TW 431-64 from Easton to Ellensburg at 1216, which is likely the "other" eastbound that left Auburn earlier in the day, and makes the detector at MP 43.5 at 1226. 4505E clears West Pomona at 1237. 5354E tries to give up TW 431-63 a few minutes later but NBD and train are missing each other on the radio (I can hear them both but they can't hear each other. 5354E starts asking for a radio check but doesn't hear anyone back). Next, MP36.9 detector sounds off for 466 axles, so that should give 5354E a clue that his radio is good.

Say, if someone's monitoring ATCS, can you give us a count of how many trains over a 24 hour period? Lots of traffic up there, it seems like.

NBD finally gets her radio problems fixed by 1300 and 5354E can give up his TW. 5354E gets TW 432-71 Eburg to Toppenish at 1336.

Appears there's another EB coming over the pass, 759E releasing track at West Lester, 1515 time. Behind that is 4065E getting track from Kanasket to Easton at 1622. Hot and heavy, as they say! 759E approaching Bullfrog at 39mph, 1631. By MP 20.5 at 1649 with 466 axles, and getting clearance to move past Eburg at 1718. Another EB past MP 43.5 at 1736.
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CREX 1301E through Bristol at 1157. Is this a lease unit? Dispatcher tells the signal maintainer the next train will be around 1400 at MP30, and it sounds like it went over Stampede Wye at 1209.

Listening for the past hour or so, it appears the Yakima Valley Sub is plugged. I heard the dispatcher saying he had every siding full and one train on the main. More recently, he's coordinating dog-catch crews, and getting some trains moving eastward to Pasco. Now, he asked an EB to check with the trainmaster since he understood they weren't bringing that train in until things cleared up a bit. So perhaps this triangle crew schedule has some problems? Trains appear to be dying east of Yakima with some frequency. Anyone have more info?

6867E has just cleared Lester and headed over the hill at 1358, and crosses the detector at MP 20.5 with 466 axles at 1535. CREX 1301 is finally getting a TW from Toppenish to Byron at 1540, so things really must be slow on the Yakima Valley Sub today. There's been other traffic down the YVS, but I've been in and out so missed a bunch of it. 6867E gets TW432-40 at 1553 from Eburg to MP 84. 4043E gets TW 431-35 Easton to Eburg at 1636.

Anyone know who's dispatching what these days over Stampede and YVS? I've heard dispatchers today call themselves "Oregon Trunk," "Gateway," "NBD," and "PED." Guess as long as you get your TW for the track you need, it doesn't really matter, eh?
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Don't be Ignorant
MP 43.5 detector sounds off at 1021, and 4505E gives up TW 431-61 clearing West Easton at 1029, crosses MP36.9 with 478 axles at 1038.
The 4505 East was an oil empty that I chased from Cabin Creek to Thorp. Cloudy at Easton with a bit of clearing around Thorp yesterday. Photos will be on my Stampede Sub Blog shortly.

Glad to see you back again Beverlyhelper. We needed someone to put more life into this thread.

Say, if someone's monitoring ATCS, can you give us a count of how many trains over a 24 hour period? Lots of traffic up there, it seems like.
I was planning on doing my daily ATCS traffic count the last week of april, 24 hours a day for 7 days in a row. prob april 22 - 29. cant do it until then. im guessing an average of 7 or 8 trains a day. X, E-CEC and an occasional U.
PED with that sweet voice sends 6074E from Toppenish to West Kiona with TW 432-5 at 0154 with a "Thank you guys!" That follows with TW 432-6 to 5066E from Pomona to Toppenish at 0209. AT 0831, CREX 1345 releases TW 431-6 from East Lester to Bristol to male voice of Gateway Sub dispatcher. No flirting, all business. Next is TW 432-16 getting the CREX down to Pomona at 0843 with 528 axles. Dispatcher says he'll probably tie the train down at Pomona. On a bit later call dispatcher says to someone a Pomona train will go dead at 1600 and he has another one dying at 1800. Don't know if that's the same "Pomona" train, since that seems like a lot of time left, unless the YVS is plugged up (again) and he has nowhere else to put the train.

Gateway Dispatcher asks 7146 (no direction noted) for a rollup and gets back TW 432-15 to MP63 (on the YVS) at 0902. 9154E is awarded TW 432-19 to work between Byron and MP 90 at 0937 (but dispatch doesn't say "joint with" which is confusing given 7146 seems to be in the same territory), while 7154E is issued TW 432-20 Kiona to SPS Jct. at 0941. Maybe radios are getting crossed with different subdivisions? Who knows who you're listening to these days! ;-) Or maybe there's an actual real live westbound! Who would have guessed?

CREX 1345 ties down at Pomona at 1005, releasing TW 432-16. "Van's on the way," says dispatch. 7641E clears up 431-13 from Kanasket to Easton at 1046. There's also apparently a work train somewhere on the Stampede Sub or YVS, and a couple of crews just cleared up track and time at Kanasket and Lester. Dispatch says the next eastbound hasn't left Auburn yet, as of 1048. Gateway Dispatch talks to the "rock train" 9154 at Toppenish, so perhaps that's the work train.

EB past detector at MP 36.9 with 520 axles at 1055. Dispatcher asks for location of work train which is MP 70 (Toppenish). He also talks to the roadmaster and says he's "got one dead at 1800 and one at 20 and they don't want to catch them, over."

7258E gets TW from Lester to Easton at 1120. 7614E at 1129 gets TW 432-26 from Eburg to West Pomona, where he'll hold for a bit because there's a welder working between Pomona switches.

There appears to be a work extra 3009 that gets TW431-42 at 1259 between Lester and MP 67, and dispatcher says he'll run an eastbound past him through the siding, but that train hasn't left Auburn yet. Detector at MP 20.5 breaks in saying 438 axles are going by there at the same time.

7206E gets TW Lester to Eburg 1610, with some additional instructions to take hand control of switch at Lester. 7206E gets track from Eburg to Toppenish at 1831.
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Stampede Pass Diary Friday 4/11/14

Gateway Dispatcher gives track and time to MOW MP 59 to MP 71 on the Yakima Valley Sub at 0745, good until 1200 "unless the Chief comes in and tells me something different, then I'll call you back." So sounds like a slow start to the day train-wise.:(

7493E is somewhere out there, and at 0840 two MOW are chatting back and forth: "You waitin' for that train to go by ya?" "Yup." "He should be getting pretty close." Then some mumbles combined with squelch. Signal maintainer has just gotten track and time from Eburg to CTC Pomona, so has that part of the line tied up.

7493E answers Oregon Trunk dispatcher on Easton radio, gets TW 431-9 from Easton to Ellensburg at 0828, while passing MP 43.5. Conductor says she's really close to being able to roll up behind her, and dispatcher asks for it as he has to get a work crew out at Kanasket. Track is released west of Lester. I like this conductor. She's quick but not too much, clear and efficient. Some seem a bit disorganized or talk too fast (or too slow), but not this one! :)

Given the track and time given out to MOW from Eburg eastward, I'd guess 7493E is going to tie down at Eburg or be held there a couple of hours or more. Time will tell!

Well, apparently that won't be the case. 8791 (no direction given) calls dispatcher at Eburg 0900 , asks for a warrant, and dispatcher asks what time they were on duty. "0635." "You the train there on the Ellensburg siding?" asks dispatch. Conductor says that's affirmative, and asks whether they'll be there until 1200, and dispatch says no, he can move them some, since MOW is down around MP 70. Maybe he'll kick the signal maintainer off the line since he's got the line to MP 97 at the moment, to clear things down to MP 70. Dispatcher says he'll send GTBs for the 8791 to the printer at the depot.

Meanwhile 7493E is approaching Bullfrog at 0912 and gives up TW 431-3 from MP 101 to Easton. And ah ha! Signal maintainer clears up TW 432-16 at 0950 clearing the track east of Eburg to MP 70. 7493E given track to Pomona at 1005 or thereabouts. Don't know what's happened to the 8791. MOW gets TW from Easton to Eburg at 1033. Dispatch talking with MOW saying he's got one train leaving Eburg and another behind it, so perhaps that's where the 8791 is. "If you can get it done by noon I think I can make that work," dispatch says.

MOW wants track and time east from Eburg and dispatch says he'll follow the 8791 out of the siding at 1055. Dispatch tries 7493E and can't reach her, then switches from Eburg to Butte radio for better reception, but still no answer (in search of a rollup I suspect). So 8791 went on duty over four hours earlier and is still sitting there? Sheesh. What kind of a crew call is that?

Dispatch calls 8791, who answers, then dispatch says "Hold on. I can't find you in here yet. OK I got 'cha now, let's make it TW number (pause) 432-21 to 8791E proceed from CTC Ellensburg to MP 106." Complete at 1112. So he finally can get out of town. Then they get a "verbal issue" for a slow order of 25mph between MP 65.8 to MP 72. I can hear the engines winding up in the background, so they're underway. Crew says "Hey, looks like we'll be going 25 all the way to Pasco soon!" Dispatcher laughs.
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with regard to your earlier question, the reason so many crews are tying down on Yak Valley sub is probably due to crew availability and/or congestion between Pasco and Spokane (Lakeside Sub). If there is nowhere to park the train, or there is no crew to do a crew change in pasco (I think they usually look to have these trains do a quick cc in Pasco), they stage the train at byron, kiona, etc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to