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Thread: Stampede Pass Diary

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Portland ME
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    670

    Default Stampede Pass Diary

    I've been posting almost daily reports on traffic over Stampede Pass for awhile over on the Truth or Rumor - Stampede Pass and it's been suggested I move my reports over here with its own thread. So here I be. I can hear trains from about MP124 to Stampede, and the Pasco East dispatcher (otherwise noted as "PED" down to Pomona. I call the North Branch Dispatcher, who handles Ellensburg to Stampede Wye in Auburn "NBD."

    I live in Portland ME, but listen via the Bristol radio over the Internet. I grew up in Washington and spent many happy days with my dad railfanning that area on both the NP and the Milwaukee. Hope you enjoy!

    And BTW, anyone else who listens in, or has anything of substance to add regarding Stampede or Yakima Valley subs, or just wants to comment, is more than welcome to do so! The more the merrier. This ain't just my thread - it's anyone's who's interested in BNSF between Auburn and Pasco.
    Last edited by Beverlyhelper; 11-22-2010 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Update

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    Portland ME
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    Default Stampede Pass Monday 11/22/2010

    Tuning in at 1:38pm I hear a westbound talking to MofW who notes it's snowing hard, they think they heard that eastbound traffic over Snoqualmie Pass is held up - Pass that direction being closed - and "ya, you can't even tell we plowed up here." Westbound (the 205?) is just about to pop into Stampede Tunnel at 1:48pm. WSDOT reports Snoqualmie is open both directions but snowing hard, chains required on all but 4-wheel drive, and no oversize permitted. Camera image shows miserable driving conditions.

    NBD answers Cle Elum radio at 1:58pm, twice, but no one's there, then "NBD out," and a moment later a MofW speaks up but he's too late. NBD is a busy guy and doesn't hang around. So the radio tones up again. One MofW fella calls another, but no answer. Another toneup. "NBD answering Easton radio, over." Fella on the snowplow wants to know if NBD has heard from another team over east of Lester. "NBD, sorry about that, answering Easton radio again, over." NBD hasn't talked to the other team in the hour since he's sat down at the desk. Plow says they'd like to plow down the west side. NBD says the other team has track and time up to Lester but not past that. "I'll see if I can get ahold of him on some of these other radios and let him know you're trying to reach him." NBD calls the plow back and tells him the other team is working down toward Kanasket.

    Someone else wants to know where another team's location is, and they say they're just west of the west portal of the tunnel, then moving down to MP49.1 next. "I just got a few measurements left (to make)." "OK, we're going to move down the hill slow, if you need help, give us a hollar."

    "____, we're stopped here (just short of MP50), you make your measurements then we're going to back up and side plow." "Perfect!"

    (If you see a ____ like that, it's the name of a BNSF employee, and I don't list names to protect the innocent ;-).)

    "Ya, I got my measurements. You backing up_____?" "Ya, backing up eastbound." "Comin' at'cha!"

    PED is talking to MofW at Pomona who's giving up TW 432-30. "Ya know, they slid me last week," says PED, "and now I'm back for all the fun work, the rail detector, but ya, I'm back. PED to anyone else on this channel. TW 432-27 displayed, over. ___ reporting clear between MP87 and MP88. Dispatcher answering anyone else calling on this channel, over."

    "I'll try to do that here... let me find out what the plan is here... you're the crew on the 1201, is that correct over? You're supposed to go to a hotel for a rest for at least four more. The chief put it on the call sheet but wants to make sure everyone is aware of it. The grain empties... are you guys there at Ellensburg over? OK, about 1500, talk to me when you get in and I'll find out if we need to make any changes, over." "Pasco East answering anyone else on this channel. Out." PED answers someone else who wants to release track warrants, "OK, which one do you want to start with, over."
    Two TW's get released. She's asking someone if she'll need to put out some more authority for these grain empties she's going to have coming through. That far down the line I can only hear PED's side of the conversations. "Let me know as soon as you can what I have to put out to protect people on the track there, over."

    At 2:33pm, "BNSF detector, MP46.0, system working, detector out." Which generally means MofW equipment moving past. "BNSF detector MP43.5, system working, detector out." At 2:42pm, someone's working eastward toward Easton.

    NBD at 2:56pm talks with another MofW to verify location (MP53 westbound) and the MofW (on a HyRail) asks what's going on with the eastbound. NBD says he's still dealing with bad orders in the yard (Auburn, I assume) and hasn't asked for a departure yet.

    PED answers Ellensburg radio for the grain empty crew. "I can give you a warrant down to MP92, the Columbia River Basin is working out there." "Hey, I thought you were on vacation!" No, same story about being off a couple of days then being slid, whatever that means. "Well, that was nice of them to slide you." "I won't even comment on that, over. OK, I'll tell the NBD that I'm giving you a warrant so he can let you go." "OK, appreciate that, talk to you on down the line."

    PED talks to the grain empty at 3:34pm, gets their fuel readings, and PED tells him the CBRW should clear up within an hour. They relate weather information, suggesting this crew has just come up from Pasco and is flipping back. PED calls a MofW fella at 3:36pm, asking if he needed to talk to the PED, since his phone dropped off. "Well, I got a...10:30, then another few miles... guess about 16:50 for starters, I guess I would need the track back. Well, I guess everyone figured they were working until 16:30 or 17:00..." then she gets stepped on by a detector somewhere. "Well, like I said... I... have some second thoughts. It might be later than 1700. I was trying to determine what Mr. ____ said, but I'm not sure, over. Well I'll try to get ahold of someone and see what their plan is and be governed accordingly, over."

    At 3:48pm, NBD calls _____ to let him know there's a car stuck on the tracks at MP36.9 at Cabin Creek Rd. NBD says the eastbound hasn't departed out of Auburn, and the plow will run out ahead of him. There's at least 12" of new snow at Lester, 30" on top. Heavy, heavy!

    NBD and PED are stepping all over each other and it's just a radio jumble at 4:28pm. Did catch that the eastbound grain train is out of Auburn. PED has an empty at Pomona and wonders if she dare have him come down to MP84. Gets affirmation to do that from the MofW crews. So this must be a westbound? No, talking now with the 5460E asking where would be a good place to have them hold for 45 minutes or so.

    NBD reports to MofW that the eastbound is just pulling into Kanasket at 4:56pm. NBD adjusts track inspector's TW's to 7pm, saying it will be a couple of hours before the eastbound gets over his way.

    Enough. Off to Leo Tolstoy on Netflix... See you tomorrow.
    Last edited by Beverlyhelper; 11-22-2010 at 05:59 PM. Reason: Update

  3. #3
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    Jan 2008
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    Base camp: Duwamish River
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    Default

    hey! love the new place!

  4. #4
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    Renton, WA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ballard Beaver View Post
    hey! love the new place!
    I agree. I'll be looking for your "diary" first thing when I get on the computer. (and hopefully be posting photos of some of the movements you report from time to time)

    Just drove from Everett to Renton and while there is about 2" of snow here in Renton the roads were pretty much just bare and wet. I looked at a few of the I-90 cameras and it does look like a mess up there. Glad I'm at home and not trying to cross Snoqualmie Pass!

    Brian Ambrose
    Renton, WA

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    City of Destiny, WA
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    Went up to the pass on Saturday after the eastbound lined out Auburn around 8:00 A.M., or so. Just reached the east portal, Tunnel 3, before it emerged. Decided to wait around for the westbound, which wasn't long on the crew flip. Decided to make do at East Martin for the day. Should have tried to go over the pass. It was probably still doable on Sunday; quite a lot of traffic, snowmobilers and such. About seven inches at Martin, snowing and wet. Thought about trying to catch the eastbound during the day Sunday but a look at the Snoqualmie web-cam made football a little more appealing!

    Here's a couple shots my brother took with his pocket digi; the rest is on cellulose acetate.

    #1 East Martin, westbound M-PASVBT (sorry, a little dead space in the foreground).

    #2 DPU's

    #3 Brother Tom (the ugly one on the left) and me at East Portal, Martin.
    Nick A. Kaminski
    -Industrial Wildlife Hunter-

    Vanity Link:Photos With My Name on 'Em

  6. #6
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    Jul 2004
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    Mill Creek, WA
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    I like the new thread! Nick also glad to see you and Tom made it out! Great snow pics, did you snowshoe to Martin or ride a sled?
    - Rosco

    RailroadForums.com Moderator

    - Trackside-Photography.com -

    - My Railpictures.net -

  7. #7
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    Snowshoes?!? What are those? They sound cold. No, rode the great sled Cherokee to the power lines at Martin and just hoofed it, Burwash style, back and forth. Roads were doable due to occasional back and forth traffic. Ran into the caretaker for Meany lodge, parked where we were, and jawed about the weather awhile. It's probably a little more difficult after today.
    Nick A. Kaminski
    -Industrial Wildlife Hunter-

    Vanity Link:Photos With My Name on 'Em

  8. #8
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    Jun 2008
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    Tacoma, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by East Of Easton View Post
    Went up to the pass on Saturday after the eastbound lined out Auburn around 8:00 A.M., or so. Just reached the east portal, Tunnel 3, before it emerged. Decided to wait around for the westbound, which wasn't long on the crew flip. Decided to make do at East Martin for the day. Should have tried to go over the pass. It was probably still doable on Sunday; quite a lot of traffic, snowmobilers and such. About seven inches at Martin, snowing and wet. Thought about trying to catch the eastbound during the day Sunday but a look at the Snoqualmie web-cam made football a little more appealing!

    Here's a couple shots my brother took with his pocket digi; the rest is on cellulose acetate.

    #1 East Martin, westbound M-PASVBT (sorry, a little dead space in the foreground).

    #2 DPU's

    #3 Brother Tom (the ugly one on the left) and me at East Portal, Martin.
    What, no picture of us coming out of the tunnel?

    Brought the empty grainer over the pass today, it snowed all the way from Auburn to Thorp. There was about 2 1/2 feet of snow at Lester, just over my knees, and about the same at the top on both sides. We were plowing from Eagle Gorge to Lester, there the regulator had plowed ahead of us all the way to Easton. Snowy and cold, temp was 10 at Cle Elum.
    Last edited by run8; 11-23-2010 at 04:57 PM.
    ~ Pickle

  9. #9

    Default

    Glad to see the break out of posts. No offense to those involved, but it was time to leave the "pin the donkey on the tale" angle.

    Stan

  10. #10

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    This new thread does seem to be good thing; let's keep it on track by posting observed action, much like Beverly Helper. Speculation, etc should be on the other string!

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