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View Full Version : End of Alcos on the road jobs at the A&M coming


ShortlinesUSA
07-01-2013, 04:56 PM
The mystery of the EMDX SD70ACes, which have been heading for Paducah since ending their trials on CSX, has been solved.

Arkansas & Missouri will receive 3 of them in September, displacing the C420s from regular road service.

Trains apparently has the full story, for any of you who are subscribers. I did make a visit out there over Memorial Day, and the Monett Turn used a 5-pack of C420s. The turns to there and Fort Smith (night run) are routinely using 4-6 C420s, and the Fort Smith Turn still has to occasionally double grades on the south end.

Long story short, the road trains have outgrown the Centuries. Fuel consumption has to be a motivator, as well.

Cameraman
07-01-2013, 10:32 PM
While I could see SD40-2s as a good replacement, 4 SD70s on a 139 mile railroad seems illogical.

I know they are getting a good deal, but really SD70s?? I could see WLE using theses more than A&M.

Sad part is this will not take long to accomplish. They don't have to build them!




, or Utah or someone with The mystery of the EMDX SD70ACes, which have been heading for Paducah since ending their trials on CSX, has been solved.

Arkansas & Missouri will receive 4 of them in September, displacing the C420s from regular road service.

Trains apparently has the full story, for any of you who are subscribers. I did make a visit out there over Memorial Day, and the Monett Turn used a 5-pack of C420s. The turns to there and Fort Smith (night run) are routinely using 4-6 C420s, and the Fort Smith Turn still has to occasionally double grades on the south end.

Long story short, the road trains have outgrown the Centuries. Fuel consumption has to be a motivator, as well.

ShortlinesUSA
07-02-2013, 02:50 AM
I updated that to three in the original post. Actually, the big power is well suited on this line. It's 130 pound welded rail in many spots and 49 MPH running. Trains routinely 60-80 cars, so this is big time mainline running.

The units will also be DPU capable, and I am pretty sure they intend on using them in this capacity. Grades south of Springdale top out at 2.7%, and there is a stretch of pretty steep grades and constant curves between Avoca and Garfield.

I did finally see the full release from Trains, and the plan is to use the 3 on both the Monett and Fort Smith Turns exclusively. The trains will share power, just as they do now. No firm word on retirements, but that could easily see half a dozen Alcos become surplus. That's pretty much how many you can count on the road trains having.

Joe the Photog
07-12-2013, 02:10 AM
Where are some good spots to shoot the A&M on the off chance I can get out there?

Trainman24210
07-17-2013, 05:25 PM
By all means go if you can. Van Buren has some interesting vignettes and they still run an excursion train out of there I believe. It's a fairly easy line to follow most of the way. I suspect the SD70ACes are just the beginning of a big change so there is no time like the present. I made the pilgrimage two years ago and wish I had spent longer in the Springdale area. One of a handful of places to still see Alcos just doing their everyday thing. We are headed to Colorado in September and may make a southern return thru there if weather on the BNSF coal artery is poor.

ShortlinesUSA
07-18-2013, 07:57 PM
Joe,

Monett Turn is typically M-F on an 0700 call. Plenty of good shots from Avoca north, and particularly around Garfield, where the tracks bend nearly due east, allowing for well-lit photos on the northbound trip, which one might not expect. Gateway, Butterfield, and Purdy all are nice spots.

They move right along at up to 49 MPH in spots, but the stretch between Avoca and Gateway features a pretty stiff grade and near constant curves, so it is pretty easy to get ahead of them in this stretch. Plus, they are pretty likely to work Butterfield in one or both directions. It's a busy chase, but doable. Not one to poke in at every single crossing for a shot, though. You'll be chasing the EOT if you do.

It's best to watch what they do when they leave the shop. They'll either go just a bit south to drag the Fort Smith Turn's train to the North Yard (about a mile north of the shop), or head straight to the North Yard to assemble their train. Once they start putting things together at the North Yard, that's your cue to get on out of town and head north to Avoca or Garfield and start scoping out shots. If you start out with the train as they depart Springdale, you'll lose the head start you'll want because of all the traffic lights through Springdale and Rogers.

StL-rail
08-01-2013, 08:44 AM
Do you know when in September they are due to receive the units? I might be able to get down there in time...

nikos1
08-01-2013, 03:34 PM
Units are currently being painted so I wouldnt delay too much, unfortunatly the weather looks absolutely worthless right now...

Cameraman
08-01-2013, 04:55 PM
Just as an FYI to anyone going down to A&M: I found it odd when I visited in 08 that they absolutely would not give out any info in the office. I walked in wearing proper attire for the RR, IDed myself and was told it was against policy to give out info.

I very calmly asked if I could speak to someone with management since I was a true out of tower. I was given the name of the person to talk to but, as I debated the time needed to have that discussion, the train that was clearly visible out the door of the office switching appeared suddenly ready to depart so I decided against speaking to that person and chose to exit town and locate my first location. Good move as the train did appear very soon. The only downside was a switcher was heading out with a couple of cars in front of the road train and I would have liked to have know that detail.

Don't know what the status is today but, that was my experience. Next day a trainmaster at a nearby Class one was very helpful as a contrast.

Joe the Photog
08-01-2013, 05:33 PM
Just as an FYI to anyone going down to A&M: I found it odd when I visited in 08 that they absolutely would not give out any info in the office. I walked in wearing proper attire for the RR, IDed myself and was told it was against policy to give out info.

I very calmly asked if I could speak to someone with management since I was a true out of tower. I was given the name of the person to talk to but, as I debated the time needed to have that discussion, the train that was clearly visible out the door of the office switching appeared suddenly ready to depart so I decided against speaking to that person and chose to exit town and locate my first location. Good move as the train did appear very soon. The only downside was a switcher was heading out with a couple of cars in front of the road train and I would have liked to have know that detail.

Don't know what the status is today but, that was my experience. Next day a trainmaster at a nearby Class one was very helpful as a contrast.
Wow. If this qualifies as a bad experience to a railroad, I'm not sure how to respond to that.

:-D

I went by a railroad office once in my railfan travels -- and was treated very nicely by the man there -- but I have not done it since as I am typically anti-social and don't want to waste anyone's time. After a recent incident, I'm wondering if maybe I should though. What say the rest of you? Especially on shortlines, do you guys check in at their office?

nikos1
08-01-2013, 06:51 PM
A&M I think got burned out on all the people visiting and people trespassing to get pictures inside the shops. They are nowhere near as friendly now as they used to be.
It really depends on the railroad whether I'll stop at the office, with smaller shortlines I normally will unless I know in advance what they will be doing. G&W shortlines I generally don't waste my time but theres some that are still friendly. Really though 9/10 it never hurts to ask, it sure beats driving in circles trying to figure out what the hell a shortline is doing.

StL-rail
08-02-2013, 12:14 AM
I spoke with the Road Foreman of Locomotives today, he confirmed that the 70s are due to be delivered end of August to Mid-September. That'll make my target the first few days of September.

It is going to happen folks, this is no rumor, if you can make it, go!
One of the last heavy-haul ALCO strong holds is about to fall.

ShortlinesUSA
08-02-2013, 07:39 PM
Agreed, generally worthless to stop at the office at a G&W operation. Unauthorized visitors not allowed on the property and information can't be given is the corporate policy; interpretation varies from place to place, with some pleasantly delivering the policy in a "wish I could help you" manner all the way to "it's against Homeland Security rules to take pictures of trains."

Most of the visits I've made in recent years have been to operations which are predictable and/or easily observed from public property, and don't really require a visit to the office. I've gone from standardly checking in to generally not wanting to bother anyone. I try to let the crew know who I am and what I'm doing if the opportunity presents itself, but I make certain not to interrupt them or distract them in any way.

Specifically for the A&M, there is really no reason to go to the office. The shops are easily observed and photographed from public streets, and the power for the next move is staged right in front of the crew office. There are pretty much three possibilities in Springdale: the Monett Turn, the Rogers Local, and the Remote Job. Monett typically has 5 units, Rogers 2, and Remote uses AM 34 with remote gear on the rear platform.

If you show up on a weekday morning around 0700 and there are only a few units around the shop, you can be pretty certain the Fort Smith Turn is not in yet, and will be coming up from the south shortly. If there are 5 Centuries sitting on the main next to the crew office, the Monett Turn's power is ready for the crew. Listen to the road channel for the dispatcher to fill in the details.

General feeling I got around the railroad was generally friendly, but I didn't ask for any info or to come on the property. I suspect as fan overload sets in for the final days of the Alcos on the road trains, things could get a little tense if a lot of people start acting like they own the place and it's some sort of museum for their enjoyment, much like you see during mainline steam events. I think in many cases, those are people who rarely get trackside, but it doesn't make things better for those of us who are out there regularly and strive to conduct ourselves safely and professionally.

StL-rail
08-02-2013, 08:39 PM
Thank you for the Springdale info, do you know what their radio frequencies are? What time does the Fort Smith turn head out in the evening?

ShortlinesUSA
08-04-2013, 01:26 PM
Statewide freqs for AR from radioreference.com:

http://www.radioreference.com/apps/db/?aid=1319

I can't say for certain what time the Ft. Smith Turn leaves. A friend was just there this week, and waited until about 2045 and the power hadn't moved from the shop. Another friend was there last month and rolled into town a little earlier than that and the FSTN was already up at the North Yard putting their train together, but they did not get out of town with any daylight left, and that was pretty close to the longest days of the year when he was there.

Your best hope is that the FSTN is a bit late getting back and you can get them coming into Springdale. If they arrive in daylight, chances are pretty high they'll cut off from their train on the main in Springdale about a mile south of the shops, and come to the shop light power. Then the Monett Turn will go get the train, take it to the North Yard, and set off whatever needs to be and then get their train ready to go north.

While this makes for some good morning action, it also drives the departure to Monett later and can blow your noselight at Garfield and Butterfield, as well. But it also gets the beginning of your southbound chase out of the high sun hours.

Choices, choices... :-)