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Old 02-21-2006, 07:44 PM   #31
Ex. Railroad Employee
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 136

Originally Posted by Pat Lorenz
I almost ran out of gas another time, i got to the texico on fumes, just barely.
This isn't a railfan story - I was working for the C&O railroad as a Roadmaster when I did this bonehead move.

The track in the New River District of the C&O (now CSX) in West Virginia is extremely remote. Road crossings are 7 to 15 miles apart, and gas may be 5 miles from the crossing. Usually you can hi-rail the west end, from Montgomery to Prince, in about 4 or 5 hours. There are three sections of single track that may hold you up while you wait for a train to clear.

My hi-rail truck, unknown to me, developed a sticky gas guage - it would sit at 1/2 tank for a long time and then suddenly drop to 1/8 tank, which really meant empty. When I got on the track at Montgomery it was at 1/2 tank (you can see what's coming). I was held at Mt. Carbon for what I thought was going to be a short time but what turned out to be almost an hour (truck idling all the time). I then had to follow an eastbound coal drag to Sewell, where I was held for a westboound waiting at Thurmond for the eastbound to clear.

Sewell is at the west end of the single track that begins at Thurmond. There was a hi-rail setoff at South Fayette - about 7 miles behind me, and Thurmond has a main road crossing - about 6-1/2 miles ahead of me. Human contact, other than the screaming rafters going by on the river, is non existant between those two points.

I patiently waited for the westbound to clear and for my authority to be issued to continue on to Prince (idling all the while). Once it was issued, I entered the single track. I got about 4 miles when everything went quiet. My gas gauge said that I had 1/8 of a tank, so I didn't know why my truck quit. It was extremely embarassing to call up the dispatcher to tell him that I had broken down in the single track.

The Thurmond section gang was contacted to help me. They could have driven right to me on the roadbed of the main track that had been removed when this area was single tracked, but they had to go to Thurmond and get their motor car so that I could be towed in (I still didn't know that I was out of gas). Without a hi-rail setoff I couldn't get off the track to the old roadbed and out of the way. Since I still held my motor car authority, there was a long drawn out proceedure to give the section gang permission to come toward me with their motor car.

When they arrived, the first thing they asked me was if I was out of gas. I told them what my guage said, but they put some gas into my tank just to see what would happen. Well, of course, I started right up, and was the butt of jokes for weeks afterwards. For the next several weeks the dispatcher asked me to tell him what my gas situation was before he would issue me an authority.
Rob Kitchen
Harrisburg, PA

You know you are old when the first car you owned is now considered a "Classic".

Last edited by TonytheTiger; 02-21-2006 at 08:40 PM. Reason: typo
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