A crew of 12 people showed up for a great night of operating on May 25. In the photo below, George has just guided the Fast Freight East into the station in South Newbridge (led by two big Alco C-630 locos) while Peter works the yard. Darren and John enjoy some railfanning, while Blake can barely be seen on the right as he moves a passenger train toward Northampton (click to enlarge photo).
An Evening of Firsts
With twelve proficient crew members skillfully at work, the latest operating session on the Carleton Railway resulted in a number of “firsts” for the railway. Notably and for the first time, there was not as single misplaced waybill at the end of the operating session—a clear sign of how adept the yardmasters and train crews have become at ensuring that all freight is delivered quickly and accurately. As management checked each destination after the session had ended, all car cards were found to have been placed exactly where they were supposed to be. The crew is to be congratulated on a job well done!
A second “first” was the simultaneous operation of two switch locomotives in the Avondale Yard, thus doubling the crew’s efficiency. With yardmaster Bruce at the controls of locomotive 1025 (an Alco S4), Assistant yardmaster Bill was spotting cars at local industries using locomotive 1503 (an old Fairbanks-Morse H15-44 still lettered for the Avondale Terminal Railway). The ATR, originally owned jointly with the CNR, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Carleton Railway (although CN has retained trackage rights to reach industries in Avondale).
A reminder of another “first” was the return of one of the railway’s original crew members. Darren, who recently moved back to NB from BC, had participated in a three-person operating session on the Carleton Railway in 2002-2003 when it was DC powered and did not include any of the central peninsula. In those earliest days of the layout, no more than two trains at a time could be operated from staging just east of South Newbridge to staging just west of
Waterville, and scenery
was very basic. The only towns served by
the railway were East Newbridge, South Newbridge, Pembroke, and Waterville (a passing siding on a steep grade in the
furnace room allowed trains to meet between Pembroke and Waterville).
The final first of the evening was the first passenger train ever to arrive in
The workers at Patterson’s Mill were
amazed to see Extra West 71, an Island Central passenger train, creeping past
the millyard toward the millpond loaded with the movers and shakers from the . The locals thought it must be a mistake, and
sure enough—it was. It seems that Doug, the
engineer who originally brought the train and its passengers from Loyalist City Saint John to the posh resort at Nortondale, was nowhere
to be found so another crew member volunteered to take the train to be turned in
the yard in Grafton while the passengers enjoyed an afternoon of shopping in South Newbridge. The
train neither stopped at the Mulheron
Street station in downtown South
Newbridge nor did it take the spur into Grafton. When management noticed the train entering Northampton and mentioned
that the train’s orders clearly directed the train to be turned in Grafton, crew
member Bob mentioned something about “not reading train orders.” Now that the locals have photos of a passenger
train in town, you can be sure they will be lobbying for improved service. Currently, Northampton
is served by a daily mixed local—the heavyweight coach “Muniac” provides passengers
with connections in South Newbridge as well as daily service to the York County
towns of Nortondale and Millville.
The 30-car Valley Local
Though not a first, the 30-car westbound “Valley Local” also deserves special mention. The train typically has about 15 cars when it leaves South Newbridge but the bustling
economy resulted in a train twice
that length when crew members Lawrence and Norm were ready to leave town. Powered by two 2400-HP units (H24-66 #2431 and
C424 #2403), the train was carefully pushed up the 2.9% grade to Pembroke by South
Newbridge yardmaster Peter with Alco S4 #1023, from where the train continued
on its way to Avondale. Carleton County
These regularly scheduled operating sessions are really helping me to identify any problem areas on the railway. I have a list of things to be fixed before the next session. Each session helps move the layout closer to being derailment free.
Sincere thanks to the excellent crew for a very enjoyable evening. The next session (and last scheduled session until fall) will be on Friday, June 15.