Extreme cold and broken rails

  • We had another high velocity day. I took a call to dog catch an ore train at Toland, about 10 miles south of Litchfield Il, bound for US Steel in Granite City Il. When got there the air temp was somewhere near -9 zero -25 windchill and wouldn't you know it the train was cut in 2 pieces around a road crossing. The conductor took the crew van back to the cut and backed me to the joint. We then had to air all the cars up that did not have air supplied to them all day and then air test them because they were "off air" for more than 4 hours. By the time the conductor got done walking the whole train to the back and returning to the front over 2 hours had elapsed, a good job considering conditions. We then had to shove back out of the siding over a mile to be able to make the turn onto the UP Pana sub for the trip to Granite City. We got permission from the UP dispatcher onto their track and were told we would be going into the first siding only 3 signalled blocks away. While heading into the siding we were hearing radio traffic about a broken rail about 10 miles away. In between naps I heard a track inspector tell the dispatcher the break as 3 1/2 inches long. This was about 5 am and we went dead on line at 9:45 in the same spot in the siding. There were supposed to be relief crews on their way but. None ever showed and we finally gphad a van show up with another crew at 4 pm this afternoon. By the time we arrived at the hotel for tie up, my conductor and I had been on duty a grand total of 19 1/2 hours and moved a train a total of 10 miles. Velocity at Its best, but then nothing works well when the air s as cold as it was last night.
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