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KCS Business Train Surprise

October 12, 2010

I have gotten into the habit of taking the railroad radio with me,  even if no railfanning is planned. It’s interesting to hear what’s going on, plus you never know what surprises may pop up.

I was in Houston for some errands when I heard the Glidden sub dispatcher issue track & time to a track foreman at Harlem. I noticed that the DS was emphatic about the track permit being for 90 minutes. If the foreman could not get the work done in 90 minutes, the dispatcher had been instructed to deny the permit. The foreman accepted the conditions, promising to be off the track by 1650. I assumed the hard-line was because of a fleet of trains that needed to get by.

About 1635,  I hear a UP M-O-W Director from Omaha call this foreman on the radio. The Director reminded the foreman  that his track & time expired shortly and telling him to get off the track at the agreed upon time.

All of this was quite odd. It’s common to hear a dispatcher fuss at M-O-W, but I’ve never heard Omaha call a foreman in the field to discuss something like this. The foreman explains that he still needs to drill 8 holes into the replacement rail so he could bolt it into place. He adds that they’re working as fast as they can and that they’re “not playing around out here.”

Hmmm. Something is going on…

At 1650, the dispatcher calls the foreman to release his track & time. The foreman explains that he needs another 15 minutes to finish. The dispatcher tells the foreman to get done ASAP because the KCS CEO Special is leaving Houston.

That’s all I needed to hear…

By this point I was already back home, so I grabbed some gear, a bottle of water, and headed out.

It was cloudy around Sugar Land, but it appeared there might be some sun to the west. 20 minutes later, I ended  up at Richmond. I set up just west of the Brazos River bridge.

At 1812, the distinctive 5-chime horn of KCS 1 announced the passage of the Southern Belle through Richmond, Texas.

KCS business special crossing the Brazos River, Richmond, Texas on Oct. 11, 2010

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