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Wait and Hurry Up

October 15, 2011

“Hurry up and wait”.

I suspect everybody has heard, or uttered, this phrase.  All of us experience this paradox from time to time.

For railroaders, it’s a way of life. So much so that they deal with a variant of the expression you might not be familiar with: “wait and hurry up”.

Specifically, getting on a train and being told they can’t go anywhere.

I photographed this train yesterday, 10/14/2011,  in the siding at  Missouri City at 12:30 P.M. It’s a QTLSH train (Quality Toluca [near Mexico City] – Shreveport)

KCS 4521 holds its eastbound intermodal train at the east end of Missouri City, TX on Oct. 14, 2011

In visiting with the crew, they mentioned that they had come on duty at Kendleton at 0530, 7 hours prior. I asked why they had only been able to cover 31 miles of their trip to Beaumont since they came on duty?

Serious congestion in the Houston terminal was the answer. The dispatcher was holding them out until there was a route available to get on to the Beaumont sub, and they really didn’t know when they would get to move.

I might have been good luck for this crew because within a few minutes of my arrival, the signal at the east end of the siding turned green.

This train made it to Hull, about 40 miles east of Beaumont,  before running up on their hours-of-service limit of 12 hours.

31 miles in their first 7 hours on duty, 80 miles in the last 5 hours. Yup, that’s wait and hurry up.

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