Story of a Tunnel District Stall
This westbound sand train is on its second attempt to make the climb thru the Tunnel District. The first attempt the train stalled at Tunnel 8 and had to back into Plainview. The conductor tied brakes on the rear to help control the speed on the back-up move. Upon arrival at Plainview, a very late Westbound Amtrak ran around the problem train. The conductor of the 11000k ton sand train reset one of two ailing SD70MacS on the rear of the train. Sand trains are notorious for barely making the steep climb with all motors working, even without a problem motor. After knocking off the brakes the crew decided to try the climb again. After a long wait the train finally passed my location here at South Draw in the heart of the Tunnel District. The train moving past me never made more than 4 mph. If you look very close there is open doors on long hood to help cool the units on the hot strenuous climb. Open hood doors have been part of the Moffat as long as diesels have lead the freights. This section of railroad is one of the main reasons the DRGW bought the fabled "Tunnel Motors". On the approach to Crescent the train stalled a second time on the flange oiler outside Tunnel 18. By this time BNSF Denver-Provo manifest was moving up behind the sand train and stopped at Tunnel 13. Eastbound Amtrak now was approaching Crescent. Due to train makeup the manifest could not shove the sand train (or at least they thought). The decision was made to back the manifest to Rocky. The sand train would then back a second time to Plainview and wait for two rescue locomotives out of Denver. Needless to say eastbound Amtrak was very late. Mountain Railroading!