The Steel Gang has the eastward track and all trains are using the westward track between
Tipton and Black Buttes. Onboard UP 9496, ANPSE-22, we are second of six westbounds for which a pack of eastbounds are waiting for clearance through the single track segment. In these pre-CTC days in this territory, movements were authorized by a track bulletin specifying hours and limits of the “single track”. Hand crossovers at these limits were handled by conductor pilots under authority of the train dispatcher. Additionally, in lengthy segments such as this, “middle men” were present at one or two locations allowing the verbal advancement of trains against the current of traffic within these limits - for which there was no automatic block signal protection. As such, ASENP-20 in the westward siding at Bitter Creek is “in the hole” with headlight extinguished, awaiting passage of the fleet of westbounds.