mime-version: 1.0 content-location: file:///C:/915CB0C5/RidingCuyunaIronRangeOreService.htm content-transfer-encoding: quoted-printable content-type: text/html; charset="us-ascii" Recollections of Riding the Cuyuna

Recollections of Riding the= Cuyuna
Iron Range Ore Service, 1949~1951


Home. Duluth. Up at 8AM. Call the roundhouse—Melrose8353. (A= fter fifty-four years I still remember the number).

The switchboard operator answers.

"Northern Pacific Railway"

"Roundhouse please"

A pause.

"Crew Caller speaking."

Gordon answers. In his sixties, he makes pant leg safety bands out of old inner tubes (for blousing pant legs= on boot tops) and sells them for twenty-five cents a pair.

"Did I get bumped?" (I have a very distinctive voice)

"No! you didn't Lee"

"How many times out?"

"First out."

"What's it look like?"

"Well Lee, they're thinking about running an ore jammer (an ore extra west) with a helper, and at leas= t one extra transfer. You'll get one or the other, whichever is called first.&qu= ot;

"OK, I'm at home"

Hang up the phone. Grab the paper. Make breakfast. Read the funnies= .


Look at clock—8:45 AM.

Gordon again. "You got the ore jam= mer, Lee. Called for 11:00~ 11.30 AM. Engine 1790 class W-3. K.C. Duff= ern, your regular engineer. Engine 1707 W-3 as helper."

"OK I'll be there!."

My mother asks if the call was for me.

"Yes, 11:00 AM to Ironton. I'll need a lunch, clean overalls,= two caps and new gauntlet gloves."

"I'll make your lunch and fill your coffee bottle."

"Thanks Ma."

"Your overalls, jacket and cap and the gloves are in the usual place. When will you be home?"

"Who knows with an ore train! Maybe tomorrow night, or even t= he next morning."

I shower, shave, brush my teeth = and perform my remaining toilet duties. (No toilets on steam locomotives, only= a coal shovel.) Dress. Clean underwear—in case I'm in an accident&#= 8212;pants, shirt, socks, loafers. Pack the suitcase with more of the same—a lig= ht jacket, overalls, two caps, heavy socks, two pair gauntlet gloves. Grab my watch, switch keys, car keys, billfold, money, lunch, coffee and " bye ma


After a ten-minute drive I arrive at the roundhouse, and park under= the Garfield Avenue viaduct. I grab my stuff and walk to the locker room. I pa= ss through the fourth, fifth and sixth houses of the Rice's Point thirty-six-= stall roundhouse.

I compare my watch, (a 21 jewel = Hamilton 992-b) against the standard tune clock. Good, only ten-seconds fa= st. I mark it down= and report in at 10:45 AM. I read the notices on the Bulletin Board-Nothing af= fects us. My engineer K. C. Duffern ( Casey ) walks in and greets me. Signing in= , he enters my name= as fireman.

To the locker room. I open my loc= ker and check my flashlight batteries, OK. Next put on over­alls, jacket,= cap and boots. Then make sure I have my watch (attached by a chain to overall pocket), switch key, time tables(2), special instructions, Code rule book, billfold, car keys, neckerchief, goggles, etc. Once dressed, I talk with = K. C. my engineer . The helper engineer and fireman walk in. K.C. asks me to ope= n the turret valves fully, see that the appliances are operating and each turret steam valve is operating properly, and check and oil both of the air pump piston rod swabs. "OK I'll do that."



After tossing my grip up the gangway to the apron I carry my lunch= and coffee to the cab, stow the coffee on drip tray next to the boiler head. Pla= ce the grip and lunch in the seat box.

On go the gloves from the last trip. Here comes the dirty work.=

I immediately check the boiler w= ater level (in both gauges), then blow down the water column and check the = valves, then right water gauge and valves, try cocks, noting that right water gaug= e and try cocks correspond and finally blow down left water gauge checking the valves, etc= I next inspect firebox sheets (as seen from door), brick arch, grates, ash pan then back = to the cab. Check supplies: rake, two shovels, coal pick, hammer, chisel, monkey wrench, air= hose wrench, wedge(s), oil supplies, kerosene lanterns (red & white) (lit), light bulbs, fuse= s, flagging kit (fusees, torpedoes) and waste. Now to check the turret steam valves-blower, left & right inspirators, stoker, air compresso= r, dynamo, hydrostatic lubricator—All OK. There is one tallow pot, two = hand oilers, one two gal. can of valve oil and one of engine oil-All are full. I start up t= he dynamo and check circuits-coal hopper, gangway, all gauge lights, lubricator lights= , cab reading light, headlight ,back up and class lights-All OK. Tender valves to left and right inspirators open and blocked.

The engineer comes up in the cab, suitcase in hand. I continue working but note turret is OK. Oil and operate firebox door. Crack blower. Oil Duplex stoker, inspect firebox, close door, test stoker. Nothing plugged -works well. Grab the rake, push out the coal bank. Test left & right inspirators-both OK. Tender is full of Eastern coal— No Rosbud!

"Everything is copasetic," I = tell the engineer. Then for safety reasons—" I'm going up on the boiler to put = up the class flags (white),check the sand dome, oil the bell and dynamo." Th= ese chores done, I check the coal supply and the tender and auxiliary tender w= ater levels making sure the valves between them are blocked open. Then it's back to the ca= b.

Glance at the fire,—add mo= re coal. Check the hydrostatic lubricators, See Note [1] (four feed an= d two feed ) and= the transfer lubricator filling as is necessary

"All OK!" reporting to Casey.

Glance at the fire again. Use the shovel= to place some coal against the door and left/right side sheets. Open the blow= er a tad more. The steam pressure is 180 psi on the gauge. Water glass level three-quarters.   Air compressor and stoker lubricator full, open steam valve, then the condensa= te valve—wait—give each air pump and stoker about 20 drops, then = set both at four drops a minute (a count of fifteen per drop ). I'll decrease = to a drop each ten counts until after the train brakes are charged at Hi= ll Avenue, then set the count to provide 4 or 5 drops per minute after the air test. Check the other (four feed) hydrostatic lubricator and start it up in the= same manner—wait—then inspect and check each of the 4-feeds to see if= each valve feeds, shut off the feeds, and inform the hogger. Glance at the = fire again. It's burning brightly now. About 184 psi on the gauge, water glass three-quarters full.

Here comes Jimmy Johnson ( JJ), the head brakeman.

"Are you going with us?"


"Well if you get tired of ri= ding in the dog house, or want to ride in the cab, you can have part of my seat box."

I give the stoker another shot of steam, ease the blower, 187 psi = on the gauge.

The engineer returns to cab. He inspected locomotive and oiled arou= nd.

"Everything is OK with me." I tell him.

"Good,. Here too."

I get the last trip's train orders from the clipboard. "Dispos= e? "


Into the firebox go the old orde= rs to prevent them from somehow becoming mixed with today's train orders.=

Ready to depart, we compare watches.

"Comparison good, I'm 10 seconds ahead of you."



The engineer asks Jimmy who the conductor is and where his caboose= is located.

"Nunny Castle ( Castle)~On = the Caboose track by the south end yard office. We'll go down the roundhouse l= ead to the crossovers by the yard office and sandwich the caboose to Hill Ave."

"Good. No trains due now."

We leave the ready track at 11:15= AM. Both the road and helper engineers test brakes to see if things are functi= oning properly as we pull off the ready track. Jimmy lines the ready track switc= h back and lines crossover to the roundhouse lead by coal dock, gives a come ahead sign. The 1790 heads down the lead, while 1707 waits for Jimmy to line the crossover= to normal position. Meanwhile the rear brakeman has lined the crossovers from the roundhouse lead to the westward Main Track and 1790 trails through and sto= ps forward of the switch points., The rear brakeman lines the gate, gives bac= k up sign to 1790 and rides the aux. tender to hump lead. The conductor Castle = has lined the caboose track switch. The rear brakeman makes the joint, tests i= t, watches engineers response as he gives a sign to cut in the air, K.C. Duff= ern's response is positive. He goes in between couples the air hoses and opens a= ngle cocks, releases the hand brakes and. gives a go ahead sign. Conductor Castle lines = back the caboose track and hump lead switches.

Meanwhile, Jimmy the head brakeman rode the 1707 to the crossovers, dropped off 1707 trailing through crossovers to line and lock switches back in normal position.

The 1707 stopped in the clear of hump l= ead crossover to allow the 1790 and caboose to pull ahead of 1707. The 1790 pulls ont= o the westward Main Track and stops. The rear brakeman lines and locks the switc= h. Gives 170^ sign to come ahead and couple to caboose, tests joint, gives 17= 07 a sign he's going in between to cut in the air. The engineer indicates he understands. This done, the helper engineer closes the double heading cock. Road engine 1790 now controls the air brakes. Conductor Castle tells 1790's K.C. Duffern they're registered. They compare watches and exchange information, t= hen Conductor Castle tells 1790 engineer to make a service reduction for the a= ir test. He does; the brakes set up.

From time to time I have been adding coal and water to the 1790 to = hold the water level and 195 psi on the gauge. Conductor Castle walks train not= ing all brakes are set. Castle now confers with helper engineer, again compari= ng watches and trading information. The 1790 is given a sign by Castle to rel= ease brakes, the helper's brakes release, as do the caboose, aux. tender, and t= he 1790. Engineer Duffern promptly sets the independent brake. The conductor gives a highball to engineer Duffern.


At 11:30 AM we're on our way. Crack the blower a bit, add some coal= .

Ore Yard

Rice's Point to Hill Avenue. While the engineer makes a running bra= ke test, I feed some coal to the fire, putting on the inspirator and turning = down water regulator valve to 50% flow. Auto­matic block signals (ABS) See = Note[2} line the way to Central Avenue, save for the Superior Yard. The Special Instructions in the Duluth-Superior Terminal Time Table 216 provide= the following:

All Sub-divisions

Page seven, &n= bsp; number twenty

Extra trains and switch engines do not require trai= n orders for movement between Central

Avenue and Rice's Point and between Central Avenue = and Superior East End

Second Sub-division

Page eight, &= nbsp; number ten

Register stations: Rice's Point for second-class and inferior trains, except for passenger extras

Second Sub-division

Page eight    number twelve<= /i>

Clearance exceptions: trains originating at Rice's P= oint yard will not require clearance

This establishes that extra 1790 west may travel from the yard at R= ice's Point to the ore yard at Hill Avenue without train orders or a clearance, = but must register at Rice's Point, the originating terminal.

The 1790 engineer checks the Duluth-Superior Terminal Time Table= 216 for train time on Second Sub-division. Omaha 513—No. 96 on the Northern Pacific—a first class train eastbound from Chicago, is due at bridge switch at 11:21 AM. It's now 11:31 AM. He should be gone, or is running late.= The bridge tender will provide us with a signal if we can go. Great Northern N= o. .24 —the Badger-a first class train eastbound from the Twin Cities, is due to leave t= he Superior Union Depot at 11:43 AM. We will clear them and be on the westbound main track o= r in the Northern Pacific's Superior Yard at that time.

We are now on the westbound main track on Rice's Point approaching bridge switch. (Here we have single track over the Minnesota Draw) The bridge tender is giving us the signal.



The speed limit across this entire bridg= e is 20 mph. We cross the single track draw span and approach the Wisconsin Dra= w on double track. We are required to stop, at the Wisconsin Draw.

"We have clear on top!" the engineer calls out.

Clear on top

He opens the throttle. I shut off the inspirator but continue to feed the fire lightly from time to time. We ha= ve the top semaphore arm of the elevator station signal, which lines us up to the= NP Superior yard. However, we stop at Winter Street railroad crossing, line t= he derail, and reset it.

"Clear !" I call.


The 1790 proceeds from east to we= st through the Superior yard. At the west end we enter the Second Sub-divisio= n's westbound main to Central Avenue. After throwing the switch from the yard = we must wait, so that the ABS [2] will set against westbound traffic, as well= as the traffic between the signal to the east, before pulling onto the main t= rack. After the prescribed time passes Jimmy the brakeman signals the 1790 to co= me ahead. The 1790 enters the westbound main. The rear brakeman swings down to line the switch back, walks back to the caboose, gives us a highball. It's 11:45 AM as we leave Superior yard near Twenty-Sixth Street.

I start stoking the engine heavier, putting, on the inspirator.

"Clear Block"

Clear Block

It is 3.7 miles to Central Avenue. The y= ard limit sign is west of Twenty-Eighth Street. The speed limit is 50 mph to Central Avenue: 20 mph at Central Avenue proper.

"Clear Block."

Clear block

Our speed increases to about 30, then 35, then 40 mph. The safety = valve opens at 200 psig.

"She's r= unning like a sewing machine, good !" says K.C. Duffern, Noting the steam pressure is 200 psi as the pop valve opened and 198 psi as it closed.

"Clear Board !" (Central Ave. Train Order Signal) See Not= e[3].

Clear Board

We slow to 20 mph at Central Ave. A sharp curvature and Great Northern's interlocking signal for access to= the Lake Superior Division's Second Sub-division to Carlton is located here.

"Got it."

Got it

We stop as helper 1707 clears the eastbound GN interlocking home signal. The 1790 engineer closes the dou= ble heading cock and no longer controls the air brake. The 1707 engineer opens= the double headin= g cock and now controls the air brakes as we back to Hill Avenue.

"Clear on top!" as we get the signal.

Clear on top

The 1707 takes us back, making a running air brake test. Then the brakes kick off and we move at restricted speed to Hill Ave, whistling a modulated two longs, a short and a long for= each grade crossing.

"Clear on SOO Line Interlocking"



Halfway to Hill Avenue is the SOO Line's Automatic Interlocking home signal. The 1707, caboose, auxi= liary tender and 1790 clank across the diamond. At Hill Avenue yard we stop at t= he crossover on t= he eastward main track. It's 12:10 PM. The rear brakeman lines the gates. We = back off the main track and stop in the clear and Jimmy lines the switches back= .

Helper 1707 and our caboose are cutoff. The rear brakeman has been told the train is on track 2. He takes = the 1707 and our caboose, to the other end of the yard, setting them on the re= ar of = the train and 1707 engineer closes the double heading cock. Meanwhile engineer Duffern opens the 1790's double-heading cock to control the air brakes. Our head brakeman, Jimmy leads the 1790 to track 2, coupling us to the head end of the trai= n. He tests the joint, giving the engineer a sign that he is going in-between to couple th= e air hoses and open the angle cocks cutting in the air. Engineer Duffe= rn says OK. The 1790, 1707, and our caboose are on the train by 12:25 P.M. /

Copy five!

This is the order from the Lake Superior Division dispatcher running the Second Sub-division at Duluth. He= has called the Central Avenue operator and told him to make out five copies of= clearances, t= rain orders, and register checks for our train. One copy each makes a set. One = set goes to the ro= ad engineer, fireman, and head brakeman aboard the 1790. One set goes to the = conductor. On= e set goes to the (flagman) rear brakeman. One set goes to the helper crew aboar= d the 1707, and = one set stays with the operator at Central Avenue. While the operator is going abo= ut his work, the 1790's two 8 1/2 cc air pumps start in on charging the brake= pipe and car air reservoirs to 70 psi.

Conductor Castle and engineer Duf= fern discuss the train. There are sixty loads, one hundred and five empties, one hundred sixty-five cars total. The coal loads, all on the head end, are for locomotive fuel, and for the ore sintering process plant. The empties are needed for loading. These cars put 5,000 tons between our auxiliary tender= and our caboose, and lengthen the train to about 4,100 feet. Time table maximum tonnage with two W-3s, 1790 and 1707, from Central Avenue to Carlton is 5,= 400 tons. The grades from Carlton to Sawyer reduce this to 5,200 tons.   Our length means we can o= nly clear the main track at the Wrenshall, Carlton, Sawyer, Tamarack, McGregor= and Deerwood sidings.

Air pumps on the 1790 pause. The carman has been watching the brake pipe pressure on air gauge in the caboo= se build toward 70 psi, and soon signals "Apply brakes." The 1790 replies with a whistle of one short—Applying brakes. The engi= neer then makes a service reduction with the automatic brake valve. When the brake v= alve exhaust ceases he checks the leakage in the line—it's within the guidelines. The carman will be walking the train now, making sure that the brake on every car has applied. He reaches the 1790, telling the engineer Duffern to rele= ase the brakes. While the brakes are releasing , they converse with the engineer telling= the carman the leakage rate. As we depart the carman will watch the train roll-by, g= iving the caboose a highball if everything is OK.

Water Stop

Hill Avenue to Carlton. Engineer Duffern on the 1790 whistles two long—Brakes released. Conduc= tor Castle reaches the caboose and gives a highball. The 1707 whistles off, st= arts leaning on caboose, to shove in the slack. I fill the hand-oiler again, putting it on= the drip tray, and continue building up the fire. The 1790 whistles off. Jimmy= the head brakeman has lined the crossover switches, gives us a come ahead.<= /p>

"Are you ready kid?" asks Johnny.

"Yes! Let's go—the steam gauge registers 198 psi."=

He releases the independent brake.

"We'll get the clearance and running orders and register check at the east leg of the wye at Central Avenue," he announces loudly.

K.C .Duffern cracks the throttle= . The cylinder cocks are open—clear the cylinders of condensate and are close= d. The water glass is three-quarters full. The inspirator is off. Grabbing the sh= ovel, I work to stop cool air from the ash pan washing the firebox sheets before the fi= rebed is built. This is accomplished with several scoops at the junction of the grate and t= he door sheet. More go to the junctions of the grate and the left and right s= ide sheets. After a revolution or two we are underway. It's 12:45 PM.=

The 1790 and 1707 will not be working ha= rd until the train is over the Second Sub-division's Bridge 9.1. The bridge c= arries a twenty mph speed limit. The Special Instructions stipulate automatic brakes are no= t to be set or released on Bridge 9.1 unless it is an emergency.

On the main track, progressing toward Ce= ntral Avenue. The Hill Avenue switch crew will line the crossover switches to no= rmal position. We're whistling for each crossing in modulated tones. A <= span style=3D'font-size:11.0pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.55pt'>car on my sid= e is not going to stop for a crossing.

"He's going to run it!" I yell.

Engineer Duffern pulls the whistle wide open on the last long note of the crossing signal, shaking his head. = We approach Central Avenue.

"There's the operator," the engineer notes. "Hoop! = The switches are lined for the interlocking.

We have "Green on top," on the GN interlocking."

Green on top! I reply.

The hogger grabs the hoop string with our orders. Taking them off his arm, he immediately   , puts them on the clipboar= d so they don't blow away. We've hooped up a clearance, an order, and a register check. K.C. Duffern reads them over and checks for correctness. Then he pa= sses them to me. "See what you think." As we pass the GN tower it's 1= :01 PM—Bridge 9.1 is just ahead.

I look them over, See Note [5]. Check company form, time, operator's signature, complete, date, superintendent= 's initials, etc. they all correspond. I read the clearance, it's a company f= orm, number of orders, each order number, etc. and the register check. By the t= ime I looked everything over, we're across bridge 9.1 at Cemetery Road.

"Clear block"

Clear block

He widens some on the throttle. I= put the orders down in a safe place. Adjust the stoker feed and inspirato= r. I glance at the track ahead, then the stack fore and aft—it's clear, t= he fire is level and brilliant white. I stand up to look at and adjust the lubricator feeds for the air pumps and stoker. While I did this, I noted the importance of keeping a sharp eye on what the engineer is doing, guess wha= t, he is looking at the lubricator feed settings to the left & right cylinde= rs and steam chests. The steam pressure gauge reads about 199 psi and climbin= g; half a gauge of water. I'll put on the inspirator shortly. There's the = pop valve "feather" ssssh. See Note [4]. Reaching up I put on the inspir= ator (gun), cutting it down to 50% of capacity.

Now the 1707 is off of bridge 9.1= , and the helper engineer begins to open her throttle and push. With a good grad= e of Eastern coal the 1790 and 1707 are each according to the NP capable of 280= 0 to 3000 hp at 36 mph, that's approaching 6000 hp. The Performance specs of th= e Z-5 Yellowstone was based on the performance of two W-3s or W-5s. We are now accelerating rapidly from 20 mph. The throttle is widened again, I increas= e the coal feed, noting we are running for the gradient!

"Clear Block"

Clear Block

Open the water regulating valve = to 100%. We're doing about 25 mph or 2 1/4 rps (revolutions per seconds) or 9 exhausts per second.

"Clear on Pokegama tower !"

Clear Pokey

Check the inspirator for full 100% flow. Still accelerating for a way yet. Get up and walk to the right side to loo= k at fire through stoker poking holes. ( Used to prod the coal when it's sticky = wet) It's a nice bright, brilliant, white fire. I look ahead and back over tender—clear stack.   ABS to Carlton,

"Clear Block"

Clear Block

<= span style=3D'font-size:11.0pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.5pt'>That coffee on= the drip tray is tempting, I take a swig, and follow it with a sandwich. I sit= back = to watch. Water, steam pressure, stack, check lubricator feeds—all OK. = Think about the left curve two miles west of Pokey—a good place to look ov= er a train. Out of habit, I quickly read and checked the clearance, train orders and register check a second time, See Note [5]. Without the actual form= s it is impossible to check the clearance, train orders and register checks but= do note points checked.

Clearance — one train order 29

Nineteen order — Train order 29

Engine 1790 run extra Central Avenue to Ironton.

Register check-All opposing and scheduled trains on = the 2nd Sub-division

have arrived and departed at this station by 11:59 A= M.

I put the train order clipboard back in it's place on the side of t= he engineer's seat box.

"They look good to me," I comment. " OK ?"

He nods affirmation.

As we hit the gradient just beyo= nd the Pokegama west siding switch we're doing better than 35 mph and still picking up speed.

"This one rides good, "K. C. says loudly of 1790.<= /p>

I wave yes and nod.

When we reach the left curvature,= I look back over the train. No fire. No smoke. No sparks or bouncing cars. W= hile I look at the train, K. C. is looking at me, waiting for my call.

"OK," with a highball wave.

He nods.

All our block signals have been showing green. At Anton we reach double track, and a facing point spring s= witch with facing point lock. This allows normal track speed over the switch. (W= ith a = facing point lock the speed limit is 30 mph.) The locomotives work hard on the 1% gradient from Central Avenue to Carlton. The 4.3 miles from Pokegama to An= ton climbs 119 feet, and includes 1.25 miles of 0.85% gradient. Our speed has slowed to 20 or 25 mph at Anton.

"Clear !"


We continue toward State Line tower.



The distant signal of the GN interlocking at State Line is yellow,= and remains yellow.

"Yellow Block!"

Yellow Block

The hogger begins easing a few notches o= ff the throttle, then a few more. I adjust the stoker and water feeds. At Sta= te Line, 3.2 miles from Anton, we have gained another 104 feet of elevation, including 1.0 mile of 1.00% gradient. A 1.00% gradient is an elevation gam= of 52.8 ft/mile.

"Red on State Line !" Called entering a left curve.

Red on State Line

Swinging into the left curve, he again e= ases off on the throttle, but keeps 1707 pushing until he wants to s= top. We stop at 1:20 PM with 1707 pushing the slack in.

"Suppose it's an eastbound ?"

"Here he comes now !" Casey declares.

A 2-8-8-0 simple articulated dri= fts by on the way to Superior's Allouez Yard. 1 close the inspirator and= give the fire a shot of coal. The GN has at least 180 seventy five ton ore jimm= ies, the equivalent of 96 to 105 gross tons per car. The first 50 or so appear = to have retainers set up, see Note [5]. Smoke from the brake shoes and= oil spatter on wheels surround the cars in a light blue haze. The Gre= at Northern operates a double track line from Allouez to Brookston, which inc= ludes a gauntlet track over a bridge somewhat west of State Line tower. At Brookston the Ke= lly Lake line to the Missabe Range leaves the main line to Grand Rapids. Just as the eastbound's caboose goes by, a westbound 2-8-8-0 comes charging by at over= 20 mph with more than 180 empties. Finally they're gone and the home signal changes.

"Clear Block."

Clear Block.

With two longs, the 1790 whistles off. As the throttle is eased ou= t, starting one car at a time, we slowly pull out the slack. I'm looking back towar= ds the 1707 as she starts to exhaust.

"They're Moving !" I shout.


Before the first train passed State Line tower I began building the= fire and checking the water level. Double-track becomes single track just befor= e the two diamonds. It is single track all the way to Ironton. State Line to Wrensha= ll is 4.7 miles; we gain 128 feet in elevation and traverse about 1 1/2 miles of compensated reverse curves, left to right, right, right again, left, and finally another to the right. (Compensated curve indicates the gradient on= the curvature is reduced so that the extra drag imposed by the curvature will = not cause the train to stall.) Engineer Dufferan calls out loudly as we top the gradient a half mile east of Wrenshall.

"Clear Board !" See Note [3].

Clear Board

We begin to pick up speed.

"Clear Block!"

Clear block

At 1 3/4 miles from Carlton we will have added 60 feet of elevation, of which 18 feet thereof will be lost in the= next 1 mile to the water stop. At the top of the grade the boiler water level will change from a 1/2 glass to 1/4 glass. The change in gradient is reflected = in the boiler water level. To comp­ensate, 1 left the inspirator operating until about a 1/2 glass of water was indicated and the steam pressure drop= ped to 195 psi on the gauge.

Stopping short of the Carlton—Wrenshall highway crossing, the brakeman cut off engine and tender and aux. water tender (leaving angle cock on train open), then walk= ed to flag the crossing. We pulled ahead slowly, whistling softly over crossing, stopping a= t the water plug. It's 1:55 PM. The hogger had a spot and made only one stop for both tenders. He did not whistle out a flagman for we were in Yard Limits. Carlton has= a 4-stall engine house, coaling facility, water tank and several stand= pipes and a wye. Five or six locomotives are stabled here. The engineer will ins= pect 1790 and oil a= round. I will take water in both tanks. After checking the coal supply, I tell Jo= hnny we have plent= y to make McGregor. He looks and agrees. Scrambling down the gangway steps, I climb up the= side of auxiliary tender, get the water crane hook and swing stand pipe around.= I open the manh= ole cover, push the spout down, hold it down and open valve slowly till full, = close valve, lift spout, close manhole cover. Next push stand pipe to tender and follow the same proced­ure. It takes a mighty push to swing the stand pipe = back from the tender so that it latches in place. I shout to K.C. Duffern in ca= se he hasn't heard me slamming all the manhole covers shut on tenders.

Once back in the cab, I look first at the water glasses – OK – then at the fire. The steam gauge is show= ing 198 psi, but the fire needs some coal to keep the steam pressure from sagg= ing. A little blower uses less coal. Taking the hand oiler, I put a few drops on the fire door,= try door—better, put a drop on the stoker (I do not wish to hand fire 70 square fee= t of grate area pulling 5200 ton at 30mph.) Check the lubricators—both OK. The left lubricator, a two feed, is working. The other is a Detroit hydrostatic lubricator with a shut off lever the engineer can turn when standing to sa= ve oil.

All the while Jimmy flags the highway crossing, waiting for the 1790 to return to the train. When we back up, he flags crossing and boards the auxiliary tender. He makes the coupling, tes= ts it, then comes up in the cab, where he takes me up on an offer of water and part of my seat box. The stoker is turning slowly, lightly feeding the fir= e. The engineer releases the train brakes while keeping the independe= nt brake set on the 1790 to get all the slack in. Then he calls for the Great Northern Carlton interlocking plant signal.

There are eleven different calls = at the Great Northern's interlocking tower in Carlton. West­ward from the = Second Sub-division over the double slip switch to westward on the Second Sub­= ;division is two shorts-pause—two shorts. The tower immediately gives us the line up.=

"Clear on top!"

Clear on top.

Engineer Duffern whistles off, as Conductor Castle walking the tram reaches the 1790 and climbs into the cab. Independent brakes released, we start moving—slowly. I look at the fire and can see it plainly with = our light exhausts. Nice, level, no indications of clinkers. I look at the stayboltsR= 12;the firebed appears to be about 5 inches thick—good for the hill.=

All trains must register at Carlton, a chore our conductor will per= form. There is no train order signal here. Any orders, checks, or messages, will= be handed up on the right side by the Carlton operator as we pass the depot. Five hun= dred feet before the depot we reach a left hand curvature. The rear brake= man will cut off the 1707 so the helper can take water after crossing the Carl= ton Wrenshall highway. The 1790 has a spot marked and will stop the tram so the caboose and helper 1707 will clear the west home signal on the Second Sub-division. When the 1707 returns, the rear brakeman will cut in the air= and the conductor will make the air test. To do this the conductor sign= als "Apply brakes," 1707 whistles—Apply brakes. On the = 1790, a service reduction is made applying the brakes. When the brakes apply on = the caboose and 1707, the conductor signals "Release brakes." The 1707 whis= tles again—Release brakes, and shoves in the slack.

Carlton to McGregor

As the 1790 rolls past the Carlton depot, the operator hands up ord= ers on the right side of the 1790 and conductor Castle gets off on the depot platform= . The orders are quickly placed on the clipboard and read over. I fill the hand-oiler aga= in, setting it on the drip tray to warm. We clank along, stopping so that the caboose and 1707 clear the west home signal of the Carlton GN interlocking plant. K. C. Duffern passes the clipboard to me. "They look OK to you?"

Received at Ca= rlton; clearance and orders no. 31 and 32

Train order 31

Extra 1790 west has right over engine extra 2210 eas= t

Carlton to McGregor and wait at:

Cromwell until 2:55 PM

Wright     until 3:05 PM

Tamarack until = 3:17 PM
for engine extra 2210 east.   &= nbsp;           &nb= sp;            = ;            &= nbsp;           &nb= sp;            = ;            &= nbsp;           &nb= sp;            '

Train order 32

After helping extra 1790 west,  engine 1707 run engine extra

Sawyer to Carlton.

I read and check the clearance and order= s, then give them to Jimmy to read. See Note [5]. Once Jimmy has looked them over, I take the clipboard and put it back in its place.

"They look good, I can't see any problems."

"That's good," comes the reply.

Standing up, the engineer takes t= he now-warm hand-oiler and says: "I'm going to look at the right piston = rod again. She seems to be not quite as oily as the other. I increased the oil= flow at the water plug. Keep an eye on the 1707. If I get busy, let me know when she couples on."

"OK! I'll keep an eye on 1707."

Jimmy and I talk about how nice O= tter Creek looks. Wouldn't it be great to wet a line for a couple of brook trou= t? We could grill them in the firebox, something I had done a number of tunes wh= en working the Carlton switch. As we are talking, K. C. climbs back into the = cab.

"That did it! She's OK now!"

"I'm more glad than you are!" I note. "Running boards, tallow pots, hot smoke boxes—are not my favorite w= ay to lubricate the engine!"

He laughed heartily. I knew he had been there!

"Here comes the 1707!" I call.

Carlton's operator hands up orders to the 1707's crew as they pass = the depot. These orders for the helper also contain running orders for 1707= to return to Carlton from Sawyer. On cue, I start to slowly build the fire. We have 197 psi on the gauge and 1/2 glass of water. Crack the blower to a whisper—I want to keep it quiet so I can hear the 1707 whistle for t= he air test. Jimmy pipes up, it's too hot for him, he's going back to the dog house where it's cool. One short comes from the 1707's whistle.

"Apply brakes," I call.

"OK," engineer Duffern says out loud.

He moves the automatic brake valve from the running to the service position. Air exhaust starts, the b= rakes are setting up. I open the blower valve some more. The gauge shows 198 psi= , still 1/2 glas= s of water. I blow each water gauge down and close the drain, the water bounces= freely in each gauge. The feather comes on the safety valve—Ssshhh. I put the inspi= rator on and cut it down to 50%, the feather disappears. The brake valve exhaust stops.= From the con­ductor—Release brakes—then—HighbalI\ = The 1707 whistles off.

"Release brakes! Highball!" I call.

The 1790's engineer releases the brakes and waits for the release. Behind us the 1707 is now leaning lightly against our caboose. He'll push in the slack when the brakes release. The = 1790, along with half our train, is on a 1% grade. The 1707, and the rear half of our train= , is on a 0.3% grade. The hogger looks at me.

"Ready kid?"

Yup let's go!

Simultaneously, we look at our watches—2:17 PM. I glance back at the 1707. She's starting to shove hi t= he slack.

"The 1707 is exhausting—shoving in the slack."

The 1790's throttle is eased out starting one car at a time, a bit = of sand and more throttle.

"The 1707's moving!"


The throttle is opened to the point where the 1790 barks out exhaus= ts. We're going to work in earnest. Another shot of sand. I glance at the wa= ter glass—a bit more than half. Inspirator on full. Feather on the pop agai= n. Now the 1790's working at 100% of cylinder capacity. I look back to the 17= 07. She's doing the same, pretty good as she is waiting for overhaul at Braine= rd. Another shot of sand. Nine, then 10 mph, drivers slip 1/4 turn—more sand!   Engineer Duffern shortens the cut-off two notches. Our entire train is now on 1.00% grade. = Both engines are working hard. The 1790slips 1/2 turn. Again, a shot of sand. T= he lead engine may be slippery due to rail conditions.

Two children watch us go by. They cover their ears against our locomotive's exhaust and quickly return our waves from the cab, then quick= ly cover there ears again.

Four exhausts per second. Sixteen feet per seconds (ips). Twelve mph. The hogger shortens the cut-off an= other two notches; the stack talk quiets. There goes the west switch of Carlton'= s north siding.= I look things over. Lubricator feeds—OK. Water—Good. Water Regulator valve— Open wide. Feather—Good. Stack—Clear. Fire—Dazzling white.

A W-3's maximum hp (horsepower) output is at about 36 mph. These straight-forward machines are among the earliest large-boilered 2-8-2s. Many changes and improvements have been ma= de over the years. Equipment, combined with high grade Eastern coals push the= m to near 3000 hp. The 1790 and 1707 are running flat out to move this 5,000 ton train on= this gradient. According to the Special Instructions, maximum tonnage for two W-3s f= rom Carlton to Sawyer is 5,200 tons. This represents the heaviest train these = machines should be able to start on this gradient.

Mile Post 30. Bridge 30. We're mo= ving about 14 to 17 mph,   ta= ckling 2 miles of 1.0% gradient. There is a sag at MP32—Iverson – and= also a 3/4 mile sag at MP 33. The remainder to MP 35 is all 1.0% gradient= . A left curvature at MP 34 will give a chance to look over train. I give boghead <= /span>thumbs up̵= 2;he nods. From MP 36.5 to MP 37.5 the grade fluctuates from 0.5 to 1.25%—we'll decelerate, accelerate, decelerate, accelerate, etc. to the crest = at Sawyer.

Carlton to Sawyer is 9.7miles. t= he elevation increases 235 feet. Hills and dales cover the rail­way from MP 30= to MP 58. From MP 58 to MP 71, McGregor, are 13 miles where the gradients are slightly down= or non-existent.

Here comes Sawyer. We accelerate rapidly on the slight downgrade—20, 25, 30, 35 mph . . Slam The locomotive lurches as the slack runs out. The 1707 has been cut off, it's only us now= .

"He's off!" shouts the engineer. I look at my watch, it's 2:42 PM.

My last view of the 1707 was as she was entering the siding to wye. He has the train orders to return to Carlton, = at which time he will most likely receive running orders to Duluth.

From Carlton to Staples the Second Sub-division is dark, no automa= tic block signals. However, at McGregor, the SOO Line has an interlocking plant = with distant and home signals, governing the junction with the Northern Pacific= 's Lake Superior Division. There is a Spring Switch at Deerwood.

K.C. Duffern gets up and comes over to my side of the cab.

"I hope somebody decides that this pit run gravel is punishin= g the equipment!"

"I know, I've hit bottom on the sea= t box springs a few times!" I reply as we bounce along over gravel put do= wn in the 1940s. On top of it is 90 pound rail laid between 1910 and 1920.

"Boy, when we hit curves with crushed rock ballast and 115 pou= nd rail it is a relief to rest!"

He smiles and sits back down. I = get up, looking at the fire through the stoker ports. I look at the stack and = see it is still clear—very little indication of trailing smoke. The engi= neer has the throttle set just right! My inspirator, at 100%, is taking care of= our steam requirements. I walked over to his side. The tender water gauge shows more = than 1/2 full.

"You suppose 2210 is at Cromwell? He's obviously coming from Brainerd shops."

"Probably! "K. C. answers.

Corona goes by. The 1790 is continuing to roll at 35 mph + and Crom= well is only 1-1/2 miles.

"Yellow board!"


"There she is—2210!" The engineer shouts and I wave= OK..

We're down to about 30 mph with o= ur tram still hanging over the hill. The Cromwell depot is on the left. = The engineer starts whistling for crossings. I watch the crossings and look fo= r the operator. The operator put the flimsies on the train order stand. The lowe= r set is for the caboose; the upper for the head end crew. The operator steps = back to watch the train and give us a roll-by. I concentrate on grabbing the or= ders, while hanging on to the stoker valve. Head down, cap down, ducking behind = the windshield, holding out the arm, leaning out the window, making a fist, be= ing steady in cas= e the locomotive lurches—I punch my hand and lower arm through the string = loop.

"Got it!" I yell.

I take the orders over to the engineer, then scramble back to my seat box. Accelerating past 35 mph I ch= eck the train as we round a left curvature. I look back at the hogger—he= 's reading—he's finished. He walks over with orders on the clipboard.

"My side's running good," I tell him.

"OK. Check these."

Clearance &nb= sp; train orders 39 and 42 Train   order 39

Extr= a  1790 west has right over all t= rains McGregor to Deerwood and wait at Lansford until 4:10 Kimberly until 4:19 Aitkin      until 4:4= 0 for extra 1657 east.

Train   order 42

Extra 1790 west hold main track at D= eerwood to the

Fourth Sub-division crossover wes= t of the Deerwood depot after   5:05 PM.

Extra 1790 west has right over all t= rains Deerwood to Ironton.=

I read and check the clearance and orders then report, "Cleara= nce and orders are OK." Over the next 8 1/2 miles it's a hill-and-dale railway. We roll along between 35 and 40 mph. Fortunately there's no side = or cross-wind for empty ore cars are wind catchers. I keep checking the

steam gauge-200 psi, boiler water level--1/2 glass both gauges boun= cing freely, feather is sshh, and the stack is clear with little or no plume foll= owing train. I open coal gates, it's falling nicely. No picking coal is necessar= y at this speed. The fire is still clear and bright white—no banks, no da= rk spots (caused= by clinkers). Thirteen miles to McGregor. There goes Wright. Twenty minutes t= o McGregor, wher= e it will only take but a few minutes to clean this fire. I take a drink of wat= er from the top of the water can—refreshing—ice cooled water.

Look at the le= ft side lubricator (not fed by the transfer lubricator). The reservoir glass is sh= owing some light. I open both feeds to slightly overfeed the stoker and air pump before I drain and refill the lubricator at McGregor.

Here comes Tamarack!

"Clear Board."

Clear Board.

I close the transfer lubricator valves. Open the drain. After a moment the blowing and draining stops. I remov= e the hot fill plug (300 deg F) carefully, quickly placing waste over the fill p= lug hole, then take tello pot and slide the spout under the waste into the fill hole. Close the drain finger tight. Quickly insert fill plug when full to prevent a blow-back. Just as quickly I tighten the drain and fill plug. All firemen dread blow-back—hot emulsified oil literally blows out the f= ill plug hole as it heats, therefore, tight valves and quickness are the key. = The following is a picture of such an event: hot emulsified oil blows out of hole— it is everywhere !!!—all over you, all over the ceiling,= all over the cab walls and windows, all over boiler head, gauges, piping, valves and handle= s, all over the deck (slippery), dripping, and all over everything—and = you have to clean it up. Hopefully, the Engineer was not present.

The transfer lubricator has been refilled and is ready to be put ba= ck in service so I open the valves. Toss the oily waste into the firebox and loo= k at the fire with a dark welding glass, good. Look at the boiler head gauges a= nd stack – OK. Fill the tallow pot with valve oil and put on drip tray = to warm. Valve oil is a special type oil that forms drops in water and somewhat adheres t= o wet surfaces. Water or coffee? Coffee with a peanut butter cracker!

I look ahead at track, the engine= er eases off a few notches on the throttle, so I slow down the stoker. He is letting the train roll using up the energy due to the velocity and rotatio= n of wheels. This saves fuel and water. I slow the stoker some. Close the inspi= rator water regulating valve to about 50% of capacity. We roll and slow and roll= and slow. Four miles to McGregor. The engineer closes to a drifting throttle.   Inspirator off. Stoker off,= to let the fire die a bit and get rid of some radiant heat to improve vision for clean= ing the fire and keep 195 psi on her.

Glance at boiler water level gau= ge, about 2/3, moving freely. I want a 1/2 glass to clean the fire. I'll use the a= sh pan swipes to wash ashes into the hopper and put out any fire or hot coals. Sw= ipes take water fr= om the inspirator overflow on prune until the overflow valve closes. I keep an ey= e out to what's ahead and where we are. Then the hogger calls out.

"Yellow on the distant signal."


"I'm going to clean the fire, I'll tell you when to put on the right-side swipes. OK ?" He nods yes.

Blower on lightly. I take the shaker bar hanging on the coal gate, insert it on the left front grate section. Latch= open the fire door on the first notch, can now see the left-front section plain= ly, which I unlock. Blower on a bit more. Left side ash pan swipes on. Look ahead at t= rack. Ask engineer for the right side swipes. Judging from the staybolts, the firebed look= s to be about 7 or 8 inches thick. As I rock the grates gently about 4 "of bottom ash promptly falls to the ash pan. Lock the left front grate section, and = repeat this procedure for the remaining quadrants: right front, right back and le= ft back, no clinkers whatsoever. The fire is cleaned. I leave the swipes on to make su= re all the hot coals and fire are out. I start the stoker and feed coal to the fire, st= ill plenty of radiant heat in the firebox the coal began burning quickly. Steam pressu= re gauge reads 195 psi.

"Shut off the swipes !" As I shut off the left side. He s= huts off right side.

The engineer makes the first application with the automatic brake valve, waits, then the second applica= tion. We stop gently at 3:40PM.

All the while the ash pan and hopper have been filling with water. Nobody on my side, anybody on your side, he looks and shakes his head no. I ope= n the two ash pan hoppers—water and ash come out like a flood. I'm hot wit= h the quick workout, but the fire was cleaned not breathing dust or gases.

"This is high BTU coal—and clean, not a clinker = in a carload !" I tell the engineer.

With our caboose inside Yard Limi= ts the engineer does not whistle out a flag. Jimmy cuts us off from the train= and we head off to the water plug and coal dock. We stop the tender and auxili= ary at one spot. The coal dock man does not appear to around, so I scramble up= the tender ladder and Jimmy turns the standpipe spout. I center the spout over= the manhole, open the cover, stand on the spout and open valve. Though the ten= der was 2/3 empty, it's full in a few minutes. It carries 16 tons of coal and = 9,300 gals, of water. The auxiliary tender is then filled giving the 1790 an additional 12,000 gals, for a total of 21,300 gals.

The engineer had been listening for the aux. tender manhole cover to slam shut. When he does, he heads back to the cab. Bell ringing, we roll a= head to spot for coal. Here comes the coal dock man! He had gone home for dinne= r and didn't hear us sneak into town. The slamming manhole covers and ringing b= ell brought him running with an apology. "Forget it," we tell him.

To keep the coal dust out of the= cab I close the coal gates, roof vents, windows, and back curtain. The = coal dock man fills up the tender with Eastern coal. (All ore trains get this g= rade coal for maximun steam production.) When the coaling is finished I open up the cab,= then wash it down with a squirt hose. I wet down the coal pile as well. Our cho= res are done, we head back to the train.

Jimmy makes the coupling, then gi= ves K. C. a sign to cut in the air. The engineer nods yes. The air pumps= start charging the brake pipe and car reservoirs. I wait until the train brakes = are released. Next, I drain the left side lubricator, fill it, and cut it back= in, then go about setting the drops per minute to the air pump and stoker. Open t= he blower some; feed some coal on to the fire. The fire is still bright enough that the fresh coal starts to burn quickly. Shut off the stoker. Water glass 1/2 full= ; steam pressure almost 195 psi; ready to go! The conductor has walked the train a= nd is talking to= the engineer below the cab. I drop down to the ground to join the conversation= . The c= onductor and Jimmy are going up to the depot to see what is going on with the SOO, = and the NP Staples-Carlton local (extra 1657 east), and whatever else is about. Jimmy will get on at the depot, and the conductor will do a roll-by inspec= tion as we leave town. He asks that we not pick him up at more than = 10 mph. He's walked the train and everything looked good. He will look at the othe= r side of the t= rain on the roll-by.

The hogger sets off around the en= gine. I go back up in the cab to sprinkle coal on the fire, close the blower som= e, and check the water level. After taking my coffee off the drip tray and a = sandwich wrap= ped in wax paper I rejoin K. C. He sees the sandwich.

"You got one?" I ask.

"No, I thought I had the bag, but I didn't!"

"Here, take this." I give him a half sandwich still wrapp= ed in wax paper.

"No, I couldn't."

He accepts after I tell him I have more stashed in the cab, along w= ith crackers and peanut butter.

"I should have guessed because I didn't see your coffee on the boiler head."

"Take this coffee if you wish." He did wish, and did! "Well, I'm going up in the cab. Whe= n you're finish= ed come up and get the rest of your lunch—but you'll have to drink water.&qu= ot;

Back in the cab I oiled the stoke= r, filled the tallow pot and hand oiler, putting them on the drip tray to heat.= Again checked steam pressure, water level, and status of the fire. Open the blow= er slightly, feed= a little coal. I put the rest of the lunch on the brake valve. I sit down to watch the depot platform. Inspection and oiling around finished, he came back-up in the ca= b and sees the bag.

"Are you sure?" he asks.

"Yes—I've been there. Besides, I'm not working hard and = I had plenty."

McGregor to Deerwood

"Clear Board." Clear Board

The interlocking home signal changes from red to green.

"Green on top !" I call.

Green on top

I open the blower, add coal to the fire, check fire by cracking op= en the fire door – OK. He whistles off, with cylinder cocks open briefl= y as he opened the throttle. We are on our way again at 4:05 PM. The conductor shouts up to me about the extra east as we go by the depot.

"Watch for him at Lansford!"


I tell the engineer. He nods yes.

McGregor to Lansford is absolutely level track and we can get the t= rain rolling. Train order 39 received at Cromwell says we cannot pass Lansford be= fore 4:10 PM—we won't.

"Brakeman's on!"

He nods again.

It will take about 4 1/2 minutes at 10 m= ph for the caboose to travel 4,100 feet and come alongside the McGregor depot platform. Jimmy and I watch the conductor for his signal.   Conductor Castle boards the ca= boose and gives a big beautiful highball by waving his white cap.

"Highball from the Castle!"


Engineer Duffern answers the highball wi= th two extra long melodic whistles. I am ready, the fire is ready, ste= am pressure is 200 psi gauge, and the safety valve has its feather. There's 1= /2 glass of water in both gauges bouncing freely and the inspirator is on at 100% capa= city. The hogger opens the W-3 up. He is going to give the 1790 all she can take= and see what she'll do with the train. He'll have to, in order to get this tra= in going like a roller coaster, up and down, slowing and then accelerating = around a left curvature and then to a right curvature for the next 20 miles. We a= re quickly up to = 20, 25, and then 30 mph. The locomotive enters a curvature just before the siding = at Lansford which is laid out on the right hand side of the track.

"They're in the hole at Lansford, it's a W class but I can't s= ee the number for drifting smoke."

"OK! I'll get it!" the engineer shouts.

We are doing 30 to 35 mph, pouring velocity energy into the train. See Note [6]. We pass the 1657 with= a great rush and roar with highball signs and affirmation of 1790's performa= nce.

"Sixteen fifty-seven!" he shouts.

OK, 1657!

As we accelerated I blew down the water column and left and right water glasses, then checked the valves for leaka= ge and gauges for free bouncing water levels.

She acts like a roller coaster as= our speed increases to over 35 mph. At 35 mph, we cover 51.3 fps (feet per sec= ond), equivalent to 3.1 rps (revolutions per second) of the drivers, equal to ab= out 13 exhausts p= er second. Sound of our exhaust and wheels bouncing off the nearby forest, is= creating a ter= rific din.

We pass along the siding at Kimbe= rly, enter a curvature, then cross over the Rice River bridge and enter ano= ther curvature. The 1790 keeps the slack stretched out. We are making good time= with our 5,000= tons. This roly-poly railway has the train down to 30 mph before we start accelerating again. Then slow again. Five more curvatures to Rossburg, where I'= ll look over the train again. We are coming up to the left curvature—tram look= s OK, engineer is looking for my call—give "thumbs up" beca= use of noise.    We accele= rate. In the cab I watch the steam, water, stack and fire. Five more curves to Aitk= in, then 30 mph speed limit through town. The hogger is checking his watch-4:5= 0 PM He eases off = the throttle.

"Clear Board!"

Clear Board.

He holds us at 30 mph as we rattle through Aitkin, blowing for crossings as necessary, then crossing the R= ipple River bridge.

Aitkin's operator tucks himself behind t= he corner of the depot to keep the stirred up dust and cinders from = his eyes. From his cover, he will inspect the train and signal the conductor. = As we pass, the engineer calls me over to his side of the cab. I view the left side quickly before I go.

"The dispatcher knows my pace—we won't be to Deerwood un= til the order is effective."

That's great!

Train order 42 refers to our rights over all trains from Deerwood to Ironton.

The hogger begins easing out the throttle while I adjust the stoker and inspirator. There are 10.3 miles to Deerwood, over which we will increase our elevation about 70 feet. In the stretch between Cedar Lake and Deerwood there are 3 miles of 0.4% gradient. Much of the train's rolling energy [6] will be expended on this grade. Here comes Cedar Lake on the left side with rails and debris still poking out o= f the water from a long forgotten wreck. There are seven curves in less than 2 m= iles. Hitting the grade to Deerwood, we trade velocity for fuel.

Deerwood to Ironton

We slow to negotiate the Deerwood crossover within the speed limit. Deerwood's operator has lined the switches for the Fourth Sub-division. He will li= ne them back after we pass.

"Clear Board."

Clear Board

"It's 5:12 PM."

Yup, checking his watch.

The crossover switch is lined up and the Deerwood operator gives 1790 a highball. The hogger answers him with two b= lasts of the whistle, and we are on the Fourth Sub. Around the next curve and he can se= e the yard lead, now I see it is lined for track 2. We pull into the yard slowly until our caboose is in the clear, then double over the head end hanging out on the lead. Ji= mmy handles the double over, then ties down sufficient hand brakes on both tracks = to hold the cars in place.

One of the Ironton switch engines is wai= ting for the coal loads. Carmen inspect the loads first. The conductor walked t= he train, and joins us for the cab ride to the depot. While we were doubling = over the train, I filled both lubricators and cut in the air compressor, but no= t the transfer lubricator. Before we tie-up I will bank the fire, close the blow= er, inspect the ash pan and firebox. The boiler will have at least 3/4 glass of water and 175 psi steam pressure. I will quickly move through the rest, blow down wat= er column, two water gauges and three gage cocks, checking the valves on each= for tightness and operation. Report to K.C. Duffern.

"Nothing to report."


We arrive at the engine track. SOO Line 1033 is here, but the switch engines are still out working. Jimmy put= s us on the engine track. The engines will be wyed before we report for duty. T= he engine watch throws a chain around the driver after we stop. It's 5:50 PM. We'll be tie= d-up in 15 minutes. Total time on duty—7 hours and 5 minutes. I shut off = the left and right lubricators, gather my belongings—water can, suitcase, g= loves and coffee bottle. Climb down the gangway steps, empty my water can, th= en set my things on the ground. I join the engineer in a brief question and answe= r session as he = moves around the 1790, inspecting and oiling her running gear.


Walking and talking, we inspect the 1790. As we do, conductor Castle comes up.

"They've got your beds lined up.&qu= ot; He pauses, then continues "The SOO Line was about an hour ahead of us in tying-up. They'll be called about 40 minutes to one hour ahead of us. They= 're thinking abou= t 5:30 AM, plus or minus 15 minutes or so for us."

The engineer looks at me.

"Well kid, daylight in the swamp comes up early tomorrow.&quo= t;

"Good thing I didn't work hard today," 1 retort.<= /p>

"If they push us out of the yard, we won't pick up at Deerwood," the conductor interjected.

hi the locker room we shed our overalls, jackets, caps, gloves and boots while continuing to jaw. = After we've ri= nsed and washed I pocket my pint coffee bottle. The hogger registers in and mak= es out the work report. It reads "Injectors—Good; Safety Valve ope= ns 200 psi closes 198 psi—Good," and so forth, closing with "Nothing to report." He proceeds to make out the time sheet.

We learn we will be staying in a private residence. The owner, a widow, will provide us with a delicious breakfast, along with several choices for lunch, and coffee, all at a reasonable pric= e. Dinner is also available.

"I've been there before kid," K.C. says. "It's well = worth it."

"OK! Let's go! I'm hungry and haven't been to this one before."

Dinner is a feast of Swedish meatballs and gravy, cabbage slaw with apples, vegetables and potatoes, followed up with homemade apple pie and w= ashed away with coffee. Truly great when hungry.

As we thank the matron and say our goodnights, she asks each of us= what we want for breakfast. "Oatmeal, toast, orange juice, and of course, coffee" is our reply. And for lunch? I tell her to surprise me, then add "But no onions! and please fill my coffee bottle—cream please.&= quot;

Dinner, a bath= , and the paper have come and gone by 8 PM. Our hostess has one last question for me, though= .

"How long will it take from your call until you're dressed an= d at the table?"

"Fifteen minutes."

"Breakfast will be ready!" she replies.

Daylight in the Swamp

The call comes at 4:15 AM. An hour and fifteen minutes until we're = on duty; this is sufficient for Ironton. Fifteen minutes later I'm at the table

"I hear a SOO bell—must be 1033."

"You're right," replies Johnny.

We down our breakfast quickly. Johnny asks if he can get ajar or bo= ttle to hold his coffee.

By 4:50 AM we've paid our bills, taken o= ur lunch and coffee to the locker room. Register in, read the bulletins, check watches, dress, and head for the ready track. She's waiting there for us, = light gray tires, big, beautiful, the 1790.

At 5:30 AM we're repeating the inspections and preparations we made on the 1790 at Duluth. Fifteen minutes later Jimmy arrives, ready for the head brakeman's chores. Busy, I miss the usual conductor-engineer conversation. The conductor gives K.C. Duffern our running orders and Jimmy will put the 1790 on the train. K. C. hands me the orders to look over, I pass them on to Jimmy.

"Everything's OK with the orders. I'm ready"—Jimmy says—"Me too!"

He nods—Good— then continues.

"Conduct= or Castle said 624 took a lot of ore from Deerwood. The SOO filled out at Dee= rwood = too, so we won't have to fill out there. The NP switch engine will help us start t= he train and get us over the crest at Deerwood."

"That's great news. "O= ur helper to Deerwood is the NP switch engine—1577, a hand fired Class = W Mikado. (W c= lass 2-8-2's were some of the first successful mikes, they were based on the Q-l 4-6-2 boiler and machinery parameters.)

"Conductor Castle also said = that the SOO will be only about 40 minutes ahead of 1790. Keep a sharp eye east= of Aitkin and hi the vicinity of Kimberly for a flagman. He hasn't seen the S= OO engineer's na= me on the register before!"

Engineers have system rights on the SOO.

"I hope h= is fireman can give him some advice if he's inexperienced in ore service,&quo= t; mused the Conductor Castle..

= "Well ki= d, it could be up to you or I to keep from making matchsticks out of the SOO caboose," the hogger said.

= Stopping just= past the switch Jimmy lines it, then makes and tests the joint. He cut in the a= ir, then checks th= e first dozen cars for set hand brakes.

"What's our tonnage?" I ask the hogger.

"Conductor Castle said 8,500 tons and 124 cars, but look at the cars and the loads they carry!"

"Well, we will find out on the scales at Superior—but A= itkin or Kimberly are more likely."

I fill the hand oilers and tallow pots, putting them on the drip t= ray to warm. The fire looks good; 1/2 glass of water, 195 psi on the gauge; lubricator feed set for the compressor and stoker I check the c= lass flags, wipe off the windshields and windows, oil the fire door, bell and dynamo. Check the coal, sand and water.

"Set them up!" Jimmy calls.

The 1577 , our switch engine help= er, couples on behind our caboose, the air is cut in.  1577 whistles one short—= Apply brakes. I think --hand fired I've been there, bet he is laying in a he= el!

Engineer Duffern makes a service reduction and the brakes set. The carman starts walking the train to ensure every brake on every car is applied. Brake pipe pressure is carried at 70 psi on the gauge to Sawyer then at 90 psi un= til set out. NP ore service operating rules limit us to 40 mph over the road with= loaded ore cars.

Finally, I read and check the clearance, train orders and register = check

Received at Ironton

Clearance and two orders 14 and 15

Train order 14

Engine 1790 run extra Ironton to Cen= tral Avenue.

T= rain order 15

N= umber 55 take eastward siding at McGregor for extra 1790

e= ast  and wait until 9:25 AM.

Register check

Extra MStPSSM 1033 east ahead of 179= 0.

I put the clipboard in the pocket on the engineer's seat box.

"Looks good to me. They're OK. However, what happened to yesterday's orders?"

Good, and I threw them away.

I finally test the coffee and check my lunch sack.

"A sweet roll for the coffee!" I declare.

The hoghead immediately sees the roll. "What's that?

"What does it look like?" is my response. "My Surpr= ise ! Remember?"

He shakes his head and looks again as I try it.

"Oooh, this surprise is so gooood!" I tell him, consuming the sweet roll with great gusto.

Following this taunt, I blow down the w= ater column, then the water gauges and gauge cocks. Check the water column—S= hut off. Drain valves—OK. Water column water gauge—S= hut off. Blow down the left water gauge and check the valves—All OK. Check = the water level in the glass OK. The water level is moving nicely. Because of circulation from the boiler, water moves in the glass even when= the locomotive is standing still. I glance at K. C. He's leaning out the cab window, looking toward the rear of the train. He stops looking , goes into= his seat box for his lunch. I try to see if he got a sweet roll too, but he = put it back in the seat box and looked out the window !

Ironton to Deerwood

"All applied! Release the brakes!" the carman calls out.= The 1790 whistles—Release brakes. The engineer measured the leaka= ge when the brakes were set and are within prescribed limits. The NP switch e= ngine 1577 starts to lean on the train to shove in the slack. At the headend, 17= 90 whistles off. We watch the 1577's stack and smoke, as we wait for her she starts to move. Engineer Duffern opens the 1790's throttle and cylinder cocks. A shot of sand. A 1/2 glass of water and 199 psi on gauge. The 1577 is exhausting, we are moving at 6:27= AM.

The ascending gradient out of Iro= nton will hold 1790 and 1577 to a slow pace. The air operated cylinder cocks we= re quickly closed and the throttle pulled out quite quickly because of the he= avy train on a tough grade. The reverse lever is at maximum cutoff. A shot of = sand. There's the feather. On comes the inspirator. The gauge shows 200 psi, s= till have 2/3 glass of water. The W-3 slips—1/4 turn of the drivers. The = 1790 's factor of adhesion is 3.92.1 walk over to the engineer's side checking = the fire as I = go.

"Are we going on to the Second Sub at the crossover, or at the spring switch?"

Spring switch

Back on my side the feather is getting louder. I widen on the inspirator water regulating valve and ease off on t= he coal. It starts to quiet, I reset the stoker to the prior pressure. The 17= 90 is now cresting the Ironton yard gradient. We accelerate rapidly—15, 20, 20+—a= s we hit the grade on the next mile. There's a 1/2 mile of 0.7 and 0.85% grade here, and the 1790 and 1577 are working hard. Our W-3 slips 1/2 turn, again more sand, even with both engines wide open, we are decelerating. It is 1/2 mil= e to the Deerwood depot.

"Clear Board."


Deerwood to McGregor

Deerwood's operator gives us a roll-by, = ready to give our caboose a highball or a stop sign. We'll be down to 10 mph bef= ore we start accelerating again. The 1577 will keep pushing until the 1790 can= handle the tr= ain by herself. When we achieve this the rear brakeman will cut-off the 1577. We = get a slight pull = as the slack runs out.

"We are on our own," the hogger notes.

He starts to ease off as we gath= er speed. We call out the spring switch signal. SOOn we are on a drifting throt= tle. By Cedar Lake we are picking up the slack. I open the stoker 1/4 turn, there = was more than 1/2 glass of water on the down grade to Cedar Lake. I ask the ho= gger how the train feels.

"8,500 tons ?"

"Yes," he replies. "And there could be more. I'm going to go after her. She'll be wide o= pen running for th= e hill before we pass the west switch of the westward siding at Aitkin. We should= be making pretty good time. Watch your water, and when she starts to drop tel= l me to put on the other inspirator. I'll cut down to half and you take the wat= er level from there. OK?"


From my seat box I can see we hav= e a clear stack. Two miles east of Cedar Lake, we're going down a slight grade= at about 30 mph. Both of us are watching the train for hot boxes.

"Here comes the west switch."

"Train looks OK," I note, then, "Give her a drink!&= quot; as the water starts to drop.

"Yellow board!" he shouts back.

Yellow board

He quickly puts on the inspirator, cutt= ing it down to 50% capacity. I cut my inspirator back to about 70%, and open t= he stoker valve a bit. I listen to the engine. The inspirators say she's work= ing at about 120% of normal boiler capacity. I open the water valve on the gun= a bit more. At this rate the inspirators are moving 5,304 gallons an hour.

She reaches about 125% of normal boiler capacity. There's 1/2 glass of water, which will increase as we hit= the grade east of the Aitkin depot.

The 1790 is clearing herself nicely as = we reach the Aitkin depot. It's on the right side. He'll have to grab the ord= ers and blow the whistle for the road crossings. He grabs the orders and puts = them on the clipboard to read over. Done reading, he gives me a highball, and p= uts the clipboard in his seat box holder. The implication is that he doesn't w= ant me reading orders now. He looks at his watch, I check mine as well—7= :12 AM.

"Watch for flagman!" he shouts over the stack exhausts and reflected sounds of the train from the forest and buildings.

I wave—OK!

Our train is only about 2,900 feet long= . The railway climbs a 0.5% grade for 1/2 mile here, follows it with 1/2 mile of level track, and 1/2 mile sag after that. The hogger is trying to keep the slack stretched as long as possible, so run-ins and run-outs aren't so sev= ere and we do not lose rolling energy. Into the second curvature, we have three more to go. Giving up some of its velocity head [6], we slow, even with the boiler operating at 125%. At least things are going well on this heavy, he= avy train. No hot boxes, clear stack, 200 psi on the gauge, stoker good, fire brilliant white, and brick arches dripping like icicles.=

With the entire train on the gradient we slow rapidly. I'm watchin= g the track ahead closely, but I don't see a flagman or caboose. Reaching level tra= ck, the boiler water level drops quickly from 3/4 to 1/2 glass. Steam pressure is = 200 psi with a feather and a clear stack. The engineer listens, sensing the engines performance. I take this opportunity to quickly look over the clipboard, checking the orders and clearance picked up at Aitkin.

Received at Ai= tkin

Clearance and t= rain order  21

Train order 21

Extra 1790 east wait at:

Grayling    until   9:55 AM

Tamarack  until 10:10 AM

Wright      until 10:= 30 AM for extra 1657= west.

By dropping the reverse lever for= ward a notch or two at a time, the hogger slowly lengthens the cutoff. Full = gear is 85% cutoff, but with the train moving at about 13 mph he has a way to go. = As we drop into a small sag I note the water level has dropped to a third of a g= lass due to the sag. I can see the curvature ahead, no flagman or caboose, I tell t= he hogger. Over the top of the sag, we fall into the next 1/2 mile= long sag, then a curvature to the right.

"Ho!" A slight kick from the = train as the slack runs in. Out of the last curve, we assault a 1.08% gradient f= or 1/2 mile. This, in conjunction with buff and draft slack action, uses up additional train energy. Slack will run in when the 1790 is west of the cr= est, then run out when she's east of it. We both hold on for the run-in. It hasn't c= ome. Where is it?


The engine receives a quick push, slamming us back.


The run-out stands us up from our seat boxes.

"Not the worst I've had her= e! But far from the gentlest! I'm glad we didn't get a knuckle or a draw bar!" the engineer yells.

I nod, having bit my cheek during the action. I wonder how the cabo= ose fared?

The train rolls down 3/4 mile of = 0.5% grade, the up 0.33% grade for 3/4 mi. Up and down we roll, covering 10 undulating miles, Rossburg to Lansford. Lansford to Me Gregor is 4 miles of level track. We'll meet No. 55 at McGregor, clean the fire and take coal, too.

Opening the wa= ter regulator valve wide on my gun, I tell the engineer to shut his off. I eas= e the stoker co= al feed. The 1790 is wide open, but is not working as hard. Still crossing hi= lls and dales, I cross to the right side, and hang onto the throttle quadrant.

"If SOO 1033's flagman is out, do you suppose he'll be near M= ile Post 81?"

"Most probably," is the engineer's answer.

= "There i= s a long flat spot at Mile Post 81," the engineer says. "I'll try to= stop the rear of the train on the flat spot and have the front half of the trai= n on the down grade east from MP 81."

We are past Rossburg, MP 84. The engineer is doing some extra whistling, in part for road crossings, but al= so to let the SOO flagman know we are coming. The first time you flag a train is= an awesome adventure, especially if you're running out to flag in non-ABS (da= rk) territory. You know somebody is coming at you and he must be stopped!

MP 83 goes by. No curves for 2 miles.

"He just cracked a fusee!" the hogger exclaims. We are 1= /2 mile from MP 82.

"He's up on the flat!"

Mile Post 82 goes by.

Kapow—Torpedo Explosion!

Kapow—Torpedo Explosion!

The flagman gives stop sign and the engineer answers with two short whistle blasts. He eases off the throttle slightly, there's still a 1/2 mi= le of 1.0% we want to get the caboose over. Jimmy is out of the doghouse, lookin= g the situation over. Back in the caboose they've felt and heard everything̵= 2; they'll probab= ly drop off a fusee.

The SOO's brakeman is at the far eastern edge of the flat and walki= ng east.

"He's been here before," the K. C. notes, "that's good."

The 1790 grinds to a stop (with slack bu= nched) right where the SOO brakeman is standing. The engineer whistles out our fl= ag with one long and three short—Protect the rear of the train. = Jimmy's on the ground, talking to the SOO brakeman. They knew we departed just aft= er they did. His con­ductor told him to stop us here on the flat. If we h= ad to stop on the grade, we would have had to double the hill, or wait for the n= ext train to come along and give us a shove.

The hogger looks at his watch—7:50 AM—less than two hours to meet No. 55 at McGregor. There is an ou= tside chance we can still meet him, so the engineer tells Jimmy to cut off the t= rain, leaving the angle cock wide open. The hogger talks to the SOO brakeman. He thinks their caboose is probably just past the west switch at Kimberly sid= ing. He got off just before the Rice River bridge and walked back to flag us. Fortunately he heard our whistle. We move off to find the SOO train.

Clatter over the pile bent bridge Spanning the Rice River, around the curve, then clank over the west siding sw= itch at Kimberly.

"There he is!" calls K. C.. "They weren't going fast enough to make the grade!"

The SOO's conductor is on the gro= und. We pull up to their caboose, and he makes the joint, tests it, and= cuts in the air. In the 1790's cab the hogger closes the double heading cock. T= he SOO b= rakeman climbs back aboard their caboose and stands on the left rear step. The SOO conductor does likewise on the right rear step. We'll give them a shove to= the top of the hill, where the SOO conductor will cut us off. He gives us a highball.

Gun on, steam gauge shows 200 psi, water glass 1/2 full, good fire. Whistle off, shove in the slack. Ah= ead, the SOO engineer is listening and watching for us. Our stack can just bare= ly be s= een above the trees. I make smoke. Jimmy can see the SOO engine from the rear = of our tender.

Jimmy shouts "He's moving."

After a mile of pushing the SOO conductor cuts us off. The hogger eases the 1790 off slowly to reduce slack action. He brings us to a stop, and then runs us back to our own train at = MP 82.

There, we couple on and cut in the air. Whistle four longs to bring in the flag from the west. On the rear end, the conductor and the rear brakeman watch the air gauge. The brakes release, a= nd the conductor signals—Apply brakes. He signals again—Release brakes—Highball! The head brake­man, Jimmy, relays this from= his vantage point on the tender. The engineer whistles off—two longs—opens the throttle—and checks his watch—8:23 AM. T= he fire has gotten a bit heavy, so I rock the grates until it's down to a thickness of 5 or 6 inches. I check the ash pan—OK. Water— 3/4 of a glass, though I anticipate its drop to 1/2 on the descending grade. On goes the g= un at 50% capacity. The hogger is going to knock the stack off getting this pop wagon rolling.= He shouts to me above the din.

"Are you ready kid?"

Let's go!

"No better time than now!"

Simultaneously, we look at our watches—8:24 AM—one hour until No. 55 is at McGregor.

"Here we go!"

After 12 or 15 exhausts I shout "Put your gun on at 50%!"= ;He does.

I open the water valve wide, then= shut off my inspirator. The feather is on the pop rather quickly, and I put the inspirator on at 50%. The water regulating valve is increased from 50 to 6= 0%, then 70% and 75%. I put on a dark welding lens to look into the fire. Nice= and level, brilliant, bright white all over. I look at the brick arch to gauge= its temperature. The arch is quite new and starting to look like a me= lting icicle. This indicates a temperature above 2,800 deg. F and still absorbing heat. "That's probably all I can do!" I shout to the engineer. "She's probably at maximum steam production perhaps 130%."

The exhaust from the 1790 stack is perfectly clear, no trail in sig= ht. To perfect this combustion T open the stoker a tad and adjust the inspirat= or and open the water regulating valve a bit more—There the engine cu= ts off the exhaust sharp and clear. I glance at the lubricator, the air pump feed= and the stoker feed. The water in the glass bounces vigorously. All is well an= d the stack is trailing the slightest gray haze.

We've traveled over a mile since starting, gaining 85 to 90% of our speed. We're still accelerating as we c= ross the Rice River bridge. There's another 1 1/2 miles of up-and-down grade be= fore us, including a 0.73% climb for 2/3 of a mile, increasing our elevation 26 ft. For this I increase the water flow and coal feed. Next the 1790 enters 1/4 mile of vertical curvature (changing gradient). The velocity head of the train at 20 mph is = 14 feet, at 25 mph it is 22 feet. If the 1790 maintains 22.5 mph to the 0.73% gradient there is a good chance of not stalling. The faster we go the bett= er our odds. The train trades velocity head energy, see Note [6] to he= lp lift itself up the ascending grade. Think of this another way—one revolution of the 1790's 63" diameter drivers is 16.5 feet, at one revolution per second (rps) this equals 11.25 mph which equals 4.42 feet of veloc= ity head. At 5.6 mph the velocity head is 1.1 foot, while at 16.9 mph, 22.5 mph, 28.1 = mph, 33.8 mph the velocity head will respectively be 10.00 feet,17.8 feet, 27.6 fe= et and 40.00 feet. Will we make the grade? I walk over to the engineer.

"Well, are we or ain't we?"

With his hands he signs Who knows ?

Somehow we gain another 2 mph, th= en hit the vertical curvature and gradient. The hogger slowly drops = the reverse lever to increase the admission of superheated steam to the cylind= ers and reduce expansion of steam. The result is higher mean effective pressure in the cy= linders, producing more tractive effort. I reduce water and coal feed—the locomotive is not using as much steam as the grade slows the train. The feath= er does not change. Inspirator right side 50% capacity, left side 60% capacit= y. The summit is 2.5 miles from Lansford. Still slowing, the engineer drops another notch or two, then again, and again.

"Shut off your gun," I shout.

I watch, he does, and I open the = gun water regulating valve full open. The boiler returns to 100% normal steam generating capacity. The 1790 is in full gear at 85% cutoff, 9—10 mp= h, and speed still dropping. We begin another vertical curvature and then lev= el track. After the locomotive and tenders are on level track each 24 feet traveled takes 68 to 100 ton off the gradient. Finally, we reach an equili= brium at 5 to 6 mph. As the 1790 shows she can maintain this constant speed, K.C. Duffern makes a prediction.

"We'll make it, with a shot of sand now and then."=

We slug it out, with the 1790 exhausting about 45 times before we can discern the exhausts are quickening. T= he hogger checks his watch.

"We are going to McGregor ?" More of a statement than a question.

= K.C. Duffern continues to give short shots of sand, pausing, then giving another shot. = Too much sand will stall the train. Our speed has increased from 5 mph, to 8 m= ph, to 14 mph, and 18 mph. I look at my watch as we stop at McGregor—9:04 AM. T= here is no sign of extra 1657 west.

"Clear Board."

Clear Board.

Our caboose is in Yard Limits, so= the engineer does not whistle out a flagman. The brakeman cuts 1790 off. She whistles for the interlocking—one long—we get it, pulling ahea= d. The procedure is to fill the tender and auxiliary tender with water first,= then take coal and sometimes sand if necessary. I'll clean the fire and dump= the ash quickly so we can be back on our train by 9:20 AM.

"I'm putting on the left and right ash pan swipes," I tel= l K. C.


Open the blower 1/4 turn, close = the coal gate, then look at the fire. The radiant heat is withering, but hopef= ully there aren't any clinkers. I rock the grates and watch the fire in the left front decrease to 5 or 6 " thick. No clinkers! I lock the grates and repeat the process on the other three quadrants. The manhole cover slams shut. I quickly drop down to the ground and look at both sides of ash pan—OK.= Back up into the cab, asking the hogger to hold for a minute. I open both hoppe= rs allowing the = ash to flow out, then close them.

"OK to move now."

Close back curtain and car roof ventilators, then windows and front doors and open the blower a bit, feed some coal to the fire, shut off transfer lubricator and drain, fill and replace the plug, open the valves, c= heck the fire, feed in some more coal.

"The coal we've had since we left Duluth still hasn't had a clinker!" He shakes his head!

I go on about my work. Close the feeds t= o air pumps, stoker, steam and condensate valves, drain the left lubricator, take the tal= low pot and fill the left lubricator. Fill the tallow pot, set on drip tray to warm. The coal is topped off, and the coal dock man dismounts. I open the = back curtain, roof vents, windows and front doors. The engineer whistles one long̵= 2;go back to train. The operator must be busy, for it takes a while before = we get the signal to back up. Jimmy takes 1790 back to the train, couple= s on, tests the joint, gives a sign to cut in the air, K.C. nods yes. I set the = feeds to air pump and stoker, then get my lunch and coffee. Then I stow them in the seat box. I'll wash the boiler head and cab down first, then eat. The hogger laughs = as he descends the gangway with hand oiler.

"My but you are a busy bee," and he laughs again.<= /p>

"Yes, but only because you are not finished with your work, c= an I help you ?"


Then I climb down the gangway steps, fo= llow him with the other hand oiler. We finish oiling around and inspecting 1790—today's lesson. I tell him again that I'm going to wash down the boiler back head and cab—watch out for hot water! Then I'll eat—just as I put the lunch away I see No. 55's headlight. He also s= ees the headlight and says,

"It is No. 55, you can tell from the yellowish color of headl= ight glass reflector."

With the 1790 holding the main track, the operator lines the crossover and gives No. 55 the home signal diverging route. No. 55 stops at the station before taking siding. By the = time he does I'll finish filling hand oilers and tallow pots and building the fire up. The conductor is at the depot and will give train a roll-by on the depot platf= orm, then swing on at not more than 10 mph.

McGregor to Sawyer

With No. 55 safely away in the siding, extra 1790 east gets the li= ne-up on the McGregor home signal. It is 9:25 AM.

"Are you ready kid?"

"Yes, sir."

Steam pressur= e 200 psi, 3/4 glass of water freely moving and ample for the short 3/4 mile dow= n­grade, fire bu= ilt up, air pump and stoker lubricator feeds—OK and inspirator on at 50% capacity.

The throttle is opened gently, pu= lling out the slack one car at a time. (He bunched them when we stopped just for= this maneuver.) The entire train of 124 cars is moving, and he widens on the throttle to bring the train up to 10 mph. As the 1790 passes the depot the conductor gets on the gangway steps telling the engineer:

"We are p= robably going to see extra 1657 west at Grayling. They were just finishing their w= ork at Tamarack 10 minutes ago." With that he gets off on the depot platf= orm. The conductor boards the rear caboose step as it comes. Both Jimmy and the engineer are watching him for a highball.

"He is on. Highball from the Castle!" The engineer answe= rs with two longs.

The hogger opens her up for 100% boiler capacity operation. The water drops to 1/2 glass on the short downg= rade, then rises to 3/4 glass as we pass from the vertical curvature to the water level grade. It is essentially flat for 16 miles—the elevation gain = is 77 feet—and 1790 lugs the train along at 15 to 18 mph.

"Four miles to Grayling."

"Is the 1657 going to be there?"


"There he is!" the engineer calls out as we approach Grayling.

I wait to read the number board.

" 1657!" and toss them a highball!

We whistle on = through hill-and-dale countryside, Tamarack, Wright, Cromwell and Corona. It's a nice ride a= ll the way to Sawyer, where a stop is made to set up retainers. See Note[7]


Sawye= r to Hill Avenue

At Sawyer we stop just short of the spur. It is 11:15 AM. The engin= eer adjusts the feed valve to increase the Brake Pipe pressure to 90 psi which shall be maintained until the train is set out all as required by the oper= ating rules. Jimmy gets the water crane hook from the top of the auxiliary tende= r to set up the retainers after the brakes release. The operating rules require= a minimum of 25% of the cars shall have retainers set up in the low pressure position. How many retainers does the engineer want, this is his call (25%= of 124 cars =3D 31—however, it is a heavy train—he says 35).

"OK—35 retainers!" Jimmy repeats.

We're in Yard Limits, no flag is require= d. Brakes must be released when setting retainers. Jimmy will use the water c= rane hook to set-up retainer valves because it eliminates climbing up on each c= ar and saves considerable time and wear and tear on the brakeman. The whole procedure takes about 10 to 12 minutes, and when Jimmy is back in the cab the hogger will whistle off.

"Highball," from the caboose.

I invite Jimmy to partake of some water = and to sit behind me on the seat box—he accepts. I stand and look over= the oil flow count to compressor— increase flow for our trip down the hi= ll to Carlton and thereafter to Hill Avenue.

At 11:31 AM, the 1790 very gently start= s the train rolling. At MP 41 we inspect both sides of the train—everythin= g is copasetic. Near Iverson we repeat our inspection. Though the maximum permissible s= peed with loaded ore cars is 40 mph, we drift along at just under 30 mph.

About 8 miles east of Sawyer is the west switch of Carlton's north siding—we must stop there. We turn down retainers, head into the north siding, stop within 3/4 mile, release train brake and set the independent brake, then set-up the 35 retainers again. F= rom Sawyer to Carlton the elevation decreases 235 feet in 9.7 miles to the east switc= h of north siding, with the first mile of descending gradient at 0.75%, followe= d by 1.5 miles of flat terrain, then 1.5 miles descending at 1.00% gradient to Iverson and a mile comprised of two sags. Next is 3/4 mile of descending gradient at 1.00%, 1/2 mile of three vertical curvatures, 11/2 miles of 1.= 00% and finally 2/3 mile of 0.50% down gradient.

Coming down these varying gradients wit= h a 124 car, 8,500 ton ore train composed of 24 foot cars is no picnic. The engineer really earns his keep by keeping things under control. He can't go too fast, n= or too slow. He must respond to the tram's actions by applying and releasing brak= es at the proper= time. Having 50 ton SOO and NP cars on the head end only adds to the interest. S= uch cars have a bad reputation for long piston travel on their brake cylinders, which translat= es into reduced braking power. If clustered together with retainers set-up, t= hey may not allow sufficient recharging time of the brake system after brake rel= ease.

West of MP 30 the rear brakeman drops o= ff the caboose, at a safe speed, and places a fusee and two torpedoes, one on each ra= il, then places two more four rail lengths toward the train, then quickly walks= toward the caboose.

At 11:55 AM we stopped at the west swit= ch of the north siding, Jimmy is on the ground with the water crane ho= ok turning down retainers set in Sawyer, puts hook on aux. tender, lines the west swi= tch, climbs up on tender next to doghouse to watch caboose for signals. The eng= ineer whistles off. Conductor Castle waves his white cap to go ahead.

"Pull ahead," Jimmy shouts relaying the signal.

Carlton's north siding has about= one mile of 1.00% down grade followed by 1/2 mile of 0.30%. As we roll-by the= sign reading "Construction of the Northern Pacific started here in 1870,&q= uot; I look at my watch—It's 12:13PM.

Engineer Duffern and conductor Castle a= greed to the following procedure during their gangway conference at McGregor. He will p= ull into north siding at 10 mph stopping on the grade about 3/4 mile east of t= he west switch. With this heavy train the engineer wants the extra comfort of stopping there for a better run at the hill. It requires substantial additional walking f= or the conductor, but is good insurance against stalling when we leave Carlto= n. We pull in at 10 mph, and stop. I look at my watch—12:25 PM.

Meanwhile, Jimmy measures the water in the tender and auxiliary ten= der. He shows me the wet/dry line on the water crane hook—3 feet in both tender and aux. tender—the same as the boiler head gauge. T= he engineer and I agree that's enough water. He sets independent brake and releases the automatic brake. As soon as the train brakes release, Jimmy again sets ret= ainer valves in the low pressure position on 35 cars. The conductor is walking the train o= n the way to" the depot.

It's time to Took at the fire. Level, a= bout 7" thick. I rattle the grates a little to reduce the firebed <= span style=3D'font-size:10.5pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.3pt'>about l inch o= r so, because of the grade leaving Carlton. Both ash pan swipes are on, washing = down ash pan and putting out any hot coals. This done I crack open the blower, = and add some coal to liven-up the fire. The steam gauge registers 199 psi—water gauges 1/2 glass and moving well— blow down the= water gauges OK—Check the lubricator feeds to stoker and air pump OK—= ;I climb down and check the ash pan—no ash by grates, all hot coals out—OK. I shut off both swipes.

I inform the engineer, and take a moment to talk with him.

"I've been watching your operation closely—Your smooth descent from Sawyer to north siding was to my know= ledge nigh-unto flawless. With this heavy train that entire grade can be tough o= n an engineer, but you were confident and at ease because you knew exactly how = to brake the train. I'll fire for you any time. Oh, one more thing—I appreciate the lessons on train orders, inspection and oiling around".<= /span>

We talk a bit more. Then conductor Castle appears, hot footing it t= o the depot.

"Are you ready?" He asks.

"Yes, we are!" The hogger says, "It is time to fini= sh my coffee and lunch."

I muse to myself—did he get a sweet roll?

Climbing into the cab I check the water level, blow-down the water glasses and note each registers 1/2 glass. Check the fi= re, add some coal, open blower a bit, to hold the boiler pressure at 195 psi, = then more coal and the feed bag. Looking out the right gang way I see the condu= ctor coming on a speeder. As he hands the register check to the engineer, the speeder operator says in jest:

"The NP livery stable has these for rent from time to time !&= quot;

The conductor and engineer talk briefly, then the speeder continues to the caboose to let the conductor off= . The engineer climbs back into the cab, handing me the register check. I verify= same a= nd put it on the clipboard. Jimmy from the tender top watches the caboose for a highball.

"Are you ready, kid?"

"When we get the highball!&q= uot; I open the blower somewhat and feed coal to the fire, the feather is there= , I put on the gun and cut it to 50% capacity, the feather grows, I open the w= ater valve more and ease the blower.

After two minutes Jimmy calls out—"You got a highball f= rom Castle's caboose!"

K. C. Duffern whistles off, calling for = the GN interlocking home signal 2 short - pause - 2 short whistles. The Carlton operator comes out to open the east north siding switch. The home signal shows clear on top!

"Clear on top!"


I ring the bell—we are abou= t to move. He looks at me and laughs, then releases the independent brake. As we start to move we both look at our watches—12:48 PM. The throttle is = eased out as we start to pick up speed and slack and will pass through the east switch of the north siding proceeding straight across the puzzle switch at= over 20 mph (speed limit is 30mph). Steam pressure 200 psi, 1/2 glass of = water bouncing freely, feather on safety valve, I open the water regulating valv= e wide, as we rattle across the double-slip switch and back into ABS territory.

"Clear block!"

Clear block

The 1790 is wide open running for= the hill on an ascending gradient for 1 3/4 miles with one inspirator on. The change from descending to ascending gradient causes the water level to inc= rease from 1/2 glass to 3/4 glass. The water level starts to drop.

"Put on your gun at 50% capacity."

He does. I cut my inspirator back to 60% and increase the coal fee= d, stack is clear. The 1790 whistles for the Carlton—Wrenshall highway. We= are running about 22 mph when the stoker suddenly jambs! I grab the stoker rev= erse, slamming the reverse back and forward until it clears itself. He looks at = the stoker reverse and comments:

"What was that all about?"

"Probably a large-small rock!"

We are on a left curvature a mile east of the Carlton depot still running at over 20 mph.

"Clear block!"

Clear block

The 1 3/4 miles of ascending gradient east of the depot gains about= 18 feet of elevation. A mile east of the depot our velocity head is about 16 = feet. We've already gained about 9 of the 18 feet, so we should top the grade wi= th ease, even though the 1790 is working hard at holding 20 mph. As we crest = the grade we are holding 12 mph and rolling onto a 0.90% descending grade.

The battle is won!

From here on our trip is routine—"Green !" Green= . "Clear Board !" Clear Board. "Clear on top!" Clear. = We roll through State Line at 25 mph, looking back at the train on the curves "OK!" OK. Through Anton at 30 mph, then "Clear"—Clear, "Clear on top"—Cl= ear on top, Pokegama at 25 mph. Before Bridge 9.1 and Cemetery Road we will stop and turn down the retainers, start and accelerate the train to 10—15 mph prior to crossing Bridge 9.1. Here the engineer makes his initial <= span style=3D'font-size:10.5pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.3pt'>application, t= hen the second. We roll to a quiet stop amid blue haze, smoke due to dragging the = brake shoes a= nd oil splatter, caused by use of the retainers.

<= span style=3D'font-size:10.5pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.3pt'>At 1:41 PM Jim= my grabs the water crane hook and starts turning down retainers. We trundle = across Bridge 9.1 toward the GN Central Avenue interlocking.

"Clear on top."

Clear on top.

At Hill Avenue we pull across the ore y= ard scale at 1—2 mph as train is weighed. At 2:31 PM we cut off the= train on track 4 in the Hill Avenue yard, then come back through the yard to cou= ple on to our caboose. After a set-and-release air test we head for the barn in Duluth.

Homeward Bound

Back past the Central Avenue interlocking and head for Duluth, no clearance or train order required, we follow the same route to Rice's Poin= t, put the caboose away, arrive at the roundhouse and tie-up at 3:30 PM. To= tal time on duty—10 hours—with no broken coupler knuckles or pulled drawbars and nothing to report on 1790—she is a good steed! After ti= e-up at Duluth and doing the tie-up chores and inspection, we walk together to lock= er room.

I ask the engineer. "Do you know wh= at we forgot to get? The train weight! Oh well, maybe next time"

"You didn't get one did you?"

"What didn't I get?"

"A sweet roll in your lunch at Ironton!"


1. There are two types of locomotive lubricators - mechanical and hydrostatic. TheW-3's including the 1790 were equipped with two Detroit hydrostatic lubricators having sight glasses and a hydrostatic transfer lubric= ator that replenished the steam cylinder oil (valve oil) to the hydrostatic lubricator feeding the valves and cylinders.

The hydrostatic system of lubrication for oiling the valves and cylinders of locomotive engines is based on the principle of hydrostatic displacement, utilizing the pressure due to a head of water, together with= the difference in the specific gravities of oil and water, to force the oil from the = oil reservoir into the oil pipes. Initially this system was used exclusively f= or stationary eng= ines. It was not until about 1884 that attempts were made to apply the hydro­= ;static displa= cement principle for oiling the valves and cylinders of locomotive engines. (Page= 112 - Injectors, Hydrostatic Lubricators, Mechanical Lubricators & Locomot= ive Access­ories - Nathan Mfg. Company - 1924)

The purpose of the lubricators was to convey the oil with the stea= m and condensate from the lubricators cab location to the valves and cylinders s= o as to form an oil film between the moving parts and wearing surfaces to reduce wear= and maintenance thereon providing for successful operation of the locomotive.

The Northern Pacific hydrostatic lubricators were well maintained = and operated by knowledge­able personnel using only clean high-grade steam cyl= inder oil (about 90 W). Additionally, proper feedwater treatment was important i= n the 1940's setting because of the potential carry-over due to foaming or primi= ng. Chemicals were used to bring the feedwater PH within a range of 10.5 to 11= .5 and to eliminate hard scale and keep the sludge in suspension until the aut= omatic blowdown system (or blowoff cocks) kept the boiler water grains of = hardness down = to a manageable level. The Lake Superior Division had very good water at most locations. Finally, when working the locomotive it was desirable to keep t= he boiler pressure from fluctuating so that the rate of oil flow to the steam chests (valves = & cylinders), air pumps and stokers did not change.

As a result of the aforesaid care and feeding of hydrostatic lubricators -1 can remember only one lubrication failure that occurred while I w= as on duty. Fortunately, it occurred while working on a yard transfer shortly after lunch hour. The lubricator was still feeding and the choke plug was O.K. but the o= il line was plugged and we were unable to blow the blockage out. As a result we oil= ed the right side steam chest by pouring small amounts of valve oil into= the relief valve from time to tune for the transfer to Rice's Point Yard from = the Hanna Dock Ya= rd.

2. ABS means Automatic Block Signal. The signal call is "Red = or Yellow or Clear" Block.

3. Train Order Signal at Depots is called "Red or Yellow or Clear" Board.

4. The "feather" is a very small blow-by on the safety va= lve immediately before it opens

5. A partial summary of the Co= nsolidated Code of Operating Rules and General Instructions as they relate to tra= in orders:

     Train orders are provided for by time table and are issued by authority over signature of <= /span>the division superintendent.

    They must be brief an= d clear on prescribed forms when applicable, without erasure, alteration or interlineations.

    Each train order must= be given in the same words to all addressed.

    Figures in train orde= rs must not be surrounded by brackets, circles or other characters.

    They must be numbered consecutively each day beginning at midnight and are to be addressed to = those who are to execute them, naming the place where each shall receive = his copy.

    Those for a train the address is to "C&E" (conductor and engineer) and pilot and h= elper = engineer also. Each employee addressed gets a copy.

    Train orders addresse= d to the operator restricting movement of trains must be respected by the conduc= tor and engineer the same as those addressed to the conductor and engineer.=

    Engineers must show t= rain orders to the fireman and head brakeman if practicable.

     Conductor must = show train orders to the rear brakeman if practicable. A copy of train <= span style=3D'font-size:10.5pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.3pt'>orders must be= given to each engineer and to a rear trainman, and so on.

    There are approved and accepted abbreviations and items to be checked when receiving a clearance, tr= ain order, register checks, and the like. (There are also distinct procedures = for taking tr= ain orders and clearances which must be followed if not prepared by an operato= r, which do not need to be discussed here.)

To check a clearance:

&= nbsp;   Is it a standard company form?

=     Does it state that it is a clearance form "A"?

=     Is it addressed to those who execute same?

&= nbsp;   Is it at a specific location?

=     Are the abbreviations acceptable and approved?

&= nbsp;   Are there erasures, alterations or interlineations?

&= nbsp;   Are the time and date filled in?

&= nbsp;   Are the initials of the division superintendent and name of operator shown?

    = Are the number of orders given and the number of each train order listed thereon?<= /span>

They must correspond. To check each = train order:

&= nbsp;   Is the train order a standard company form?

=     Is the name of the company thereon?

&= nbsp;   Is the train order number filled in and corresponds to clearance?

=     Is the date filled in?

=     Is the address filled in?

&= nbsp;   Is the location filled in and correct?

&= nbsp;   Are the initials of operator and the time filled in?

=     Is the train order over the superintendent's initials?

&= nbsp;   Is it made complete, time shown and operator's name filled in?

=     Are all the abbreviations used in the code book?

    = Are there any mistakes in the train order itself or erasures, alterations or interlineations? The check of clearance and train order is complete.

6. Quick summary of Tonnage Ratin= gs, Momentum Grades, Velocity Profiles and Velocity Heads:

a. Tonnage Ratings

The tonnage rating of a locomotive is the tonnage which a single locomotive can haul at a specified minimum speed over a given territory. T= he gross resistance is made equal to available tractive effort. The limiting factor on a territory is the ruling grade which is defined as the maximum gradient over which a tonnage train can be hauled with one locomotive.

Tonnage ratings are a necessary t= ool of the operating department. Yardmasters and loco motive dispat= chers must be acquainted with tonnage ratings so that locomotive capacities and = train tonnages may be matched. All lesser grades offer no obstacle the movement = of a train of that = size. The ruling grade does not necessarily have the maximum gradient on the division. Momentum grades, pusher (helper) grades, or those which must regularly be doubled by tonnage trains may be heavier

b. Momentum Grades

Mechanics gives the expression for velocity head as h =3D v /2g = where v is the velocity in feet per second attained by a freely falling body in fal= ling a distance of h =3D 0.035 V . A railroad tram may be conside= red to be the freely falling body for the application of this formula. It = also represent= s the height to which the train would rise that had an initial velocity at the f= oot of the grade of V mph and that worked just enough steam or current to over= come train resistance. A train traveling at a speed of V mph (where V=3D 20) has, in addit= ion to its tractive effort, additional energy stored in it due to its momentum. If the locomotive approached the foot of a gradient at this speed but worked only en= ough steam or current to overcome train resistance, the train would theoretically rise to a height of 14.0 feet on the grade before stalling. The distance required to gain this height would depend on the percentage of gradient. As a practical matter, some of the effects of velocity head are lost through concussion and oscillation in the draft gear and couplings. On very long grades, t= he entire head may thus be exhausted long before the train has gained its theo= retical height. Not all the theoretical energy due to momentum is actually available in overcoming elevation. Losses of energy occur which increase with = the length of grade. Some energy is lost through buffer impact as the head end= of the train slows down before the rear end in ascending a grade. It would th= us appear that a moving train possesses a potential energy reserve which could be c= alled upon to carry it over the summit beyond the rated capacity of the locomoti= ve.

The use of momentum grades when dictated= by demands for economy of construction should be limited to locations where trains wou= ld not be normally expected to stop. The gradient should be further restricte= d to a location on which at least half the anticipated train load could if nece= ssary be started from a standstill if doubling the hill became necessary. Acceleration and deceleration thus represent a change in velocity head. A train= at rest has a velocity head of zero. After accelerating to a speed of 30 mph on = level track it has acquired a velocity head of h =3D 32 ft and retains that potential as long as neither grade nor throttle position is changed, =

c.  Ve= locity Profiles

In the preceding paragraphs, dealing with momentum or virtual profi= les, the velocity head has been discussed as a measure of the energy potential stored in a train.  Accelerat= ion as a resistive force to be overcome by the tactive effort of the locomotive h= as been described.  The virtual = profile combines these two concepts by converting accelerative resistance into the= resistance of an equivalent acceleration grade.  The virtual profile may be (and is) referred to as a velocity profi= le.

d.   Velocity Heads

= Selected Velocity Heads In Feet For Speed In Miles Per Hour <= /p>
























































7. The Retainer is a device attached to the discharge from the car = brake cylinder, to hold the car brake on after the train brake is released and is used on long grades. The purpose is to extend the time the car brake is se= t (3 different settings) so that the locomotive air compressor can recharge the= car reservoirs on each car before the brakes are needed again to control the <= /span>speed of the = train.



Introduction—Setting the Scene<= /p>

This story (the most memorable trip in ore service) is told by a locomotive fireman (who, by the Consolidated Code of Operating Rules and Gene= ral Instructions, is subordinate to the engineer) as he sees the events on an o= re train from Duluth-Superior to Ironton, MN. and return in the 1949-1951 era.

It covers the call of a pool crew report for work, reporting for work, standard time clock and watch compari= son, bulletins, time tables, some special instructions, some Consolidated Code operating= rules, air tests, whistle signals, flagging, cab communication between the engine= er and fireman, inspections, preparations, tying up, teaching instructions, descriptions, railroad slang and terminology, explanations, running conversations, and more. Common events such as hot boxes, break in two, stalling on a gradient, being outlawed by the 16-hour law are not i= ncluded herein.

I try to live the part, showing working conditions, to make the events as realistic as pos­sible. You are introduced to various people throughout the story-though real names are not provided. The engineer is a good, congenial and capable man. He is a compo= site of several engineers with like characteristics. He and I cooperate, making a good tea= m. Jimmy, the head brakeman, is young and just starting to learn his way around. Because= I was a brakeman and switchman for the Duluth Winnipeg and Pacific, the Great Northern and the Northern Pacific, I understand this and try to help him work safel= y. The conductor and rear brakeman are far away most of the time and have no = radio communication with them, but they are competent men. According to the Consolidated Code, brakemen are subordinate to the conductor.

Dispatchers order trains, notifying the roundhouse for particular classes of engines— and sometimes= helper engines—to meet tonnage requirements. The roundhouse responds with the road = engine number, helper engine number, and the crew's names. The engine crew is responsible to the conductor, except for things pertaining to the locomoti= ve. In addition, the engine crew is responsible to the road foreman of engines= . The train crew is responsible to both the conductor and the trainmaster. Track gradients and velocity are discussed under Notes [5] so you may under= stand their importance on a hill-and dale railway.

Service to the Cuyuna Range iron = mines and related entities is under a joint service contract between the SOO Lin= e and the Northern Pacific. Northern Pacific's Hill Avenue ore yard—and associated ore dock and transfer trackage to the Great Northern's Allouez = ore yard—operate under a joint service contract between the SOO and the Northern Pacific. Both SOO and Northern Pacific engine crews report for wo= rk at the Northern Pacific's Rice's Point roundhouse in Duluth. Minnesota. Both us= e the Northern Pacific's Class W-3 Mikados for switching, transfer service, and do= ck shoves at the Hill Avenue ore yard.

The Northern Pacific and the SOO operate ore trains from Ironton to Deerwood to McGregor on the NPR Lake Superior Division's Fourth and Second sub-divisions respectively. From McG= regor to Hill Avenue ore yard in Superior the SOO operates over its own trackage. From McGregor to Central Avenue in Superior, to Hill Avenue, the Northern Pacific operates over its Second and First sub-divisions. Both SOO and Northern Paci= fic trains weigh in at Hill Avenue.

The NP and SOO operate switch engines o= n the Cuyuna Range distributing empties and coal loads and gathering up iron ore loa= ds to make up trains destined for Hill Avenue. Both companies operate under the Con= solidated Code of Operating Rules and General Instructions. On the Northern Pacific, Lake Superior Division Time Table 73A, Lake Superior Divi= sion Special Instructions No. 9, and Duluth-Superior Terminal Time Ta= ble 216, are in e= ffect. Clearance, train orders and register checks are discussed when train order= s are received at Carlton, Minnesota. See Notes [3] and [5] for train order sign= als, clearance and train order checks.



Mikados of the Iron Range SOO Line's Ch= oice: The L-3 's

SOO Line's best locomotive for o= re road service—and their most powerful—were the well maintained Cla= ss L-3 2-8-2s. Purchased from the Rock Island in 1941, the L-3s had a maximum tract= ive effort of 60,300 pounds, and a boiler output of 2,500 horsepower.

Joint operation over the Lake Superior Division's Fourth and the Second sub-divisions saw SOO L-2, -3, o= r -4 Mikados in road service, occasionally supplemented by Class N-20 Mountains. Min= e runs drew Class F-8-S or F-10-S Consolidations 2-8-0's.

Northern Pacific's Choice: The W-3's<= /p>

Northern Pacific mine service utilized Class W hand fired Mikes. On= ly in 1946 and 1947 the NP used Class Z-3 2-8-8-2s between Duluth-Superior and Ironton, and Class W-3 or -5 Mikados as motive power for the road ore service.

Well-maintained by the Northern Pacific, W-3s became the railway's jack-of-all-trades. They were used as h= eavy passenger engines for the North Coast Limited in Montana from time to time,= as a passenger helper, a fast freight engine, transfer engine, freight helper, = local = engine, switch engine, and as a hog for heavy ore dock shoves.

The W-3 design was the culmination of a = 1913 search for larger freight engines of greater horsepower. Lorenz P. Schrenk= and Robert L. Prey's Classic Steam Era tells the W-3 and -5 story very well. From 1913 until the 1950's, a series of improvements to the ori= ginal design created what may be called one of the best performing steam locomotives of the ear= ly twentieth century.

Simple, straightforward, W-3s were no-f= rills locomotives. Their two Hancock No. 11 inspirators (consisting of two jet injec= tors) were inexpensive and required little maintenance. The Hancock inspirators could each deliver 4,430 gallons an hour to the boiler—3= 6,880 pounds an hour. Some W-3s (and the very similar W-5s) were initially equipped with feedwater heaters and pumps from various manufacturers. Our locomotive, the 1790, was equipped with Westinghouse 6-ET automatic brakes with an H-6 and = S-6 independent brake valves.

Principal improvements to W-3s a= fter 1913 included the addition of stokers, improved combustion, screenless spark arre= sters and front end drafting, running gear and lubrication. Eventually, feedwater systems (which could not provide feedwater at a temperature high= er than that of = an inspirator) were removed, unproved water treatment in bad water areas, alo= ng with the addi= tion of automatic blow-down systems, reduced boiler scale, while firebox circulator tub= es improved water circulation, enlarged the boiler heating surface and furthe= r increased ste= am production and therefore boiler horsepower.

In addition, the incorporation of Rosebud table grates, ash pans and swipes redesigned for use with either Eastern or Rosebud coal allowed W-3 fireboxes = to burn low BTU coals they could not originally use. (However, locomotives wi= th these improvements could still use higher BTU coals such as Roslyn, Red Lo= dge and Eastern.) In terms of BTU, Rosebud was about 8,400 to 9,400 per pound, Roslyn about 12,100 to 12,600, Red Lodge about 10,300 to 10,500 and = Eastern averaged 12,600 to 12,800. (Eastern coals could run to 13,800 and even 14,= 500.) As an example, if Eastern coal at 13,300 BTU per pound was burned instead = of Rosebud at 9,= 300, the same amount of Eastern as Rosebud produced thirty percent more steam—and much greater boiler horsepower and tractive effort at spee= d. These enhancem= ents improved steaming capacity and boiler horsepower output— substantially increased a train's velocity head and stored energy—allowing W-3s to handle heavier trains at higher speeds. The W-3 had a cylinder tractive effort of about 6= 3,460 pounds. (The tractive effort of the cylinder is determined when the maximum normal production of steam is totally used in full gear [63,460 pounds]. At half of this speed the tractive effort is a bit more than three percent gr= eater {65,370 pounds], because less steam pressure is lost. For the same reason, tractive effort is six percent greater [67,270 pounds] just before stoppin= g.) Maximum horsepower output of the W-3 was established at approximately 36 m= ph. However, with all of the improvements and the use of high BTU Eastern coal= , it may have b= een in the neighborhood of 3,000 horsepower in the 1950 era.

All of this allowed the W-3 to supersede the designs and ratios us= ed on several different Northern Pacific locomotive classes. These classes were N-l (4-4-2), Q-l, = -3, -4 (4-6-2s), T= , T-l (2-6-2), W and W-l, -2 and -4 (2-8-2s)~-all smaller but successful = locomotives in service. (Experimental and various compound designs should not be <= span style=3D'font-size:10.5pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.35pt'>included beca= use most were simpled for various reasons—see Classic Steam Era f= or their story.)= As a final comment on the W-3. They could pull a 5,400 ton train (90 + 5 cars) = on level track at 45 + 3 mph. I timed such trains many times with a watch and= mileposts on t= he Skally.


About the Author

Lee W. Tuskey


Partial resume and other applicab= le information relative to Railroad Operating Experience, Steam Locomot= ive inspection and mechanical engineering for calculations for Federal Railroad Administration Form 4.

Birt= h Date:     April 28, 1= 929


  1. Public S= chools (K-12) Duluth, MN 9/34-6/47
  2. William = & Mary College - Williamsburg, VA 1951 (evenings)
  3. Universit= y of Minnesota (Duluth)-Duluth, MN 9/53-6/55
  4. Universit= y of Minnesota - Minneapolis, MN 6/55-6/58 Degree - BME awarded 6/58 - (5 yr. course)

Other Education:

  1. ICS Engin= eman's Operating Course (sponsored by NPR) 1950
  2. ICS Engi= neman's & Engineers Training. U.S. Army
  3. Transport= ation School Training..- Fort Eustis, VA 3/51-7/51 (<= span style=3D'font-size:10.5pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.25pt'>Training= .-operatin= g Steam and Diesel Locomotives Korean Rys)
  4. Assigned = -U.S. Army Transportation School - Fort Eustis, Va. 7/51-3/5= 3 - Instructor and Road Foreman of Engines to train Enginemen in classroom & provide "Hands-on" experience operating= Steam and Diesel Powered Trains Korean Rys.
  5. ALCO/GE Diesel-Electric Locomotive School, Schenectady. NY Training Course (U= .S. Army Transportation Corps)-mid 1952

Railroad Experience:

  1. Nor. Pac.= Ry. - Rice's Point Roundhouse (36 Stall)- Duluth, MN.  General Labor, Fire Cleaner, Hostl= er Helper, Stationary Steam Plant Laborer, etc. 5/45-9/47
  2. DW&P (Canadian Nat'1 Ry) - Brakeman - Duluth, MN. 9/47- 11/49
  3. G. N. Ry.- Switchman / Hump Rider - Supr & Allouez Yds-5/48 to 10/48<= /li>
  4. Nor. Pac. Ry.-Carman Hpr-Rip Track-Hill Ave.Supr, WI - 6/49 to 7/49
  5. Nor. Pac. Ry. - Brakeman - Duluth, = MN 7/49-8/49
  6. Nor. Pac. Ry - Locomotive Fireman - Duluth, MN 8/49-6/55 (6/58)
  7. Military Railway Service - Locomotive Engineer, (Road Foreman of Engines) Ft. Eustis, VA - 8/51 to 3/53

Electric & Gas Utility  

1.       Northern States Power - 1955 to 1958 (Cooperative work/study Program NSP U of MN) -power plant Student Engineer

2.       1958-1976 After BME Degree Award-NSP AREA Power Cont= racts Engr.

3.       1976-1984- NSP Research Engineer

4.       1984-1988 - NSP Natural Gas Utility Engineer=

5.       1986- Loaned Exec. Prg. to St/Minn-6mo.& to U of Minn. 6 mo.

Museum Experience:

1.       1983 thru 1985 - Minnesota Transportation Museum-Instructed Steam Locomotive Classes, worked on 2156 strip down and 328 firema= n, etc.,

2.       1988-1998 - Lake Superior Museum of Transportation -prepared FRA Form 4 on LSMT Steam Loco. No. 14. As Dir. of Training.  Instructed steam locomotive Training.. Oper. Rules= and Safety Training.. LSMT appoin= ted me Supervisor of Engineers and I was assigned to #14 as Supervisor to instruc= t operation of steam locomotives @ -25 deg F. in making of Disney Movie "Iron Will&q= uot;.

3.       1995-1996 - Volunteered & prepared FRA Form 4 o= n the Ex SOO Line Locomotive No 1003 for WRPT. All data furnished by the WRPT.=

4.       1998-2003 - MTM. Volunteered to prepare FRA Form 4 on 2156, 2153 & assist in acquisition of 2153 from City of East Grand Forks, MN.

Recollections= of CuyunaRange Ore Service

From a Locomitive Fireman's Diary=

Appendix Index=

Appendix No. = 1        =         Lake Superior Division Special Instructions. 9

Lake Superior Division Timetable 73 A

Lake Superior Division Duluth-Superior Terminal 216

Appendix No.2=         =          General Arrangement of Cuyuna Range Trackage Routes to Superior via NP and SOO Line =

<= span style=3D'font-size:13.0pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.55pt'>Appendix No.3=         =          General Arrangement of Hill Ave. Ore Yard, Ore Dock & Transfer Trackage.

<= span style=3D'font-size:13.0pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.5pt'>Appendix No.4<= /span>        =          General Arrangement of NP Duluth-Superior Terminal Trackage and some applicable SOO Line Trackage

<= span style=3D'font-size:13.0pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.5pt'>Appendix No.5<= /span>        =          NP Condensed Track Profile - Duluth to Ironton via the Lake Superior <= span style=3D'font-size:13.0pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.8pt'>Division-2nd &= amp; 4th Subdivisions.

= Appendix No.6=         =          Velocity Gradients, Velocity Heads - Tables, Graphs and summary explanation. <= /span>

= Appendix No.7=         =          Table of Composition of and Heating Values of some North American Coals= .

<= span style=3D'font-size:13.0pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.55pt'>Appendix No.8=         =          Several Photos of Ore Docks, Dock Approach & Dock Shove, Ore Trains leavin= g Hill Ave. Yard and near Carlton.

<= span style=3D'font-size:13.0pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.55pt'>Appendix No.9=         =          Data sheet-NP W-3 and SOO Line Engine Data -W-3 Picture, Poem & W-3 Injector (Inspirator) and Data

<= span style=3D'font-size:13.0pt;color:black;letter-spacing:-.55pt'>Appendix No.1= 0        =       Tables and Drawings Related to Stoker Firing a Steam-Locomotive with Eastern = Coal.